Have you ever had a meal and shortly after you felt bloated that lasted for the rest of the day wondering what caused it? Have you ever eaten something and had cramps or pain in the stomach? Did the same symptoms reoccur multiple times a week, months or ever years? If you answered yes to these questions, then you might be suffering from a gut disorder.
Three years ago I noticed symptoms like bloating, diarrhoea and pain in my stomach, in particular when I was eating certain foods. These symptoms lasted for more than three months. At the time I thought that it might have an hormonal change as I was on a birth control pill, though the symptoms continued after I stopped taking the pill and that's when my gut disorder research journey started.
There are multiple gut disorders like Celiac, Chron's desease etc. To find out what was causing my symptoms, I did various blood tests for thyroid, hormones etc, visited specialists, gastroenterologists and dieticians in London and Oxford. All of them came into the conclusion that I might be suffering from Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) but they could not really tell me what's the exact cause of this disorder. Their advise was to try the FODMAP diet , monitor it and exercise regularly.
What is IBS and why practice Qigong?
IBS it's a gut disorder that affects the digestive system. It causes symptoms like diarrhoea, constipation and bloating. There is no cure but diet changes and lifestyle can have an impact. Studies have shown that exercise interventions that promote physical activity such as Qigong, Tai Ji and Yoga has significant benefits for patients with IBS.
As a Qigong Teacher I decided to put to practice the knowledge I gained from the White Tiger Qigong school to help eliminate the IBS symptoms.
In Qigong and Chinese medicine the stomach, large & small intestine organs correspond to the following Fascia and Meridians:
- Spiral line, Stomach
- Deep Back Arm line, Small Intestine
- Superficial Front Line, Stomach
- Front Arm Line, Large intestine
- And Spleen (In Chinese medicine, spleen governs thought and the muscles that is important for normal brain and muscle activities for digestion)
Based on the above information and in combination with the 5 Element classical Chinese theory, I created a Qigong flow practice targeting the corresponding fascia and organs.
Qigong exercises for IBS
15 minutes Meridian Qigong
➤ Shaking it out
➤ Rolling the ball
➤ Heavenly Pillars
➤ Girdle Vessel
➤ Forward and Back Bends
➤ Squeeze out Liver and Spleen
➤ Open the heart to the Sky
➤ 4 Gate breathing
Two Effective Qigong Exercises for the Large, Small intestines and Spleen
Earth Element - Spleen
According to the Chinese Medicine the spleen is related to the Qi food digestion. The Snake through it's low sliding movement compresses the large and small intestines like a sponge and stretches them out with the movement of the torso from both sides of the body. By moving the arms, hips, knees and torso it helps reduce morning stifness and enables the circulation of the Qi and blood throughout the entire body.
I prefer to do this exercise after the Meridian Qigong exercise in the morning.
Repeat at least 2 sets.
Wood Element – Liver
Anything that is eaten, food or toxins, gets filtered by the liver so we want to have a healthy liver to process the meals. The Leopard movement is bendy and swaying sideways working mainly on the liver. The spiral twist and bending from the left side squeezes the spleen and stretches the liver. By bending on the right side it compresses the liver and stretches the spleen. By moving the arms and swaying from side to side it massages also the large and small intestines.
Repeat at least 2 sets after the Meridian Qigong.
By following a healthy diets and practising routinely the White Tiger Qigong exercises for IBS- preferably in the morning hours - it can help you as it helped me, develop physiological and postural awareness as well as boost the Qi and blood circulation, massage and stimulate the meridian of the internal organs, restoring their vitality. Diet is also important and it's best to speak to a dietician or a specialist to find out what is right for you.
Stella aka QigongStar is a White Tiger Qigong Certified Instructor based in Oxford, UK.