Pregnancy

Craniosacral therapy during pregnancy

Groan…the discomforts of pregnancy like fatigue, indigestion, and backache are certainly not the best part! There are a lot of demands on your body as you grow a new human being inside your womb. As you nurture your baby, craniosacral therapy nurtures you. It also helps create an optimal environment for your baby’s development. It is safe and recommended during pregnancy.

Craniosacral therapy nurtures you

While you lie on your side on a massage table, fully clothed, your craniosacral therapist may gently place her hands on the back of your head and on your sacrum. She is trained to “listen” with her hands to the subtle movements of tissues, fluids and electrical impulses that signify health in your body. She will also tune in to the background noise of strains and stresses that may be wearing you down. As she holds a space that is caring and patient, your body will respond by self-adjusting to ease the strains. In the biodynamic kind of craniosacral therapy, the therapist does not exert any pressure or massage with her hands.

Benefits for your pregnant self

Craniosacral therapy allows the lower back muscles and ligaments to shift so that there’s less strain. Some of the pressure in your abdomen and pelvis caused by an expanding womb can be relieved as the tissues that hold your organs in place rearrange and relax. Indigestion and constipation can also be relieved. It is a holistic treatment that benefits you physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Stress and your baby’s development

When mom feels relaxed and calm with a craniosacral treatment, so does baby! The fetus takes on the activation level of mom’s nervous system. If you experience moderate stress from time to time, this is a benefit for your baby’s development. In stressful situations, your baby is coding into its own nervous system how to cope with stress in the same way that your system does. Your baby is building a body that will know how to survive in the physical and emotional environment it will be entering.

How your body responds to a stressor

Stress is not in your head – it’s in your nervous system. Craniosacral therapy helps the nervous system reset. In the background, many systems in your body are operating all the time: for example, breathing in and out, your heart beating, and your digestion. These all take place outside of your conscious direction, when you are awake and asleep. Your brain regulates these processes. When an incident happens that frightens and stresses you, your brain starts a reaction that helps you escape the danger! Blood circulation changes, digestion shuts down, and in many other ways your body makes a priority out of the processes that make fight or flight possible.

What level of stress is “toxic” or harmful?

Now what if your body experiences stresses frequently, or constantly over a long period of time, or during a situation that feels outside of your ability to control.  The body’s processes that ordinarily keep you in a healthy calm state will set up a “new norm” and function continually in a fight or flight mode. That is a toxic or harmful stress level. It suppresses some systems in your body that help you to function normally such as digestion and the immune system. To sustain you under stress, the adrenals are releasing the hormone cortisol.  Your baby’s body is learning this adaptation too. If stress becomes chronic, the calm, resting phase necessary for health after a stressful response is eliminated - you always function on high alert because your nervous system perceives that it’s not safe to be resting! Craniosacral therapy sessions can reset your nervous system and bring it into balance.

Amniocentesis and Chorionic Villus Sampling

If you undergo amniocentesis or CVS, your body and baby’s may sense this as an invasive threat and alarm the nervous system. Craniosacral therapy is recommended as soon as possible to calm and reset the nervous system.

Your body is tuned to let you know when you are making choices that enhance your health and happiness, and when your choices are causing depletion of your inner resources. Craniosacral therapy is a great way to rebuild and tune up resources. It will relieve discomfort, reset your nervous system, and enhance the health of all the systems in your amazing pregnant body.

Is Craniosacral Therapy Energy Work?

Whenever I use the word "energy" in my description of what craniosacral treatment (CST) includes, I can sense my listener backing away. I get it! The allopathic medical model treats energy work as 'flaky', as an outlier. And yet, our bodies are pulsing with energy...

Energy in your body

The nerves in my nervous system conduct electricity, and that gives me an electromagnetic field. You have one too. Your heart generates an electromagnetic field, and an electrocardiogram detects the electrical impulses. Biochemical reactions such as those in our digestive tract and brain rearrange charged particles creating electromagnetic energy. My craniosacral training taught me how to perceive this energy. At first, I was very skeptical too!

You can sense it too...

During a treatment session, I may invite you to notice these fields. When I stand on one side of you as you lay on the table, and then I move to the other side, and ask you which side you prefer me to work from, you know "intuitively" which one feels better. You are aware at some level, an intuitive level, of something that's real - an electromagnetic field. When I am treating you, I am inviting you to create safety for yourself by telling me on which side of your body you want me to be.

