I’ve got 4 words for you: Ostomy, J-pouch, Colitis, Warrior.
If you’ve got IBD, these 4 words that begin Ruthie Hanan’s journey (starting at the age of 15) will inspire and motivate you to keep moving forward, no matter what life throws at you.
Interviewing Ruthie for this episode of The Cheeky Podcast was an honor. I’ve been a fan of hers ever since I found her meditations on Insight Timer several months ago.
Ruthie’s ability to live every moment to its fullest reminds us to be present in what’s around us now, while we keep striving for better days ahead. Ruthie and I have a candid conversation about the mistakes doctors make and the consequences of decisions we make in our past that creep up in our present and how through it all, we can find joy and passion where we are right now.
We talk about:
And so much more!
After this episode, you’ll definitely want to check out Ruthie’s meditations on Insight Timer and her YouTube channel where she shares her passion for yoga and more of her IBD story.
Episode at a Glance:
Mentioned in This Episode
Karyn: Hey there dear one, you are going to love this episode today, I am so excited to bring it to you, is the first in a new segment I’m introducing on the podcast called #herIBDstory, and what a story our guest has… You’ve heard me mention her before on the podcast when I recommended her meditations which are free on Insight Timer, it’s Ruthie Hanan ulcerative colitis and J-pouch warrior, yoga instructor, meditation guide. She’s been through so much on her IBD journey, and she’s gonna inspire the hell out of you today. Having suffered from chronic illness since the age of 15, practicing healing arts has been the key to maintaining health and working for Ruthie. She integrates what she learns into her life and shares the findings with others, allowing for a lifestyle that focuses on physical, mental and spiritual health for herself and others. Ruthie’s goal is to share the tools and experiences that help her every day in hopes of inspiring and reminding others that we are all our own best healers. During the episode, Ruthie shares with us what it was like for being a young model in New York City with a chronic illness, she shares the true and often untold information that we need when we’re thinking about getting an ostomy or J-pouch surgery.
Ruthie and I also get into how living in the present has been hard for both of us, but how it’s really a must when you’ve had traumatic IBD experiences, we talk about how the stages of chronic illness grief aren’t really stages at all, but more feelings that can crop up at any time and Ruthie shares with us, two beautiful and profound healing meditations, which she doesn’t even have written down, as she says the words are just channeling through her. It’s a moving conversation, and it’s one that I hope you can listen to or re-listen to when you’re not driving or walking, at least for the beginning in the end, because I don’t want you to miss out on Ruthie’s powerful guided meditations. I hope you enjoy #herIBDstory, the interview with Ruthie Hanon.
Intro: You are listening to the cheeky podcast for moms with IBD, a safe space for moms with crumbs and colitis, connect explore powerful tools for healing and transform our lives to thrive in motherhood and in life. I’m your host, Karyn Hayley, IBD health coach, Integrative Wellness enthusiast and Mom, three outstanding kids. After having Crone disease for thirty years and working as a health advocate exclusively with IBD clients for the last 10 years, I know it’s time to bring the types of candid conversations I have with my clients out into the open…
It’s our time to go on an IBD healing journey and do it, like only a mom can… Let’s do this.
[03:13] Karyn: I’m so incredibly honored to welcome our guest, Ruthie to the show, I feel like I know her because she’s been in my ear, she’s in my years most mornings, Ruthie, I’m gonna try not to fan-girl on you too much if it’s just kind of surreal to have you here on the podcast, but welcome, I’m just really happy to share your light in your story with our listeners today.
Ruthie: Thank you so much. I’m like, I’m incredibly honored that you feel that way, and I’m so happy to be here and talk to you, and I’m excited…
Karyn: One of the things that I mentioned in Ruthie’s bio is that she practices meditation and yoga, and she also shares that with all of us.
So if you’ve ever been on Insight Timer and you’ve searched for IBD meditations, Ruthie has probably come up. And that’s why she’s in my ear most mornings because I’m listening to her as I am meditating and visualizing the whole healing process for my IBD.
So one of the things that Ruthie and I talked about starting with is just to start this episode with a grounding meditation so that we can just set our intention for what we wanna experience today. Does that sound okay with you with…
Ruthie: Sounds perfect. Yeah. Awesome.
Karyn: I’m Gonna let you take it away. I’m gonna get comfortable.
RUTHIE TAKES US THROUGH A GUIDED MEDITATION
[04:30] Ruthie: Yeah, get comfy. Okay, so yeah, just getting into a comfortable position wherever you happen to be in the world right now, and just as you arrive, it’s always really nice to just bring everything from the physical to the more subtle, so first just checking in with your posture and how your body is physically feeling right now and can check out the relationship between your shoulders and your hips and feel that they’re in line with each other. Another really nice one is the pelvic floor and feeling that aligned with the back of your throat and just kind of clicks you into place a little bit, and if you’re in a space where you feel safe to do so at any point, you can allow the eyes to gently close and just marking your arrival to this practice with a full and deep cleansing breath, taking a slow intentional in down through the nose and just holding that for a moment when you are full, just experiencing fullness and whenever you need to slow, be letting that go and pushing a little bit more air out of you, even once you think you’re empty, to just truly empty yourself and then pausing and experiencing emptiness, and then allowing the next breath to come as needed.
And if that exaggerated breath felt really good for you, you’re welcome to do that a few more times if you’d like, and at any point you can release all guidance over the breath and feel yourself stepping back up into that role of the observer and witnessing your breath rather than controlling it or guiding it, just watching the Body breath itself and know that this feels completely impossible to do, and that is perfectly okay if that’s where you are today, and other days… This is very straight forward and simple. So just letting yourself be exactly where you are in this moment, and then just letting your awareness gently rest on the face and just notice if there’s any areas of unnecessary tension for most of us, we hold a lot of tension in our jaw and our eyebrows and forehead, simply by being aware of these areas, we soften into them, I’m just allowing for any expression to gently melt away as you start to bring some awareness into the ears. I was just fully relaxing the ears, this is another place I found that I often hold a lot of tension without realizing it, so just letting the ears be where they are and starting to welcome in all the sounds that exist around you…
Maybe you’re in a very quiet space, so maybe the sounds that are in your environment is just the humming of the lights, maybe sounds of nature outside or traffic, or maybe you’re in a little bit of a busier environment, maybe you’re driving… Maybe you are out in public somewhere or in a busy city, so practicing just hearing all the sounds that you hear as part of your environment and letting them be a reminder of this moment, remembering that… Sounds do not exist in the past or in the future. They are purely in this moment, so they can be used as an anchor to remind you of everything that’s happening right now as you listen, just starting to maybe feel a slight pulsing sensation of the years and noticing all the sounds outside of you as well as… Now, inside of you, feeling that relationship or hearing that relationship between your inside world and the outside world, maybe hearing the sound of your soft breath, maybe starting to hear a distant rhythm of your heart beat, and then gradually calling more awareness to come into your heart and just bringing awareness to your own personal rhythm, your own personal drum beat that’s playing in the background of your entire life, remembering the miracle that is your heart, and the fact that it is beating for you every moment you’ve been alive and will continue to do so.
Without any of your control, without any of you’re doing and remembering how this is a pure gift and miracle to you, and all the love that comes from that, all the love that your heart has come from, knowing that only love is what makes this possible. I’m just feeling beneath everything else, just feeling that core sensation of love, of compassion and gratitude of patients, of understanding that all exists in your heart, at your core of who you are, and then starting to trace the space between your heart and your head is you feel the tip of your head reach a little bit higher up and just clearing that channel of energy from your heart to your brain, and just feeling that energetic and physical connection from your heart to your brain, you remind yourself that all of this love and compassion and gratitude that exists in your heart, is being fed into your brain and therefore into all of your senses, so allowing yourself to see things through the lens of love, to hear things through love, to smell things and taste things, and speak things through love, and just be in the pure love, that is you and the world around you may be feeling that same heart, be also existing in the space between the eyebrows, and just trusting your ability to love, testing your ability to heal, trusting your ability to be the best of yourself that you can be…
If it feels like something you’d like to do, you can slowly bring your hands to a prayer position at heart center and just feeling that connection of your palms and fingers, and as you take a deep breath and you can feel yourself expanding fully and welcoming the fresh air into your body. And as you exhale, just allowing the head to gently bow, and as you bow to the source of energy you’ve come from whatever that is to you, owing to the constant source of inspiration and guidance around you, bowing to everyone in the space who’s completed this practice alongside you, and most importantly, vowing to yourself or listening for choosing to show up and for being you, and may this act continue to heal you through the rest of your days and nights, you bring the same sense of love and to everything that you do and to everyone that you see. Namaste.
[13:44] Karyn: That was beautiful. See why I listened to her almost every day? It just gives me a sense of light and intention, so I really hope that it… I don’t know, when you’re doing a meditation, does it help you as well? How do you feel that?
