Today people have far more gut issues than when I first started my practice over a decade ago. It seems that many of my clients complain about (occasional) bloating, pain, irregular and/or irritable bowel. There are a number of reasons for this development: Increased toxicity in our environment and lower quality of foods compromise our gut health, and may increase food sensitivities. Poor food choices such as eating refined carbohydrates, sugar and processed foods as well as taking antibiotics and other medications contribute to an unhealthy gut. Moreover, stress levels have risen in the last decade as many researches have proven. High stress affects gut bacteria, and is a contributing factor to the
deterioration of our gut health and our well-being in general.
Every year there are new fad diets that come along with extensive media hype promoting certain foods or a new way of eating: Keto diet, Paleo diet, vegan diet … you name it! There is a lot of confusion about diets and how to eat, and lots of contradictory information out there. Whereas some of these diets may lead to weight loss and other health benefits, it is questionable if they present a balanced diet in the long run.
I was growing up in Germany with rather strict but healthy eating habits. In many European countries, people eat 3 main meals a day, and lunch is the biggest meal of the day. No snacking all day long. I have always been interested in an oriental approach to health, digestion and well-being. Both my German upbringing and my interest in TCM and Ayurveda lead me to a certain understanding of a balanced diet and balanced eating. Healthy food should include complex carbohydrates (rice, millet, quinoa, whole grains), lots of fresh vegetables and fruits, healthy fats and nuts, and exclude refined sugar and processed foods. For easier digestion, for many people it is best to eat mostly cooked rather than just raw food. Besides, it is important to consider not only what we eat, but how we eat, and how we integrate eating in our lives. So I encourage you to cultivate good eating habits as a starting point – plus taking Reflexology (and Alexander Technique or Bach Remedies) for support and healing.
Here are some general simple tips to improve digestion:
Eat at regular meal times. Don’t snack. Give the body time to digest.
Don’t eat late in the evening. Allow at least 12 hours to fast before breakfast.
Take time for your meals. Sit down, slow down and enjoy! Chew well!
Cook and eat in a good atmosphere. Make your dinner table friendly and comfortable. Have light and positive conversations at meal time (if any).
Avoid over-eating. Before you refill your plate… wait. Let your food settle first. You might reconsider.
Watch your cravings: We often crave food that is not good for us. Leave your food cravings for a few weeks. Experiment with other foods. Let your body find a balance.
Eat with the seasons! Eat mostly locally grown food. Enjoy salads in the summer and hearty soups and stews in winter time.
Eat a variety of foods! – Variety is key for a balanced diet.
Reduce stress with meditation, moderate exercise, yoga and restful sleep!
In my practice, I use Reflexology to address gut issues, and I include Alexander Technique and Bach Flower Remedies as needed:
Reflexology has shown to be of tremendous help for many people who suffer from gut issues. Reflexology treatments support healing capabilities in the body and lead to symptom relief (less bloating and cramping, reduced pain, more regular bowels). Reflexology works through the touch of the feet where the structures and organs of the body are reflected. By stimulation certain zones of the feet, corresponding areas in the body are affected which creates more balance. For digestive issues, the digestive tract as well as the lymphatic system are addressed.
Balancing techniques are applied to calm the nervous system to assist in lowering stress levels.
The Alexander Technique may be helpful for digestive issues, especially when the body is slouched and bent over. Then organs including the intestines and colon are squashed and cannot do their job properly. By realigning the body and improving postural habits, organs get more space and work better. Working with mind and body in this method teaches skill to cope better with everyday stresses which often has a direct positive effect on gut health.
I include Bach Flower Remedies when emotional issues need to be addressed. Digestive problems may occur because of over-eating or emotional eating. There might be difficulties to change eating habits, and the Bach Remedies have shown to be helpful in times of change and transition. High stress may be a contributing factor, and the remedies assist in reducing stress levels as well. Bach Remedies help to support all these underlying issues to gently restore emotional balance.
Note: Please be advised that the health tips are not meant to replace medical treatments. If you suffer from an illness or disease and your symptoms are severe, please seek medical assistance