There's a lot of hope among sufferers about an innovative program using hypnotherapy to produce substantial and long lasting reversal of IBS symptoms. This  program has been used in conjunction with medical treatment in the US over the past 20 or so years to restore normal digestive function. 

After 12-20 weeks of hypnotherapy, 94% are symptom-free

The hypnotherapy treatment protocol was originally based on repeated double-bind, well controlled clinical trials  conducted by gastroenterologist PJ Whorwell, at the University of Manchester in the UK over a 15 year period. Similar protocols were later used in clinical trials by Dr Olafur Palsson at the Eastern Virginia Medical Center in the US and were presented at the Gastroenterology conference in 1997. Melissa Roth, a US-based hypnotherapist who suffered herself from the syndrome, refined it even further and began testing it on her clients. She achieved full recovery in 94-100% of her cases. 
See list of related publications below.

The theory underlying the hypnosis for IBS program

The unconscious part of our mind has trained the autonomic nervous system  to digest within the first few months of life. In normal digestion, the muscles of the GI tract contract and relax continuously 24/7, gradually pushing the food down from the mouth to be excreted from the anus.

In the IBS sufferer, this muscle teamwork has simply lost its coordination. Muscles are out of sync. They squeeze fecal matter too quickly or too slowly, causing the host of uncomfortable symptoms mentioned above.

Hypnotic theory suggests that if the unconscious mind did this once, it can be used to re-train the systems controlled by the autonomic nervous system to digest properly again. When the re-training is complete, the symptoms disappear because the gut is working in harmony just as it has evolved to do.

Hypnotherapy treatment protocol

The hypnotherapy program consists of 6 to 10 sessions. A session is conducted every two weeks. Clients are required to listen to a recording every night during the course of the therapy. Within the first 3 sessions, (and often following the very first session) clients begin to experience significant reduction of symptoms. However, because IBS is cyclical, it’s important to extend the program to the full three to four months to protect against a ‘creeping back’ of the symptoms.

IBS symptoms occur in other illnesses too

The same hypnotherapy approach is also used to restore normal gut function in IBD, Crohn’s and Ulcerative colitis although it does not target the pathology of these specific illnesses.

Please contact Ellen McNally, Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist and Specialist in IBS symptoms.

She practices in Central, Hong Kong. Please check her website for her contact details.

Publications :

Hypnotherapy a cost effective treatment for IBS with long lasting results.
American Journal of Gastroenterology, 2002; 97:954-961
Gonsalkorale WM, Houghton LA, Whorwell PJ

This study documents the long term benefits of IBS
Gut, volume 52, issue 11, page 1623-9, 2003
Gonsalkorale WM, Miller V, Afzal A, Whorwell PJ

Hypnotherapy in the Treatment of Refractory IBS
The Lancet 1989, Feb 25;1(86335):424-5
Harvey RF;Hinton RA;Gunary RM;Barry RE (89142812NLM)

Studies suggest Mind-body link in GI Illnesses.
Medical Tribune (Family Physician Edition)1997 June 5:38(11):2
Christensen D (971161)