Ruthie: Yeah, that’s really the main thing that kept me going with doing guided meditations was that I started to feel like it’s sort of like a sense of responsibility because you can’t really do an effective meditation if you are not doing it. Does that make sense? So I need to… And sometimes when I’m by myself, it’s a little bit harder for me to do it now because I’m like that it’s just me and I’m not… There’s no responsibility for me to stay in that space, but when I feel like I’m meeting others and bringing them in the place with me, it really is helpful for me to just stay and receive and speak and… Yeah.
Karyn: Yeah, that’s cool. I’m glad that you… Yeah, that… Yeah, I’m glad it does something for you too, as you’re the one giving us so much to do so…
That was wonderful. Like so many of us that come to helping people that have IBD, you come to this because of your own journey, you have ulcerative colitis, and I want our audience to hear your story because it is so powerful, and I think it will help so many who are going through some of the same things that you went through, and I’m curious if you can take us back in time, you can think about some of your first symptoms that you had that you know now were colitis, and it could be even before a doctor diagnosed you. What were some of the things that you are experiencing, what were some of your first early memories of ulcerative colitis playing a role in your life?
A STORY WE CAN ALL RELATE TO
[15:50] Ruthie: Yeah, so it goes back really far… Basically, as long as I can remember, I was in kindergarten when I was diagnosed as lactose intolerant, so that kind of started the whole like, Oh, I have a sensitive stomach. And I would always have a permanent pass to the nurse’s office throughout… Every grade in school, I spent a lot of time in the nurse’s office, we were always best friends, and I just survive off Pepto bismol and gasex and just… My mom had a sensitive stomach, so I just kinda thought it was somewhat normal, and then once I was all in through middle school, and then once I got to high school, I was in high school, which was scary and new, and it was intimidating, and I’ve always been an athlete, very competitive athlete, so I really care a lot about volleyball and I wanted to just be the best athlete possible and make the highest team and just do everything the most I could do it, and I started to really notice that before… Everything that was important in my life, I would not be able to get off the toilet and I would just be stuck on the toilet, I would just pretend I was playing games on my phone.
I just really played it off for a long time for a few months, and then finally… It was like a perfect storm. It was right before mid-terms. My freshman year, it was right before a big volleyball game that I knew I couldn’t miss a few hours before, and I was stuck on the toilet and my mom finally was just like, really… What’s going on? What’s happening? Are you okay? And I was like, Oh, I’ve been pooping blood for a few months, and I just never really said anything, I was just so embarrassed I was… I just figured it was a stomach bug and it would get better, and it just never got better, and it was really, really hard to accept that, it still is. Kinda hard to accept it. But yes, once I told her that she was like, Alright, you’re not going to the game. Or going to hospital, I went to the hospital, and that’s when I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis. My uncle had the same thing, and he actually had his colon removed to… But then once his was removed, they removed his colon, they found out he had Crohn’s disease, so he had Crown’s disease in his colon, so once they removed the colon and it just spread to the other intestines.
So they told me about all of that when I was diagnosed. They told me about the J-pouch, the ostomy, that whole thing, and I was like, and I was like, I was 15, I was like, Why are you telling me that this does not apply to me, I’m fine. And I was just really angry at that doctor, and so my mom took me to a children’s hospital in Boston, ’cause I was like, I just couldn’t do it with the doctor I had, and they were a lot more gentle with the information they told me and we’re mindful about how it was affecting me. And that was really nice. So I tried everything I was on Lialda for a long time, then I tried Remicade, and I hated that I had all these weird skin tags that came up from Remicade, which is weird. I tried Symphony… Let’s see, methotrexate, Humara, but I basically tried… Everything that was available to me, and I was doing on the SCD diet. I’ve heard you talk about that, and I had some relief from that for sure, but I was also just so young and the thought of me having to eat like that the rest of my life was infuriating and I was just like, I’m not gonna do this, I need something else.
[19:50]: So I just kind of slowly started introducing things back into my diet, so I’ve still remained gluten-free and dairy-free, and those are the most important things, and I try to be mostly sugar-free, but that is incredibly difficult to do, but I know for a fact that sugar is the devil when it comes to my symptoms, so… Yeah, and then so I was 18. I wasn’t even 18 years. I graduated, I moved to New York. I was modeling at the time, I went to fashion school, and I was just like, Get me out of this town, I need to get out. I need to live my life. So I went to New York and I was there for a few, I think two months almost, and then it was mid-terms on my first semester of college and couldn’t get off the toilet once again, and I hadn’t really been able to eat anything other than white rice for over a month. So I was 100 pounds at 5’11”, and now it was… I didn’t even feel like it was weird, I just noticed that people were looking at me differently, and that was pretty weird ’cause I was like…
I was just like, I felt very disconnected from the world around me, and then my mom came to visit me and she saw me and was like, that’s it, we’re going to the hospital. So she took me back to Boston, and I ended up staying there for a month, and I was on IV steroids for about two weeks, and the inflammation ended up getting worse. So then they were like, We have to take it out. So then I had my first of the three step colectomy, I got my colon taken out, woke up with an ostomy bag, had the ostomy for six months, and that whole six months is pretty blurry for me, just ’cause… I felt really low, I was all excited ’cause I was with a good modeling agency at the time, and I was like, Oh, I’ll go back and I can do modeling jobs with my bag and can be like… Bringing ostomy back into the public eye, I was like this is awesome, it… And of course, I go to my agency and they’re like, No, you’re not ready, I’m not gonna put you out for anything when you’re like this, so I was like, I can’t even do a beauty stuff, and they were like, No, like, Just wait until…
Karyn: I definitely want to hear more about that, ’cause I know you mentioned modeling…Yeah, and you’re doing this with ulcerative colitis… Did you do it before you had the ostomy as well…
Ruthie: Yeah, I started when I was 15, around the same time I was diagnosed.
Karyn: What is that? I can’t imagine that world with ulcerative colitis. What is that like?
THE PITFALLS OF MODELING WITH A CHRONIC ILLNESS
[22:41] Ruthie: It was pretty bad. It’s pretty like everything that you hear about… It’s all true. It’s definitely changed, in recent years a little bit, but I don’t even think it’s changed that much, it’s just like, what’s acceptable has changed, so now they’re just holding you to a different standard, but they’re still holding you to a very strict standard, but yeah, they… I was told I was pear shaped when I was 15, and I was always told I had to lose inches around my hips, and I had to tone up or trim up, and I’ve always been tall and thin, and I think just once I heard that I was really like my whole world was kinda shattered and I just… I really saw myself differently, and then I noticed how whenever I was sick, I would lose weight, and I noticed when I lost weight, I would book more jobs. So I definitely think that the modeling industry or just being a part of it from such a young age contributed to how my disease accelerated and how it just got bad so fast because I was just destroying myself mentally ’cause I really didn’t think it mattered. I was just being very mean to myself all the time, and definitely is not good for your digestion at all.
Karyn: And are you at modeling jobs and having to sit on the toilet and having people to wait for you, that happens in lots of industries, but like any job you could have, if you have to take time off to go and use the bathroom…
Right, that’s just not acceptable at work, but I can imagine in a modeling job that would just be heightened.
Ruthie: I just wouldn’t eat, I wouldn’t eat for the whole thing before I shot, I wouldn’t eat the whole morning and it would be fine, but I was withering away, I was just… Not even a person
Karyn: So you were doing those things that you needed to do to not go to the bathroom, but then it was to your detriment because there’s no nutrients, you’re losing weight, things are just spiraling out of control, and so you get to a point where your doctor says, We’re gonna do this ostomy and J pouch. And what… They mentioned it to you earlier on… Right, but now this is what… How many years later that… You’re hearing this again?
Ruthie: Three years.
Karyn: So now you’re 18. 18, I remember when I was diagnosed with Crohn’s when I was 17, but I know I had it before that some of the time and my mother took me to a support group thinking that this is really gonna help me. And one of the first people that I met said to me, girlfriend, just do yourself a favor, get that ostomy… And just be done with that, right? Your whole life is gonna be better if you do that, and I asked my mother what that was, and she told me– she was a nurse, she told me… And I just remember thinking, What? No, just was I freaking out so much that I never went back to the support group, so now I’m imagining you, you’re 18 years old and they’re telling you this again, and you’ve gone through every medication you tried SCD, you’ve done all of the things. Right. And so I can’t imagine, number one, how you were feeling in that moment, I would love for you to talk us through that and then I would love to know…
Can you kind of talk us through that? I know you had three surgeries, what actually happens, because I know there’s people listening who are thinking, my doctor told that to me, I’m thinking That’s what’s down the road for me, but it seems so secretive, like doctors don’t really talk about what it is until you’re there and then you have to make up your mind really quickly… So what can you tell us about… What was that like for you to be at the end of your rope? And then can you talk us through what actually happens, what do these three surgeries entail.
