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