The Body, Mind, and Spirit of the Digestive System
Healing the Miraculous Gastrointestinal Tract
What has its own customs-like border patrol, contains 70% of the entire body’s immune system, and has such a vast surface area that, if outstretched, it reaches 2.5 times taller than a brachiosaurus dinosaur? The human gut! The gut is home to trillions of organisms, houses 95% of the body’s serotonin, contains around 100 million neurons, and has direct communication with the brain. The gastrointestinal tract, or the “gut,” is home to the enteric nervous system or the “second brain.” Not only does this second brain govern the function of the gastrointestinal system, it also sends and receives impulses, records experiences, and responds to emotion. Our gut is highly intelligent and greatly influences our mental, physical, and emotional health. Doctors and scientists alike are finding that compromised gut function is the root cause of numerous mental illnesses, physical dis-eases, and emotional disorders.
By focusing on gut healing and improving the quality of our GI health, problems ranging from fatigue to autoimmune diseases can be significantly improved. Gastrointestinal tract problems are the second most common reason why people seek medical attention in America. The conventional approach to treating GI diseases is to suppress the symptoms. While masking the symptoms, the underlying cause continues to spiral out of control going unnoticed for some time, but potentially affecting the immune system, nervous system, and endocrine system. The effect could present as skin problems, asthma, allergies, moodiness, chronic inflammation, fatigue, food intolerances, eczema, obesity, as well as increase the risk of developing cancer or an autoimmune disease. Gut dysbiosis is one of three causative factors playing a major role in the development of autoimmune disease. Autoimmune disease diagnoses are rapidly increasing, now affecting 24 million people in the U.S. alone! How do we address the underlying gut imbalance that is host to such a wide array of diseases and symptoms?
A very well known plan of action in the world of Naturopathic and Functional medicine to address the underlying cause of systemic inflammatory diseases is the 4R’s of Gut Healing: Remove, Replace, Re-inoculate, Repair. In this class on November 8 we will delve into the steps and the reasoning behind this protocol. However, instead of taking one protocol and assuming it’s appropriate for all people, I see each individual as unique, requiring a tailored protocol for their specific gut indications. Taking Bio-individuality into account, a modified and individualized approach to the 4R’s will be introduced.
Not only does the gut have a physiological role in maintaining our health, this complex area of our body is also a center of spiritual energy that is just as tied to our overall wellness. As there is a strong feedback loop between the gastrointestinal tract and the brain, the gut has a strong influence on thought patterns and emotions, as thought patterns and emotions have a strong influence on the health and function of the gut. The digestive system is also a major energetic and emotional component of the spirit embodied. The gut is where food, energy, and emotion alike are processed, assimilated, and absorbed or eliminated.
The solar plexus, or the Manipura Chakra in Sanskrit, is the energy and emotional center that surrounds the majority of the organs of the gastrointestinal tract. This energetic vortex and the gut interact with and influence each other. The emotions related to this area of the body have to do with will power, personal boundaries, self-worth, empowerment, purpose, and passion. In working on healing the gut from a vitalist perspective, these emotions, whether in excess or deficiency, must be addressed and balanced as well.
In our 2 hour exploration expect to taste herbal formulas, meditate with flower essences, play with breath, and create a new relationship with your gut. In this class I will be utilizing my resources as a yoga instructor, energy healer, certified herbalist, clinical nutritionist, and flower essence practitioner to guide you in experiencing the full spectrum of your gut healing.
US Department of Health and Human Services: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-statistics/Pages/digestive-diseases-statistics-for-the-united-states.aspx
NCBI:“Surface area of the digestive tract – revisited.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24694282
NCBI: “Autoimmunity and the Gut”
The information contained in this article is not a substitute for the medical care of a licensed healthcare professional, any health concerns should be discussed with your primary care provider.