THREE SURGERIES THAT CHANGE RUTHIE’S LIFE FOREVER
[26:47] Ruthie: Yeah, so when I first heard about the J-pouch thing, when I was first diagnosed, it was… I had the same reaction as you. Just like, No, no, no, there’s no way. It’s ever gonna happen to me. I will do anything to avoid that. But I think my inital action to it was so strong is because some part of me was like, that’s gonna happen to you. That’s gonna be your future. And I was like, no, no, no, I was just kinda fighting with myself for years, and then once I was in the hospital, it was kind of… And they told me that that’s what I need to happen. It was more like, it was a weird times of relief because I was like… One, I had a feeling that this was gonna happen. So then I was like, Okay, well, I guess I was right. I guess that was the reason I felt that way, this is gonna happen. And then also, I was so sick of going to the doctors and having them try new things and Oh, well, this new thing happened, that was an exhausting process for me, and I was just like, I want this dying organ out of my body.
Get it out. This is not helping me anyway, is hurting me so much, and I was under the impression is what the doctor said is no colon… no, colitis.
NO COLON, NO COLITIS???
Karyn: I think that’s what a lot of doctors say. Right, that’s what he said, yeah. I don’t have this problem anymore. If you get the procedure done.
Ruthie: Just like if you don’t have a colon, you can’t have colitis, and I was like, That makes sense. Cool, let’s do it. Yeah, but it…
Karyn: They actually think that I… I don’t think they’re malicious or something like… I think they actually believe that…
Ruthie: Yeah, but the thing is, is that pouchitis exists… I first time I got pouchitis, I was so angry ’cause I was just like, Come on, if I’m gonna have the exact same symptoms as a colitis flare-up, I would rather have my colon then have some pouch that’s now called pouchitis. I’m very lucky that I did that. I don’t have a lot of those, but that’s when my uncle always does, but he has at least a few every year, and he’s in his 60s, so it’s just crazy. So I wish they had told me about that. I wish they been more real with me about my life is not gonna be fixed and it’s not gonna be perfect after this, because that’s really what I… That’s why I was dreaming up in my head, and that’s kind of the main reason why I was like, Yeah, let’s do this. I had the first surgery was really just fast because I was already in the hospital, I was already admitted, I’ve been there for three weeks, and then I had it and then I recovered for a week, and that process, just waking up with the ostomy bag is very strange, it was very surreal too, because leading up to it, I was watching a ton of YouTube videos of people with stoma bags and changing their bed, I was studying basically ’cause I’m like, this is a serious thing.
A part of my internal organs is gonna be on the outside of my body, and I have to take care of that, and that’s on me, so I just wanted to know as much as possible beforehand, and they have a stoma nurse that comes… Is always really helpful. They come in the hospital, and then I had a visiting nurse come, I think for the first few weeks that I had one just while I felt like I needed it to help me change the bag and to help me about the skin care and everything, ’cause that was a whole nightmare thing too, once I had the ostomy bag, life was… I was just recovering the whole time, basically, it was just… It was about six months that I had it, and then once I started to feel… It was a huge relief, I should say that, because going from… I had a bathroom log when I was in the hospital logging nine hours a day on the toilet, and that is not a life, and it’s impossible to live like in between that and sleep. There’s no life there. That’s all it was, it was that. And Netflix, and that’s everything.
And some sleep if I could. And so once I had the ostomy, it was beautiful. It was a beautiful, beautiful thing, and I understand why that person said that to you in the support group, ’cause there are a lot of people who get the bag and they never wanna go back. They’re like, This is perfect. This is amazing and great. I, over time, I didn’t feel that way, but when I first got it, it was just such a relief to not have to run to the bathroom every two seconds, ’cause my whole life was just doing something… Running to the bathroom, doing something, running to the bathroom and just constant every day all day. And to not have to do that, I was like, the possibilities are endless. I can do whatever I want. I’m from being in
Karyn: I’m free.
Ruthie: Yes, exactly. Definitely freedom, it was a really great thing. But I had so many issues with the skin, the bag, it would leak onto my skin, and then I’d get these really painful rashes of the skin being basically raw, and I hated that, and a few times in the middle of the night, I would wake up and the bag exploded, so I was just covered in my own poop, and that was like… I never want that to happen to anyone, but it stunk and yeah, just things like that, and just the fact that I felt so vulnerable and just the fact that someone… If someone could come and just grab my stomach and not even know that it’s there, and then everything’s out and my insides are exposed to the world and just… That was really scary and anxiety-producing for me, so I definitely wanted the reversal and the second surgery was about six months after the first, and It was three months after the first. And then they kept the ostomy bag and they just constructed the J-pouch, so the J-pouch is made out of your small intestine, so there’s nothing like artificial inside me, and it works as a colon is just smaller.
Karyn: So they constructed the J-pouch and I still had the stoma bag and then recovered from that surgery, that one was fine, it kinda just felt like the first recovery, it felt better than the first recovery ’cause I didn’t have a big incision, so then three months after that for maybe four months after that, so some amount of time after that, I had the reversal, so they wanna give your J-pouch, like some time to just get adjusted to being in your body before it has to work and do everything
[34:02] Ruthie: And they reconnected the end of the small intestine into the j-pouch… So yeah, they reconnected everything, they put it back inside me, and then I was working, and the one thing that nobody warned me about that I really wish someone warned me about was the diaper rash, ’cause when you don’t poop out of your butt for six months, and then you do it again. It’s not fun. It’s like you’re a new born baby, and that lasted way longer than I expected…. A few months. Yeah, it was intense, but I found a lot of good products. Well, having a bidet is really important, and having calmaceptine was really nice. It’s like a more minty stuff that you put on and yeah, there’s things you can do that make it a little better, but it’s intense for sure.
WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW CAN HURT YOU
Karyn: One of the things that… Well, I hear this from every single client that I work with, they’ll tell me… My doctor never told me this, my doctor never told me that… They just don’t know. And you mentioned the patios, you mentioned the pain of now having to re-train to go to the bathroom… Right. Or is there anything else that you think would be helpful for people to know? This is what your doctor is not telling you, This is what’s gonna be on after… The thing that I hear most about is from patients… Yeah, but is there anything else that you feel like your doctor’s just not telling you this…
Ruthie: Yeah, well, so I’ve had a total of six surgeries, now I had those initial three, and then I’ve had three additional because of bowel obstructions, because when you have any sort of abdominal surgery, you’re left with a lot of scar tissue, which I was not told about beforehand, and that scar tissue can cause so many issues and such as bowel obstructions, and I’ve had three different bowel obstructions, and it’s just like where you feel like you’re pregnant, nothing will pass through you at all, and just the worst pain and then the only way to clear it is to put an NG tube in your nose, so it’s like a vacuum that they stick up your nose and it goes down your throat and vacuums everything out the worst for 24 hours too. It’s ridiculous or longer. So yeah, that was something that nobody warned me about, and just the fact of having any sort of surgery on your stomach, it causes some sort of trauma and some sort of scar tissue, and those are the things that… They just have all these others, there’s just way more to it than just like no ulcerative colitis and that’s what really makes me upset to think about because I’m just like…
I just wanted someone to sit down with me and tell me every single thing that could happen if I had the surgery and everything that couldn’t happen, because… Even if I knew all of these things, I probably would have still done it. It would have been way nicer to know beforehand that this was a possibility rather than feeling like I was blind-sided, so… Yeah, exactly. That’s a big one.
Karyn: Yeah, I really want doctors to do a better job with this.
Karyn: I really don’t like hearing from people who have had it down there, they tell, everything’s gonna be fine. It’s just gonna be fine. No problem.
Ruthie: Just be real with me. Tell me it’s not gonna be fine. I would rather they just tell me the truth, ’cause in a lot of ways, it’s gonna be better…
Karyn: Right. Yet then there’s a lot that comes with it as well. so I have had… Not my colon, but I’ve had the removal of my small intestine and not the whole thing, but almost 10 feet of it, a really big chunk that has really affected me, and it happened when I was young too. And so I haven’t had an IBD surgery in 18 years, but the complications that I’ve now had from it, they said We’re gonna take your disease out now with Crohn’s, they don’t promise you that you’re gonna be healed because Crohn’s doesn’t usually work that way. It will usually come back and they did tell me to their credit, they told me it will probably come back and it did, so I had the first surgery with four and a half feet to have the second surgery with five feet that they took out, so now it’s almost 10 feet, it’s been 18 years and the scar tissue has now built up, so I have challenges with food passing through because of the scar tissue, and so I always think to myself, it would have been nice if…
They would have told me that, but I can’t go back in time. And so I try to live my life not feeling sorry for myself about the past and not feeling like what is my future gonna be like because I’ve had these surgeries in the scar tissue, it just keeps getting worse and worse. So for you, I would love to know, how do you sTay in the present, how do you not think about what was or what could have been, and how do you not think about… What could happen in the future? How do you stay present?
[39:18] Ruthie: Yeah. Well, I definitely do. I definitely do think about the past and the future, and I definitely have long periods of time, particularly after surgeries and unexpected surgeries, ’cause I had two unexpected surgeries in 2020, and I just really thought I was over everything, and that really messed me up for some time because I was just very afraid that like, Oh, what’s the point of doing anything if I’m just gonna have another surgery tomorrow, ’cause I felt fine beforehand, and then just one day I felt really sick, went to the hospital, wake up and out of surgery, I…
Karyn: Right, that’s how obstructions can work. You’re fine, and the next day you’re not.
