Why yoga may be the answer to constipation

If you are feeling constipated and need a little help. Yoga may be the answer.

While medications and over-the-counter treatments can help, some people may be interested in alternative therapies, such as yoga.

A 2015 study, published on National Center for Biotechnology Information, of people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), determined that yoga could be a cost-effective alternative therapy for the predominant symptoms of the condition, which are constipation and diarrhoea.

The researchers said yoga might also help address other symptoms related to IBS, such as anxiety and fatigue.

“Movement, in general, is important for stimulating the bowels to help move the food bolus, gas, and, ultimately, waste, through your system,” says Dr Rebekah Gross, a gastroenterologist and clinical assistant professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Centre in New York.

“Yoga is beneficial also in terms of stress reduction, which is important in treating many GI (gastrointestinal) disorders, but particularly in irritable bowel syndrome, where the mind-body connection is of central importance.”

Healthline says yoga can help ease the pain and discomfort of such digestive troubles. Yoga alleviates constipation in two ways:

Managing stress

First, it helps manage our stress response, which can greatly improve the functioning of our digestive system. We may notice that we’re more likely to get “blocked up” when we’re stressed. Meditation and breathing deeply can help move things along.

Digestive massage

The second way yoga benefits your digestive system is through twisting poses, inversions and forward folds.

The poses massage our digestive organs, increase blood flow and oxygen delivery, aid the process of peristalsis, and encourage stools to move through our system.

Doing yoga regularly can result in regular, healthy bowel movements.

One yoga pose to try is a supine twist, a gentle twist that helps expel waste, move food and increases blood flow to our gut.

Lying on your back, bring your legs to your chest.

Then extend your left leg out.

Draw your bent right leg to the left across your body, while keeping your shoulders flat on the floor.

Look toward the right.

Hold, and then switch sides.

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