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Heather's IBS Newsletter ~ For Irritable Bowel Syndrome

November 27, 2007

Annual Holiday Sale ~ the IBS Self-Hypnosis Program and New! IBS Stress Kit!

Plus, see why Susan no longer "just has to live with it" after a lifetime of IBS.

Hello to everyone -

As a special holiday event, we have the IBS Audio Program 100 on sale for $79.95 (a $10 savings from the normal price of $89.95).

Plus, our new IBS Stress Kit, which includes the IBS Audio Program, is on sale for 20% off the suggested retail price (a savings of over $25)!

We also have a very special interview with Michael Mahoney. Michael is one of the top IBS specialists in the United Kingdom, and the creator of the IBS Audio Program 100, and he has an incredibly interesting story to tell. I think everyone will be taken not just with the impressive details of his practice and development of the world's leading IBS self-hypnotherapy program, but also with his genuine kindness and empathy.

What's most remarkable to me is that researchers are actually beginning to call gut-directed hypnotherapy "a cure" for IBS. In fact, we've lined up an amazing overview of the clinical studies that show just how successfully hypnosis can treat IBS.

In the end, what I find most impressive is that hypnotherapy works in ways that are both dramatic and far-reaching: it helps all IBS symptoms, it works for children and adults, it helps mild and extremely severe cases, and it works for those who are newly diagnosed or have been struggling for years. Frankly, it just plain works - see for yourself!

Best Wishes,
Heather Van Vorous

Did a friend send you this newsletter? Sign up here for your own free subscription. divider

Ruby Jewel Bars

Have leftover cranberry sauce from Thanksgiving? You can use it in this delicious cookie bar recipe, or make them from fresh cranberries. Either way they're high in soluble fiber, low fat, easy to make, and a terrific treat!

Makes 16 bars

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly spray a 9 x 9" baking pan with cooking oil and set aside.

In a small saucepan, stir together:

2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 T Acacia Tummy Fiber (optional, but gives a luscious silky texture)
zest of one small orange
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
3 cups fresh or frozen (unthawed) cranberries

Cook all ingredients together on medium low heat (at a low simmer), uncovered, until cranberries pop and liquid has cooked down, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.

In a blender or spice grinder, blend to a fine powder:

1/2 cup plus 2 T oatmeal

Add oatmeal to a medium bowl, then stir in:

1/2 cup plus 2 T unbleached flour
1/2 t baking powder
1/4 cup brown sugar

Using your fingers, knead into flour mixture until evenly blended and crumbly:

1/3 C non-hydrogenated soy butter such as Organic Spectrum or Soy Garden

Firmly pat 2/3 of crumb mixture into prepared pan. Gently spoon and carefully spread cranberry mixture over entire pan. Sprinkle cranberries with remaining crumb mixture. Bake about 30 minutes, until crumb topping is golden brown (do not underbake), then cool in pan on rack.

For a comforting cold weather meal, serve the Ruby Jewel Bars for dessert with a hot bowl of Cream of Celery Soup with Buttery Bacon Croutons! Or, treat yourself to a mid-afternoon snack of the Ruby Jewel Bars with a soothing cup of high volatile oil Peppermint Tummy Tea.

Are you just learning how to eat for IBS? A little intimidated at the thought of special IBS recipes? Not quite sure just what makes these recipes special in the first place? Don't worry! Find the answers to all your questions in the IBS Diet Kit.

~ Heather's Tummy Tamers Peppermint Oil Capsules ~
IBS Peppermint Caps
Peppermint Oil Caps Called "Drug of Choice for IBS"

Our Peppermint Oil Caps have the added benefits of fennel and ginger oils, and they help prevent abdominal pain, gas, and bloating!

divider From "I'll have to live with it" to so much better in just two weeks


I rarely write testimonials because most products health, beauty, fitness, etc can't deliver on what they claim to. I've had IBS my entire adult life, in varying degrees of intensity and inconvenience. Once constipation and diarrhea were under control, I felt pretty fortunate that my main complaints were stomach/abdominal pain, gas and bloating. Those were worse in the afternoons and evenings. However, even just pain and bloating can be intense and life-impacting at times.

Over the years I've tried just about everything I could find, including dietary changes and supplements, and you know there are many things out there to try! Some things didn't work at all, some worked for a short time, then the symptoms returned. I was nearly at the "Ill just have to live with it" stage when I came upon your website and the Acacia Tummy Fiber and figured, well, I've tried everything else, and this is inexpensive, so I'll try it.

