Digestive and Bowel Problems

  • Reflux and heartburn
  • Indigestion
  • Constipation / Diarrhoea
  • Bloating
  • Flatulence and belching

Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) and digestive health

The ANS is responsible for regulating 80% of the body’s life-sustaining functions such as breathing, digestion, heartbeat, blood pressure and body temperature. This complex network of nerves has two major divisions, the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) ‘fight or flight’ and the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) ‘relax, repair & digest’, used to calm the body down after the potential threat has passed. These two nervous systems work with glands and hormones in your body which play an essential role in how well your digestive system performs.

Many people today live in a daily state of elevated stress or SNS dominance and unfortunately it’s very common for the body to overreact to stressors that are not life-threatening. When in this state our internal resources are mobilized for survival and our body responds by slowing down or even stopping internal systems so that all resources are channelled towards ‘survival’. All internal energy and blood flow is diverted to the muscles rather than the digestive tract in preparation for fight or flight to the perceived threat, and simultaneous sequences of hormonal changes and physiological reactions are activated throughout the body.

Bowen is extremely effective in switching off the fight or flight stress response, shifting it back into parasympathetic (rest, repair & digest) dominance and enabling vital body organs and hormones to normalize, allowing proper digestive function and the ability to absorb and assimilate nutrients effectively.

Stress and digestive health

Stress is a ubiquitous condition that affects all people. These tensions can be mental, emotional or physical and involves challenge, threat or worry about future adverse events. Such stress activates the brain’s stress response systems, releasing various hormones, which in turn affect the body. Many of the body’s major systems are altered by stress (cardiovascular, muscular, urinary, gastrointestinal, respiratory, sweat glands, etc) often with adverse consequences.

Gastrointestinal function is particularly vulnerable. Sudden stress can often be felt immediately in the gut, while ongoing daily stress can cause gut problems to be recognised bit by bit, and often dismissed until a problem gets quite serious. Common gastrointestinal symptoms due to stress are heartburn, indigestion, nausea and vomiting, diarrhoea, constipation and associated lower abdominal pain.

The brain – gut connection and digestive health

It has been known for some time that the gut produces its own neurotransmitters, just as the brain does. There is an increasing awareness in health research and practice of the links between digestion, mood, health and even the way you think.

Scientists call this little brain the enteric nervous system (ENS). And it’s not so little. The ENS is two thin layers of more than 100 million nerve cells lining your gastrointestinal tract from oesophagus to rectum. The main role of the ENS is in controlling digestion, from swallowing to the release of enzymes that break down food, to the control of blood flow that helps with nutrient absorption and waste elimination.

Our two brains ‘talk’ to each other through a constant link between the ‘big brain’ and the ‘gut brain’, so therapies that help one can often help the other.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Functional Dyspepsia

Two of the major causes of uncomfortable or painful intestinal symptoms are irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and functional dyspepsia. IBS occurs in approximately 12% of people worldwide. Dyspepsia (indigestion/upper abdominal discomfort) is also very common. The majority of dyspepsia is functional, that is not associated with ulcers, gallstones, reflux oesophagitis or cancer.

In both of these common disorders, motility and sensory changes are present which mimic the stress state. Both disorders demonstrate hypersensitivity of the gut (either stomach or intestine). Both disorders demonstrate alterations in motor function of the gut typical of stress and hormone induced changes. In functional dyspepsia the stomach generally has mildly reduced emptying and reduced accommodation of meals. In IBS, colonic contractions are generally increased and IBS sufferers appear to have increased stress responsiveness in the gut. Emotional distress is very common in IBS patients, whilst anxiety and depression are significantly increased in IBS patient populations, being present in nearly 40%.

Diet, Environment, Lifestyle, Pollutants and digestive health

All of the above have been widely researched for decades and the detrimental effects they may have on our condition, wellbeing and lifespan, as well as those of other species and the planet in general, have been well documented.

The Bowen Technique provides an effective treatment linking the various systems of your body in a unique and holistic way and at Better With Bowen you will be treated by a professional therapist who understands the intricate link between gut, brain and lived experience and will help put you on a path of optimum well-being.

Gut and bowel problems that can benefit from Bowen Therapy include:

Nausea and vomiting
Lower abdominal pain
Upset stomach
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Griping abdominal pain
Tight abdominal muscles
Crohn’s disease
Sluggish elimination
Bladder problems
Ileocaecal valve problems
Digestive complaints