Expert guidance for the many who suffer with IBD

Approximately 1.5 million people in the United States alone are afflicted with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a category of illnesses that includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, and that number is steadily growing.

In our new book Living with Crohn’s & Colitis (Hatherleigh Press, 2010) we offer patient-focused, expert guidance on everything from the latest medical treatments, to how to cope with a diagnosis, along with tips for balancing diet with a busy lifestyle so you can form a personalized wellness plan. 
The authors, Dr. Jessica Black and Dede Cummings, collaborated to offer a hopeful and authoritative resource for digestive disorder sufferers from both the doctor’s and patient’s pespective.

The authors offer these tips for better digestive health and wellness:

Improve your diet. The very first change that should occur in patients wanting to improve their health is a dietary change. Even minor dietary changes can affect health significantly and usually larger dietary changes can bring even better results. Diet is extremely important to health. Try avoiding processed foods and foods with additives, colors, and preservatives. Avoid sugars, especially items sweetened with refined sugars such as high-fructose corn syrup.

Make lifestyle changes. Changing your lifestyle can be liberating and engaging. It allows one to become more aware of their body and changes that are occurring, as opposed to merely taking a drug and waiting for the symptom to disappear. Integrating whole-body treatment and lifestyle changes can help to improve overall health rather than focusing on one issue or one specific problem.  One important lifestyle change to make is creating a routine and rhythm for yourself. Go to bed at the same time, get up at the same time and eat meals at the same time. Routines promote better breathing and better, more relaxed, breathing creates better health and better resistance to illness.

A beginner yoga class with a trained teacher (Kripalu is good) is a great way to reduce stress.

Begin an exercise routine. Exercise is one of the most important lifestyle practices to adopt when considering treatment options. No matter what your physical state is, there is always something you can do for exercise. Following a daily plan is essential to maintaining good health. Try walking at first if you currently don’t have an exercise program. Thirty minutes to one hour walking outside can help improve mood and energy.

Maintain a holistic approach to your health. Taking supplements, getting a stool sample analysis, and going to a psychotherapist, massage therapist, or naturopathic physician are all effective starting points to building an overall, holistic, treatment plan that achieves results for patients suffering from Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD).

Increase laughter in your life. Laughter is extremely important for emotional and physical health. In fact, researchers in Japan found laughter very effective in reducing inflammatory cytokines in rheumatoid arthritis patients. Laughter, along with socializing with friends and joining a support group through your local hospital or naturopathic health clinic, can really be beneficial. You may try joining a social networking site on the internet, like CaringBridge.com. Renting funny movies is also an easy and quick way to promote laughter.

Increase body awareness. For an entire week, try writing in a journal all the symptoms your body has and everything you are doing and eating. Be sure to record all symptoms, from the most minor crick in the neck to low back pain, to headaches, to diarrhea. By doing this, you can learn how your body is trying to communicate with you, how you can listen to your body, and then change if you need to.

Try yoga or meditation. Meditation is an extremely important, yet very simple, relaxation tool.  Yoga is a great way to relax and is most effective by adopting a regular routine. Try a DVD at home or you can join a class with a trained yoga teacher.

There is an excellent yoga DvD from Rodney Yee that I do almost every morning—and following this yoga practice helps eliminate stress in my life and keep me in remission.
AM Yoga for Beginners with Rodney Yee and it retails at GAIAM.com

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