Ruthie: And that’s terrifying.
IS IT POSSIBLE TO NOT LIVE IN FEAR WHEN THE WORST HAS HAPPENED TO YOU?
Karyn: So now you live in this constant state of when is that going to happen again, at least that’s what I’m doing.
Ruthie: Yeah, so what I do to help me with that stuff is… Well, first of all, I notice that I’m doing it because I think for a long time, you don’t even notice that you’re doing it ’cause you’re just like, This is the only way to think, there’s no other way to be like, This is real. ’cause it is a real thing, and you have to validate that that is actually a possibility, it could happen, and I think that’s what I was struggling with for a long time because I was just like… ’cause the fears are rational, they’re not out of the blue, it’s based on history, so you have to give yourself a break because you are afraid for good reason that it happened and it could happen again. So it’s like remembering that. And at the same time, I try to remind myself that if that does happen, what am I gonna do today that is going to just make me feel good and make me feel happy because yeah, it is a possibility I could be in the hospital tomorrow and say, there for a week. So how am I gonna live my life today and take advantage of the fact that I’m not in the hospital and then I’m not sick, because you can…
It’s such a such a flip though, because you can really easily just be like, there’s no point in doing anything if I’m gonna be in the hospital tomorrow, or you could flip it to be like, Well, if I’m gonna be the hospital more, I better do all the things today, ’cause I feel great today. And that is where I try to say, But you have to be… You have to be really, really kind to yourself when you slip into the other way, because it’s something my therapist told me that was really helpful, is that just about self-compassion and how our brains think that if we’re really hard on ourselves about feeling a certain way or doing something that… That’ll change the way that we do it. So it’s like if I’m constantly thinking about how I’m scared, I’m gonna be in the hospital, but then I tell myself, No, stop. Stop thinking like that, because you have to live your life, you have to be happy today, well, if you come at it from that hard perspective, it’s gonna keep you stuck in the cycle, so the only way to come out of it is by validating why you are stuck in the cycle.
And just imagine if your best friend or your daughter was going through the same thing, and how would you speak to them if they were going through it like it’s not their fault that they are scared because history is scary and the future is scary, but right now, everything is okay, so we can work through the things we felt in the past, we can work through the things or kind of plan mentally plan for things happening in the future, ’cause there’s definitely value in that, or just being like, Okay, well, if I get check when I’m out here with these people, what will I do and just kinda… It gives me a sense of peace just knowing that I’ve already played through this in my mind, so if it happens, I’m good, and then I don’t have to worry about it when I’m there, ’cause it’s like a dress rehearsal most… But I know that might not be helpful for everyone, so just kind of like a note.
Karyn: That’s hugely helpful, actually. Yeah, so we try to stay in the present. We try to live in the moment and enjoy it because we don’t know what the future is gonna hold, but at the same time, not feeling guilty or berating ourselves because we’ve planned for the future, or because one day we got stuck in the past, right. When the…
Ruthie: You can be in the present, and we think you can be presently planning for the future, and you can be presently working through the things you’ve lived in the past, is you just… Yeah, just being present with what you’re thinking about and not being like thinking about the past and feeling it like you’re fully there, it’s like watching it more like an observer, observing what happened in the past, what can you learn from what happened in the past? How can you apply that to what’s happening now, and how can you apply those lessons to what could happen in the future.
Karyn: A much healthier way to go about… Yeah, but I also, I tell my clients and I try to be this way with myself, like some days I’m just gonna have a bad day and I’m gonna cry. And that’s okay.
Ruthie: And you should do that. Everyone should do this exactly.
Karyn: If I don’t want anybody to live there, I would never wanna live in that place, but some days you need to do that, and I think oftentimes, as women, we feel like we’re just not strong, if we indulge in that it… And that’s even just a really horrible way to say it, indulge, it’s not indulging in a US being in that state, but we’re told, Well, no, you’re just… You can’t… So I encourage people to be there, what you’ve gone through is a really challenging thing, what we go through every day with IBD is really challenging, and so we just need to allow ourselves to be where we’re at…
Rutie: And every storm runs out of rain, so
Karyn: I love that, that’s the… Exactly, yeah, I kind of say it a little bit differently, but it… Same sentiment, I say, This is your now, if not your future, this is your now, it’s not your future. It doesn’t have to be your future. now, so yeah, it’s like there’s the storm, but it’s gonna run out eventually that…
Karyn: One of the things that I really think that people don’t give enough thought to is the idea of surgeries like this with having an ostomy and having a j-pouch is that just going through all of the steps that you go through, it’s a loss and it’s a trauma, and oftentimes we think of it as, I don’t know, just a medical procedure, but actually there’s a loss in a trauma there, and so you might think that it’s this grief process and then you’ll just go through those… Do you know Elizabeth Keubler Ross, the stages of grief?She created the stages of grief, Denial, anger, resentment, acceptance… I don’t know, there’s another one in there that I’m not thinking of, but… So she created these stages of grief, and so people tell us that this is how you go through it, right, you’ll go through denial, then you’ll go through anger, but what I find is that, at least for me, and I would guess for stone and J pouch, people as well, it doesn’t actually work in the circular way…
Let go way. A circle doesn’t matter. So sometimes some days you might feel acceptance and then other days you might be back in denial and then… Right, do you find that for you as well, that you’re kind of all over the place with the emotions…
CHRONIC ILLNESS GRIEF: THE UNSTAGE PROCESS
Ruthie: Absolutely, and I think that a lot of the books I’ve read about ’cause… Yeah, you’re absolutely right. It’s, we’re morning a loss, we’ve lost an organ or we’ve lost a chunk of ourselves, so you have to… It’s a morning process, and you have to grieve that loss and accept where you’re currently at, and the organs that are here inside of you and are working and not taking those for granted either, but absolutely. Some days I will feel on top of the world, I’ve accepted. I am like, I did it, I had a tear. Exactly, and it’s like you feel like you kind of made it, but then the next day it’s like, can’t get off the couch and I’m crying all day, so it’s definitely… And I think a lot of the grief process of it and everything, if you read it exactly as it is and take it in exactly as it is, it can be kind of harmful just because you don’t think you’re doing it right, if you’re just like, Oh well, that’s not what my process has been, and it’s like every single person’s grieving process is going to be different, and it’s a very personal process, and it’s not something anyone can really tell you either, it’s like you can listen to what has worked for other people, but ultimately, it’s, you’re different and you have to do what’s right for you.
So if someone suggests something that like, Oh, you should… You’re this far away from when it happened, so you should be in this stage, it’s like… That is going… It’s like a record scratch. It’s like if your reality something, but then you’re hearing from someone else that your reality should be something different, then you’re just like, Wait, well, if I should be there then, but it’s like, No, just let herself be exactly where you are and take in what other people say, and things that resonate with you and makes sense and feel helpful, but take everything with a grain of salt because you… I’ve got really caught in comparing my healing to other people, healing, and it’s never gonna be the same, so there’s no real point in doing it.[49:20] Karyn: When you’re feeling that way and you’re in your own pain, one of the things that you mentioned is therapy, and I think that that can be so helpful, I feel like somewhere… Maybe it was on one of your YouTube videos that I saw that you’ve done hypnotherapy.
THE POWER OF THERAPY FOR PHYSICAL ILLNESS
Karyn: Well, when I was 17 and just diagnosed, my mother took me to a therapist who did hypnotherapy, and I found that to be amazingly beneficial. Have you had the same experience?
Ruthie: Yeah, I think it’s beautiful. I think it’s way different than what I had in my head as to what hypnotherapy would be, ’cause I feel like we all have this first vision of hypnotherapy as being…
Karyn: Oh, like a little worse, the hypnotherapist on the stage who making them for
Like a dog and like a chicken…
Ruthie: Exactly, and that’s what kind of blew my mind when I first started doing God hypnosis was because I was like, This is what I’ve been doing, this is… It’s not the person who’s the therapist is not doing anything for you. They are guiding you through the process, that you can do it for yourself. And I think that’s something like in my head before I was like, Well, what if they do something to me that’s scary or harmful or too much, but it’s like you have all of the power, they’re just suggesting things to you, and if it feels good, you go with it, if it doesn’t, then leave it. So yeah, I really helpful.
[50:55] Karyn: And so when we think about therapy and hypnosis, that kinda leads me into thinking about meditation… Right, and… And also yoga. So how did those practices develop for you?