Is Craniosacral like Reiki?

According to the International Centre for Reiki Training, Reiki is "a non-physical healing energy made up of life force energy that is guided by the Higher Intelligence, or spiritually guided life force energy." During 2 or 3 day courses, a student is given the ability to use Reiki via an "attunement or initiation" to this spiritual energy. In some explanations, the energy is channelled from the top of the head and out the practitioner's hands into the client. 

Holistic Approach

Craniosacral therapy is also interested in energy - as well as in tissues, fluids, emotions - in the whole human body. CST is a holistic approach. The 2 year Body Intelligence training that I graduated from includes medical anatomy and physiology, working safely with trauma, and how to be in a therapeutic relationship that is safe and supportive. It explores birth and embryology and how these patterns show up in the adult (or child's) body. Through many hands-on supervised sessions with clients, key skills are practiced. Using our hands, we listen to what is going on in your body and work with its inherent health and wisdom - with its natural ability to repair and heal itself.

Ultralight Touch

The form of Craniosacral Therapy called Biodynamic employs a touch that is gentle and non-invasive. There is no intentional or mechanical manipulation of your tissues. Some clients say it feels like my hands are moving! Yes, they do move a little. However, they are following - not leading - the rhythms of your bones, organs, tissues, fluids - and energy. This therapy is safe and comfortable even for babies and those who are frail. 

Letting Pain and Stress Go

Invisible to ourselves

As children and adolescents, many of us grew up not being invited by our parents to pay attention to, or even have, our own feelings and responses. For me, when I did become aware of my feelings, there was seldom an adult available to talk to quietly about my feelings and thoughts and validate them. A friend recently called it a feeling of low self-esteem. Without knowing her own feelings, she learned to react the same way her parent treated her, or to stuff the feelings deep enough so they weren't a problem. 

Long term storage

It is pretty common to store away overwhelming feelings and stress in the tissues of your body for years, without naming or processing your own feelings. Likely you didn't have the resources at the time of the hurt because you were young and didn't have the names for these feelings, or it was too overwhelming. Maybe there wasn't an opportunity to process the events at the time, and so you did the expedient thing and stuffed them away in your body's tissues.

Draining away your energy

As a result, there remains a background noise that's always running. You probably are not aware of it, unless it's a fleeting thought that you seem more tired these days, chalking it up to not being as young as you used to be. When you go away on holidays, do you often get sick? For you, after those first sessions of craniosacral treatment, you may feel very fatigued or even nauseous. This will pass. Maybe your body is finally doing what it needs to get to a higher level of wellness.

Feel that pain away!

Over time, the places in your body that have served as storage areas may become painful. Craniosacral therapy invites you to notice those places in your body. Wait. What? There's value in paying attention to my pain? Won't it hurt more? You will begin to see that pain shifts and changes. Tune in, right now, to your body. Notice if you feel a pain or a discomfort somewhere - maybe in your back or your foot or your belly. I invite you to describe its shape and colour and texture, perhaps comparing it to a fruit or vegetable. One of my clients described the pain in her upper back as a carrot; another as stretched-out pink bubble gum; another as a black rope. A child told me the discomfort in her belly was as big as a watermelon. With the perspective of a curious observer, clients soon notice their pain morphing into a different colour or size, until it shrinks and dissolves away. Isn't that intriguing?

Loving yourself

With compassion, the way you would treat your best friend, gently and without judgement, tune in to the hurts in your body. if it seems too overwhelming, seek out the help of a craniosacral therapist. We can help you to let go of the pain and stress. We can help your nervous system find peace at last.

Grief: it's not in my head it's in my body

I'm a slow learner

When my brother died recently, I was surprised to be feeling pain and tension in my body and to feel so exhausted. I'd expected it to affect my thoughts and my emotions but not my body! This also happened to me 7 years ago when my husband died. Then, I was new to craniosacral therapy (CST) and I had much to learn from my therapist. She said my body felt the same as someone who had just had major surgery. The grief was not all in my head - it was in my nervous system. How could I forget that?!

