Deep inside your thinking brain is a much older brain called the “emotional brain.” This emotional brain powerfully affects your digestive system, as well as your hormones, blood pressure, and immune system. Is the emotional brain causing your Irritable Bowel Syndrome? And if it is, what can you do to stop it?
First of all, the emotional brain is not telling your digestive system to produce Irritable Bowel symptoms. It’s a little more complicated than that. We’ve all heard of the “fight or flight” reactions. These are survival mechanisms triggered deep in the emotional brain that protect you before you even have time to think.
There’s a third survival reaction you may not know about called the “freeze” response. When a threatening or scary situation is so overwhelming you are helpless to do anything about it, you freeze. Animals who freeze appear to play dead, in a last-ditch attempt by the brain to survive. It works if the predator loses interest and goes away. In human terms, we “check out” mentally and emotionally when we freeze even though we are still physically present.
While the freeze reaction may protect you in the moment, it can directly impact your digestion if you do not fully process it through your system and release the traumatic impact.
Neurologist Robert Scaer blames the unprocessed freeze response for the symptoms of IBS, fibromyalgia, multiple chemical sensitivity, chronic fatigue, and migraine, among others. Can you do anything about it? Yes! Absolutely.
Even though the freeze reaction happens by instinct, you can do some reprogramming to release its effects, using targeted techniques. One mind-body technique that has worked to relieve IBS symptoms is EFT®, the Emotional Freedom Techniques®. EFT is based on acupressure tapping, is easy to learn, and can be self-applied at home with some guidance by phone or internet, which makes it a perfect fit for IBS sufferers. No long trips through traffic to a practitioner’s office!
EFT can help you to re-train your emotional brain to calm down, release frozen trauma and stop triggering IBS symptoms. One woman who transformed her digestive and anxiety problems with EFT said, “It’s mind-altering and body-altering. It’s…wonderful!”
Other helpful techniques include Somatic Experiencing (SE), Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), and Trauma Release Exercises (TRE).
© Results in Healing 2010 By: Karen Aliso
Karen Alison is a Certified EFT Practitioner and co-developer with Kathy Raymond, of The No IBS Program™ that offers natural relief for physical and emotional symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome and other chronic digestive problems. www.No-IBS.com