Scroll to the bottom to scan a QR code that will take you directly to download the Nerva app.
It’s no surprise that living with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can be a daily struggle. Facing strict diets, food anxiety, frequent medical visits, and medications is exhausting. Thankfully, modern technology has helped paved the way forward, providing more options for those facing gastrointestinal health problems. This is where the mobile application, Nerva (available on iOS and Android) comes in.
The Nerva app uses evidence-based hypnotherapy to help people manage their IBS symptoms by retraining the gut-brain connection. This therapy has been shown to help improve brain functioning by reducing stress and anxiety, and enhancing quality of life, which directly impacts IBS symptoms.
What is the gut-brain connection?
The mind and the gut are connected through the vagus nerve. When something disrupts this transmission, the brain can misinterpret normal signals from the sensitive nerves within the digestive tract causing the body to become hypersensitive to stimuli. This stimuli includes certain foods or stress which trigger IBS symptoms. If you’ve heard of FODMAP foods before, the process is related. Gas caused by high-FODMAP foods’ fermentation can also trigger these hypersensitive nerves.
How does gut-directed hypnotherapy work?
Hypnosis is a state of focused attention and relaxation that amplifies your ability to take in new information while enhancing the brain and body’s connection.Gut-directed hypnotherapy is thought to shift the brain’s attention away from triggering stimuli by helping to change the threshold of perception around it. It does not get rid of the stimulus; instead, it provides suggestions to a relaxed mind around the self-regulation and normalization of gut function.
What can I expect with the app?
The Nerva app is built upon a structured six week psychology-based program, in which you will spend about 20 minutes each day. Each day, the app offers a hypnotherapy session and a short educational reading about IBS and treatments, and sometimes breathing exercises. Breathwork can help manage flare-ups by bringing your body out of the fight-or-flight mode that exacerbates IBS symptoms. You can also set daily notifications to remember to do your Nerva session (consistency is key). In addition to the core hypnotherapy session, you can also discover interactive content including articles and animations and to-do lists to keep you motivated. Pro Tip: the core sessions can be played in background mode with the screen off. This is useful for those wanting to listen in bed without the glare of the screen.
Scan the QR code below with your smartphone to download the Nerva app:
Disclaimer: Nerva is a self management tool. It is not designed to replace care from your provider nor is it designed as a specific treatment for IBS.
Author Juelia Fong Patient Care Coordinator