 Grief as a physical presence

To illustrate for you the kinds of feelings that grief can bring to a body, here's a commentary of what I was experiencing and feeling over the course of an hour in the middle of the night. At first, there was a sharp pain running up and down my back on the left side. Then I felt what seemed like a big lump in the centre of my chest - a heart of darkness, so filled with fear it was. It was pushing down like a line of football players on my diaphragm. It was a fist of anger, frustration, resistance against my diaphragm. And my diaphragm was a protector, like a mother letting her child rail against her, strong enough to bear the force of the pushing. I noticed a tingling, an itchiness, in my left nostril and sinus. Eventually, I began to feel an expansion in my chest, like I was uncurling from a fetal position and stretching out. Suddenly, there was a white electric ball between the front lower left two ribs. At first it was the size of a tennis ball, then it diminished to a squash ball, then a marble. And the heat! It was releasing so much heat. Then it was the size of a bebe, a ball bearing, and moving within my diaphragm across to the left flank. Finally, it dissolved into waves of energy that travelled through my pelvis and out through my toes. 

What was going on?

In a way, it's like I was a witness watching a spectacular dance that was happening within my body. You may recognize some of these sensations if you have had a CST treatment. For me, in my body at this time, the sensations of grief centred around my heart. The energy of the grief was intense, yet I was not aware of it as painful. At first, the energy was contained in my cardiac plexus, which is a junction of the sympathetic nervous system and tightening my pericardium, the fascial covering around my heart. It was radiating downward against the diaphragm, yet the diaphragm itself didn't feel nervous activation. The emotions I was experiencing - fear, anger, frustration - were expressions of the grief and trapped in the tissues in that area of my body. It's possible they may have been trapped in these tissues from a previous loss or grief. That can certainly happen, though I wasn't having any memories. I experienced a sense of detachment. As the dance evolved, the muscles and fascia of my chest released their tension and I felt the relief of expansion, of uncurling. I don't know what the tingling in my nose and sinuses was about. The ball of electrical energy in the muscles between my ribs diminished in size as I acknowledged its presence, and eventually became very small as it released its energy as heat. It find it amusing that it rolled across the transverse diaphragm and dissipated in waves down my leg. All that drama in my chest became peaceful waves moving rhythmically down my leg. Reminds me of the poem about the world ending not with a bang but a whimper!

Grief is a process

What I have described was an event in a series of bodily releases of grief. More recently, I've had a CST treatment that focused on the psoas and iliacus muscles in my hips, which resulted in vibration and tightness radiating into my thighs. The sympathetic nervous system is the fight-or-flight mechanism, so it makes sense that my running muscles would be activated. It reminds me of my first walk after my dog died many years ago. I went out alone the next morning on our usual route, and noticed myself marching through the underbrush raising my knees high and with such force! I was discharging the emotions, the heartbreak, the desolation of being alone on my walks now.

Where is grief?

I've treated clients who were experiencing loss and asked them where they felt the grief. One said in her forehead. Another felt it in the lower abdomen. It is individual, and it may show up in a new area after one set of tissues has allowed the energy to move on. I am amazed by my body, and by the awareness that I've learned through CST.

If you are experiencing a loss or series of losses, and you are ready to process and begin to let go of the trauma, craniosacral therapy is a safe and supportive approach to grieving.

My Journey with Craniosacral

I want to begin this blog by saying how grateful I am. There’s so much for us to understand about how our bodies respond to injury, however slight it may seem at the time, and of course the psychological component of that injury, and how that injury can truly heal.

My Body Before

Let me unpack that a little. I’m grateful to have been introduced to biodynamic craniosacral therapy by Heidi Lauber in 2010 as a client of her massage practice. I didn’t know what it was – I’d never heard of it – and didn’t really grasp the concept. And now here I am, 6 years on, and I am light years ahead in being aware of, listening to and knowing my body – most days! I’m grateful that my body is not so hidden to myself as it used to be. Before I was just stumbling around doing a little of this and a little of that, hoping that somehow it would contribute to my health. A little yoga, a little acupuncture, fairly regular massages, physiotherapy when I developed a frozen shoulder, and lots of hot relaxing baths. What I lacked was an awareness of the present health of my body to tell me what it needed. I usually waited for aches and pains to show up, and then believed that alleviating those was the path to health.  But truly, most of the time I was pretty oblivious to how my body felt at that moment. I think that’s pretty common in our busy lives!

