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.
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.