RUTHIE HELPS HER UC WITH MEDITATION AND YOGA
Ruthie: So yoga, something I kind of always been in my life in the background, my mom always had these yo good tapes I would do with her when I was little, but I never really… It just seemed kind of like another explore, another work at thing to do, so I didn’t really think of it as being anything deeper or more than just the physical postures, the asanas of yoga. I think I was 20, 21 maybe. It was in 2018, I decided to really go for it with yoga and I went through a really bad break-up, and I was just getting off of, or I was trying to get off of the biologics I was on, but I knew I had to make serious lifestyle changes, if I wanted to do that successfully, so I was like, I’m just gonna force… Or my sister was the one actually who said… She’s like, something crazy awesome happened. Did you force yourself to do yoga every single day, even when you don’t feel like it? So I was like, Okay, I’ll try it for a month. And I just never really stopped and I just… I did it every single day, just for you too, and just it some amount of yoga every day and really, really loved it, and I could see how it would just get better and better, ’cause it just…
In a month I did it. It was just getting better. So then I booked a trip for my yoga teacher training and went to Costa Rica for a month in April of 2018, and did a 200-hour teacher training, which was amazing. It was just like everything. It sounds like it was beautiful. Perfect. We did so much yoga, we were vegan for the month, which was nice, it was cool for me to try vegan, but my body definitely was craving red meat by the end of it,
Karyn: and I think everyone is totally individual, for some being vegan works for them, And then some, They need meat. It’s all individual.
Ruthie: Exactly, but it was nice that I tried, ’cause I probably would not have ever tried if I wasn’t forced to, so that was really great, and I came back from that trip and I felt like… Well, that was the first time I ever heard or I ever understood why people say food is fuel, ’cause that’s never been something that’s ever made sense to me my entire life, I’ve always just been like, You eat what’s gonna hurt you the least, and that’s just what you eat, I never thought of it as something as being energetic for you, if I wanted to have energy, I wouldn’t eat and then I would be like, I have a lot of energy, and that’s just what my life has always been, but when I went there, I would eat a meal that was grown on the land we were living on, and I would be like, so much energy, I felt like I tried to stress or something, but better, it was just like… Yeah, and I was like, I didn’t even know it was possible for people to feel like this, so I felt like I got a glimpse of what normal people feel like a normal people feel like every day healthy people.
So I was like, I don’t ever wanna lose this, how do I just keep this all the time. And yeah, it was really, really great. And I just continued to do yoga when I got back to the training, but then… And I was really into the whole mindset thing, and I was… Got a rake certification, and then I started to hear about the solar plexus and how your solar plex is easier, so forth and self-confident, so then I was like, Oh, that I… Yeah, I was like, that’s why I got sick was because I hated myself so much, and so then I was just really kind of equating everything, it’s like, Oh, it’s all been my fault now that I know… Now I can control it and now I won’t ever get sick in again, and I was there, I was like, This is it, I figured it out. And then of course, I got sick again and everything just shattered again, but we came to a way… It was kind of like the pendulum, I was all the way over here, I was way over here, and when I got to take again, it forced me to come to the Center and just be like, Okay, it’s not…
There’s not one answer for everything, there’s always gonna be… It’s a both/and thing. That’s another thing my therapist taught me, right? Yeah, because I always say but… And then every time I catch myself now and I’m like, No, it’s Both/and…love that. Yeah, western medicine and eastern medicine. We can have both of them. Exactly, I was really kind of shunning Western medicine for a long time, and just like… I have those periods too, but I kinda came to a center ground, I’m like, No, I’m alive because of it. So exactly.
Karyn: We can’t just count any of it, we have to use what helps us. Exactly. And so, when did the meditation come in?
Ruthie: So meditation was the main thing that I gravitated toward from the yoga teacher training, and we did these inner child meditations and Archangel invitations and all these kind of journey, a beautiful ones, and I just… It made so much sense to me. I just, I can’t even really explain it. It was just like, Oh yeah, I know exactly how to do this. It was just like, it felt like exactly what I needed to do, and it was… I never felt like a challenge for me at all to do guided cations, it was just like… It comes very, very naturally. So then when I got back from that teacher training, I found Insight Timer from my teachers there, and Tanis Fishman is an amazing teacher on inside time or a Jennifer Piercy. I love their style of speaking and just how inviting it is and not… ’cause there are a lot of teachers, everyone needs something different to click into that space, so I always say to people who are starting, I try as many different teachers as possible in her area, many times
Karyn: There’s no shortage. I’m always recommending Insight Timer. I love it, and I love that you gave couple of more names ’cause I’m gonna go check them out now…
Ruthie: Yeah, yeah. They’re amazing, amazing teachers. And a lot of what I say is middle nuggets from what I picked from there were a lot of yoga needs are… Have you tried Yoga Nidra?
Karyn: Yes, I have.
Ruthie: Yep, that’s beautiful. Like a yogic sleep. So I tried all that stuff. I was like, This is amazing. And I just started looking, I’m like, I want something that I can listen to when I’m on the toilet, and I can’t go to the bathroom. And like, I want something, it’s for that, and I started looking and I couldn’t find anything, or maybe there was a few but didn’t really resonate or something, so then I was like, Alright, well, I’m just gonna make my own. So I just wrote it out, I recorded it, and then that was the first and only meditation I thought I was gonna do, and it’s like a 10-minute… It’s a solar plexus, the first one on my YouTube and on everything, and it has… I think it still has the most plays out of all of the ones I’ve done and see… Yeah, they really resonated with it, and I listen to it when I still and I need it, ’cause I really make a lot of the medications like for myself and for everyone else who feels like me…
Yeah, and then I just… Once I got positive feedback from all of that, I was just like, Why don’t I just do this… This is the perfect job for me. Like it’s a job that forces me to tune into myself and to be present, and it gives you that responsibility, ’cause I did love teaching yoga, but I was… I was teaching 10 classes a week at one point, and it was like, I can’t keep this up, this is too rigorous of a lifestyle, like meditations, so I’m like, I could do 10 to get… Meditation is easy in a week, probably more so… Yeah, so it was just… I really fell in love with it.
Karyn: I’m so glad that they’re there, you know, for a long time I was doing inside timer and I didn’t even look for any kind of digestive healing meditations ’cause I just figured they weren’t there, but when you actually go and look… It’s amazing, there’s a lot of really specific with whatever ailment you have, so I just let a timer, I highly encourage everybody to go there, so most of your work right now is on Insight Timer, and then we can also find you on YouTube. I know you have yoga on YouTube as well. Are those the main places where everybody can find your work…
Ruthie: Yeah, YouTube, Instagram, Insight, Timer, the usual stuff.
Karyn: Awesome, awesome.
Karyn: Well, I want to close out today, just like we started, I want to close out with another meditation so that we can leave today just feeling really wonderful about the day, with hope. Right, yeah, I would love for us to close out that way before we do that, do you have anything, any last nugget words of wisdom, anything you wanna just to leave us with?
THE POWER OF JOURNALING ON YOUR HEALING JOURNEY
[1:00:03] Ruthie: Yeah, I really think this is something that’s been very prevalent in my life lately, and I really just wanna say it as many people as possible. I really think that… It was actually two things. So I think that that journaling, I really think it’s necessary, and I don’t think you have to be a writer or call yourself a writer to do it, but any form of it too, even if it’s in the form of doodles or just scribbles on a paper, I think that documenting your life in some form, you can just pictures on your phone and reviewing that is so important too, ’cause nobody can really teach you what you can teach yourself, and by living your life and documenting parts of it in some form, your external world as well, as your internal world, things that happen in your life, and then how you feel about them and the thoughts that you’re having currently, I think doing that over time and reviewing that over time, you learn so much about yourself and it’s things that nobody else could ever tell you, because if you’re in our world, but we always forget, we forget the things are lessons we learned all the time, so just…
Even just this morning, I re-watched one of my old You Tube videos ’cause I realized I hadn’t watched any of them ever, and I was like, What did I even say on these… And I was like, Oh my God, I felt like I was learning things. Listening to myself, Fuck. I was like, This is crazy. ’cause you forget everything. So I think that is so, so helpful, especially with deep emotional stuff, which I feel like people with IBD often
Karyn: So no. True. And do you think that there’s the best time of day to do that, do you think we should plan in the morning to do it or in the evening to do it, or do you think it’s like just… When the mood strikes you. What do you think works best?
Ruthie: I think definitely when the mood strikes you, but I think when you are starting, that’s not gonna happen until you force yourself to do it, so I think starting first thing in the morning is really like Julia Cameron, I think it’s gonna be… Julie camera has a book, The Artist’s Way, and she talks about the morning pages, how every morning first in in the morning, write three pages, even if it’s just like, I don’t know what to write, This is dumb. I don’t wanna write right now, even if it’s just that for three pages, it’s kind of like a brain dump, like emptying the trash can on your computer or something, just getting it all out, so then you can start with a fresh mind.
Karyn: Yeah, I read that book a while ago, you know what I’m gonna link it in the show notes because everybody should read that book.
Ruthie: That is a must read for… Sure, read for sure.
