May 17, 2020

A Deeper Meaning to Gut Pain
Dealing with gut, abdominal, stomach and GI pain
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Karen describes herself as a bit of a worry wart. One of her earliest memories was of her dog going to the vet. Both she and her mom were ‘worried sick’ the dog wouldn’t make it. Thankfully Rufus was bouncing and back to normal after just an overnight. At 9 years old, she didn’t sleep all night and remembers the next day her belly was so upset. She struggled with having an upset stomach all thru high school and college. Every time there was a big test, Karen’s belly acted up. Karen married and has a lovely little girl. Even as an adult, her belly aches, she doesn’t sleep well and often this leads to not much of an appetite.

She’s been diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome(IBS). Docs told her to take Metamucil (psyllium) and prescribed an anti-depressant.(Tofranil) Fast forward a couple of months: Karen is coming for a massage because she has started having headaches and is still not sleeping well.

IBS affects about 35 million people in the US and current research tells us that the real cause of IBS and Crohn’s disease is unknown.

That’s a lie. The real cause is known. Flare-ups can be directly linked to the emotions of fear & anxiety.

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Granted this is tricky. Totally legit bacteria (H.pylori and E.coli) in the digestive tract can cause ulcers, Montezuma’s revenge (Travelers diarrhea) and other painful symptoms.

However, when we look at IBS and Crohn’s disease, research tells us the real cause is unknown. No, its not. The real cause of flare-ups is fear & worry.

I’m not trying to be flippant about the pain associated with these conditions. And I am not, repeat am not, saying it’s all in your head. So let’s work thru this together.

To be honest, pain in the abdomen is rarely just one thing. This is our dilemma (and a doctors dilemma) when treating abdominal pain. Traditional docs were taught to address symptoms with a singular treatment. This approach is why 1 in 4 people in the US are on 2 or more prescriptions. Singular treatment doesn’t work. Which is absolutely the case with IBS and most other abdominal issues. We must look beyond the narrow focus of just the physical to the bio-psych-social roots.

Assoc. Professor of Psychology, Dr. T. Marshik from the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse, explained:

If you are a licensed healthcare provider, it’s important to adhere to scope of practice. But scope of any compassionate healthcare provider absolutely includes reflective listening, thorough health intakes and client/patient feedback. What is the emotion in the words your client is using?

Physiological and psychological reasons for pain are like trying to identify the what part of the apple made up the applesauce. It’s equal and interchangeable

If you are a licensed healthcare provider, it’s important to adhere to scope of practice. But scope of any compassionate healthcare provider absolutely includes reflective listening, thorough health intakes and client/patient feedback. What is the emotion in the words your client is using?

Abdominal pain can literally be about the words your client has swallowed. TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) says worry, anxiety and overthinking are the source of abdominal pain. Louise Hay in her book Heal Your Body A-Z relates stomach pain to dread, fear of the new, and an inability to assimilate. 

abdominal pain
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According to energy anatomy the stomach, abdomen and ileocecal valve coincides directly with the 3rd chakra (yellow/solar plexus). Imbalances lead to low self esteem, inferiority complex, fear of failure and sometimes even defensiveness.

Ladies and gents, this is the truth of our gut pain. Have you heard the saying, ‘I just knew it in my gut’? Yes? Your gut is the home of your intuition. Our stomach feeds all our other organs figuratively and literally. When something doesn’t assimilate well with us, one of the first places we feel it is in our gut.

Okay, so now you get it. What do we do next? How do we ‘fix’ it?

Put away the Rolaids and Mylanta (antacids) grab a pen. Yes, for real. When you write something down your brain can’t ignore it. Don’t filter. Ask and write the answer some simple questions:

1. What do I worry about?

2. What words could/should have been said that didn’t get said?

3. What/Where am I not assimilating well?

Now that we have these out in the open, here’s how to resolve the matter.

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1. Worry.

Say out loud: All is well. Today is a good day. Today is a very good day.

All is well with [person, situation]. Now that I have named what I was worried about I see this [person, situation] as perfect. Today it is exactly the way it is meant to be. I don’t have to do anything. I see [it] resolved, whole and working really well.

Write down how you feel right now. Better? Less anxiety around the matter? You may need to rinse and repeat a few times to get yourself there.

