More people today are aware of the connection between the mind and body when it comes to healing. Maybe you’ve cleaned up your diet, are trying to manage stress and are taking supplements daily to better support your overall health. Therapies such as massage, yoga and meditation are often used as well. In many cases, it may take a multi-therapeutic approach to help balance the mind-body connection for full healing to take place. This means focusing on a variety of healing methods. Quite often, there may be some missing pieces or tools when it comes to supporting the body as a whole.
This article will help you understand the role of Reiki on the gut microbiome and its effect on the entire body.
The Mind-Body Connection
As we dive deeper, it’s important to understand that the mind and body are interconnected mainly through what is called the gut-brain axis. This connection can trigger shifts in the mental and physical body when a person experiences a change. As we go through seasons of life, we are often faced with challenges, stress and all other sorts of emotions or experiences. Our minds and bodies will have a unique response to every event. In many cases, our bodies shift out of homeostasis. Homeostasis is when the systems of the body are in equilibrium and functioning optimally. Healing can be looked at as the way to support the body to return to its natural rhythm or homeostasis.
As you keep reading, you’ll learn about how the gut microbiome is connected to whole body health. In addition, how a specific therapy called Reiki, along with diet and other lifestyle changes can be used to promote healing. This therapy may be the missing piece to feeling like your true self once and for all.
The microbiome can be the root cause of many diseases or imbalances throughout the whole body. The microbiome can become imbalanced due to physical or emotional stress. Note that stress is more than just an emotional state. This is something we will get into more very soon. There is a channel of communication that runs from the brain to the gut. Think of it as a telephone cord. This cord is known as the vagus nerve. Just like a telephone supports communication, the nerve does as well. This is through the gut-brain axis. In fact, messages can be sent both ways through the vagus nerve. As we move through different life stages, the communication will vary and impact the human body in all sorts of ways. Interestingly enough, the ecology of the gut can change drastically depending on one’s external environment. This change can negatively impact the entire body and act as a barrier to healing. Take a look at the different stressors that cause an imbalance of beneficial bacteria in the microbiome.
Stressors on the Microbiome
- Environmental factors
- Emotional stress and anxiety
- Medications or antibiotic use
- Lack of breast milk as an infant
- C-Section birth
Many individuals come across dysbiosis or an imbalance of microbes in the gut from instances like those listed above, especially in our modern day society. The imbalances can cause a disruption to homeostasis in the body. Because the microbiome is home to our neurotransmitters and most of our immune system, we start to see other parts of the body become imbalanced. Even brain chemistry, which can affect overall mood.
The Missing Piece
The next step is to correct the issue. Usually easier said than done. Some of the biggest and more obvious remedies are to stop eating foods that trigger gut inflammation, remove any toxins and support the microbiome with the right supplements and foods.
What if there was another missing link to healing?
The gut can become much more susceptible and less resilient in fighting off harmful contaminants when exposed to such toxins or instances if a person is under emotional distress. So while taking the other essential steps to healing into consideration, it should be just as important to address the emotional body.
The deep, spiritual aspect is like the missing puzzle piece when we focus on the mind-body connection and healing the entire body.
Changing the way we live, how we spend our time and what we think, can improve the state of our mind. This information is communicated to the microbiome and can have a positive role on the gut and overall healing. By setting an intention to slow down and explore the emotional body, individuals often make it through each day less reactive. They can control stress better and understand what their body truly needs on an intuitive level. This provides additional tools that are essential to healing the microbiome and entire body.
Reiki – A Healing Therapy
A practice called Reiki can assist in the healing process for the physical, mental and emotional body of a person. Reiki is known as the life force energy that freely flows through us. Typically, an individual will lie on a massage table comfortably and fully clothed. A practitioner will use a light touch or no touch at all.
Practitioners believe that when this energy is blocked it affects the mind and body negatively. The purpose of performing Reiki is to reinforce the natural healing mechanisms that our bodies have. In many cases, this can help with stress reduction and relaxation. Most individuals receiving Reiki will feel warmth, tingling or a sense of calm wash over them.
