Somatic Therapy to Rest, Digest and Repair and Heal Gut and Autoimmune Illness
What is a Psychosomatic Disorder?
We have heard it before – “You have a psychosomatic disorder, so the problem is all in your head.”
Irritable bowel syndrome known as IBS, candida overgrowth (candidiasis) and leaky gut syndrome seem to be these mysterious disorders and syndromes Western medicine is puzzled to explain. However, the awareness of trauma and physical health is increasing. The studies, experts and research are finding the missing pieces to the mystery of this age of anxiety and chronic gut syndromes.
What is a Syndrome?
What is a syndrome? A syndrome is a medical classification term to describe several symptoms grouped together that are unclear in etiology and treatment. There are several medications and management strategies to help ease these set symptoms, and while some individuals with more superficial symptoms improve drastically, there remain several hundred of thousands of people that continue to suffer from these life-altering conditions and live with a lower quality of life.
About the Gut Psyche
Autoimmune disorders are also on the rise, with many experts saying the immune system is being affected at the gut level. Let’s pay attention here to the level mentioned, not the head level – the gut level.
These psychosomatic issues are indeed a problem of the psyche. But here is a deeper question, which psyche are we talking about?
If we dive into psychological theories, we find out that the subconscious mind is the major influencer of health and life patterns. What I mean by patterns, is the emotional, psychological and social makeup that drives our behaviour that affects our health.
Think about this scenario: If a child had grown up in a sexually and physically abusive environment who was violated on a daily basis and ended up living in an orphanage, how do you think their make-up and patterning affected their behaviour? Their life choices? and overall health as a human being? This is an unfortunate and drastic example that is unlikely to be the exact case for you and me, however, we need to think about the fundamental nature of this circumstance – the extreme feeling of lacking a deep personal sense of safety and belonging. More common to the majority of the population, subtle and hidden forms of abuse are culturally and socially acceptable and are often dismissed.
The deep psyche mind is at the sub-hypnotic level of our entire psyche, where without logical reasoning or filter, the primal survival conditioning becomes hardwired into our body psyche.
Before the age of 8, we had not yet developed the cognitive capacity to discern what was true or not for ourselves in our interactions with our environment. We understood everything through emotional relations and social connections. We were innocent. As helpless children, we were neurologically wired for one thing, which is survival. The basis of who we are lies in our innate foundation of human needs, to feel safe and to belong.
Getting our parents, teachers, culture and society’s approval to feel physically and emotionally safe and to belong was and is still our deepest human need. Now the question is, to what degree have we had our deepest human needs met on an emotional, social and psychological level to feel safe? This goes beyond the food provided on the dinner table, being able to go to school and having a roof over our heads.
We need to start reflecting on what factors about our childhood upbringing, intergenerational trauma and environmental factors contribute to the feelings of not feeling safe and belonging.
What Does Personal Safety and Belonging
Have to Do With Health?
Healing your gut is synonymous with healing the core of who you are and feeling safe to be yourself. It is the most fluid area of the body that syncs with the flow of nature. When the core of who we are inside is relaxed, centred and in the movement with life, the bowels and nervous system work beautifully.
Rest digest and repair
The major question you need to ask yourself is, what emotions do you hold onto in your gut and what can’t you let go of? Healing your gut and the related organs on a deep level is a journey all about you and understanding who you are as an emotional, social, creative and spiritual being. It is about your authenticity and your mind-body connection. It is about making your inner voice, your deep-seated feelings, and your core human needs and wants completely valid and important. It is about healing yourself through building a healthy relationship with your raw inner you.
This journey is about how to really heal your body from the inside out. It’s very simple but it’s usually the simplest, most natural and most intuitive thing that gets overlooked. When we begin to cultivate a sense of safety by feeling safe and non-resistant to our emotions and resolving our attachment to unsafe behaviours in our lives, our heart rate begins to slow down. In this more rested state our endocrine system decreases the norepinephrine that has been produced by the sympathetic nervous system, the saliva production increases, muscles relax and YOUR BODY DIGESTS.
When we keep healing in this way, we return to our more natural way of being and it begins with healing our hearts, reclaiming our power, voice and authenticity. It is safe to feel and it is safe to be you.
To your healing,
Tracey Nguyen, RN MN Holistic Nurse Psychotherapist