In a systematic review of gut-directed hypnotherapy (HT) for functional abdominal pain and IBS Rutten et al reviewed three trials comparing hypnotherapy to a control treatment. Two studies examined HT performed by a therapist, one examined HT through self-exercises on audio CD. All trials showed statistically significantly greater improvement in abdominal pain scores among children receiving HT. One trial reported beneficial effects sustained after 1 year of follow-up whilst one trial reported statistically significant improvement in quality of life in the HT group. Two of the trials also reported significant reductions in school absenteeism after HT.
The authors conclude "it remains difficult to quantify the exact benefits of hypnotherapy, because of the limited number of RCT on this subject, small sample sizes of the included studies, differences in control treatments used and inconsistency in reported outcome measurements. However, all three available randomised trials do provide an indication that hypnotherapy performed by a qualified therapist or through self-exercises on audio CD is more effective than standard medical treatment in reducing symptoms in children with FAP or IBS."
Arch Dis Child 2013;98:252-257 doi:10.1136/archdischild-2012-302906