Why does stress give me IBS?
Digestion is reduced during periods of stress, because the body uses as much energy as possible to solve the current problem – diverting circulation away from vital processes like the digestive system in order to supply more blood to the muscles. Feelings of stress or anxiety can mess with your digestive system precisely because of this connection between brain and stomach. Nobody knows how IBS starts, but there’s no doubt that stress can worsen symptoms. For one thing, stress can make the colon contract, leading to stomach pain. IBS can flare up over everyday annoyances, especially those that make a person feel tense, angry, or overwhelmed. But IBS – like other chronic conditions – is even more sensitive to the stress that comes from major life changes, such as a death in the family or loss of a job.
Chinese Medicine as an IBS Treatment
- Chinese Medicine believes that good circulation is key to good health. The stress response disrupts the smooth flow of Qi and blood by diverting it away from peripheral organs (including the digestion) and into the muscles. This impedes the efficiency of the digestive system. Moreover, the stress response produces heat and inflammation.
- Chinese Medicine would view IBS symptoms as the body trying to eliminate this heat out through a digestive tract that is overwhelmed and undernourished due to lack of blood and nutrients. So, the stomach is weakened and overloaded simultaneously.
- Emotions and diet are considered to be opposite sides of the same coin in Chinese Medicine. Some say, “We are what we eat” but Chinese Medicine also considers that we are what we cannot digest – whether that’s food or an emotional state. e develop a form of ‘mental obesity’ where these undigested emotions clog us up and we effectively lose our capacity to make decisions and choices.
How the Hayo’u Method can help
Along with a good and varied diet, we need to encourage a good flow of circulation to support the digestive system and stimulate the vagus nerve to strengthen the mind/gut connection. The Hayo’u Method helps you let go of stress naturally, with the aim of decreasing inflammation in the body.
Rescue Breath Ritual
This simple technique stimulates the Vagus nerve, which connects your brain and your stomach and is responsible for engaging the rest phase of your nervous system (PNS) rather than the sympathetic nervous system (the fight or flight state). Once the PNS becomes active, the individual’s body can start properly digesting food. The PNS also enables the body to heal wounds and generate cell restoration processes. When our nervous system is relaxed, this enables the stomach to relax, which in turn allows our digestive enzymes to start working optimally. These sharp exhalations are designed to expel toxicity rather than sending it downwards into the digestive tract. The smile into your lower abdomen is crucial if you suffer from IBS, because it overrides the emotional negativity of stress. This ancient Taoist trick holds much more weight now that Western scientific research is beginning to prove just how much our mental state can affect our physical health.
The Reset Ritual is a great daily exercise to rectify your circulation and thus strengthen digestion. If it’s at all painful then use a cupped hand for the drumming, going slowly and gently.
Body Restorer Ritual
Studies have demonstrated the efficacy of Gua Sha both in activating the rest phase of the nervous system, as a powerful anti-inflammatory technique and for its ability to improve microcirculation – all of which will help alleviate the symptoms of IBS. Chinese Medicine holds that Gua Sha clears heat via the skin (the largest excretory organ in the body) rather than the digestive tract.
Bathing is used the world over to relieve stress, simply because hot water relaxes your muscles. Relaxed muscles send a message to the alarm centres in the brain that there’s no threat, thus immediately engaging your parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). Chinese Medicine believes that the slightly raised body temperature unblocks energy channels in the body. Simple soaking can be surprisingly effective. Six meridians (liver, gall bladder, kidney, spleen and stomach) reach the feet, each of which has more than 60 acupuncture points. The feet have points that correspond to many parts and organs of the body. Soaking in hot water activates blood and energy throughout the body. In herbal foot baths, the skin absorbs elements through the skin and these travel through energy channels to target points. So, add Hayo’u Mineral Bath to charge your bath water with our magnesium rich blend of salts and minerals. Magnesium helps the brain produce neurotransmitters that induce sleep and reduce stress.
Please note that this method can and should sit alongside any Western advice. Adding these practices to a clean, balanced diet and ongoing care should start to bring back balance to the whole body.
Disclaimer: Gua Sha is a treatment designed to relieve muscular pain and tension and improve circulation. Results vary according to age, strength of body, skin type and medical conditions. If you are under the age of 16 and over the age of 60 or suffering specific medical conditions we do not recommend using the Body Restorer™. At no point should treatment feel painful. Always start gently, observing the reaction to your skin and proceed with caution. If in any doubt, contact us at email@example.com or seek medical advice. This information is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions.
Breathing, inflammation and the vagus nerve
Assessment of the Effects of Pranayama/Alternate Nostril Breathing on the Parasympathetic Nervous System in Young Adults.
Anant Narayan Sinha – Published 2013 in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research
Gua Sha and microcirculation
Gua Sha and Weight Loss
Effects of Gua Sha on Heart Rate Variability in Healthy Male Volunteers under Normal Condition and Weightlifters after Weightlifting Training Sessions
Gua Sha therapy could facilitate the parasympathetic nervous activity and modulate the balance between parasympathetic and sympathetic activities