Fascia is the communication highway between all cells in the body, connecting each to the other, but there is a special link between the gut and brain. This is because conscious attention is required to breathe diaphragmatically, and when you do, the environment in the gut is completely different than if you breathe unconsciously.
The abdominal cavity is this space that houses the body’s organs as well as so many essential components to drive the health of your body. Each part has a position that it occupies, requiring the right amount of space for optimal functioning. Energy is also required in order to maintain the operations of all the systems, and this is where conscious breath is key.
I talk frequently about the diaphragm and its role in our health, but let’s dive into some of the specifics as it relates to the gut. First, it is the ceiling to the abdominal organs and the floor to the heart and lungs. This is important because if this muscle is weak, the weight of the upper body doesn’t have proper support, causing a crashing down of the ribcage and everything above to compress the contents of the abdomen. This displaces the organs, taking away the space they need for flow of nutrients into the cells, as well as the removal of toxins and waste from the cells. Depending on the organ considered, this has huge implications for how well they function.
Secondly, the action of the diaphragm moving up and down in the core is what creates the heat and energy to allow the systems to function with ease. The stomach, for example, needs energy to break down the food that enters it so that the nutrients can be readily absorbed. When conscious of breath, the diaphragm creates a direct physical manipulation of the stomach, giving that heat and energy to assist with its functioning. So not only does the diaphragm support the space required, but it is also the engine. Both function and form are created from the conscious breath.
Let’s consider the liver. A huge organ on the right side under the diaphragm, this organ has multiple functions, 2 of which are to clean the blood and break down fats. An unconscious breather whose diaphragm is weak, has a liver that is not only squished from collapse, but also frozen from a lack of heat and energy. Like butter at room temperature, the fats become solid in this cold and compressed environment, clogging the filter. Even worse, the world we live in is so toxic, that to have this organ compromised leaves us in a lose/lose situation. Now more than ever it is crucial to have a liver that can clean the blood. No wonder NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease) is such a problem today.
Moving on, we have the pancreas, one job of which is to control blood sugar. The obesity in the population is more a result of a system whose form and function are compromised, rather than simply from overeating and a lack of activity. The body's systems can’t regulate properly when the main support for the core is weak and under-utilized. Compression, displacement of organs and a toxic system from a lack of energy has caused the body to be on a continual cycle of inflammation, adding insult to injury as inflammation also requires heat and energy to mobilize its potential for healing. When not given this, it backs up, becomes stagnant which leads to a deterioration of the healthy bacteria in the gut, also attracting other invaders to make this their home.
A gut full of inflammation and waste has a direct impact on the health of the brain. The communication between the 2 becomes cloudy and ineffective, leaving the brain feeling fatigued and foggy. As the diaphragm is the engine for the entire body, driving oxygen to each of the cells as well as removing toxins throughout, when this muscle is consciously awake, it also keeps inflammation in the brain at bay. Inflammation is thought to be the root of dis-ease, however, it is the response of the body’s need for healing, but it comes down to the form and function of the diaphragm as to whether it will be positive or negative to cell health.
Regarding the gut/brain connection, a strong diaphragm is the most important factor in the communications between them. Of course, eating clean and healthy, staying well hydrated, getting enough sleep and movement are all important. However, without using your body the way it is intended to be driven, you are doing yourself a disservice as all the other applications take a second seat to the significance of the conscious breath.
Give yourself the gift of spending time to become acquainted with this action - you are born to breathe this way so it is the most natural thing you can do. However, we have been led astray in understanding how to live our healthiest version. Decompress your fascia, connect to your diaphragm and see what comes as a result of your efforts. You will have cells that are properly fed, clean and happy, and a gut and brain that function with ease. This will help to bring immense joy to your life.
Listen to this week's episode of The Fascia Masters below.
Breathe & Believe,
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