"It's nothing...get over it"

Injury (and insult) to the tissues of the body can be as simple as bumping my arm on the doorframe and getting a bruise, or as invasive as major surgery that cuts into deep tissues. Both are a trauma, physical and psychological. I was taught as a little girl not to cry at every bump and bruise – “it’s nothing, get over it”.  I learned at an early age to stop being aware of how pain felt. As an adult, I’d rub it absentmindedly and carry on with my mission. Later I might notice a bruise on my arm and wonder how I got that. No memory remained - consciously. 

Surgery

I’m blessed that I’ve never had surgery. But I’ve touched bodies that have, and even years after the surgical incision has healed, I’ve felt the pull and strain of the scar tissue, how it lacked the flexibility of the tissues around it. I could feel how this scar tissue, say in the lower abdomen, was affecting tissues quite a distance away - in the shoulder for example. Using my craniosacral touch, their body has been able to ease that tightness of tissues and alleviate the strain.

Grief and How the Body Feels It

In 2010, I was getting craniosacral therapy treatments and my husband was suffering with cancer. A few days after he died, I had an appointment scheduled. When my therapist put her hands on my ankles, she remarked that my body felt like someone’s who had just had major surgery. Really? What did she mean? I hadn’t had any physical trauma, yet my body, my nervous system, was in shock. Okay, I knew about the stages of grief: shock and denial being the first stage. But really? There was actually a physical sensation that she could feel using craniosacral therapy by putting her hands on my ankles. I was intrigued.  It was the beginning of a journey for me.

Healing as a Partnership

“You can’t heal unless you feel!” I’ve been told. Craniosacral therapy isn’t something I do to you. You are an active participant and creating your own body awareness. Part of the journey is learning to be present in your body, in this moment, and to notice the discomfort or pain, to notice the sense of relaxing and releasing, to notice the sense of heat or fullness or density or tightness or whatever. So when you are lying on my table, I am going to ask you what does that feel like – give me two words to describe it.  And together we will find a path to healing. I happen to think it’s a pretty exciting journey.

Sample It for Yourself

If you want to get a sense of what it might be like, I invite you to take a moment and tune in to yourself. What part(s) of your body are you most aware of? What 2 words describe the feeling in one of those parts? Is there an emotion associated with it? Stay with that for a few more moments. Is the sensation already changing? How do you describe it now?

Ready to Learn More?

Is this something you want to explore more fully with my help? Contact me!

The Stress Response

I imagine everyone can identify that feeling of edginess, maybe butterflies in the stomach, fast shallow breathing, racing mind. It occurs when we face a threat, when we are experiencing fear. This is the autonomic nervous system kicking in to prepare us to face the dragon, the danger.

What is your Nervous System doing?

Your nervous system, technically the sympathetic nervous system, prepares you for fight or flight. This body reaction is automatic: you don't say to your heart "beat faster". No, your brainstem activates reactions that are designed to keep you alive. Within microseconds, the adrenals have released the hormone adrenaline into the bloodstream to trigger a whole series of changes. Adrenaline surges through your limbs, heart and breath move faster, eyesight sharpens, digestion shuts down. And you may not be consciously aware of these body sensations - your whole focus is on the source of the threat!

What if this reaction continues?

If you are facing a series of threats or perceived threats throughout the day at your workplace for example, or if you live in a domestic violence situation, or if as a child you didn't feel safe from a parent or sibling - the body learns to stay in high alert. Chronic pain can cause this high alert too - like a smoke alarm that won't turn off. In the longer term, your adrenals release cortisol, a more long-lasting stress hormone than adrenaline. It's like having a foot on the accelerator all the time. It's very hard on your body.

How safe are you?

First thing I want to ask, what is making you feel unsafe? My years of work in family violence taught me that even the person who appears to have it all together may be hiding a situation that warrants being on high alert. Reach out for help if this is the case. Most companies and group insurance plans have counselling services that are confidential, and free or subsidized. Workplace bullying, family violence, addictions, debts - identify the threats you face and get yourself safe.

What do you do to take your foot off the accelerator?

If you think your immediate situation is safe, then let's look at what else might be going on. You may not be sleeping well and you crave a way to relax. This state of high alert might be a leftover from a previously unsafe situation that just became the new norm for you. Likely you've taken up practices to get relief that is at least temporary. What is your go-to to get your body out of the stress reaction? If you are like me you have one strategy you prefer and then a couple of back-ups. I've used baths, a glass or two of wine, exercise, distractions like TV or reading novels or Suduko. I'm in the process of switching over to healthier practices like journaling, meditation, chi kung, and yoga. How well have your strategies worked for you and for how long? Sometimes they can turn into an addiction where they cause even more stress.

