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Healthy Bellies, Exercise, and Self Care

Relaxing Self Care for your Digestive System:

After a flat belly with no bloating, nausea, cramping, or gas? Aren't we all! The key is to make sure that your gut is a cleaned out as much as possible every day.

Another benefit of a cleaned out intestinal tract? It's one of the simplest ways of improving mental performance - whether that's memory, focus, or concentration. 

This means that full and complete bowel movements (something no one really wants to talk about!) are happening at least once a day.

Ideally, within an hour after eating each meal, you should have a full, soft bowel movement that sinks to the bottom of the toilet bowl!

In other words, at least three bowel movements every day that are easy to pass without any significant time sitting on the toilet, is ideal.

There are many ways to relax the intestines and promote better and more frequent bowel movements:

1) Deep breathing: Inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth. Try focusing on this breath as the air travels in through the nostrils, across the soft palate of the mouth and down the trachea.

2) Meditation: Sitting or lying down quietly with eyes closed, focus on your breath. When thoughts come in to your mind (and they will!), acknowledge them, remind yourself that you have lost focus on your breath, and start again : ) Aim to meditate daily beginning with three minutes and building up to 20 minutes or more.

3) Dry skin brushing: With a dry loofah or skin brush, step in to the shower before you run the water. In long circular strokes, begin at your ankles and sweep your way up your legs and torso and then down each arm. Pay particular attention to coming up the right side of the body and down the left side. Concentrate through the groin and underarm areas where there are a large number of lymph nodes.

4) Castor oil packs: Lying down before bed in the evening, smear a thick coating of castor oil across your belly from your chest to your pelvis. Use an old thin towel or t-shirt over the oil to protect yourself from spreading the oil about. Lie a heating pad or (preferably) a hot water bottle across the old towel or t-shirt and cover up to keep warm. The oil will completely soak in to your skin in 15 to 20 minutes.

5) Massage therapy: Speak to a Registered Massage Therapist about your constipation. A targeted massage is a great way of moving toxins through the body and decongesting your colon.

6) Exercise: One of the simplest ways of improving motility of the intestinal tract is by walking. As we swing our arms in a pattern opposite to the strides of our legs, there are muscular actions that travel across the body. The fascia or dense, innervated tissue that lies under the skin, is organized in a cross body pattern.

That is, when you move your right arm, for example, you tug on the fascia that runs across the body and down the left leg to the left foot. When you swing your left arm, the opposite pattern is stimulated.

This gentle ‘wringing’ motion of the body massages the intestines, encourages movement of the soft tissue of the gut, and promotes the uptake of nutrients by the blood.

Another way of stimulating the digestive system is by the ancient practice of yoga, tai chi, or qi gong. Yoga tends to be more vigorous, tai chi, and qi gong more gentle.

The movements set out in these practices are practiced on each side of the body. There are gentle bends, twists, and reaches. Interestingly, these forms of exercise were often done in the morning when the bowels should be moving too!

With the strategies above becoming regular habits, you're sure to become regular too! (You saw that coming didn't you?)


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