This article is written by contributing writer Max Gottlieb.
For those with small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), it goes without saying that maintaining gut health is at the top of the priority list. Gut health and its effect on the rest of the body is becoming significantly better understood. Not only does gut health play a role in the overall immune system, but also brain function as well. The average person’s gastrointestinal tract contains trillions of microorganisms, making up what is called the human gut microbiome. And for those who suffer from IBS, SIBO, and even Crohn’s, there is a new approach being championed by universities and hospitals around the country, hypnotherapy.
Hypnotherapy To Relax And Heal Your Gut
Many people find that their bowel issues are not changed by traditional approaches and because these issues can be so difficult to treat, doctors have begun seeing hypnotherapy as a viable option. The University of Michigan, Loyola University Medical Center, and even Mount Sinai in New York offer hypnotherapy to patients suffering from IBS.
Patients meet in person or by video software with a hypnotherapist, who guide them through a relaxed state with the goal of having the patient enter the hypnotic state. Once they are in the hypnotic state, the hypnotherapist will give suggestions, visualizations, and exercises to calm the digestive track and promote communication between the brain and the gut.
“All Disease Begins In The Gut.” – Hippocrates
Even for those without a gastrointestinal problem, the gut is still extremely important and may be causing problems you’re not even aware of. If you feel like you are suffering from any of the following it is worth it to add some of the foods above to your diet to increase your microbiome diversity:
- Poor mood
- Mental fog
- Digestive issues
- Bloating, burping, or other discomforts after eating
- Immune system issues
- Weight gain
The gut’s microflora affects almost every other system in the body. Before we can use the nutrients we consume through food, those nutrients need to be digested and broken down into small enough particles that our body can absorb the benefits. Our body not only relies on enzymes to absorb nutrients, but also gut bacteria to break down otherwise indigestible components of food such as fiber, which provides an enormous share of daily energy. Because of this, the microbiome is also associated with good sleep, weight management, mental sharpness, and fatigue. If the gut is not working as it should, you can see how it will lead to problems throughout the body.
Holistic Gut Health
No two people are alike so keeping your gut healthy isn’t as simple as taking a supplement. Gut health must be approached holistically. For example, if you take probiotics but still consume a diet high in sugar and processed food, the benefit of the probiotics will not outweigh the harm of the processed foods. As we know, diet plays a role in everything from gout to diabetes. It should be no surprise that changing to a high fiber diet including whole grains, legumes, and vegetables will rapidly improve gut health. Focusing on plant-based foods will help create diverse microflora in your gut, which helps with overall health.
Beyond simply adding more vegetables to your diet, fermented foods are a necessary addition as well. Fermented foods include yogurt, kimchi, kefir, kombucha, tempeh, sauerkraut, fish sauce, and a lot more. Since fermentation uses naturally occurring bacteria or yeasts to break down sugars, they are a great source of probiotics because they contain live bacteria. Probiotics have been clinically proven to balance of intestinal microbiota, aid in digestion, and support the immune system. Probiotics are especially important for anybody who has recently taken antibiotics. On top of consuming more fermented foods, you should consider adding a clinically proven probiotic supplement into your daily routine.
Lastly, exercise has been linked to an improvement in gut health and maintenance of gut bacteria. The more active a person is, the greater the diversity of bacteria in their microbiome. Also, exercise increases the rate of creation for short-chain fatty acids which keep the gut healthy by decreasing inflammation. If you have tried all of the treatment possibilities in this article and are still feeling the ill effects of a gastrointestinal issue, it could be time to consider hypnotherapy.