I've been taking Tummy Fiber since May. I'm well into my third pouch of it, which I take before breakfast and before dinner, 1 tablespoon in water each time. I had no difficulty ramping up to this dosage slowly, like the instructions direct. I noticed a difference after about two weeks, and frankly was waiting for the symptoms to return after that. But I'm still feeling so much better that I wanted to write and tell you.

I rarely have those severe mid-afternoon stomach/bloating pains that used to either send me home or to the private break room so I could lay down at work. (Being horizontal really seems to help but isn't a viable long-term strategy!) Evenings are no longer spent with my heating pad on my tummy. Sometimes I need it, but mostly I don't. I take the Tummy Fiber along when I travel, and over the past weekend away from home I even missed two pre-dinner doses, but didn't have more than a little bloating.

I'll be ordering again soon and will probably be a lifelong customer! Thank you for your website and the research, information and products available for us IBSers.

Susan S.
Santa Rosa, CA

Thank you, Susan! I'm thrilled you're doing so much better! ~ Heather

Did you miss the last reader letter from Judy, and the follow up to the worst case of IBS ever? Find it here...

~ Heather's Tummy Fiber ~
For the Dietary Management of Abdominal Pain, Diarrhea, &, Constipation

IBS Acacia Tummy Fiber

Organic Acacia ~ Pure Soluble Fiber

The prebiotic fiber that relieves both diarrhea and constipation!

** Very Economical ** Only 3 cents per gram of fiber!

divider Overview of Published Research on Hypnosis for IBS
Significant peer-reviewed, double blind clinical studies on hypnotherapy for IBS are condensed in this overview. The clinical trials are drawn from Gut, Lancet, Gastroenterology, and other internationally respected medical journals. The study results are consistent and their conclusions are overwhelmingly positive. For in-depth information about self-hypnosis for IBS, see the IBS Audio Program.

Hypnotherapy Called a Cure for Pediatric Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
2007 Digestive Disease Week Conference, Presentation title: Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders: Psychosocial and Psychotherapy. Abstract 914. Gut-directed hypnotherapy has been shown to be highly effective in the treatment of adult patients with IBS. This study evaluated the treatment approach in a pediatric population.

53 children between the ages of 8 and 18 years who had been diagnosed with IBS or Functional Abdominal Pain were randomized to standard therapy or to 6 hypnotherapy sessions of 30 minutes over a 3-month period. The endpoints of the study were pain intensity, pain frequency, nausea, headache and appetite. The investigators defined a cure as a greater than 80% improvement in pain.

After 1 year, the cure rate reached 85% for hypnotherapy-treated subjects and 25% for those receiving conventional therapy. The authors concluded, "Gut-directed hypnotherapy is highly superior to conventional therapy in the treatment of children with longstanding FAP or IBS."

Effect of gut-directed hypnotherapy upon quality of life in IBS patients. J Clin Nurs. 2006 Jun;15(6):678-84. This study quantified health-related quality of life in a group of 75 irritable bowel syndrome patients and measured changes following a treatment programme of nurse-led gut-directed hypnotherapy. It is well recognized that health-related quality of life can be severely impaired in patients suffering from the irritable bowel syndrome. Current conventional treatment for irritable bowel syndrome is often unsatisfactory. This study followed 75 patients and determined that gut-directed hypnotherapy has a very positive impact on health-related quality of life with improvements in psychological well-being and physical symptoms. It appears most effective in patients with abdominal pain and distension.

A 27-Sep-2005 press release featured Peter Whorwell, Professor of Medicine and Gastroenterology in the University's Medical School and Director of the South Manchester Functional Bowel Service, who has been researching the use of gut-directed hypnosis for over 20 years. Most recently, two hundred and fifty patients who have suffered from IBS for over two years were given twelve one-hour sessions, during which they were given an explanation of how the gut works and what causes their symptoms. "IBS is ideal for treatment with hypnosis, as there is no structural damage to the body," explained Professor Whorwell. "During the hypnotherapy, sufferers learn how to influence and gain control of their gut function, and then seem to be able to change the way the brain modulates their gut activity."

