So what does gut health have to do with Craniosacral Therapy?
In Craniosacral Therapy we work with the nervous system and I have previously written about the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems but did you know the gastro intestinal tract (GI) has its own nervous system call the Enteric Nervous system. The enteric nervous system regulates both digestive and absorptive processes and is located all along the GI tract from the mouth to the anus. The enteric nervous system connects with the central nervous system via the Vagus Nerve and other neural pathways. However it can also act independently of the Central nervous system which is why the digestive system is often referred to as the Second Brain as it has its own system of neurons and glial cells.
Have you every thought about the expressions 'gut instinct' and 'listen to your gut', having 'butterflies in your tummy'? Have you noticed that you may need to go to the loo more often when you are scared or stressed, or the opposite if you find that you are 'holding onto things"? These are all messages from your enteric nervous system and I would encourage you to listen to it.
Sometimes the lining of the gut can become 'damaged' and the protective epithelial layer develops 'holes' allowing allergens and pathogens to enter the blood stream. This is often termed leaky gut.
What else happens in the gut?
70% of your immune system is in your gut
50% of your domaine is found in the enteric nervous system. Dopamine helps nerve cells to send message to each other.
90% of the hormone serotonin is produced in the intestinal tract. Serotonin is the hormone responsible for affecting our mood, learning and memory. Without the correct balance of gut microbiome in the gastro intestinal tract, 40% less serotonin is produced. Not enough serotonin is thought to contribute to depression, so this is one of the link between food and mood.
In order for these processes to work effectively we need to look after our gut. Read on to find out what you can do to improve the functioning of you gut and enteric nervous system.
Try to eat at least 30 different fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices nuts and seeds in a week. Variety is the key to have a good balanced gut biome.
You may want to think about taking a probiotic to improve your gut microbiome. These come in powders, capsules or in drinks such as yogurt drinks.
Observe your stress levels, as when we are stressed and the body is in fight and flight your rest and digest phase is inhibited and your digestive system does not work as efficiently.
Take time to eat, sit down observe what you are eating, take in the smell, flavour and texture of the foods.
Breath: sounds simple but by taking a few deep breathes first thing in the morning will move your respiratory diaphragm and massage you digestive system as well as calming your central nervous system allowing you parasympathetic nervous system to go into rest and digest.
Next weekend I am attending a cookery class with Fearless in the Kitchen focusing on Health Gut and Happy Hormones. I am looking forward to learning new recipes and ways to keep my gut happy and healthy.
If you feel you need support to manage your diet and digestion I recommend contacting Registered nutritionist Minna Wood at Metawell.
During a Craniosacral Therapy session we can work with your digestive system, releasing tension, improving the motility and connection with your enteric nervous system. If you would like to find out more please get in touch.