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  • Writer's pictureCristine Enriquez

Digestion and the gut-brain connection

Have you ever noticed how your emotions can impact how you feel physically? When you’re experiencing joy you feel balanced and your stomach feels calm and when you’re stressed or emotional your stomach can feel upset and you might even feel extra tired and drained.

This is because our mind and gut are interconnected, the brain and the body are always communicating back and forth via the vegas nerve, it is this activity that impacts the 'parasympathetic', rest and digest and the 'sympathetic' nervous system, fight or flight response.

When you have experienced trauma or prolonged stress the vegas nerve responsible for these responses loses tone and becomes weak. This can be linked to increased anxiety and/or depression as well as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, chronic illness, and digestive issues such as IBS. Vagal tone and healthy digestion is therefore a key component in disease preventative.

An interesting study in mice found that feeding them a probiotic reduced the amount of stress hormone in their blood. However, when their vagus nerve was cut, the probiotic had no effect. This also suggests that the vagus nerve is important in the gut-brain axis and its role in stress.

Vagal tone

  • Increasing your vagal tone activates the parasympathetic nervous system, and having higher vagal tone means that your body can relax faster after stress.

  • Cold Exposure Acute cold exposure – Showers, ice baths and sea swimming

  • Deep and Slow Breathing

  • Singing, Humming, Chanting and Gargling - The vagus nerve is connected to your vocal cords and the muscles at the back of your throat. Singing, humming, chanting and gargling can activate these muscles and stimulate your vagus nerve.

  • Meditation - can stimulate the vagus nerve and increase vagal tone. Research shows that meditation increases vagal tone and positive emotions and promotes feelings of goodwill towards yourself.

  • Exercise

  • Massage

Healthy digestion

To aid mental and physical disorders you need to address both the mind and the gut simultaneously. The digestion of not only the food we intake but also the ideas, memories, and emotions we experience. Taking this approach can result in a calm, steady mind and nervous system, the key to optimal wellbeing and disease preventative.

We highly recommend speaking to a qualified Ayurvedic health counsellor as a one-size-fits all answer to healthy digestion doesn’t exist. In our diverse and busty life’s advice needs to be tailored to the individual. We are thrilled to announce our in-house consultant will be offering services from June 2022. Please do get in touch if you would like to book an appointment.

Call us to arrange a free care assessment 020 7916 7961


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