Former patient Sonia Pinnock said, "I suffered from IBS and was on medication for nearly 20 years, but could get little relief from my symptoms. Since visiting the clinic for 12 hypnotherapy sessions last year however they've disappeared completely - the difference it's made to my quality of life is indescribable."

Another happy patient Christine Walsh continued, "After my hysterectomy I suffered from IBS for about five years, and it totally ruined my quality of life. I couldn't plan holidays or leisure activities and at work I was often doubled-up in pain. But since having weekly hypnotherapy sessions for three months I've now been free from IBS for five and a half years - the treatment has totally changed my life."

Hypnotherapy Benefits Last at Least Five Years. Gut. 2003 Nov;52(11):1623-9.
204 patients prospectively completed questionnaires scoring symptoms, quality of life, anxiety, and depression before, immediately after, and up to six years following hypnotherapy. All subjects also subjectively assessed the effects of hypnotherapy retrospectively. 71% of patients initially responded to therapy. Of these, 81% maintained their improvement over time while the majority of the remaining 19% claimed that deterioration of symptoms had only been slight. With respect to symptom scores, all items at follow up were significantly improved on pre-hypnotherapy levels.

Hypnotherapy in irritable bowel syndrome: a large-scale audit. Am J Gastroenterol 2002 Apr;97(4):954-61. This study is notable as the largest case series of IBS patients treated with hypnosis and reported on to date. 250 unselected IBS patients were treated in a clinic in Manchester, England, using 12 sessions of hypnotherapy over a 3-month period plus home practice between sessions. Marked improvement was seen in all IBS symptoms (overall IBS severity was reduced by more than half on the average after treatment), quality of life, and anxiety and depression. All subgroups of patients appeared to do equally well except males with diarrhea, who improved far less than other patients for unknown reason.

Hypnosis treatment for irritable bowel syndrome. Effects on symptoms and pain. Gastroenterology 1997;112:A803. Seventeen out of 18 patients with severe and treatment-refractory IBS who completed a 7-session standardized course of hypnosis treatment improved substantially. All central symptoms of IBS responded to treatment, including abdominal pain, diarrhea/constipation, and bloating. Psychological well-being also increased after treatment, with overall psychological symptoms, anxiety and somatization markedly decreased.

Looking for more IBS research and news? Check the IBS Research Library!

The Best Gut-Directed Self-Hypnosis Program for All IBS Symptoms

Now On Sale!

IBS Hypnosis
Gives an average 85% reduction of pain and bowel dysfunction symptoms.
Listen to IBS Audio Program 100 samples!

divider Special Interview with Michael Mahoney
"How does hypnosis help IBS, and how did you come to create a self-hypnosis program especially for IBS patients?"

When Heather and Will graciously invited me to write about my work and background for their newsletter, I was not only flattered, I wondered what readers would want to learn about me. I suspected they would wonder how on earth anyone would come about treating such a condition as Irritable Bowel Syndrome in the first place. Well, to be honest, I was asked to look into treating patients with the condition by the gastroenterologists in my medical centre here in Cheshire, England, who had given up all hope of helping them. These doctors called their IBS patients their "heart-sinks" because every treatment that could be done was done, but to little or no avail. So they came to me.

I had to learn about IBS from scratch, and did so, not only through my professional studies but by interviewing patient after patient and learning about their fears, anxieties, horrible episodes of "emergency" diarrhea, panic attacks for the loo, and public accidents of untold embarrassment. I learned about the heartache and frustration of a patient population that had little or no recourse for relief.

As a clinical hypnotherapist, I knew that other medical conditions could be treated through this modality, with results running the range of alleviation of a given condition to full recovery. But IBS was a new one, and I was determined to help these patients because their suffering was indeed affecting their quality of life.

First, let me digress a bit. Some readers, perhaps unaware of the many studies over the past 20 years using clinical hypnotherapy as medical treatment, may have visions of watches swinging and people clucking like chickens. Clinical hypnotherapy uses the person's own internal resources to bring about symptom reduction and a path towards healing. As humans, we are in and out of this state throughout the day, as it is merely a common state of concentration similar to being very focused - for example, driving home on "auto-pilot" as we sometimes do. Even while hypnotized, the patient, not the therapist, remains in full control. Hypnotherapy induces a state of relaxation while the patient is awake, and allows helpful suggestions such as those aimed at controlling health problems to be directed into the subconscious mind. It is a natural, normal state, and I have been privileged to help people with many problems through this treatment method for nearly 20 years.

