Bowel Health

Confucius knew what he was talking about when he said that ‘bliss begins in the bowels’.

The importance of bowel health and its effect on our physical, emotional and spiritual well being cannot be underestimated.

The bowel or colon is the first place that registers if we are stressed, and as stress leads to dehydration keeping hydrated is the first and probably most important thing we can do to support our bowel health. This means making choices about what we eat and drink that will as much as possible hydrate and not dehydrate us. Minimizing stress within our lifestyles also has an impact so we have quite a challenge on our hands – given the demanding lives that so many of us lead!

Any imbalance in the colon has the potential to back up within our bodies and create further problems elsewhere – particularly the skin, lungs and mind.

This makes sense as we all know how sluggish we can feel when ‘things’ aren’t moving! And when all is well how much more energy, motivation and clarity we have.

Remember too that no part of our body works in isolation. Whatever we do to support healthy functioning of our bowels will have a knock on effect on the rest of our health. i.e our liver, skin, lungs, mind etc…

Here are some suggestions to support bowel health:

– Drink at least 2 litres of fresh clean water daily.

– Keep regular tea/ coffee to a minimum – these are not hydrating drinks.

Short grain brown rice is a great soothing food for the colon – and hydrating.  Have daily if you can eat grains.

Juicing vegetables is a great support to the body’s cleansing process – especially green foods i.e. celery, cucumber, lettuce, kale.

– Aim to have a diet rich in vegetables – this will give you valuable nutrients that can protect against disease, and natural fibre which helps the digestive tract to keep things moving!

– For some, pasta and bread can be a real challenge to digest – it can sit like glue in the digestive tract. Become more aware of what hinders and helps your bowels to keep eliminating regularly.

– Taking regular exercise -even walking a bit more than usual can help our body’s detoxification process.

– Taking time to meditate or just relax in the park, or in a quiet space, can help the body to relax and switch off the ‘fight or flight’ programme that we are often in even without realising, and which can impact unfavourably on our digestive health.

Have a look at the Bladder and Bowel Foundation for more information: http://www.bladderandbowelfoundation.org/bowel/healthy-bowel.asp

And this is a very informative website on Nutritional advice for a healthy colon: http://www.livestrong.com/article/272990-nutrition-for-a-healthy-colon/

Take care and look after yourself always! 🙂

Fiona.

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Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a common condition of the digestive system, which has many and varying causes and symptoms. Its symptoms can involve any of the following: Diarrhoea, constipation, gas/flatulence, heartburn, indigestion, haemorrhoids  intestinal cramping/spasming, indigestion. These symptoms can come in any number or combination, and each sufferer is affected differently. IBS is unpredictable in nature – it can go for long periods of time and then suddenly flair up for no obvious reason. It can be painful, uncomfortable and embarrassing, and have a very negative effect on your quality of life. According to the NHS, 3 out of 4 IBS sufferers have had a least one bout of depression, and just over half will develop generalized anxiety disorder (overwhelming feelings of anxiety, fear and dread).

There is no medically agreed cure for IBS – a condition with such varied causes and symptoms can be hard to pin down, and a general cure is therefore difficult to find. This is where holistic and alternative therapy can help, because at the heart of all holistic therapies lies the principle of looking in depth at the individual – their lifestyle, diet, emotions and feelings, energy levels, psychological state and so forth; it acknowledges everybody’s individuality and therefore has space to treat very specifically to the person. Treatment plans are tailored and unique to the individual, and can be very effective by taking into account the body as a whole, looking at not only the physical symptoms but how these can manifest and be influenced by psychological, mental and emotional factors.

There are a number of ways in which IBS can be treated, if we look at the factors that affect it – such as stress and food. Nutritional Therapy can offer help in formulating a dietary plan that avoids foods that trigger or exacerbate the symptoms. Again, different foods have different effects on (different) people, and a consultation can determine the types to avoid.

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One of the most commonly   agreed causes (or it can most certainly exacerbate symptoms) is stress and worry. It becomes a dangerous spiral of anxiety, as the symptoms and inability to control your digestive system and bowel movements in public can cause embarrassment and panic, which then in turn amplify the symptoms.

Relaxation can help ease symptoms and allow you to deal with the effects in a calmer and healthier way – it can help turn off the distress and upset. Yoga and Meditation can be very effective in this way; guided meditation for a beginner unused to the techniques can allow the effects to carry on into everyday life and practice. Hypnotherapy is another common therapy to help treat IBS – working at breaking patterns within the mind that cause stress and anxiety can have a knock-on effect on the body’s way of responding to these negative feelings.

Another popular form of treatment for IBS is acupuncture. Acupuncture can help in a number of ways, by treating different aspects of the syndrome. It provides pain relief, helps calm and reduce stress, and can help control the bowel’s tendency to move uncontrollably of its own accord. The British Acupuncture Council website explains how acupuncture can help and the treatment in more detail, though of course individual treatments will vary.

If you suffer from IBS and are looking for some holistic help but aren’t sure which of these therapies will be right for you – we offer free 15 minute consultations for all of our treatments. There is often a bit of cross-over between treatments and we will try to help you find the one that suits you best! Contact us for more information 🙂

Eve