Karyn: Okay, and I know you wanted to mention one more thing…
Ruthie: Yeah. Okay, the last thing is this really helpful analogy, I say it in a lot of my medications, but I kinda blew my mind when I first heard it. There’s this teacher. He teaches ancient astrology. It’s nightlight astrology on YouTube, but the teachers of course, like a YouTube course on The Hermetica, which is another great book, it’s the ancient teachings of Hermes, like the last wisdom of the Pharaohs. So what the symbolism of the moon and the sun, so the moon in ancestral represents the body like our physical bodies, and the sign represents our soul, so the moon does not have its own light, like our body is just matter. And we reflect the Moon reflects the light from the sun, from the sun. So our body is brought to life by our soul, and sometimes it’s a new moon, and sometimes the moon is totally in the dark, fund the soul, sometimes our body is totally in the dark and we feel like we’re in the trenches and nothing’s ever been good and nothing will ever be good again, and we’re just disconnected and lost feeling, and then sometimes we’re a full moon and sometimes we feel like…
Ruthie: Totally illuminated. Totally connected. Totally. Great. And with where we’re at, and then there’s all those phases of the moon in between, so it’s like you… Whenever you’re in one phase, you feel like That’s where you’re at, that’s where you’ve always been, it’s where you will always be, and there’s nothing that’s ever gonna change, but it always changes, and we always go through the cycles of the moon, just like the moon does, sometimes were partially illuminated, sometimes we’re partially in the dark and sometimes we’re full, sometimes we’re in the dark and just being whatever you’re at and not trying to change it, not trying to be a full moon when you’re in a new moon, just being the new moon, just being in that darkness and knowing that the next phase is right around the corner, so that’s very helpful.
Karyn: So I love that, so much wisdom from you, and you mentioned so many things that I’m gonna go through this before I make it go live, and I will put all the links in the show notes because I was… Wisdom from you. That’s amazing, all the things that you’ve learned in this short period of time, and I’ve gotten so much from your Insight Timer meditations, but who now you were just the fount of wisdom. That’s awesome. I love.
Ruthie: Thank you so much.
Karyn: Oh, it’s been such a joy. It’s such an honor for me to talk with you today. I’m just really grateful to you, so thank you for sharing the space with me, Ruthie, and thank you for sharing your light with everyone that’s listening.
Ruthie: Thank you so much for having me, this is awesome.
Karyn: Let’s close out with a meditation… Yeah. Okay.
ONE LAST MEDITATION WITH RUTHIE
[1:05:32] Ruthie: Yeah, I wanna do… We’re gonna do a stomach one too, so… Let’s do it. Okay, so just coming back to that comfortable position, if you’re sitting with your feet on the ground is really feeling your feet on the ground, closing the eyes if you feel safe to do so, and taking that same cleansing breath, full in Him, in full exhale. Just letting the crown of your head lift up, light we toward the ceiling and just feeling the length of your spine as you start to settle back into your body, just coming back to your heart, feeling once again that unique rhythm that your heart has… Remembering that connection that your heart has to your mind, to your senses, and now remembering the connection that heart has to your stomach, and just feeling all that love and… And that’s in the heart. And how that is directly connected, passing through the lungs and coming into all the organs in your Sumac. Now you can gently place your left hand on your hearts and your right hand on your belly, wherever it feels called to go is trusting where your hands naturally fall, and not just feeling this connection of your palms to your body, so feeling how your heart is beating into your hand, and also how your hand is beating back into your heart, feeling maybe the rise of your belly as you breathe in into your hand and the fall as you breathe out, or maybe even feeling a heartbeat in your stomach that’s pulsing into your hand in your right hand pulsing back into your stomach.
Now, just feeling the love from your heart, this enter into your hand naturally travel up the left arm, come into the left shoulder, across the collar bones, down the right arm, through the right wrist, into the right hand and into the belly, and just feeling the circuit that you’ve just created connecting your heart to your belly in two ways now, direct line through the inside of your body and your torso, and now from the outside, from your hands, through the hearts in your hands, and just allow your stomach to receive this healing from your own heart. Notice if there’s any resistance to it, I know that that is okay to trust that you will always receive what you are meant to receive when you are meant to receive it, just stepping out of your own way as you feel ready to receive and to heal… Whenever you feel ready to do so, you can slowly let your palms find each other now, feel all of that energy to settle within your stomach, let it be absorbed into the organs, into the cells of your body, and feeling this love just feeding into each palm. Now, as you take a deep and conscious breath and once again feeling yourself fill up, letting yourself fill up, and as you exhale, slowly letting the head bow once again, just bowing to the source you’ve come from, bowing to the inspiration and guidance around you, bowing to everyone in this space, who’s completed this alongside you, most importantly, bowing to yourself for listening for choosing to show up and just for being here.
May this practice continue to heal you through the rest of your days and nights, may you bring the same love and understanding into everything that you do into everyone that you see… No.
Karyn: Mmm… Thank you, Ruthie. Thank you.
Ruthie: Thank you, Karyn.
Karyn: That was something really special. Right. Mushy is definitely an inspiration to us all, if you wanna practice yoga with rule or you want to use her as a guide through your meditations, you can find her on YouTube and Insight Timer, she also is on Facebook and Instagram. I will go ahead and link to rothes website and YouTube channel in the show notes, definitely go check her out and thanks for joining us on the podcast today, and stay tuned for more her IBD story episodes as we continue to shed light on IBD women warriors in our circle, until we meet again. I’m wishing you a cheeky and healthy IBD healing journey chat soon. Thank you so much for joining me today and for listening to today’s episode, when it comes to IBD, I know there’s a lot of resources out there, and I’m truly honored that you chose the take podcast to get your IBD information today. If you found this information helpful, please give us a rating and review, it helps other moms find the podcast and see what we’re doing over here to help It moms everywhere.
[1:13:17] Karyn: And if you feel called to do it, share this podcast with an IBD mom who you know could really use an uplifting message today, ’cause that’s what we’re all about over here at the St podcast. One last thing, if you’re still with me, and if you are, you’re definitely my kind of gal, we have to get to know each other better, ’cause if you’re tired of living on the hamster wheel of IBD with all the ups and downs between players and remission, if you’re struggling to get control of your abdominal pain, gas, bloating, diarrhea and other troubling IBD symptoms, go to my… The website, it’s Karyn Haley dot com, and my mom had to be just a little bit different, but my name with the Y, so it’s K-A-R-Y H-A-L-E-Y dot com, and schedule your very own free 30-minute IBD Root Cause troubleshooting session with me, where we discuss the challenges you’ve been having, we set goals to help you move forward, and we talk about how we can work together to help you get your life back, hit of power packed 30 minutes. You don’t have to live in IBD status quo.
There’s so much that can be done to transform your life so you can thrive in motherhood and thrive with IBD, I’ve seen my clients walk this path and it gives me so much joy to take that journey with them. My entire coaching practice is run online, so you never have to leave your house and you never have to get out of your amino yoga pants for us to work together, you know I’m wearing them to… If you’re ready to take your first amazing step towards healing, I’m ready to chat with you, schedule your free 30-minute IBD, cause trouble shooting today at Carondelet Com. Click on the work with me tab and I’ll see you soon. It’s important to note that the information in this podcast and in this episode is for general information purposes only and not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The statements made in the CV podcast for moms with it, either by me or my guest is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Before implementing any new treatment protocols, do yourself a favor and consult your physician first, thank you so much for listening for being here, for saving the space for us to spend some time together until we chat again, I’m wishing you a cheeky and healthy IBD journey.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This podcast, video, and blog post is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Have you ever dived into one of the many gut healing diets out there, I’m talking head first, blazing a trail, only to scratch your head a few weeks later wondering why it didn’t work for you?
Or have you found a diet that works for many of your gut struggles, but there’s still lingering symptoms that never seem to clear up?
Or maybe you’re in the middle of a flare up right now.
It’s raging, but you’re so overwhelmed you don’t know where to start. It might feel right now like the world is caving in, but actually this is the best place to be– with all your options laying at your feet.
You just need some help getting clear on what those options are, and most importantly, where to start first.
If any of these scenario’s sound like you, dear one, you’re going to love this episode.
We’re talking about:
And so much more!
After this episode, you’ll have the tips you need to finally take confident steps on your gut healing journey. That nasty flare-up is going down.
Episode at a Glance:
Mentioned in This Episode
Have you ever dived into one of the many gut healing diets out there, I’m talking head first, blazing a trail, only to scratch your head a few weeks later wondering why it didn’t work for you?
Or have you found a diet that works for many of your gut struggles, but there’s still lingering symptoms that never seem to clear up?
Or maybe you’re in the middle of a flare up right now. It’s raging, but you’re so overwhelmed you don’t know where to start. It might feel right now like the world is caving in, but actually this is the best place to be– with all your options laying at your feet. You just need some help getting clear on what those options are, and most importantly, where to start first.
