In a recent study from the University of California, Los Angeles, doctors discovered that educating patients with mind-body medicine approaches to reduce stress improves many of the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). IBS is a difficult health condition that is characterized by chronic diarrhea and abdominal cramps that can be triggered by stress. IBS impacts approximately 15 percent of the population in the United States.
Stress Reduction Efforts Work
In the study, doctors educated patients using mind-body techniques to reduce stress. Patients were taught to control their thoughts when they began to experience symptoms. Study participants attended two-hour educational sessions once a week for five weeks. Sessions included information about how the brain regulates digestion. Participants were also educated how stress impacts IBS symptoms and approaches for symptom management.
As a result, patients saw a significant reduction in symptoms, validating the theory that there is a connection between the mind and gut responses. Study participants reported improvements to quality of life, improved mental health and fewer IBS episodes after participating in the program.
Irritable bowel syndrome has no known triggering cause, nor is there any cure for it. It can be extremely disruptive to the life of someone who has it. Although a few treatments have been shown to be effective, they do not work for everyone. Fiber supplements and dietary lifestyle changes such as a gluten-free or wheat-free diet have been known to also provide relief.
Mind-body medicine is growing in popularity as a valid approach to treat many medical conditions. Although mind-body medicine might not cure ailments, it can help reduce symptoms and improve patients’ coping skills, resulting in better overall health.
Do you use mind-body approaches to help you cope with health conditions? Would you be open to learning more about them, given the opportunity?
– The Alternative Daily