Many people have asked me, “Can meditation cure IBS”, and if so, what is the best meditation for IBS?
Research shows that we can use meditation for IBS to calm the stomach.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is the most common functional gastrointestinal (GI) disorder, affecting between 10% to 15% of people. People with the conditions suffer from abdominal cramping, pain, bloating, diarrhoea, constipation, and gas.
While not life-threatening, people with the condition do find it interferes. Indeed, many people with IBS stop working, give up travelling, and often withdraw from society. Plus, some experience depression and anxiety.
The good news is that we can use mindfulness meditation for IBS.
Mindfulness meditation is the practice of focusing the mind on the present-moment in a calm, nonjudgmental way. Recently, research has revealed considerable health and lifestyle benefits of mindfulness. The latest research shows that meditation can help with IBS.
Use This Mindfulness Meditation For IBS
This is best mindfulness meditation for IBS. It is specifically designed to counter the triggers of IBS.
IBS is usually caused by a combination of emotions (depression, anxiety, stress), that create sensations in the stomach. And we then respond to those sensations in the stomach. And all of this makes us need the toilet. That’s why this meditation calms your emotions and then makes you less reactive to physical sensations.
- Sit with good posture. Your back should be straight but relaxed. Gently lower your chin to lengthen your spine. Close your eyes.
- Breathe mindfully in through the nose and out through the mouth. Simply observe g breath moving around your body. If thoughts or feelings arise, just let them come and go as they will. Continue to observe your breath for a minimum of 28 breaths.
- By now, you should be feeling relaxed (if not, just continue to meditate on your breath). When you are feeling relaxed, focus your mind on the sensation of relaxation. How does it feel in the body to be relaxed? Meditate on that feeling.
- You will notice physical sensations in your body. When these sensations occur, do not react to them. Simply let any sensations come and go as they will, while you continue to focus on breathing.
- By continuing to a) focus on breathing, and b) not react to physical sensations), you relax your body and mind, and this will help with IBS. Can this meditation cure IBS? That depends on you, how well you meditate, and on the causes of your IBS.
Benefits of Meditation for IBS
Research shows that practising mindfulness meditation reduces stress. In turn, this calms the stomach and leads to fewer gastrointestinal symptoms.
Researchers studied 15 men and 53 women with IBS. Participants practised an 8-week mindfulness-based stress reduction class.
Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) is a program created by Jon Kabat Zinn. It is typically done in an eight-week program and aims to reduces stress levels.
MBSR programs typically focus on a combination of the following exercises:
- Body awareness (usually body scan meditation),
- Mindfulness meditation
- Different types of yoga
- and exploration of patterns of behaviour, thinking, feeling and action
Calms the stomach
The majority of the study’s participants observed a reduction in gastrointestinal symptoms for up to three-months following the study. Quality of life also improved, with markedly less anxiety and stress.
Researchers state that the most important benefit of mindfulness meditation for IBS was the participant’s new ability to focus on the present moment. Participants were able to act with awareness instead of being misguided by stress and anxiety.
Kirsten Tillisch, MD, of the University of California, Los Angeles, notes that this research shows people with IBS can improve their quality of life without medication.
“This study shows that people with irritable bowel syndrome can have significant improvements in their symptoms and quality of life without medication or diet change, just by participating in a mindfulness-based stress reduction class,” said Tillisch. “Further, it implicates a specific aspect of mindfulness as particularly important: acting with awareness.”
Acting with awareness is one of the core aspects of mindfulness. Many people act automatically without thought. This can be especially true when stressed or anxious. By practising mindfulness meditation, we become more aware of the present moment. This helps us to act in an aware way.
“It appears that by improving this moment-to-moment awareness in their daily actions, people with irritable bowel syndrome feel better,” said Tillisch, “possibly because [it] keeps the brain from going back to old fears or worries.”
Do you suffer from IBS?
Do you suffer from IBS? Would you like to learn meditation and stop IBS? Book an online meditation lesson with me today.Follow us