2. Words.

I call this, doing a Ground Hog’s Day. Did you see the movie Ground Hog’s Day? The main character Phil, a TV weatherman, is caught in a time loop. He covers a silly story about Punxsutawney Phil, a famous groundhog who predicts the weather. In the movie, the weatherman can’t escape; every morning when he wakes up to the start of the same day, February 2.

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How does this relate? Phil (played by Bill Murray) decides to capitalize on the situation. If he is going to have to relive the same day over and over, he’s going to make the day better and better.

Same for us. Let’s go back to the words that could/should have been said. If you were back in the same situation, what would you say?

Write it down. Swear. Get pissed. Tell them off.

Maybe say I’m sorry. Maybe say I love you.

Okay, now read what you wrote out loud. Read it out loud with feeling. Rage a little if you need to. Get it out of your system. For real. We are getting it OUT OF YOUR SYSTEM.

3. Assimilating.

What are you resisting? What is just so wrong it could never be right? Sorry in advance for this one, because this one is a stinker. Whatever you wrote down is not about them. It’s about you. Ouch.

I hear you saying “No it’s not.” Yes it is. How can that be?!

It is about you because, this situation wouldn’t work for you.

Well duh, right? But if this is so wrong that it could never be right, what are you concerned about? Are you concerned about what will others think? Are you judging the situation? (Hint: the answer is normally yes)

Here’s the good news! You just discovered a blind spot in your own life! Wahoo! When you feel THIS uncomfortable about something, there’s a lesson to be learned. Lucky you! No need to read tea leaves for you today. It’s super obvious. Now you get to accept it. You don’t have to like it. But you do get to accept it. Let it go.

Here’s an example: We all have some kind of feeling about candidates for President in the US. And when one guy or gal gets elected and the other doesn’t well, some folks get really fired up. Guess what? You don’t have to like it, but we do have to accept it. Let it go. Find your way to be a conscientious objector. Get your facts straight. Be kind. Be polite. They are not coming to your side. Live with it. Agree to disagree and move on to talk about something else. Ask them who their favorite sports team is. That usually works for me.

Anything else we can do to speed up the healing? Yup.

Energy Anatomy suggests to help with imbalances in the 3rd chakra, eat yellow foods to balance the energy. Foods like bananas, lemons and/or yellow peppers.

Know that the orange chakra (just below the belly button) sometimes gets involved too in gut pain too. This area represents the lower large intestines and our body’s inflammatory response.

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So lets send the entire belly some love. What do little kids do when their belly hurts? They rub their tummy. Put your right hand at the bottom of your breastbone (sternum). If you are comfortable, place your hand directly on the skin. This works either way, but its a wee bit more nurturing to touch the skin. Pretend that is 12:00 on the face of a clock. Move your hand to 3:00, down to 6:00 and over to 9:00 in route back to 12:00 making a clockwise circle. Repeat 3x or more.

With your hand on 12:00 pause and imagine a bright yellow lemon. Imagine the sun shining out from your belly. Warm yellow light beaming out. Give it some movement- can your sun spin? Pulse? Grow bigger?

Move down to 6:00 below the belly button. With your hand on 6:00 imagine a vibrant Florida orange. Imagine the orange glows with a light brighter and brighter and starts to slowly spin clockwise. Pause. Breathe. Love the belly. Happy belly. Laughing Buddha belly.

How are you feeling? Breathe. Feel your feet on the floor. Wiggle your toes. Breathe. You got this. You invited this lesson into your life. Time to get rid of that abdominal pain for good.

Disclaimer: This is not a substitute for medical treatment. The information offered here is complimentary treatment. Just like a great pair of shoes is a compliment to a great outfit, massage therapy, breathing, touch, visualization is a great compliment to your traditional medical treatment plan.

And what nursing [massage/medicine] has to do…is to put the patient in the best condition for nature to act upon him [her].”  Florence Nightingale, British Nurse, 1820-1910

I believe that understanding ancient wisdom and combining that knowledge with current research is the future of healthcare. Embrace traditional medicine my friends. Read a little research. Learn about shamans, curanderos and maybe have coffee with your local acupuncturist. Open your mind to the bio-psycho-social causes of pain.

Smudge stick
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And remember, we as practitioners don’t heal the body. We facilitate a space for that body to heal.

Much love…Jodi

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