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Table 4 Experiences and reflection on healing

From: Experiences of healing therapy in patients with irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease

Theme Sub-theme Code Examples from patients
Interaction with the therapist Connection Empathy, comfort and trust “You need to get comfortable with the lady who is doing it” (P7 F IBS)
“I had to feel comfortable with the person and that can take a couple of sessions” (P14 F UC)
  Special feeling “The contact [connection] is a big part of it, a big part of the help and you wouldn’t get that with a psychologist” (P3 F IBS)
“Made me realise that I am not alone in what I am feeling” (P3 F IBS)
Communication Transferring feelings “The whole wording, what she’s [therapists] talking about” (P1 M IBS)
“As [therapist] is talking I am aware that she is holding her hands over me or touching parts of my body, reinforces what she is saying” (P11 F IBS).
   Procedure for undesired symptoms experiences “I don’t know where it came from [the pain] but, they [therapist] did explain it was like a release” (P9 F UC).
“She [therapist] did tell me that I should rest that evening. You know, not try to do too much…” (P20 F IBS)
“The next week she [therapist] said ok, we won’t be so intense this time, and she still did some of the Reiki with me, but I sat up” (P20 F IBS)
Experiences during sessions Vivid experiences Relaxed “You feel all relaxed and calm” (P4 M UC)
“I can feel myself relaxing into it” (P7 F IBS)
“It is its wonderfully relaxing” (P21 F UC)
  Calmer “I am really a much calmer person” (P6 F UC)
“It makes you really calm” (P8 F IBS)
“I feel really calm” (P14 F UC)
  Heat/warmth “Because the heat is strong” (P3 F IBS)
“Today I could feel the heat” (P5 F UC)
  Uplifted “Had a real spring in my step…uplifted…I feel happier” (P14 F UC)
“I am like a spring chicken the next day, I am just running and racing around” (P15 F IBS)
  Light and energy “In the day time you have these colours going on” (P1 M IBS)
“Brighter, I know my eyes are closed and it would actually feel brighter” (P12 F UC)
  Visions “You might have a vision of somebody in the past which I did…I have seen me mum…Odd things might happen like you might see things in your eyes… you will probably see little animals, like this jumping out at you, and around” (P9 F UC)
  Being pulled or sucked “Strange experience to be held by the feet and have this kind of trip, it feels you are being pulled through a tunnel” (P1 M IBS)
“You feel like you’re being hurtled” (P1 M IBS)
  Nervous sensations/reactions “Feel a bit tingly in my hands and elbows” (P14 F UC)
“When she touches me stomach their I jump…it’s a reflex action…she was worried about it…nowhere else” (P16 M UC)
  Wind “You can feel the wind going round in your body…it was like she was chasing wind round my body” (P7 F IBS)
Undesired experiences Increased pain “After the first one [session], it sort of brought all my wind, just under my back and it was quite painful” (P7 F IBS)
“The first session I was out of control, and the pain I felt and it was, I was just crying…” (P 9 F UC)
Heat pain “I had this burning pain which was saying to [therapist] about which was right in the back of my head, really really hot…I had to change my day at work the next day because I still felt really hot as well” (P20 F IBS)
Crying “Crying all the time [first session]” (P9 F UC) “when I left the [place of work] the first time [after the first session] I went into the loo and I picked up a, a nice text from my daughter and I just burst into floods of tears” (P20 F IBS)
Engaging with the experience Difficulty getting into the breathing “It was quite difficult to get into with my breathing” (P12 F UC)
“For the initial session I found if really difficult to focus on me breathing” (P14 F UC)
Experience following session Increased bowel related symptoms   “A good three days after I was continuously windy, I didn’t think anyone could burp or trump that much” (P7 F IBS)