If any of these scenario’s sound like you, dear one, you’re going to love this episode. If you can relate, this one’s for you.[Music]
INTRO: You are listening to The Cheeky Podcast for Moms with IBD, a safe space for moms with Crohn’s and colitis, connect, explore powerful tools for healing and transform our lives to thrive in motherhood and in life. I’m your host, Karyn Haley, IBD health coach, integrative wellness enthusiast, and mom to three outstanding kids. After having Crohn’s disease for 30 years and working as a health advocate exclusively with IBD clients for the last 10 years, I know it’s time to bring the types of candid conversations I have with my clients out into the open. It’s our time to go on an IBD healing journey and do it like only a mom can. Let’s do this.[music]
[01:54] Hello my love, how are you feeling today? Is it another day in IBD paradise or are there some things you’re still working on? Let’s just take a deep breath together and set an intention that you will leave today’s episode with at least one nugget of wisdom you can take with you on your IBD healing journey. Now, just let it go. Whatever you need to hear today to help you through, it’s in your heart, it’s out there in the ethers, ready to take shape.
Today we’re talking about the #1 reason you haven’t busted that flare up and what to do instead.
We have to start this episode with a truth bomb. One that’s gonna give you an Amen, sister friend kind of feeling. And it goes like this: Even though you’ve most likely not heard from your doctor that the food you eat, along with the state of your mental and overall physical health will impact your IBD, you already know this to be true.
You know it in your heart. Am I right?
You probably wouldn’t be listening to this podcast if you didn’t have the urge to seek out something more… some other way to heal besides reaching for a pill or an infusion.
And even if you do take medications or infusions, you know that you’ll need less medicine or be able to come off your medication sooner if you make healthy choices when it comes to your gut.
FROM 6-MP TO SCD
That’s how it happened for me. I was moving along on 6-MP (it’s an immuosuppressive), and after 20 years of gut struggles that tore me apart, I was finally eating a diet that was controlling my symptoms and I finally said to myself, I don’t think I need this medication anymore. And you might be just at the start of a similar journey. You might have heard about this diet or that diet… And you may have heard that outside the world of Crohn’s and colitis, healthy people eat kale and sprouts and quinoa… berries and raw veggies.
And so many of us go for it. We think that if we just follow the foods listed as legal on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, or the Macrobiotic diet, or Paleo, or Whole 30, or if we eat 10 fruits and veggies a day, our abdominal pain will disappear, our diarrhea and bloody stools will clear up and we’ll begin to heal.
And listen, I know all of these kinds of options aren’t easy. The shear willpower it takes to stay on diets like these is beyond intense. When we put in extraordinary effort and we embrace eating extreme diets, we want the payoff to be worth it.
WHERE’S THE PAYOFF?
We’re working our butts off. We deserve the payoff to be worth it.
But the problem is, these diets don’t take into account the most important part of healing—the repair phase. And I’m not talking about the long-term repair we do over time as we begin to heal our gut. I’m taking about the pre-repair work that needs to take place before ANY healing can begin.
Over the years in my coaching practice, I kept seeing clients who came to me saying, “I tried Paleo or I tried the SCD and it didn’t work. I tried supplements, herbal remedies, elixirs, but they didn’t work.”
This really got me thinking. These kinds of gut supporting remedies should work. How come, in many cases, they aren’t.
What I found 99.9% of time is that instead of spending quality time in the repair phase—this almost pre-digestive healing phase, most people jumped right into their new healing regime. And especially when mamas with Crohn’s or colitis jumped right into an eating plan or a healing regime without proper time spent in repairing the flare first, they just weren’t successful in creating long-lasting healing—the kind that sustains remission.
THE PROBLEM WITH JUMPING OFF THE LEDGE
It’s like starting to exercise without warming up—it puts you at greater risk for injury. Your whole digestive system works in much the same way. We’ve been exercising our digestive system without warming it up for so long. Now, we have to set up a strong foundation before we can move on to lasting healing.
That, what I affectionately like to call the “repair the flare” foundational step is about setting your digestive system up with the proper tools to address the irritation in the digestive track, the inflammation that’s raging throughout the body. Starting to wake up the intestinal villi that have been lying flat and dormant for so long.
Once we take the necessary steps to ignite our body’s innate repair system, there’s no stopping us. But failing to at least light the pilot light in our digestive system, ends up in half results, repeated stops and starts, and this feeling that full remission is just not possible for you.
7 REPAIR THE FLARE TIPS TO HELP YOUR IBD
Let’s end this problem today—these failed attempts and starts and stops, half attempts– Because today, I’m sharing with you 7 repair the flare tips to ensure that when your IBD is raging, you know exactly what to do first, as soon as possible if you can, because the sooner you set these tips in motion when a flare starts, the better you’ll feel and the quicker you’ll start to calm your symptoms down and find remission.
We’ll start by going over the 7 tips. Then with all this information in hand, I’ll tell you how you can get started on them and do it like a mom, with no overwhelm or confusion involved.
Let’s get started.
TIP #1 GRANDMA WAS RIGHT!
[09:58] So tip #1, the best advice I’ll ever give you, is to get started with a high quality bone broth or meat stock right away—like the moment you realize this is a flare. It’s coming on, I know somethings not quite right. Just like with a cold how it’s best if we can get it with the first sniffle, bone broth works much the same way. The sooner you get on it the better.
Now maybe your mom or your grandmother, or great-grandmother made homemade stock before. Growing up Italian, my grandmother always had homemade chicken soup on hand. And it was delish. Little did I know it was also so healing for the gut at the time. Homemade stock, made with chicken or beef bones is full of nutrient rich collagen and gelatin. These two compounds are mother nature’s miracles for our digestive health.
If you don’t do any other tips you hear today, this is the one to do. The results can be huge. The gelatin (and yes, if you’re thinking jello gelatin, you’re on the right track—only less processed and less sugars and dyes—pure gelatin) in the meat stock comes from the skin, the bone marrow, and the tendons of the animal. The gelatin we get from our homemade stock sets the mucosal lining of the gut up for healing success by repairing the lining of the digestive system. Goodbye leaky gut, hello strong intestinal barrier that can now absorb and digest the nutrients we eat. We’re not going to get gut healing results from a chicken breast or a filet mignon. We need the gelatin rich joints and bones of the animal.
That gelatin in the broth also helps balance our stomach acid and digestive enzymes so we have less bloat, less gas, less acid reflux… talk about setting yourself up for repair the flare success!
The collagen in our homemade stock helps us lower inflammation levels, not just in our gut but throughout our whole body. So it’s working on IBD joint inflammation. It also works at lowering pain levels and easing muscle aches. And like gelatin, collagen helps improve leaky gut.
Winner, winner chicken dinner!
With stock and broth, I would try to get in as many cups a day as you can. 1 at a minimum to 5 cups a day, depending on the severity of your flare. Start with just a ½ a cup and ease into more each day. And I know there are some really great local restaurants and shops that sell homemade stock. I have a client in Argentina who gets her stock right around the corner from her house. I’ve had great homemade stock from Springbone Kitchen in NYC. So I know there are some high quality options you can buy. For the most part though, I prefer homemade where you control the ingredients and you know all about the cook time. Don’t be fooled by your regular grocery store “bone broth” options that come in a box or a can. They don’t have the gelatin we need for gut healing.
TIP #2: SAY GOODBYE TO KALE SALAD
[14:44] Let’s talk about tip #2: Skip health food.
Most people believe that “we are what we eat” but IBDer’s are not what they eat. We are what our body can digest and absorb. And in a flare, digesting and absorbing your food is tricky. Do you go to the bathroom and see undigested food in the toilet? This is a sign you’re not digesting and absorbing your food properly.
It’s time to back it up with everything you eat. I want you to eat nutrient packed vitamin and mineral rich fruits and veggies. But your body just can’t tolerate and assimilate these foods in their natural state right now. That doesn’t mean you can’t have strawberries, blueberries, carrots, green beans, spinach, and kale.
You can, you just can’t prepare them the way most people eat them.
Put those fibrous foods in a form YOU can digest.
Blend your fruit in a smoothie. Make a blueberry compote to drizzle on your favorite foods. If compote sounds like a fancy food, it’s not. It’s actually so ridiculously easy to make. Making your berries and other fruit in this way is all the gut healing nutrients without the trouble of the food not being able to make its way through your digestive system. Now, when it comes to fruit, I’m not saying eat fruit all day long because too much fruit is definitely a case of getting too much of a good thing. But a couple servings of berries in a digestible form every day, that is the way to repair the flare.
Veggies can be puréed too. My favorite way to get all my vegetables in when I’m in a flare is by putting them in a soup. I make a soup that I call my 15-vegetable soup. It’s basically the meat stock we just talked about with every vegetable I can find in my house mixed in. When the soup is cooked, I pop it in a blender and voilà, super healthy, delicious, nutrient packed soup that’s also repairing my gut at the same time.
When you’re in a flare, eat healthy, don’t go for the nutrition less mac & cheese and potatoes. Keep it healthy, but just eat it in a form that your body can use to help you heal.
Real quick before we leave tip number two behind, I want to mention episode 24 of the podcast. Back in episode 24, I talked all about the power of using soup to heal your gut. When you’re in a flare, there’s just nothing better. Go back and listen to that episode and you’ll get some great tips for how you can use nutrient dense, healing soup to begin the digestive repair process and bust that flare.
