If you or a loved one suffer from the debilitating effects of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), you’re probably well aware of how difficult it can be to manage the condition. From mild discomfort to acute pain and embarrassing situations, IBS is a long-term condition that must be carefully managed. We explore how hypnotherapy and stimulating the little-known Vagus nerve can assist people who suffer from IBS and help them to manage the disorder.
While the definitive causes of IBS are not well understood, our knowledge of the body and, more specifically, our intricate nervous system means that we can now manage the disorder through effective treatments like hypnosis.
In this article, we explore the vagus nerve – the longest and most complex of the 12 pairs of cranial nerves, which is responsible for regulating many of our organs, including the gut, and their functions – and how we can use hypnotherapy to stimulate this “wonder nerve” to manage and even take control of IBS.
The Vagus nerve – Your Brain-Gut Superhighway
Before we get into how we can use hypnotherapy to stimulate the vagus nerve, we need to understand the biology of it all. The vagus nerve forms a part of the body’s nervous system called the parasympathetic nervous system. In contrast to the sympathetic component of the system (which increases things like heart rate, breathing and blood pressure), the parasympathetic decreases or lowers rates and processes.
Back to the vagus nerve then. This bundle of nerve fibres transmits information from the brain to many vital organs, including the lungs, heart and gut, while allowing the brain to receive information about their different functions as well. The nerve consists of a left and right component, running from the cranium and down the neck before branching out into a network that reaches these organs.
While we know that the vagus nerve plays a critical role in regulating the functioning of your intestines and gut, it can also be stimulated to induce feelings of relaxation and calm.
The Vagus nerve & IBS – Taking Control of the Communications Network
IBS sufferers experience discomfort because the gut isn’t working correctly. Often this is due to overstimulation triggered by – you guessed it – malfunctioning nervous system processes. This means that if we’re able to tap into the vagus nerve and use it to suppress or better regulate processes, we can alleviate the pain and overstimulation caused by IBS.
We do know that hypnotherapy is the ideal tool for inducing a state of calm and communication with internal body functions by accessing the subconscious, making hypnosis a great partner to plugging into the nervous system through the vagus nerve.
Hypnotherapy & the Vagus nerve – Working Together, Towards a Better Gut
The vagus nerve is seen as the body’s “information superhighway.” Its vast network reaches organs like the stomach, small intestine and colon, making it the perfect conduit through which to access the parts of our bodies that are most affected by IBS.
Since the vagus nerve forms part of the parasympathetic nervous system (which slows things down), this makes it the perfect partner to hypnotherapeutic exercises. Hypnotherapy allows us to reach the subconscious, bypassing the conscious mind through techniques designed to induce deep relaxation and calm.
Eventually, we can even stimulate the vagus nerve to improve its functioning and trigger a suppression of the digestive overstimulation caused by IBS, alleviating symptoms and teaching the body to better regulate itself.
Mastering the Vagus nerve – With Hypnocare
At Hypnocare, we’re always looking for new ways to master the science behind hypnotherapy. Whether practising ancient techniques or turning to more contemporary methods, our therapists operate with an open mind in pursuit of our primary goal – wellness for our Clients
We know how debilitating IBS can be, and we believe that through careful treatment and therapy, the causes and symptoms of this condition can be managed more effectively.
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