Hypnosis works on the body, says Laurie Keefer, the director of psychosocial research in gastroenterology at Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine. It has been shown to alter pain perception and suppress the secretion of stress hormones. When people are in the extremely relaxed, focused state induced by hypnosis, they are open to therapeutic suggestion and their digestive system will work smoothly, their abdominal pain will grow weaker with time.
Hypnosis also assists with decreasing and eliminating smoking. As a result of smoking, the body not only absorbs toxins but loses nutrients. This has a negative effect on the individual with Crohn’s and gastrointestinal problems. In 2014, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services wrote controllable risk factors for heart disease and stroke includes cigarette smoking. Smoking has been associated with sudden cardiac death of all types in both men and women. It interferes with absorption of vital vitamins and minerals and deficiencies can develop. Vitamin deficiencies create or exacerbate other major health problems. One effective approach to avoiding vitamin deficiencies is to quit smoking.
Hypnosis also helps with stress and anxiety. There’s no question that stress and anxiety play a huge role in GI problems. Gut reactions make perfect sense given humans’ sensory architecture. Sandwiched between the layers of tissue lining the digestive system has hundreds of millions of interconnected nerve cells—more even than exist in the spinal cord. This gut-based nervous system has been dubbed the “second brain” because it regulates most digestive functions, like muscle contractions. If the actual brain experiences a stressful situation, it sends messages to the second brain, which releases chemical substances responsible for all that intestinal grief. Likewise, the digestive system, with a surface area as long as a football field shoots out distress signals to the real brain when things are not working properly.