Mind/Body Treatments are examples of complementary treatment for irritable bowel syndrome. Mind/Body Treatments are psychological (dealing with the brain and mind) and somatic (which means the body) therapies that work with the complex interactions between the mind, the body, and the emotions to promote health and healing. Examples of Mind/Body therapies are Hypnotherapy, biofeedback, stress management/relaxation training, and Yoga. Using this type of complementary treatment for irritable bowel syndrome, it is possible to gain CONSCIOUS CONTROL over body functions, body responses, and even aspects of your immune system!
Mind/body therapies are underused in primary care (i.e. by family medicine doctors) and offer safe and cost-effective treatment options for many chronic illnesses such as IBS. Mind/body therapies require no fancy expensive equipment or purchasing of costly supplements because they are SKILL based therapies. Mind/body therapies also EMPOWER PATIENTS and give them HOPE that they can get healthy.
IBS can lead to POOR QUALITY of LIFE for many people, and effects the way the feel overall, not just the way their belly feels. Many people with IBS also suffer from low mood, anxiety and back pain in addition to their GI (abdominal or gut) symptoms.
The best part about Mind/body therapies is that they can be used as the main treatment for IBS or used along with medications, dietary and other approaches to give the best ‘tailored’ plan for each individual, taking into account each client’s uniqueness!
Examples of Mind/body techniques:
- guided relaxation techniques such as PMR,
- some forms of Yoga.
PMR for IBS
PMR, or progressive muscular relaxation is one example of an effective mind-body technique for IBS. It is easy to learn so you can perform the ‘treatment’ yourself. It is easiest to train yourself in this modality by first using a recording of someone telling you to systematically tense and relax muscle groups starting at the feet and working up. It is often easier in the beginning to have this recorded ‘guidance’ but eventually, you will be able to use your own voice inside your head to make your body and nervous system do what you ask!