There is a deep connection between the gut and the brain known as the brain-gut-axis that is quite complex and includes the vagus nerve, neural, endocrine, immune, and humoral links. The brain has a direct impact on the stomach and the intestines. Just thinking about eating can make your mouth water and can cause a release of the stomach juices before the food even gets into the body.
Think about it now...
Just imagine you have a beautiful piece of sweet, juicy watermelon, Taste that watermelon, feel the texture, the coolness, the sweetness and notice how refreshing it tastes. Become aware of how it effortlessly falls apart in your mouth. Notice how watery it is. Really experience and taste its unique flavour.
Your mouth should be watering at just the thought of it. This is how strong the mind-body connection truly is.
The Vagus Nerve
This nerve plays an important role in creating a balance between the gut and the brain, and also reducing inflammation. It plays a part in immune response, digestion, mood control and heart rate. The vagus nerve essentially turns off your unconscious fight/flight response. If stress or anxiety is affecting your mental health, this can be transferred to your gut. Stress can affect movement and contractions of the gastrointestinal tract. The more stressed you are, the worse this experience can be.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affects around 12% of people, and these people appear to have increased stress responsiveness in the gut. Almost 40% of people who suffer from IBS experience anxiety or depression. It’s interesting to note that often the onset of IBS and functional dyspepsia (indigestion) occurs with a highly stressful event in the sufferer’s life and emotional distress is quite common with IBS patients.
Does hypnotherapy help?
Hypnotherapy for gut health was shown to be effective for both IBS and inflammatory bowel disease symptoms, and it’s a wonderful tool for anxiety in general. It’s just as important to learn to calm yourself by utilizing deep breathing techniques, yoga etc, which I teach my hypnotherapy clients. When you learn these techniques, you can learn how to quickly stimulate the vagus nerve and effectively stop the unconscious stress response (fight/flight) by bringing your mind and body to a place of peace and balance. This has positive effects for the health of your gut so it can get back to working optimally for you.
Would you like more info on hypnotherapy for gut health and IBS?
- Foster, J., Rinaman, L., & Cryan, J. (2017). Stress & the gut-brain axis: Regulation by the microbiome. Neurobiology Of Stress, 7(2352-2895), 124-136. DOI: 10.1016/j.ynstr.2017.03.001
- Moser G. (2014). The role of hypnotherapy for the treatment of inflammatory bowel diseases. Expert review of gastroenterology & hepatology, 8(6), 601–606. DOI: 10.1586/17474124.2014.917955
- Peters, S. L., Muir, J. G., & Gibson, P. R. (2015). Review article: gut-directed hypnotherapy in the management of irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease. Alimentary pharmacology & therapeutics, 41(11), 1104–1115. DOI.: 10.1111/apt.13202
- The above article is referenced in Vagus Nerve as Modulator of the Brain-Gut Axis in Psychiatric and Inflammatory Disorders
- The gut-brain connection
- Stress and the Gut pdf