Daily meditation can be very beneficial for digestive health
– Quick overview –
Why digestive health is so important
Keeping our digestive system in harmony and balance is crucial to the body’s overall well-being.
Besides breaking down our food chemically and mechanically and providing the body with amino acids, carbohydrates, fats and vitamins to keep our cells functioning, the digestive tract is home to 70% of the body’s immune system.
So when our digestive health is compromised, it not only leads to gastrointestinal disorders such as indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome, acid reflux or constipation, but also to autoimmune diseases, bacterial overgrowth, colds, flus, cancer and allergies.
Without our conscious direction, the autonomic nervous system regulates our digestion.
When we are resting and at ease, our parasympathetic nervous system is dominant in the body, slowing down our heart rate, setting in motion our digestion and enabling relaxation and repair.
However when we experience a stress response our sympathetic nervous system takes over, accelerating our heart rate, increasing our blood pressure and muscle tension.
In addition it shuts down our digestion.
Responsible for this internal change of pace is our body’s involuntary ‘fight or flight’ response to situations that the amygdala part of the brain interprets as dangerous or stressful.
By slowing down all functions that are not immediately necessary for either fighting back or fleeing for our lives, this mechanism is trying to ensure our survival.
How meditation can have a positive effect on our digestion
In our complex and hectic reality stressors are omnipresent.
Every time the amygdala answers with a ‘fight or flight’ response the muscle contractions along the digestive tract come to a hold and the body pauses the production of digestive secretions.
This forceful suppression of all digestive activities can lead to spasms through the digestive tract and an increase in the amount of acid present in the stomach causing irritation of the large intestine which may lead to symptoms such as cramping, bloating, a burning sensations and diarrhoea.
It is this repeated cycle of shutting down and re-starting of the digestive system, that can lead to digestive disorders and serious health problems over time.
So, if you are suffering from digestive disorders and have a suspicion that stress aggravates your condition or even lies at it’s core, Daily Meditation can greatly support your therapy and way to recovery.
Our students have experienced meditation as a valuable tool for stress reduction, that empowered them to tackle the cause of their health problems, instead of just alleviating the symptoms.