Blog for Self Healing

Here you’ll find information about self-healing your digestion with EFT Tapping, home remedies for IBS, diet and lifestyle methods that help you find relief.

Insomnia A Problem? Take Our Better Sleep Quiz.

1. Are you ingesting too much caffeine before bed?
Check how much chocolate, coffee, regular or green tea, caffeinated soft drinks, and alcohol you consume late in the day. These items speed up your heart rate and can keep you awake.

2. Is your bedroom dark enough?
Your eyes need full darkness to relax completely and allow your optic nerve to relax. The optic nerve carries visual messages to your brain even when there’s the tiniest bit of light and your eyes are closed. When the optic nerve relaxes, your whole nervous system can relax, allowing you to get a good sleep.

So unplug night-lights, cover up the display on your digital clock, make sure you have no other light sources showing inside your bedroom, and get blinds or curtains that totally block light from outside your window….

A Gluten-Free Snack for Sweet-Lovers

Here’s a quick, gluten-free snack you can eat if you love sweets but don’t want to munch out on cookies and other grain-based foods.

Ingredients:

1. Whole, unsweetened dates e.g. Medjool, Deglet Noor, Empress
(Don’t use cooking dates which tend to be mushed together)

2. Nut butter—almond, hazelnut, cashew, etc.
(Choose your favourite. I like raw almond butter.)

3. Cinnamon

Instructions…

Popcorn Stabbed Me in the Gut

Fluffy, crunchy popcorn, so light and delicious—who can resist it?

I couldn’t. Until I realized I got a horrible stabbing pain in the right side of my lower abdomen after I ate it. Has that ever happened to you?

How do I know it was the popcorn that was causing my abdominal pain?…

Are IBS and Fibromyalgia Linked?

Dr. Robert Scaer says yes.

Dr. Scaer is a neurologist so he looks at physical health from the perspective of the brain. This might seem to you like a big leap—that the way our brain reacts could affect our body, but stick with me. Dr. Scaer makes a very convincing argument for his point of view.

If you want to read exactly what he says, get a copy of his book, The Trauma Spectrum. Here’s my nutshell version…

What is Trauma and What the Heck Does it Have to do With My IBS?

When you hear the word, “trauma”, what pops into your mind? Memories of 9/11? Visions of tsunamis, earthquakes, war, murder, rape, or other horrors from the evening news? Maybe you flash on a serious car accident or a house fire. One thing is for sure. It’s easy to understand how these events could be traumatizing and have long-lasting negative effects on your mental or physical health.

What if you’ve never experienced anything like that? Do all traumas involve such big, dramatic events? Trauma researchers like Dr. Robert Scaer, Peter Levine PhD, and David Berceli PhD think not.

Dr. Scaer defines a trauma as any situation where you feel your life or safety is threatened AND you feel helpless to do anything about it. This really opens up the possibilities of what you might experience as a trauma, including events that many of us think of as a “normal” part of growing up. Like smashing into a curb and falling off your bike, being yelled at or bullied by someone bigger than you, or being embarrassed in front of the whole class.

But what does trauma have to do with IBS?…

According to the physicians and researchers who study the way your brain and body process trauma, the survival brain or “limbic system” powerfully affects your immune system, your heart and circulatory system, your blood pressure, your hormones and, of course, your digestive system.

When you go through a trauma and it is not released from your body and brain at the time it happens, it can cause problems even years later. IBS, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, migraine, and related depression and anxiety are all outcomes of trauma, according to trauma specialists. Bowel movements are controlled by an automatic system in your body that is seriously disrupted by the effects of trauma.

This is nothing to do with psychology. It is really about neurology and how the brain stores your experiences to help you survive.

Fortunately, trauma can be gently processed out of your brain and body so your digestive system is no longer triggered to react. A mind-body technique like EFT can help to re-program your nervous system and bring back the automatic systems of your body to proper functioning, breaking the cycle of IBS symptoms.

Imagine the possibilities! It’s important to recognize that when trauma underlies IBS symptoms, it does NOT have to dictate the state of your health for the rest of your life. You CAN do something about it and take control of your Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

More on trauma:

(For a checklist of trauma experiences that are common to people with IBS, scroll down to the end of this article.)

Doctors Scaer, Berceli, Levine and Servan-Schreiber trace the roots of trauma back to childhood.

Who is more helpless than a young child? Developmentally, children under age 7 or 8 have no ability to filter or reject incoming information. They have no choice but to accept all input as true. So when they are told they are ugly, fat, stupid, selfish, bad or that no one likes them, they accept it as fact, even when the message is implied rather than overt. They then begin to develop unhealthy coping strategies and behaviours to help them deal with life. To a child, this is what he or she must do to survive.

What do children experience as threatening? There are many examples, including bullying at home or school, alcoholic or mentally unstable caregivers, constant criticism or emotionally invasive parenting. However, even in the most loving families, trauma can be stored by the brain when the child has been through an accident, house fire, near-drowning, move to a new city or country, or some other change over which the child has no control.

