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Expressive writing boosts bowels

29th June 2010

People who have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) may benefit from writing down their deeply-held thoughts and emotions, according to a recent US study.

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The researchers found that 'expressive writing', in which people are encouraged to let go of their restraints, can actually benefit the body.

The study authors said that the technique had also helped people who suffered from arthritis, chronic pain, high blood pressure, and AIDS.

People who have IBS often get abdominal pain, diarrhoea, bloating, and constipation.

The 82 patients who took part in the study said that they felt the severity of their symptoms had gone down, and that they were better able to cope with life and to control their thoughts.

After three months of using expressive writing as a treatment, the study subjects also said that their quality of life had improved.

In other studies, researchers in IBS have noticed that the link between the brain and the nervous system of the gastrointestinal tract is part of the syndrome.

Mark Lumley, an expressive writing expert at Wayne State University in Detroit, who did not take part in the study, said that he felt IBS patients would make good candidates for expressive writing treatments.

For the study, the researchers first gathered candidates using IBS-related websites.

The researchers then recruited people to do an expressive writing task over a four day period, and also gave questionnaires to other people with IBS.

People who completed the writing task said they felt it had helped control their symptoms.

The authors of the study said that psychological treatments for IBS were becoming more and more accepted, and that they recognised the need for a follow-up study.

They said that, since therapy cost money, online expressive writing would be a good way for patients with IBS to reduce their symptoms without having to pay large sums.

Lumley said that, while he was not as optimistic as the authors of the study, he did think that their conclusions made sense.

He said that people who had IBS should try expressive writing, and that it may work for some, because people kept too many secrets and avoided dealing with emotional experiences.

 

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Comments

Anonymous

Tuesday 29th June 2010 @ 16:47

An interesting concept. Is there a link to the full study? I would have to say that is not accurate to limit IBS symptoms to being a result of only stress or emotional status, as many people often do. While it is true that IBS symptoms can be aggravated by stress, stress is rarely the predominant cause of IBS. There is a good deal of information about this topic at http://www.ibstreatmentcenter.com/3_d_2.htm. While each case of IBS is unique to the individual, most cases occur as a result of either (1) food allergies/intolerances or (2) problems with intestinal bacteria, yeast, or parasites. Before you can create an effective treatment plan for an individual suffering from IBS, you must first determine the root cause of their symptoms. Relaxation techniques and physical activity can in many cases help to ease some people's symptoms, but they are generally not enough to solve the real problem. So, while the writing technique may help many to ease some of their symptoms, can we really say that it provides a cure?

Friday 9th July 2010 @ 12:04

Having had a diagnosos of IBS about 30 years ago, I think there is a definite connection between the symptoms and levels of personal expression or emotional satisfaction. I have just bought a piano accordion, and I think it will be an unsurpassed form of expression for me -- the joy I feel is amazing when I play it. So what do we know about music and IBS?

Trey Junkin

Tuesday 31st May 2011 @ 2:01

The emotional aspect resides at the causal level of inflammation in general. I recommend looking at the Sedona Method to release trapped energies (emotions) that cause irritation in the whole body. Dealing with a disease as body wide as Crohn's, impacts not only our bodies but also our minds. It is affecting people of all ages, and even young ones now. There is a lot of promising research on new therapies and technologies that may help end chrons desease very soon. Holistic and Alternative doctors use a few treatments that seem to be working really well to give people back their normal lives. Let's hope this great work continues successfully! http://thehealingfrequency.com/chrons-desease-maladie-de-crone/


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