Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a sporadic and unpredictable disruption of the digestive system. IBS is characterised by regular painful abdominal spasms, bloating, or attacks of constipation or diarrhoea.
Each person with IBS has a different trigger, from certain kinds of foods, to stressul situations to bouts of gastroenteritis or food poisoning.
Today, I’m going to focus on IBS and stress. Life is stressful. Our needs, wants and commitments pull us in different direction. Stress and anxiety don’t directly cause IBS, but they can trigger the symptoms.
Stress is small doses is good for us. Its keeps us alert and active. Prolonged stress, however, can leave you feeling anxious and overwhelmed.
There are many causes of stress – at home, at work, finances, health, family, friends or a never-ending to-do list . . . the list is endless.
Many people find that keeping a diary of their feelings of stress can help. Through the diary, they learn to identify their stress triggers. They use this information to learn stress management coping techniques.
Relaxation is the key to counteracting stress. Writing things down is one method of getting things out of your help, thereby helping your body and mind relax.
Another way is through Indian head massage and Reiki. This is what a client came to me for last week. He was suffering from IBS, feeling bloated and was extremely stressed out. There can be a vicious circle with IBS, stress can trigger it, then you get stressed about the IBS, triggering a worsening of the IBS.
I gave my client a 60 minute Indian head massage and Reiki treatment. During this hour, he became very relaxed. After the treatment, he found that he wasn’t as bloated as he had been before the treatment.
Indian head massage and Reiki work by activating the body’s para-sympathetic nervous system. This increases the body’s relaxation response, counteracting the stress response. During stress, the body’s stress response diverts blood away from the digestive system to the muscles, ready for ‘fight or flight’. The relaxation response counteracts this, increasing gut motility, and relaxing the sphincter muscles that close off the stomach.
If you suffer from IBS, or knows someone who does, talk to them about their stress triggers. If their IBS is triggered by stress, then a massage or Reiki session may be just the thing to set them on the right track.
N.B. Massage and Reiki does not replace the need for medical attention. Holistic therapists do not diagnose medical problems or manipulate bones. Always tell your holistic therapist if you have a medical problem, even a minor one. There are certain situations in which caution should be taken when receiving massage and bodywork
My name’s Tracy Fitzgerald and I help people manage their wellness.