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Could meditation help IBS?

If you suffer from IBS, it may be that your doctor has mentioned that you could be suffering just from stress.  It is a funny word “stress” because the implication is that somehow you are just not coping.  Maybe a better word is pressure – because in busy lives that pressure can just build and build, making it really impossible to stay even tempered and calm.

But certainly the influence of stress has a real and measurable effect on the body and particularly in the gut.  The gut’s friendly bacteria are disturbed by excess stress and the far reaches of the stress hormone cortisol can lower the Secretory IgA  (SIgA) which can lower the immunity in the gut – once this is lowered then, you become much more prone to infection generally – and once an infection in the bowel is there, it is tricky to get rid of without a healthy gut immunity – a bit of a chicken and egg situation.  Also, it makes you much more likely to suffer from food intolerances.  In effect, it is not really the foods themselves that is the problem but rather the gut not being in good shape that is the problem

One way to increase the SIgA is to take probiotics and/or find out if you do have gut infections (you can do this by coming to see us and we will undertake the appropriate testing) but you could also start by removing the stress response from your life!  Easier said that done, I know.  One really good way, is rather than try and remove the stress itself is to try and manage how you perceive that stress.   Meditation is a great way to do this because it encourages you to detach from the outcome and focus on the here and now and the breath.

The method I use (and trust me I have a whole library on the subject!) is through www.centerpointe.com.  They have CDs/downloads that sort of meditate you, rather than you having to “learn” how to mediate.  Like all things though, of course you have to actually do it for it to be of any use at all.  Stating the obvious I know.  Meditation has a real and measurable effect on health and although it has rather a new age image, slowly is being accepted into mainstream medicine.  The work of Jon Kabot Zinn at The University of Massachussetts Medical school testifies to this fact with all the research they have done over many years and thousands of patients. (See his book “Full Catastrophe Living” for his work on mindfulness).

It is hard to give yourself permission to take time out – one monk once said words to the effect  “every day I undertake to do 2 hours mediation a day, except when I am busy when I do 4”

Of course, many of us have not chosen a monk’s lifestyle – but if we can even take five minutes to sit down and observe the in and out of the breath and quieten the mind – this can actually take care of our guts as well!

Contact us about either Stressimages and how we can help your stress hormones or IBS

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