Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is characterized by abdominal pain, constipation, and/or diarrhea and is a term used to describe these issues when no particular structural problem can be found. It almost always involves stress of some kind, and individuals dealing with IBS may find that their symptoms worsen during trying times. It’s also a common cause of chronic pelvic and abdominal pain in women. IBS can be very frustrating for those living with it, as it is a diagnosis of exclusion.

Not knowing what is “really” wrong can be emotionally trying, especially if family members and partners are not supportive.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), diarrhea and constipation are often given names associated with particular organ systems. At Five Seasons Healing, we work to determine the origin of a patient’s particular symptoms and tailor treatments accordingly. IBS may be related to issues of disharmony, deficiency, stagnation, or other condition impairing the flow of qi through the body.

Tips on Mindful Eating

Individuals with IBS may also find it helpful to engage in stress-free eating by finding ways to reduce stress at mealtimes. Whether it’s planning regular meals ahead of time to avoid the rush of trying to find something healthy to eat or something like lowering the lights, clearing the table of clutter, and putting on soft music, an more enjoyable eating experience can make a huge difference in the way we feel afterwards. Eating can also be a practice of mindfulness and relaxation.

There is a very popular meditation about mindfully eating a raisin, taking a long time to focus on the texture and the flavor and the feel of it in the mouth. Many practitioners use it in treatment for overeating, but it’s a great exercise for anyone who feels that they need help focusing. Keeping a food journal may also be a great way to identify patterns and potential triggers. In addition to what you eat, note what time and where and with whom you share meals with as well as how you feel before and after eating.