I apologize for the bait and switch, but I had to get your attention somehow. This blog is about how I accidentally discovered my own immune-boosting powers deep within a gut that I hated. It’s about your inner medicine chest.
I am not a nutritionist, and I rarely give any advice on diet except “drink plenty of water.” Perhaps my own history of disordered eating is why I don’t. I can remember reading anything and everything that held the keys to weight loss and staying thin for way too many years. Those were years of tumult and inner conflict, and it wasn’t until I started truly sensing my own appetite, along with feeling my deeper feelings of craving, coping, loss and anger, that I was able to heal my feeding phobias. So I pledged to not contribute to the dietary information mayhem that is available.
Abdominal Massage and Healing What Hurts
But I do want to share with you something I learned during those years of starving and bingeing. If you’ve followed my blog for the past 6 years, you know that I am a huge fan of self-massage (in fact, I’m writing a book about it!). And my favorite area to explore is my core. I learned to reclaim my gut and stomach health through abdominal self massage. Unbeknownst to me, the gut massage that I experimented with in my dorm rooms during college to heal my inner pain was boosting my immune system and my sense of self-worth.
During my college years, when I was an active bulimic, I was also a dancer and yogini. I remember not really having a great sense of balance, and felt like my own core was missing. When I told my yoga teacher about not being able to sense my gut, she recommended that I lay my belly over a sandbag shaped like a hamburger bun that she had at her studio. It was exceedingly uncomfortable and brought me to tears. I knew that the discomfort I felt was in direct proportion to the trauma I was creating with bingeing and purging. I needed to address this pain on every level.
Back in my own dorm room, I rolled a towel into that same shape and began my yoga practice every day with deep breathing into the intense discomfort emanating from my belly. This practice helped me find a new sense of center and, happily, it helped me heal on many physical levels as well. Over the years, I experimented with different objects to help heal my gut, and ultimately settled on a grippy pliable air-filled ball that placed less pressure on my viscera than the rolled-up towel. Lying on a soft, pliable ball while breathing into it may seem like an awkward way to fight a cold, but lodging it into your core just might be better than your mom’s chicken soup.
Come back on Friday to learn about your immune system’s response to abdominal massage and deep breathing!
[Reprinted with permission from Gaiam Life]