What is Digestive Health?
Digestive Health refers to your individual experience of processing food, extracting nutrients and expelling waste.
There are many problems we can have with digestion – short term if we have made ill judged choices of food and drink or over indulged – and who hasn’t? Or longer term if we have conditions like IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), with related constipation or diarrhoea; IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disorder) eg Ulcerative Colitis or Crohn’s Disease; Reflux, or we find other health conditions or medication effect our digestion.
Digestive problems can effect our self image which can in turn create other problems around anxiety and depression and, of course, life sometimes has to be planned around toilet stops.
Causes can vary, and diet is only part of this. Quite often conditions like stress and anxiety have a big impact on our digestion through numerous pathways in the body, and we can get stuck in a rut where our digestive health and psychological health interact and drag each other down in a spiral.
How Yoga Therapy can Help
Yoga Therapy can help with digestive health in various ways, in particular:
- Understanding triggers and causes of your digestive symptoms, eg stress, diet, lifestyle
- Relaxation techniques to deal with flare ups and calm the Nervous System which in the long term can help mitigate the impact of conditions like IBS and inflammatory IBD type symptoms
- Developing coping strategies and resilience
- Postures that may alleviate bloating and discomfort or bring better awareness to the digestive area
- Developing self care routines for digestive health in this short video
How I work with Digestive Health
The starting point is assessment on both a BioPsychoSocial basis and a Yogic basis (using a Koshic model of health) of how your digestive concerns, and how they fit into your daily life, including any other treatment you have had, medications, and any diagnosis.
From there I will probably look with you at your lifestyle and consider how lifestyle and psychological issues may impact digestion.
We will work with yoga postures, breathing techniques and relaxation practices to both support digestion and address any other health or well being issues you are experiencing. You won’t be asked to enter any postures that cause additional pain or discomfort.
We may also use mindfulness practices to help with inducing better digestion, and to promote self kindness and a positive outlook around body image and digestion.
I won’t be giving a lot of advice about diet – you will almost certainly have heard this before and be making steps, although I will review on a neutral basis diet with you if asked.
I’ll suggest suitable practices and routines to work with at home for promoting digestive health.
I’ll happily fit in alongside any specific guidelines from other health professionals, eg Consultant, GP, Dietician, Nutritionist or Naturopath.
If necessary I will make suggestions for onward referral to other professionals.
I experienced IBS-C for many years. After medical appointments made no inroad with this, a therapeutic yoga approach, especially calming the nervous system with Coherent Breathing, gradually eased my symptoms. I currently have to continue these practices regularly – several times a week – to maintain good digestive health and prevent relapse.