Digestion’s one of those bodily functions we tend to take for granted… until it’s not working properly.
Imagine your digestive tract’s like a creek. When it’s flowing freely, the fresh clear water’s keeps everything within and around it healthy. When the flow’s obstructed, the water stagnates and icky stuff starts to appear; or it may attempt to flow in a different direction.
Signs of food stagnating in or not moving correctly through the digestive tract include bloating, reflux, nausea, gas, pain, poor appetite, feeling full quickly and altered bowel movements. Children often develop red cheeks when their digestion’s not working well.
Skin rashes can even result from difficulty digesting certain foods. If an ingested substance isn’t needed or is causing inflammation, peeing or pooing it out are the usual eliminatory avenues. However, when these processes are overwhelmed, the skin provides another option for pushing out irritants.
To top off the discomfort of digestive problems, you may notice that your moods slide downhill too. Why? Because compromised absorption of nutrients leaves your body low in ingredients for making neurotransmitters and hormones. So no matter how hard the brain tries, it doesn’t have what it needs to get the balance right.
So, what can you do to make your digestive organs happier?
Chewing your food until it’s mushy is important. Your stomach doesn’t have blender blades to smoosh things up for easy movement through the sphincters between each organ. Nor is it easy for enzymes to cleave the useful little molecules off chunks of food.
Taking time to be in a relaxed space where you can enjoy focusing on the pleasure of eating allows your nervous system to properly direct the digestive process. In Chinese Medicine, the organs that digest food are also perceived to digest thoughts and emotions. And there’s only so much they can do all at once…
Many people also find that diaphragm breathing, walking, qigong, yoga and dietary choices can help.
In the Wellwood clinic, Jay most commonly works with acupuncture and tuina when presented with digestive dysfunction. There’s a few thousand years’ of anecdotal evidence of efficacy, and increasing amounts of strong evidence from clinical trials and systematic reviews to support this.
A less well-known treatment modality is Chi Nei Tsang – massage of the internal organs. The main focus in these treatments is on the abdomen, to improve circulation and function in this vital area. Jay’s been working with Chi Nei Tsang for 5 years; both as a sole therapy and in conjunction with acupuncture, diet and other massage therapies. She recently returned from further studying CNT in Thailand.
For more information, research references and to make bookings with Dr Jay Bull (acupuncturist) at Wellwood Health, visit my website or call 0412 546 847
Love yourself; improve your health… because you deserve to feel better.