IBS, Anxiety and Reflexology

I recently came across some interesting research into the link between IBS and anxiety and depression. Although I wrote a blog on Reflexology and IBS a few years ago, this study underlined even more why I think Reflexology can help with this issue.

This was a cross-sectional study from among 4763 staff of Isfahan University of Medical Sciences in 2011, and it concluded that:

“A high prevalence of anxiety, depression symptoms and distress in our subjects emphasize the importance of the psychological evaluation of the patients with IBS, in order to better management of the patients and may also help to reduce the burden of health care costs.”


It is never a surprise to me when I am taking a client’s health history, if they mention they suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS. It is an extremely common condition but it can be very unpleasant. It is a condition that responds really well to treatment with Reflexology.

Symptoms of IBS include diarrhoea and / or constipation, stomach cramps and bloating. The symptoms can be severe and very painful. Some people only experience symptoms after eating certain foods, and find that simply cutting out those foods is enough to stop the symptoms. Often however it is apparent that if the individual is particularly stressed symptoms are aggravated even more.

Other people find that they have symptoms whatever they eat. In these situations it is common to find that stress is an underlying factor. Reflexology really comes into its own here, and as a therapist it is in these situations that I have seen the most dramatic results. Reflexology is so intensely relaxing, that it often only takes a couple of treatments to see the symptoms improve. If an individual has a very stressful lifestyle then it can be beneficial to continue having monthly treatments, to prevent symptoms developing again.

As I have mentioned in previous blogs, Reflexology is effective in these cases because it is a holistic treatment. A good Reflexologist will treat the whole system. So, not only the digestive system will be worked, but also the reflexes governing the nerve supply to the digestive organs, and reflexes associated with the stress response, the adrenal glands. Working on the endocrine system, particularly the adrenal glands, helps bring cortisol levels under control which in turn has a marked effect on inflammation within the body. (For more information on that, take a look at my blog specifically on the link between cortisol and stress.) Treating only the symptoms would do nothing for the underlying causes, and so would not be as effective.

If you would like more information on how Reflexology can help, and you live in the Bristol area, please call Kate on : 0117 259 1131 or 07811 619860

Photo credit : Sam Burris (Unsplash)

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