Home-based hypnotherapy exercises on a CD were as effective as individual gut-directed hypnotherapy performed by a qualified therapist in children with irritable bowel syndrome or functional abdominal pain syndrome, according to the results of a randomized clinical trial.
“This study confirms earlier findings that [hypnotherapy] is highly valuable in treating children with IBS or FAP(S), resulting in a significant decrease in pain scores and significant improvements in anxiety, depression, QOL, and pain beliefs,” investigators wrote. “Therefore, [hypnotherapy] should be incorporated in national guidelines on the treatment of pediatric IBS or FAP(S) and become reimbursed by health insurance companies.”
Due to a shortage of well-trained child hypnotherapists, home-based self-hypnosis exercises could expand access to this therapy. To compare their effectiveness, researchers from the Netherlands randomly assigned 260 children with either IBS or FAP(S) to undergo home-based hypnotherapy via CD (at least five sessions per week for 3 months) or individual hypnotherapy provided by a qualified therapist (six sessions over 3 months).
Immediately after treatment, 36.8% of those who received home-based therapy achieved treatment success — defined as at least a 50% reduction in pain frequency and intensity scores —compared with 50.1% of those who were treated by a hypnotherapist. After a year, 62.1% of the home-based group achieved treatment success compared with 71% of those treated by a therapist, which was statistically noninferior.
“The noninferiority of home-based treatment with a hypnosis CD provides a rationale for implementation of this easy-to-use treatment in daily practice,” the investigators concluded. “Because the current generation of children and adolescents rarely uses CDs anymore, it would be preferable to implement the treatment as an application for a smartphone or tablet.” – by Adam Leitenberger
Disclosures: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.