We are increasingly hearing more and more about gut health, yet sadly world health is still declining. Most people have poor gut health due to a variety of lifestyle and environmental factors such as poor diet, toxic exposure, stress and antibiotics.
The ‘Gut’ also known as the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, has the important job of breaking down food, absorbing nutrients, keeping out toxins and producing nutrients. For optimal immunity, cell function, detoxification and nourishment, it’s ‘vital’ that your gut functions seamlessly.
An imbalance of the digestive system can cause more than just bloating, stomach cramps, heartburn, acid reflux, feelings of fullness, loss of appetite and irregular bowel movements. Because 80% of our immune system is in our gut, it’s no surprise that gut imbalances have been linked to many other health conditions including allergies, fibromyalgia, eczema, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, anxiety, IBS, hormonal imbalances, chronic fatigue and other chronic health problems.
The Bowen Technique is an extremely versatile modality that is often associated with treating musculo-skeletal conditions, migraines or sports and trauma injuries. However, due to the powerful influence Bowen has on the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) and Fascia (connective tissue), it can also make a significant difference in restoring digestive health. Here’s how………
Fascia & Digestive Health
The fascia is an interwoven system of fibrous connective tissue forming one continuous structure in our body. It acts as a major fluid transit pathway, allowing your muscles and organs to glide smoothly against each other. Fascia contains and penetrates nerves and blood, and supports and encases organs, bones and muscles. The digestive system relies on a healthy fascial environment to function properly. However, whether through injury, stress, sickness or surgery, the fascia can become ‘dehydrated’ or ‘glued’ inhibiting movement and circulation, compromising organs of the digestive system such as the stomach, large & small intestine, liver, pancreas and gallbladder.
Bowen Therapy enhances fascial health by using a series of selectively placed “rolling” type moves mostly located over acupuncture/acupressure points. The push and pull of the moves create a ripple of movement through the fascia, stimulating movement and rehydration in tiny molecular structures (glycoproteins) in the matrix of the fascia. Adhesions of collagen fibres are released which in turn assists other tissues of the body such as organs, nerves, muscles, blood vessels and lymph to function more effectively.
Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) & Digestive Health
The ANS is a responsible for regulating 80% of the bodies life-sustaining functions, such as breathing, digestion, heartbeat, blood pressure, and body temperature. This complex network of nerves has two major divisions being the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) “fight or flight”, and the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) “relax & 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.
Most people today live in a constant 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 digestion. 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 a near-instantaneous sequence of hormonal changes and physiological reactions are activated.
Bowen is extremely effective in switching off the ‘fight or flight’ stress response, shifting it back into parasympathetic (rest & digest) dominance and enabling vital body organs and hormones to normalize, allowing proper digestive function and the ability to assimilate nutrients effectively.
Certainly, both diet and lifestyle are important factors in establishing and maintaining good digestive health. A diet that contains the right nutrients for your needs is vitally important, however ensuring your body is functioning at it’s best to assimilate nutrients effectively is as equally important. Including Bowen as part of your health regime to reduce stress, eliminate toxins and hydrate your body will serve to help your health on many levels including better digestion and absorption.
Author: Nicola Chaffey