Growing number of doctors using hypnosis to treat stomach problems

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Some people are turning to hypnosis to help cure stomach problems. (AP Photo/Oscar Sosa)

A growing number of doctors are now using hypnosis to treat patients with stomach problems.

John Martin was having stomach problems that wouldn't go away.

"Some of the symptoms that I was experiencing were abdominal pain, diarrhea," Martin said.

After trying medical treatments and talk therapy, Martin decided to get hypnotherapy as a last resort.

Hypnotherapy is now being used to treat many digestive problems, including Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Crohn's disease and heartburn.

At least one study involving IBS reported an 80 percent success rate.

"There really is a nervous system in the gut so if we're anxious, if we're worried about something, if we're stressed (and who isn't), you're prone to having stomach problems," said Dr. Carolyn Daitch.

While some people might be hesitant to be hypnotized because of what they've seen in movies or on TV, Martin says he was willing to try.

"You are truly just in a state, a completely normal state, but you feel different and you lose track of time. I feel very safe," said Martin.

Hypnotherapy is still considered alternative medicine. Experts say it isn't for everyone.

Hypnotherapy also may not last. Some treatment success may only last for a year before another hypnotherapy is needed.
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