Even disapproval from an important adult can feel life-threatening because children depend on adults for survival. We’ve all experienced that feeling of dying inside when someone criticizes us. The child’s mind can interpret this feeling literally.

While such an extreme fear may not make sense to the thinking part of the brain, this unconscious, instinctive response is how the survival part of the brain works. And, in fact, the survival brain has some reason for concern. Numerous studies have shown that babies who are not held and looked after often die. In ancient times, tribal members who were banished from the protection and community of the tribe did not survive long on their own. The survival brain is no doubt coded with memories of this fear.

But children are neither babies nor banished tribal members. So what’s the problem? Is a little disapproval really life-threatening to a child? After all, every child experiences disapproval at one time or another and not all children are traumatized.

In a normal healthy relationship, parents teach their children about safety and boundaries through mild disapproval. When a closely bonded relationship exists between parent and child, the child is resilient enough to handle the disapproval and to benefit from the lesson.

What makes a child resilient? Why are some able to bounce back and recover from a negative experience while others are devastated by it?

The relationship or bond between an infant and its primary caregiver, usually the mother, is very important to developing resiliency in a child. Close eye-to-eye contact with its mother positively affects the way a baby’s brain develops. When this contact and bonding does not happen, the brain has trouble developing in certain areas, particularly those parts that are in charge of emotions and the ability to recover from negative or traumatic experiences.

This means that, as the child grows, he or she tends to be more fearful and anxious, suffers more from setbacks, and is more likely to interpret disapproval as dangerous and threatening rather than just a temporary reaction from the parent.

Another reason some experience an event as traumatic while others don’t is: level of vulnerability. Age is a factor. Children, by nature, are more vulnerable than adults because their brains are still in the process of developing. The child brain does not yet have the reasoning capacity of the adult brain. Children just don’t have the life experience to be able to “put things into perspective.”

The number of times you are exposed to a negative situation also affects how vulnerable you are. When traumatic events happen often and accumulate over time, the greater the negative effects. Past experiences of trauma make you more vulnerable to experiencing future events as traumatic. It’s the “once burned, twice shy” reaction.

What’s important to realize is that no one chooses to feel traumatized. Your reaction to trauma is instinctual. It’s an automatic survival response that is affected by your previous experiences, but is not under your conscious control.

That being said, the impact of trauma and traumatic memories CAN be released from your brain and body. The No IBS Program uses EFT tapping for this purpose, and there are a handful of other methods. EFT tapping is the only method we know of that you can apply yourself, which means you can use it whenever you need it.

Once you release the trauma memories, you “de-activate” the triggers that set off your Autonomic Nervous System to respond with Irritable Bowel symptoms. That means you can significantly reduce and even end your symptoms. IBS clients report to us that they find relief from their emotional symptoms of anxiety and depression, as well as their physical symptoms of diarrhea, constipation, pain, etc.

Trauma experiences:

  • car accident
  • other accident – skiing, bicycle, fall from a tree, etc.
  • sudden shock
  • bullying at home, at school, or at work
  • change of schools
  • a move that was not under your control
  • house fire
  • near-drowning
  • unexpected death of loved one or petchildhood abuse (shouting, hitting, etc. or witnessing these things
  • directed at another family member)
  • work abuse (boss from hell, etc.)
  • born in a hospital especially pre-1990
  • difficult birth
  • surgery as child or adult
  • parents separated or divorced when you were a child or adult
  • persecution of self, family members, or grandparents (religious, political, gender, etc.)
  • war or disaster experience
  • other

If reading through this list upsets you, follow the tapping procedure in any of our No IBS Videos on Youtube or watch the video at the bottom of the Disclaimer page, and substitute your reaction (upset, angry, scared, etc.) for the issue Kathy is tapping on. Or you can just think about what’s bothering you while you tap along with her. Keep tapping until you feel calmer.

What is IBS?

IBS is short for Irritable Bowel Syndrome and is characterized by abnormal functioning of the bowel. It is the most common digestive disorder seen by doctors. It is sometimes called Spastic Colon.

IBS symptoms vary from person to person but typically include pain, gas, bloating, and either diarrhea, constipation or both. For people with IBS and diarrhea, urgency and frequent trips to the bathroom can become a nightmare that causes a paralyzing change in lifestyle. Some people are unable to travel or even hold a job due to the unpredictability of their condition.

Medically speaking there is no known cause or cure for IBS. Diagnoses involves ruling out other disorders that have similar symptoms including, but not limited to, colon cancer, celiac disease, Crohn’s Disease, colitis and bacterial infections. With IBS there is no damage to the intestines; rather it is the functioning of the bowel that is the problem. It is often when nothing else fits that the diagnosis of Irritable Bowel Syndrome is given.

An often overlooked contributor to IBS is the effect that negative emotional experiences and trauma have on this disorder. Dr Robert Scaer, neurologist and researcher, includes IBS along with Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, Migraine, Asthma, and Multiple Chemical Sensitivities as ‘diseases of trauma’.

Only two conditions need be present to constitute a trauma: a threat to survival and at the same time, a feeling of being helpless to do anything about this threat. It is easy to understand how a house fire, a car accident or a personal attack (mugging) could constitute a traumatic event. But other situations such as bullying by a parent, teacher or boss can become traumatic and have physical effects on the body as well.