In 1991, I began working with referred IBS patients at no charge, since I was learning about them and their needs. I spent nearly two years researching IBS. I developed specific IBS hypnotherapy processes for the treatment, incorporating ongoing feedback from the patients while providing my own funding for research and development. When word got out that IBS patients were actually receiving successful treatment, I had people travel long distances to obtain therapy from me; some of them were coming 100 miles or more. Many IBS patients were too sick to easily travel, however, and had a great fear of not being near the bathroom, or they were afraid of having a bowel accident on the way; for them, coming to see me posed a problem. Today, when people ask what kept me working on my IBS program, even when faced with strapped finances and professional peer review, I could only think of those first patients and their desperation. That will be remembered for the rest of my life.

Sadly, many (if not most) of the IBS sufferers I saw had to deal with doctors who did not recognize or fully appreciate the emotional impact of IBS - for IBS is far from a purely physical condition. Many readers will be all too familiar with the emotional toll IBS can take, including anxiety, weepiness, some depression, resignation, and disheartenment. I well understood the frustration, fear, and pain that the IBS patient suffers. I also know first-hand the anger that can come from being dismissed by physicians who don't feel that IBS is a "real" condition that causes real suffering, and who simply refuse to listen to those who offer new avenues of help.

Patients often reported that dismissal of their concerns served only to make both their emotional and physical symptoms even worse. IBS needs an empathetic approach. Just dealing with the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome is not enough; the individual has to learn to rebuild internal energy. After years of pain, and being told by various medical professionals that there is nothing that can be done, many sufferers feel emotionally drained.

In the IBS Audio Program introduction I explain about our 'emotional pot of energy' and our 'emotional reserves' and how these have to be attended to, in addition to the physical aspects of the condition. Without the emotional will and strength to seek and persevere in finding a solution, recovery is often difficult. This 'emotional energy' has to be recognized, replenished and managed. To move into recovery we have to work at feeling better, learn new ways of coping, and become familiar with the new positive feelings and thoughts. It is then that we are taking part in our healing.

I've also found many IBS patients have to deal not only with dismissive doctors, but with family members and those in their lives who more or less disregard their problem. They'll be accused of "faking" it, or told to just "quit obsessing about it", or given some similar off-hand cutting remark. I felt that this was another area to be addressed, so I created a recording called the "IBS Companion" that speaks of the humiliations, fears, medical evaluation embarrassments and ordeals that an IBS patient must go through, and how the family can help the patient, rather than add to their distressing situation. One of my patients, upon listening to this recording, told me that she cried, as it was the first time she felt validated as a real human being by someone who understood her condition and its impact on her world. IBS had cost her a good deal of her life, and the recording was the first time she felt real empathy.

By mid 1997, I incorporated all the new processes, information, and delivery methods I had learned for IBS hypnotherapy onto audio tapes, so patients who were housebound or far away would no longer have to travel. These recorded sessions are today known as the IBS Audio Program 100™ and are recorded onto CDs.

My work using clinical hypnotherapy for IBS has now been entered into the Guild of Health Writers Awards / Foundation of Integrated Medicine, and is considered one of "80 excellent examples of integrated medicine in the United Kingdom." As a member of the Primary Care Society for Gastroenterology (PCSG), I was invited to speak about my work in London, at the annual scientific meeting of the society, to gastro-interested medical professionals from all over the UK. I'm also a member of the International Functional Brain-Gut Research Group, and founder of the UK Register of IBS Therapists.

In March of 2003, I had the honor of being given first place in the UK's Top Hypnotherapist listing, in the 'Top Brass' section of the Business pages of the Independent. This was not only a thrill, but brought me to the realization that my work had gained recognition because it dealt with an enormous patient population that was sorely overlooked and desperately needed help. This was not so much a validation for my work as it was a validation to the sufferers like yourselves.

Many thanks to those of you who have successfully used the IBS Audio Program 100™, have shared your kind words with others, and offered your personal testimonials. And may I extend many thanks to all of you and to Heather and Will for letting me share a bit about my program and my work. I wish you all a healthy, happy holiday - many blessings and joy!

~ Michael Mahoney

Coming next, we'll follow up on our previous special age issue and address whether you can be too young to develop IBS (the answer might surprise you!)

Did you miss our recent "Ask Heather" and special holiday travel issue? Find it here...

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