How Stress Effects our Digestion

red pencil writing the word stressHow Stress can Ruin your Digestion

We all know our emotional state can have an effect on our digestion. Though the mechanism isn’t greatly understood in Western Medicine, the Chinese have spent many centuries debating and working out the links. Stress is always the big term thrown around, but it is a very broad term and people define it differently. In Chinese Medicine Stress doesn’t exist, but they have identified key emotions which effect each organ. Most of my patients use words like “anxiety, frustration and worry” to describe how they feel when stressed. Each organ has an assigned emotion to it, which you can see here.

Grief affects our Lungs, so when we’re upset we have trouble breathing. Long term issues like eczema develop because as you can see on the chart, the tissue of the Lung is the skin. Similarly, the Kidneys rule the bowel and Bladder regions and fear is its emotion, hence why great fear can cause people to loose Bladder control. What are the two main emotions that relate to our digestion? Worry and Anger (frustration).

These two emotions seem to be in abundance in today’s society. Between the global financial crisis, general health concerns and trying to afford housing we have plenty to worry and be frustrated about. Any emotion is fine as long as it isn’t in excess, a little bit of worry or frustration can be good for use, it makes us more cautious or can give us more motivation to succeed. When the emotions become excessive and start causing physiological changes, then we need medical intervention. Too much worry causes our digestive energy to become blocked, so energy gets wasted trying to keep it moving and it eventually becomes weak. This can manifest as bloating, nausea, fatigue, irregular bowels and depression or concentration issues. This weakness can lead to inflammation and cause food sensitivities.  If severe can develop into such conditions as Celiac’s disease or Candida.

Often blood tests come back negative, but food still disagrees with you. Similarly anger stirs up your Liver.  This can affect your digestion by altering the release of bile and other hormones. A metallic or bitter taste in your mouth is a classic sign of an unhappy Liver. Long term depletion of the Liver can cause headaches, migraines and lead to Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Chronic fatigue syndrome and other syndromes like fibromyalgia are rooted in digestive problems.  They tend to slowly been develop over years unnoticed, until the digestion and body in general have reached breaking point.  Often the trigger is a prolonged period of stress or illness.

Acupuncture to reduce Stress Affecting your Digestion

My Traditional Acupuncture is helpful in reducing the effect stress has on your digestion. The body is a truly amazing machine, capable of healing itself even in extreme cases. Chinese Medicine is unique in being able to light that spark and initiate the process.  This can reduce the inflammation and irritation in the gut caused by stress. We then work on giving you strategies to prevent emotions becoming excessive, and use Acupuncture points to help keep you calm when under pressure.  This works to prevent the problem from reoccurring.

“It is not just about treating illness, it is about prevention and protection of your health, which is your most precious commodity.”