For young children however, many situations would fit the criteria for trauma. Any type of abuse, whether physical, emotional or sexual, is severely traumatizing for children. But because children are completely dependent on adults, even disapproval or constant criticism can be experienced as a threat to survival.

Trauma-generated IBS is not a purely physical condition, nor is it a psychological condition. As Dr. David Berceli points out in his book, The Revolutionary Trauma Release Process, it is in fact a neurological condition. In other words, the way the brain stores and processes trauma is what leads to the symptoms of IBS.

Because IBS is a condition that involves both the mind and the body, any effective IBS treatment also needs to address both the mind and the body.

What is EFT?

Imagine that you feel anxious, or you have a headache, or your stomach is upset. What do you do? Pop a pill? Drink some herbal tea? Lie down and wait for it to go away?

What about gently tapping on your face and torso with your fingers while you focus on the problem?

If you’re like most of us, it’s probably not the first thing you’d think of doing. Or even the second.

But, every day, thousands of people all over the world use this surprisingly effective method to relieve many types of physical and emotional distress, from chronic pain to anxiety and phobias…

It’s called the Emotional Freedom Techniques® or EFT®.

Of course, you can’t just tap anywhere and get results. EFT is a form of mind-body medicine that uses very specific tapping points called meridian points or acupressure points. They are little power centers in the body that are also used for healing in the science of acupuncture, although in EFT no needles are ever used.

Gary Craig, who developed EFT, calls it “an emotional form of acupuncture.” Dr. Robert Scaer names it as one of the few mind/body techniques that reduces symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome because it helps to release the stored trauma that triggers IBS.

Why would tapping with our fingers help with health problems or emotional conditions? That’s the fascinating question!

You might not think of yourself this way but your body is more than just flesh and blood. In addition to the physical parts of us that we can see, we’re made up of a network of energy centers and pathways that are invisible to the eye. These pathways are known as meridians.

This is similar to the electrical wiring in your house. If there’s a short in the wiring that goes to the kitchen, you won’t be able to turn on the lights, the fridge goes off, or the microwave won’t zap anything. You could try replacing the light bulbs or having your appliances fixed, but the fact is, nothing will work properly until you get the electricity flowing through the wires again.

The meridians are like those electrical wires, flowing energy through your body. When you get zapped by a bad experience, traumatic memory, or an accident, your energy system short-circuits and stops flowing. This blockage can lead to physical and emotional symptoms: pain, headaches, digestive problems, anxiety, depression, foggy thinking and memory lapses, poor performance at work or school…there’s a long list of possibilities.

On the other hand, when we “fix” the short circuit and restore the flow of energy by tapping on the meridian points, our physical or emotional discomfort can go away.

It almost sounds too easy, doesn’t it? Simple as it sounds, this method is based on the profound wisdom of the 4,000-year-old tradition of energy medicine, updated for the 21st century.

So, how do you tap to make yourself feel better? Probably the easiest way to learn how to do it is to watch the Tapping Tutorial video at the end of this article, then you can tap along and experience it for yourself. (We could have written out a long, detailed explanation but a video is definitely worth several thousand words.) This is the actual tapping tutorial for The No IBS Program. The Program leads you step-by-step through the specifics of tapping to relieve IBS, and provides other vital information you’ll need if you’ve decided to self-heal your condition.

One of the wonderful things about tapping is that it’s a method anyone can learn and self-apply. Since you can use it on yourself, you don’t have to pay for endless sessions with a practitioner. In fact, even if you do go to a practitioner, you won’t need endless sessions because EFT often gives results in a short period of time. And the results are like receiving compound interest—the benefits keep adding on to each other and increasing.

But let’s be honest. Learning to tap is like learning any new skill. It takes a bit of time and patience until you get used to the idea of trying it on everything. You may have to break through your own resistance to moving beyond the same-old, same-old. To paraphrase Einstein, if what you’ve tried so far hasn’t worked to solve your problem, you need to expand your thinking and try something a little different.

Once you learn how to tap, it can give you a whole new level of mastery and control in your life and help you to become happier, healthier, and more successful. And isn’t that what you wanted?

Tapping Tutorial:

Note: EFT and meridian tapping are not considered substitutes for appropriate medical and psychological treatment. Always consult a qualified health professional about what treatments are best for you.

The Emotional Freedom Techniques and EFT are registered trademarks of Gary Craig.

Quinoa? Queen Noah? A Great Food for IBS.

How to Cook Quinoa (and pronounce it.)

When I first saw the word “quinoa”, I thought it was pronounced “Queen-Noah.” (Hey, don’t laugh. I’ve heard weirder ways of saying it.) Then I found out you say, “Keen-wah.”

Quinoa contains soluble fiber—a good choice when you have IBS. It also contains nine essential amino acids so it offers complete protein, which is very unusual for a grain. Maybe that’s why the Incas, who originally grew it, called it their “gold”. It gave strength to their warriors….