How Craniosacral Therapy Helps

Craniosacral therapy enables your body to adjust its nervous response. If your body is functioning in high alert fight-flight mode, I will feel a trembling, a buzz, or a vibration when I place my hands on your ankles and tune in to your system. As the session progresses, your attention and mine to the sympathetic nervous system allows it to down-regulate, and your digestion begins to gurgle. This is a good sign! It is a sign that the 'rest-digest' parasympathetic mode of your nervous system is activated. It is like moving your foot to the brake. By the end of the session, you may feel deeply relaxed, your head a bit spacey, or your body limp. Knowing and experiencing this state may feel new or even uncomfortable for you. In this mode, the body does its repair and regeneration work. The ability of your body to regulate your nervous system is a sign of the health in your body. If you are having trouble taking your foot off the accelerator, try craniosacral therapy! It works!

 

Concussion - or just a little bump on the head

Photo by MaximFesenko/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by MaximFesenko/iStock / Getty Images

Concussions happen unexpectedly

A simple bump on the head that didn’t seem like much at the time – falling off a ladder, tripping on the stairs, a bicycle crash – may have jarred your jelly-like brain as it floated within the cerebral spinal fluid in your skull. It’s also known as TBI: mild traumatic brain injury.

Concussion symptoms

Headaches, dizziness, irritability, disrupted memory and concentration, altered mood, fatigue, or insomnia may be among your symptoms.

Craniosacral treatment works!

I’ve treated clients suffering from concussions who were amazed at how quickly craniosacral treatment relieved symptoms that had bothered them for days, weeks, even months. For some, coming out of the very first session, it was like night and day how much better they felt!

A blow to the head

You might have been in a car accident where your head bounced off something - the window or headrest. Or you may have been hit in a sports/recreation situation or a domestic violence incident.

To go or not to go...that is the question

I know what it’s like to debate with myself whether to make an appointment with my doctor. I am afraid that I’m making too much fuss about nothing – note to self, this is a saying from my childhood! Seek an evaluation from your doctor right away, even if it seems minor and inconvenient.

If you’ve had a concussion previously, especially one that hasn’t healed, then your brain is especially vulnerable. Children and adolescents need more recovery time than adults. By the way, Bike helmets are not designed to prevent concussions!

How does Craniosacral Therapy help?

Craniosacral therapy helps the physical and psychological after-effects of concussion.

1) The cranial bones (and the membrane attached on the underside called the dura mater) readjust from any displacement, compression or strain.

2) Tissues heal from any distension or displacement that occurred during the blow to the head. Reverberations from an impact to the head can cause stretching or twisting in some structures of the jelly-like brain, or in the folds of the dura mater membrane (the folds called the falx cerebri and tentorium cerebelli support the brain tissues).

3) Restrictions in circulation of the cerebral spinal fluid and blood are released so that flow of nutrients to your brain and removal of waste products are more efficient. 

4) The autonomic nervous system recalibrates from fight-or-flight mode or freeze-or-dissociation modes to a more balanced state. These modes are your body’s ways of coping with overwhelming experiences and are absolutely necessary for survival under the circumstances. But it’s very detrimental to all your body systems to operate in fight/flight or freeze/dissociation mode for any length of time. Think adrenal fatigue for one example. The value of craniosacral therapy for the autonomic nervous system needs a whole other blog to discuss. I’ll get right on that!

Psychological Symptoms

5) When you are in a situation where the event could possibly re-occur (for example, when your car could be rear-ended again), you may experience fear or anxiety. Or you may have flashbacks or nightmares of the event.

The psychological after-effects of the concussion may subside after craniosacral sessions. If the post-traumatic symptoms persist, you may want to see a counsellor for a session or two.

During a session, I encourage clients to focus on the bodily sensations they are feeling here and now. A feeling of calm and peace, a normal heart rate and skin temperature, and belly breathing are the signs of feeling safe - that your autonomic nervous system is not activated. Remembering these bodily sensations is an anchor you can return to if you feel anxious. That gives your cognitive processes a chance to kick in and evaluate whether you are actually in danger or just remembering what happened to you.

Softening the Belly

How do you hold your abdomen?

