Despite their high prevalence and advances in the field of neurogastroenterology, there remain few effective treatment options for functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGIDs). It is recognized that approximately 25% of sufferers will have symptoms refractory to existing therapies, causing significant adverse effects on quality of life and increased healthcare utilization and morbidity. Gut‐focused hypnotherapy, when delivered by trained therapists, has been shown to be highly effective in severe refractory FGIDs. However, hypnotherapy continues to be surrounded by much misunderstanding and skepticism.
The purpose of this review is to provide a contemporary overview of the principles of gut‐focused hypnotherapy, its effects on gut‐brain interactions, and the evidence‐base for its efficacy in severe FGIDs. As supplementary material, we have included a hypnotherapy protocol, providing the reader with an insight into the practical aspects of delivery, and as a guide, an example of a script of a gut‐focused hypnotherapy session.