Dr. Rakel discusses the connection between stress and intestinal dysfunction.
Really it’s one, again we’ll talk about symbiosis. It’s you can’t influence one without the other. So when we are talking about things that make our gut uneasy, you know, listen to metaphor; what eat you up inside? My job is eating me up inside, you know, where do you feel that in your body? Right here, because when I think that chemicals go from my brain to my intestinal tract that causes it to cramp.
So there’s a tremendous connection here. So it not only can worsen symptoms but we can also use that connection to improve symptoms. There’s great research showing that hypnosis, which we create positive intention, really helps calm that GI distress or that intestinal dysfunction. Forgiving our neighbor, you know, simply releases a lot of stress that can cause us to be heavy and carry that in our intestinal tract.
You know, those simple things, choices we can make and really create a healthy balance that we can learn from our symptoms. So I like to ask my patients, where in your body do you carry stress? You know, I carry it my neck. So when my neck starts to hurt I might say, you know what, Dave you might have slept on it wrong but you know what, you know maybe one of my kids just give me a lot of trouble or I didn’t get back grant I was writing. If I recognize that, that stress comes from my subconscious into the conscious, my mind recognizes it and my body no longer has to sympathize.
One of my favorite quotes is by William Boyd, he was a pathologist at the turn of the century and he said, “The sorrow that hath no vent in tears may make other organs weep.”
And if we don’t recognize that, if we don’t recognize our life and it’s relationship to our health we miss learning what a symptom, what a great teacher a symptom can be. And when we have GI distress, what a great teacher if we look at it at that way, as a red flag to say okay, this is an opportunity for you to learn from your symptoms to make changes so it goes away. Sometimes that happens. Sometimes it doesn’t. But it’s an important thing to realize.
About Dr. Rakel, M.D.:
Dr. David Rakel, M.D., attended medical school at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, and completed a family practice residency in Greeley, Colorado. He spent the next five years in rural practice as one of two physicians staffing a 14 bed hospital in Driggs, Idaho. As medical director for Grand Targhee Ski resort in Wyoming, he developed an interest in sports medicine and received his Certificate of Added Qualification in 1999.
Dr. Rakel completed a two year fellowship in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona from 1999-2001. He joined the University of Wisconsin Department of Family Medicine in 2001 where he teaches and practices, and is the medical director for the University of Wisconsin Health Integrative Medicine. Dave is board certified in family medicine, holistic medicine and sports medicine. He is also certified in Interactive Guided Imagery.