We’ve all heard the saying “Trust your gut” as referring to trusting your deeper inner knowing, and when someone feels nervous you might remember the phrase of having “butterflies in my stomach” or for a difficult experience being “gut wrenching.” There is a good reason for this intuitive speech. We now know that your gut (enteric nervous system) is lined with over 100 million nerves, the very same tissues as your central nervous system.
This “second brain” as many scientist call it, is actually part of a larger system which is often called the gut-brain axis (GBA). This profoundly complex system has the capacity to organize your neurotransmitters, hormones, and electrical impulses.
This sophisticated system does far more than simply digest food. With its own brain-like neural network, your GBA plays a critical role in your health, including the ability to regulate inflammation and support a thriving immune system.
While eating healthy is important, it is not enough to keep the GBA in balance. Since the gut-brain axis consists of bidirectional communication between the both the central and enteric nervous system, this links emotional and cognitive centers of the brain with peripheral intestinal functions.
Many gastrointestinal doctors have declared the importance of stress management due to the affects chronic stress has on disease states and disorders, stating that “Brain-gut dysfunction relates to the disharmony in the way the brain and GI system communicate.”
“Your gut flora listens to and becomes influenced by your thoughts and feelings. This is why stress contributes to gut imbalances.“
– MARK HYMAN, M.D.
Psycho-emotional stress can exacerbate GI symptoms and even create disturbances which amplify illness, impairing quality of life that can be experienced. While improving your relationship with food, and implementing a healthy balanced diet are high priority, it is often seen that gut-related issues persist beyond this level of change. It is for this reason that a more holistic solution is needed for long-term lasting positive results.
Mindfulness practices and meditation can go a long way to improving the type of communication that is needed. While others need a bit more support in shifting subconscious level communication. This can be related to childhood programming, trauma, long-term illness, unprocessed emotions, and a response to chronically held stress.
Clinical hypnotherapy has been found to have great success in helping with all kinds of health conditions. Individuals suffering with IBS may significantly benefit from a legitimate gut-directed program that includes mind and body solutions.
As mentioned, the GBA is like a two-way radio sending signals along the superhighway of nerve fibers called the vagus nerve. These signals are unconscious and any known/unknown stress responses get sent back and forth along this superhighway. This can lead to symptoms of IBS such as abdominal pain, constipation, and diarrhea.
The clinical hypnotherapist begins by training those areas of the brain which are inaccessible in a regular conscious state. While the incredible effects of hypnosis are still not fully understood, according to researchers at Monash University, it is believed through entering into a hypnotic state the brain is able to take in suggestions on how to better communicate positively with your gut and other parts of your body, allowing for the body to recalibrate naturally.
Since the gut-brain axis is so influential in health and wellness, it only makes sense that changing your diet alone might not be enough, albeit an important factor in your overall health. Supporting healthy mind-body habits, practicing emotional processing techniques, and adapting to a life rhythms that promote more balance are key to long-term health and well-being.
As a clinical hypnotherapist, neuro-coach, and owner of a holistic life center, I see many people recognize the need to change only after major health setbacks and significant pain and discomfort have hit. Fortunately, there is help! If you or a loved one you know is eager to learn more, reach out and set up a 15 minute Discovery Call to discuss our services and which options might serve you best.