Gut Health: Making the Mind-Body Connection

“In nature, when we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.” – John Muir, 1911

by Carl Johns, LMT, Mountain Medicine Integrative Wellness Center

John Muir understood the concept and function of reciprocal relationships in nature from a deep observation and connection to the universe around him.

I don’t think we can understand gut health until we realize that our gut is “hitched to everything else in the universe.”

In recent years, we are hearing about our gut microbiome. I don’t meet very many people these days that don’t know the term. It would be wise to understand interconnectedness, and that the universe is in reciprocal relationship with itself, and that your gut microbes are in reciprocal relationship with each other and the universe around themselves.

It would also be wise to understand that the process of “discovering” and naming something does not mean that we understand it.

What we do know, is that those microbes have co-evolved with the food we eat for a very long time. They have a long relationship with fermented foods, plant foods, yogurts and kefirs, fermented drinks — they thrive on the whole cornucopia.

The gut and microbiome also sustain damage that we likely don’t even understand the extent of yet by consuming manmade chemicals — so keep it organic and let your microbes thrive!

The other thing your gut is “hitched to” is your mind. There are volumes of emergent science about this connection — gut-brain, polyvagal theory. With or without the science, we know intuitively by feeling and being alive that our gut is connected to our emotional state. We understand that stress has a profound effect on gut health.

We now understand how important gut health is to overall health and particularly for our immune system. There are many ways to de-stress the mind and body, but here is some advice from a long-time massage and bodywork therapist.

Turn away from that fast-food meal you are about to eat and go to an organic cafe, or go home and make yourself a superfood smoothie — then go get yourself the best body-and-mind relaxing massage session you can possibly imagine.

As part of a healthy lifestyle, regular massage therapy is one of the best wellness practices for maintaining mind-body-gut health.