I had a client who had recurring IBS.

We did a really thorough ‘gut reset’ programme where we removed parasites (yes, parasites – quite common actually), repopulated with probiotics and prebiotics and took steps to calm inflammation and heal the gut.

She felt better. But still not great. She still had the IBS.

Alongside the gut programme, I asked her to increase relax time, to make sure she had time to herself regularly and to find some activities that allowed her to escape, in mind and body. But she didn’t really do that part.

It was only when we finished the gut protocol that she took this seriously. I explained to her that this was all that was left. She needed to allow herself to be calm in order to digest her food properly.

She started meditating regularly, going to bed earlier, doing deep breaths before she ate and going for long walks once a week.

Within a 2 weeks her IBS symptoms had gone.

There are 2 modes of the nervous system. The sympathetic (fight or flight) and the parasympathetic (rest and digest).

In 21st century living many of us are in the fight or flight mode a lot of the time. We rush about, we are stressed, we multitask constantly, we’re anxious. And this is exacerbated by stimulants like caffeine, alcohol and intensive exercise.

The problem is that when we are in the flight or flight mode this much our bodily functions are compromised.

Fight or flight is for emergencies. It’s to potentially save our lives. Blood rushes to our heart and our limbs so we can fight or run, our pupils dilate so our vision is sharper. All other body functions are left behind because the priority is saving ourselves.

It’s the parasympathetic, or rest and digest, mode we need to be in so that our bodies can perform functions such as digestion, healing and repair, reproduction and immunity.

Back to my client. She was stressed. She lived her life that way and told herself she thrived on it. But her body thought she was in a life-threatening situation all this time and it meant that there was limited blood flow to the digestive area, and enough of the all important digestive juices weren’t being released. Once we addressed the stress, the body had far more of a chance to do what it needed to.

The same goes for healing, reproduction and immunity.

Have you ever heard of someone who has been trying to get pregnant for years and then they leave their busy job and get pregnant really quickly? Stress tells the body to worry about the (usually non existent) emergency, rather than conceive.

And in these times, let’s remember how important effective immunity is. Include some relax time in your day today.