As we know, the impact of stress can negatively impact the microbiome and set off a cascade of other imbalances. Reiki can be utilized to specifically focus on the microbiome. This therapy is aligned with the chakra system or the spiritual and energetic systems of the body. The gut region holds two chakras. The solar plexus and the sacral chakra. When these centers are energetically blocked, digestive issues may arise. Take a look at the meaning behind these two chakras.
Anatomically, the solar plexus is located in the upper abdomen. Energetically, its holds the meaning of belief in one’s self. This includes self-confidence and esteem, trust in self and also sense of self. Emotional imbalances include perfectionism, anxiety, lack of confidence, worry and fear.
The sacral chakra is located in the lower abdomen, a few inches below the belly button. This chakra relates to emotions, a sense of one’s self, creativity and connections with others or relationships. Often times, imbalances include guilt, self-destruction and poor relationships.
The connection between the emotional and physical outcome is strong. As described earlier, an imbalance due to certain emotions or feelings can result in gut disturbances. Particularly things like constipation, cramps, digestive issues and abdominal pain.
The Next Steps in Whole-Body Healing
So let’s take a look at important next steps when it comes to healing the body. By large, it is important to focus on the state of the microbiome from a physical, mental and emotional point of view. Reiki therapy may be an essential missing tool to implement with other important changes. Reiki practice and its effects may be enhanced when the body is rid of burdens such as poor diet and toxins. Take a look at other tools that can help in the healing process.
Eat Resistant Starch Foods
Resistant starch foods are fibrous foods which are great for gut health because they result in the production of short-chain fatty acids via fermentation by microbes in the colon. Butyrate, an especially important short chain fatty acid is linked to better brain health.
Resistant Starch Food Sources:
- Cooked and Chilled Sweet Potatoes
- Jerusalem Artichokes/ Sunchokes
- Cassava or Yuca
- Green Bananas and Plantains
- Raw Jicama
- Raw Garlic
Eliminate Inflammatory Foods
These foods can wreak havoc on the microbiome and contribute to increased permeability of the gut lining. The result is more inflammation throughout the entire body. Plus, these foods fuel the fire. They contribute to gut dysbiosis.
- Genetically Modified Foods (Most Corn & Soy)
- White Sugar
- Processed Foods
Eat Fermented Foods
Fermented foods are rich in healthy microbes to help balance out the ecology of the gut.
- Coconut Yogurt
Take a Probiotic
Like fermented foods, probiotics support the beneficial bacteria strains within the gut microbiome. Studies show that supporting individuals with probiotics can also help alleviate the severity of anxiety, depression and support overall mood.
Our favorite probiotic supplement is P3-OM Super Strain Probiotics.
Eat Bitter Foods
Bitter foods help to stimulate the process of digestion and production of hydrochloric acid for proper breakdown of food. Some herbalists believe bitters also help to digest an experience or stressful time. Probably due to the connection between the gut and brain. Bitters are also a great addition to rid the body of toxins, especially those that may be altering the microbiome!
- Beet Greens
- Broccoli Rabe
- Dandelion Greens
- Turnip Greens
Practice Deep Breathing at Meals
Breathing at meal times can enhance the ability to breakdown your nutrients. In fact, deep breathing brings the body out of fight or flight and into the rest and digest phase.
Connect with Nature
When we connect with mother earth by walking barefoot, gardening or just sitting outside and soaking up some rays, we experience the therapeutic effects of nature.
Maintain a Reiki Practice
Implement a regular Reiki practice. Find a practitioner or use Reiki on yourself daily to support healing in your body. There are many tools to help you better understand this practice on a self-healing level. Be sure to practice with some of the hand positions focusing on the areas of the abdomen or solar plexus and sacral chakra to support the microbiome.
As you begin to practice, take a few deep breaths. Find a quiet place where you will not be interrupted. Play relaxation music or focus on the stillness and calm around you. Think about the healing that is taking place in your body. Try to stay in each position for at least a few minutes.
Reiki is by no means a replacement for any medical treatment of a condition. However, adding this as a tool to healing can be helpful for people in this chaotic and stressed out world.
Photo: Creative Commons