Alternative Medicine May Relieve Digestive Disorders

yoga1There’s an illness that one minute can have you doubled over in pain, and the next, running for the bathroom. Relief may not come from high-tech treatments or medication.

Digestive disorders, which reportedly are on the rise, can leave the young and old suffering from devastating symptoms, including severe pain, diarrhea and weight loss.

Medication helps but in the long term can be toxic and risky. Many people swear by alternative treatments. But do they really work? An attempt to answer that question is underway.

Whether it’s the chanting, the breathing or the stretching, yoga exercises the body and mind. But it also seems to have therapeutic power.

Doctor Marilyn Mitchell not only prescribes yoga, she’s an avid participant. She says the poses and focused breathing can help lessen the symptoms of chronic digestive disorders.

“It’s really helps quite the nervous system and gives new messages to the body to the cells about how to work,” Mitchell said.

“A variety of research surveys show that about 30-50 percent of our patients are using these therapies. And when you look at the medical literature, there is really very little information, if any, on any of these therapies,” said Dr. Ece Mutlu, gastroenterologist, Rush.

For patients with inflammatory bowel disease, or IBD, lessening stress seems to have a connection to symptom flare ups.

“If we could manipulate stress and make people more aware of it we could improve their own health without having to do a whole lot of additional medications or therapy,” said Mutlu.

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