Blog - Irritable Bowel Syndrome

By The Haven Team: 18 Dec 2013

We all love to enjoy food and have special treats. It’s all a part of living life to the full so it can be very discouraging to take on special reduced diet plans because of bowel problems.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a blanket term for many bowel irregularities which cause pain and discomfort. The NHS approach to curing I.B.S is to reduce stress and make dietary and lifestyle changes.

Complementary medicine has a high success rate of treating I.B.S. There are a whole plethora of therapist’s who can help plus plenty of easy ways to support yourself.

Baseline Self Help

  1. Drink plenty of water. (Around 1 ½ litres per day)
  2. Eat plenty of roughage. (Leave skins on your veg and include cereals and pulses in your diet.)
  3. Exercise regularly.
  4. Rest and relax.

Simple stretch to support your colon

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and point your toes inwards slightly
  2. Join your hands behind you, interlacing the fingers, palms together.
  3. Lengthen your arms down and stretch your arms away from the body opening your chest.
  4. Take several deep breaths here.
  5. Now soften your knees and fold forwards at the waste bringing your arms upwards as if you are trying to bring them over your head.
  6. Breathe deeply.
  7. Breathe in to come back to standing, release your arms. Breathe deeply
  8. Repeat several times.

Complementary Help


Kinesiology is very successful in treating I.B.S. Your Kinesiologist will work to find out the cause of your IBS and then treat you accordingly. The problem behind your symptoms can be physical, nutritional, emotional, mental or spiritual in origin.

Kinesiology can find out exactly which foods are problematic and help to clear allergies and food intolerances. Kinesiology can work directly with your colon including great techniques for releasing the valves in the colon and generally getting the colon working smoothly.

Shiatsu and Acupuncture

Shiatsu and Acupuncture work directly with the affected meridians and organs. In this case the colon is indicated and often the liver. Your practitioner will find out your individual diagnosis and treat you accordingly.

Massage and Aromatherapy

Enjoy a relaxing massage; great for relieving stress and tension, a well-known trigger for I.B.S. Ask your massage therapist to massage your belly (they often know great gut massage but rarely offer it unless requested.)

Aromatherapist’s will blend oils that soothe digestion and promote relaxation.

Essential Oils

Essential Oils are powerful allies for I.B.S sufferers. It’s worth remembering that they are strong medicine so seek advice on quantities and ask a professional Aromatherapist or herbalist before taking internally.

Topical application: You can apply the essential oil directly on the belly, particularly around the navel to relieve the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.

Internal consumption: You can consume a drop or two of palatable essential oils like peppermint essential oil.

Some of the essential oils that can be used to relieve irritable bowel syndrome are as follows:

Clary sage essential oil will help regulate bowel movements and relieve the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.

Anise essential oil is antispasmodic and antiseptic in action. It helps relieve the digestive tract of harmful micro-organisms responsible for irritable bowel syndrome.

Cinnamon essential oil is also known for its anti-septic properties. It also helps relieve irritable bowel syndrome if the cause of the affliction is a microbial infection.

Other essential oils that can be used are ginger and fennel essential oils.

Use lavender essential oil to relieve mental depression and tensions. It helps ameliorate your mood and makes you feel elated.

Other essential oils that can be used to relieve stress and thereby, irritable bowel syndrome, are neroli, rose, sandalwood, and frankincense essential oils.

Herbal Medicine

Herbal medicine is a great way to improve your digestion and calm I.B.S. Your herbalist will work with a combination or herbs to support your constitution whilst alleviating symptoms.

They may also suggest some teas and individual herbs to work alongside your tinctures.

Herbs are strong medicine and it’s good to consult a qualified herbalist rather than taking combinations of tinctures from your local health shop. However taking herbs as occasional tea is a safe and easy way to improve your digestion.

  1. Chamomile (Matricaria recutita). This is a time-honoured soothing digestive herb. It helps dispel gas, soothe the stomach, and relax the muscles that move food through the intestines. Many people use it also as a sedative. It makes an excellent bedtime tonic for an upset stomach. Mix it with peppermint for a tasty, effective tea to treat indigestion.
  2. Peppermint (Mentha x piperita). Any member of the mint family is good for indigestion, so if you don’t care for the taste of peppermint, try lemon balm (Melissa officinalis). Mint acts as a muscle relaxant and can calm an overactive digestive tract. Because peppermint can relax the valve between the stomach and the oesophagus, it can worsen heartburn. If this is one of your symptoms, don’t use peppermint.
  3. Marshmallow (Althaea officinalis). The root of this herb soothes the digestive tract’s mucous membranes. It’s also a mild immune-system stimulant, good for those whose indigestion may have a viral or bacterial cause.
  4. Angelica (Angelica archangelica). The fruit, leaf, and root of this herb stimulate digestion; help dispel gas, and calm nerves. It’s especially good when bloating or cramps are part of your indigestion. You might see it included with other bitter herbs, such as dandelion, in commercial bitters preparations.
  5. Ginger (Zingiber officinale). Ginger stimulates digestion and dispels gas. It also helps move food through the intestinal tract and reduces irritation. Studies show it can prevent motion sickness.
  6. Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare). Fennel relieves gas and stimulates the digestive tract. If you expect to eat a vegetable that you have trouble digesting, such as cabbage, try adding fennel seeds to your recipe.