Monday, November 09, 2015

Mindfulness training can help "bad guts"

I am sorry--were you eating?
For more than 30 years, I have had "unreliable innards." At times, it is horrible--events after every meal or snack. At other times, a week or more of normal, then the squeezing gets going--the pain! Once, I was hospitalized with giardia, a parasite--was given some awful meds to kill it. Another time with adhesions from old surgeries. Yick!

Anyway, I am now off dairy, Tylenol (for my knees), and coffee--have some pretty good weeks... Google "FODmap" to find an elimination program.

But I have also learned to make myself relax during these bouts when they do occur. I may be almost crying, but I hark back to my many years of yoga and relax each muscle group. Still, I often have to chew a half an imodium to stop the pain.

Now, the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation has published a study on inflammatory bowel diseases that recommends mindfulnesss as a helpful intervention for patients with IBD. I have had tests at various times, but no real diagnosis--I figure irritable bowel syndrome. Or just touchy insides.

Anyway, in the report, Australian psychiatrist named David Castle, MD, studied mindfulness techniques.

They took 60 adults with Crohn's or ulcerative colitis with an average of 11 years of suffering.  Twenty-four had active disease at the time of the study.

The Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program consisted of eight weekly group sessions plus a day-long intensive. Included were guided meditations, other exercises to increase mindfulness, and group discussions.

Thirty-three people agreed to do this and 27 went the distance.The other 27 were controls in a way (did not want to participate).

This wasn't a random study.

The researchers rated mental health, quality of life, and mindfulness.

The people who did the exercises had great reductions in anxiety and depression, as well as improvement in quality of life. This persisted at least six months.

So you may want to consider meditating if you have these problems. I personally have never gotten into meditation, but I do think it's a good thing.

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