I was at a yoga workshop recently where I was challenged to become more aware of how I held my belly throughout the day. I noticed when I was driving, I held it pulled in as if in fear or anxiety. I let it go...let it soften. When I was standing, waiting in line at the grocery store, I was pulling my belly tight. I let it soften. We've been taught to suck in our bellies - that it's unflattering to let it hang out. We've been told: "Use those abs!" While a strong core is important, it depends on a well-functioning diaphragm.

How does your diaphragm move if you are holding in your stomach?

The diaphragm is the boundary between the thoracic cavity above and the pelvic cavity below. It is a a parachute-shaped muscle. When it flattens, it draws air into your lungs, and massages the digestive organs. When you breathe out, it domes, pushing the air out of your lungs. It is meant to move freely, without restriction. Place one hand on the solar plexus area at the bottom of your sternum, the bone that runs vertically down from your collar bone. Place the back of the other hand on the small of your back. You are holding the diaphragm between your hands. Consciously let the diaphragm relax, soften. Notice the health of your diaphragm. Its movement is automatically controlled by the brainstem, by the autonomic nervous system. Now suck in your belly. Notice how restricted the movement of the diaphragm is. When the belly is held tight, all the connective tissues and the diaphragm tighten up as well.  

So what are the effects of a tight abdomen?

The tightness of your abdomen constricts your digestive functions and may cause the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Notice if there is pain or inflammation that you are tightening up against. The tightness can also be due to the fight or flight response to stress. Our body is built for survival, to fight or run when it senses danger but it also responds this way to a stressful situation. Your digestion shuts down in fight or flight. The diaphragm is also involved in posture and low back pain is a symptom of a poorly functioning diaphragm.

Unlearning the tight belly

Three suggestions: 1) Place your hands on your belly when you lie down to sleep and notice how your breath causes your belly to rise and fall - like a baby breathes! You'll also notice your lower ribs expanding. 2) Gently bring your awareness to how you are holding your belly during the day, not judging, just noticing. 3) Listen to the following meditation for yourself in a quiet moment. I have loved and used this meditation written by Stephen Levine in A Year to Live (1997) for many years. It's about seven minutes. 

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

I decided to talk about irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) because it is a condition I am well acquainted with. It’s so common that everyone knows at least one person with this problem. With craniosacral therapy, I’ve found a way to get relief from the most acute symptoms. Yay! But living with IBS is an everyday practice and I’m still learning.

Since I was in my 20s, my digestive system has been sensitive. Finally in my 40s, I figured out that dairy products made it worse. After a number of medical tests, my doctor eliminated other diseases and conditions, and concluded it was IBS. There is no cure. It was up to me to control it as best I could by watching what I ate and my stress levels. This is pretty typical of the journey of those of us, mostly women, who have IBS.

It’s embarrassing – the noxious smells my bed partner had to put up with, the sudden incontinence in a clothing store, bad breath, and my seeming pickiness when I went to someone’s for dinner.

It’s painful. My bowel gets inflamed from certain foods and tries to expel its contents over and over again. This can go on for days. I have the diarrhea type of IBS. Some people have the constipation type. And for some, their bodies have diarrhea and constipation alternately. Not fun! And it interferes with daily life, having to adjust one’s activities or even cancel at the last minute. Some people miss days of work because of the condition.

What I’ve learned, though, from craniosacral work is to be in relationship with the health in my digestion rather than the malfunction. I am grateful for each organ of the system and what it contributes. I feel loving toward the whole of it, its synchrony like the instruments of an orchestra. When I tip it over the edge of its capability, and it reacts in pain, I go to my craniosacral therapist who lays her gentle hands on my belly. It begins to reorganize and gurgle. Then I become aware of a burning sensation in one area. As this subsides, there’s an inner peace and calm that suffuses my whole body. This is the gift of craniosacral therapy – to move within an hour from discomfort and disruption to peace and calm physically and emotionally Ahhh…

I had a desperate episode last July, and on the Internet discovered the FODMAP diet at Kate Scarlata's site. This has been so helpful to me in identifying the specific components in foods that set me off. I found a 2-part seminar for IBS sufferers that was very helpful. The Alberta Health Services have specialized professionals that offer individual sessions as well.

In addition, I have taken up a daily Chi Kung practice that promotes digestion. I read a charming book called Gut by a doctor and her illustrator sister that gave me a better appreciation of how intricate digestion is. #IBelieveinyourStory