Ulcerative colitis is a nasty gastrointestinal disease that flares without warning and makes it vital for sufferers to find the toilet fast. The disease is often diagnosed when people are in their late 20s and early 30s. The flare-up is like having a severe stomach bug that can drag on for weeks. It ruins vacation plans, causes lengthy absences from work and generally messes up peoples' lives
The National Institute of Health in USA is funding a study of the effect of hypnotherapy on 80 patients over three years. The study is at an early stage, but Laurie Keefer, a clinical health psychologist and assistant professor of medicine, said that the preliminary results look positive. Ten of the twelve patients who have competed a year's treatment have not experienced a relapse and subjects reported a 76 percent increase in the quality of their lives (the improvements were most notable in their bowel symptoms) compared to a 25 percent increase for standard care.
Keefer reported that one patient who was afraid to stand up at a friend's wedding is now going to be a bridesmaid and the patient who was nervous about getting on a plane with the boss is now taking business trips with him.
reported in scienceblog May 2009