TIP #3: YOU AND THE QUEEN HAVE A LOT IN COMMON
[18:43] Moving along to tip #3: Start sipping tea, herbal tea that is.
Tea, hot or cold, and I should say the right high-quality tea, is amazingly beneficial for your digestive health. Herbal teas, which are not actually teas at all but more like dried fruits, dried flowers, and dried herbs, are a wonderful jumpstart to your healing the flare process.
There are so many herbal teas that are wonderful digestive helpers for things like bloating, gas, abdominal pain after eating, nausea, anxiety and restlessness… there are even herbal blends that work on multiple gut challenges at the same time. But when you’re in flare mode and everything seems to bother you, I prefer single herb teas. Peppermint for heartburn, bloating, gas as well as just being great as a digestive system relaxer after a meal. Ginger tea for when nausea strikes. Chamomile tea to help you relax before bedtime. Sticking to single herb blends in the beginning will help you know which teas work best for you and which ones are best for you to stay away from.
Once you have built a repair the flare foundation, it’s OK to move onto herbal tea combinations. One of my favorites is a tea called throat coat. Some people think it’s just for sore throats, but it’s full of digestive healing compounds like slippery elm, and licorice root, and marshmallow root. Some people do really well with throat coat in early stages, but I don’t think it’s worth risking it. Keep the throat coat tea for after you’ve set a foundation for your digestive healing and are now in full on healing mode.
Warm foods and liquids work for me year-round, but everyone is different. When it comes to tea, let the season be your guide. If the weather is warm, go for it with iced herbal tea. During the cooler months there’s nothing like a warm mug of hot tea to soothe everything that ails you.
TIP #4: FERMENT IT, BABY!
[21:20] It’s time for tip #4 to help you repair that flare: homemade fermented 24-hour yogurt
I’m not talking about the yogurt you buy at the grocery store. This is the yogurt that’s been made at home with ingredients you know and trust and it takes 24 hours to ferment.
Now this is a tip that’s going to need a little disclaimer, because I don’t recommend yogurt for everyone, whether that yogurt is dairy or non-dairy.
Especially when our Crohn’s or colitis is in a flare, one of the main factors is gut dysbiosis. We have an imbalance of the bacteria in our microbiome. This imbalance leads to bloating, gas, abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, arthritis, headaches, sensitivities to foods, brain fog, poor concentration, irritability, moodiness, memory challenges, skin rashes… gut imbalance is a very powerful factor in keeping our IBD humming—and not in a good way. Crohn’s and colitis thrives on a disrupted bacterial system.
One of the ways to bring in this bacterial imbalance back into balance is with yogurt. Homemade, 24-hour fermented yogurt is full of probiotics that have the power to bring balance to our digestive system. I’ve seen people’s whole lives turn around on a couple cups of yogurt a day. Some people thrive on it.
But when the bacterial imbalance is so severe, the addition of yogurt can be challenging to say the least. Whether that yogurt contains dairy or is dairy free—like coconut milk yogurt for example. I love recommending yogurt as an option to help really repair that gut lining initially, but I want to let you know that there is a caveat here. When you’re adding in yogurt, please do not add in heaps and heaps all at once. If that gut dysbiosis in your body is strong, it will set off a chain reaction call the herxhiemer reaction, or you may have heard it called die off. This is the release of all of the bacteria and toxins that are stored up in your body over time. Die off can make you feel worse than your flareup. Have you ever experienced this before? You tried to introduce yogurt and it made you feel worse. This is likely because of this die off reaction.
Bottom line here is that homemade 24-hour fermented yogurt can be great, but go very, very slow. I have had clients that need to start with a half a teaspoon a day, or even just dipping their tongue into the yogurt at first. For some people yogurt works fantastic, and for others, it’s just more of a headache than it’s worth. Give it a try and see how it works for you.
I’ve got three more tips to share on this episode and then I’m gonna tell you how you can get four more of my repair the flare tips to check out after the episode.
TIP #5: GOT CHICKENS?
[25:30] Tip # 5 is: Eggs, and mainly the yolk or the yellow part of the egg.
This is another tip with a caveat. Like yogurt, eggs are fantastic during the repair the flare stage, but eggs are not for everyone.
Egg yolks are a powerhouse of a healer.
They are probably the easiest food to digest on the planet and the amount of digestive healing nutrients found in an egg yolk is insane. Yolks are full of protein so you’re getting large amounts of health building amino acids and vitamins with every egg yolk. B vitamins like B1, B2, B6, B12—B is an essential vitamin for digestive healing. Egg yolks are also high in vitamin A and D as well as biotin. Eggs are full of fatty acids, choline, zinc, and magnesium.
Eggs offer a powerhouse of healing potential, and they set the gut up for further healing and remission down the line. But as we know, some people are sensitive to eggs. If this is you I want to mention two things that are specifically for you with an egg sensitivity, not an egg allergy.
The first thing is that many people who are sensitive to eggs are actually sensitive to the egg white, not the yolk. The part of the egg I’m talking about in your repair the flare phase is the egg yolk. This is where the nutrients that you need are found. So it might be worth trying just the egg yolk to see how you do. The other thing I want to mention, and I’ve seen this happen over and over with several of my clients who are sensitive to chicken eggs. They are not sensitive to other eggs like duck eggs for example. So again, even if you’re sensitive to chicken eggs it can be worth trying eggs from a different animal to see how you react.
If you know you tolerate eggs and maybe even thrive on them, you definitely want them to be a part of your repair the flare phase. Free range organic eggs, the ones you can find from a farmer you trust are best. And having your own chickens who graze on grubs, even better! And when it comes to the gut healing health benefits of eggs, the more raw you eat the egg, the better.
If you’re very trusting of your egg source, you can blend the raw egg into a smoothie, make a gut friendly homemade ice cream with raw eggs, add them to homemade mayo. The way I love to have them and the way I recommend my clients have them is to stir them into a steaming bowl or cup of your bone broth. This cooks the egg a little bit, especially for those of us who are squeamish, like me, about raw eggs. Once the egg is stirred into your broth, you won’t even know it’s there. Like an egg drop soup, it will just add a richness to the taste and flavor of your bone broth. And of course, it’s adding a mega layer of repair the flare healing.
TIP #6: A SALTY DETOX
[30:10] How are you doing mama? Are you ready to bring these tips home. Let’s move on to our second last repair the flare tip. Tip #6 is all about detoxifying our body naturally. Getting rid of the toxins that build up and keep our flare in an active state. And I’m not a fan of most detoxes where do you fast or participate in a cleanse. Most of these are really irritating to the digestive system. But what I do love is a way to gently detox bacteria and toxins we’ve built up in our body with Epsom salt baths.
Throughout all of these tips we’ve been working our way through the systems of the body. Immune function, inflammation, bacterial balance… to repair the flare and set us up for long lasting remission, we must also focus on our detoxification pathways.
Epsom salt, or magnesium sulfide, those large salt looking crystals that are sold in pharmacy’s, grocery stores, and online have a myriad of health benefits from boosting our magnesium levels (something many of us are deficient in) and reducing stress, but when it comes to the repair the flare phase of your intestinal healing, I love Epsom salt for its ability to flush away toxins and reduce pain and inflammation.
I mentioned that Epsom salt is part magnesium and part sulfate. The sulfates in the Epsom salt help the body to release toxins through a process called reverse osmosis. Have you ever heard of water filtered with a reverse osmosis process to purify it? This is the same type of process. The Epsom salt literally pulls the toxins out of your body.
In the world of Crohn’s and colitis, the toxin releasing effect may help us release bacterial overgrowth and ease bloating, while the anti-inflammatory effect can ease abdominal pain, also joint pain, help to reduce painful hemorrhoids, and even lower our C-reactive protein levels. One study even found a link between low magnesium levels and high c-reactive protein levels (one of the inflammation markers our doctors are always checking in our bloodwork). So this study showed that Epsom salt can help to increase magnesium levels in our body, which in turn has the power to lower our CRP.
Like with everything I recommend, always start small with Epsom salt. Too much can led to dehydration and diarrhea. We definitely don’t want that so small amounts is best. ¼ cup in a full bath is a good starting place. If you can work your way up to 1-2 cups per bath and soak for about 20 minutes, you’ll get all the detox benefits you need.
Epsom salt is also great as a foot soak. We release toxins though our feet too so try it as a foot bath as well.
We’ve made it to our last tip of the day. Tip #7. Remember, there’s 4 more tips coming your way after the show. If you want the rest of my Repair the Flare tips, all you have to do is go to karynhaley.com/actionplan. That’s karynhaley.com/actionplan
All the tips we talked about today, plus 4 other important repair the flare tips are talked about in more detail in My IBD Action Plan. If you want more helpful IBD tips, you’ll get them there.
TIP #7: THE BEST MEDICINE ISN’T MEDICINE AT ALL
[35:35] So what’s tip #7? Tip #7 is a mental health tip. We know the food we eat (or don’t eat is important). Finding ways to reduce our inflammation, boost our immune system, balance our bacterial load, and flush our toxins… all important. But if we don’t take care of our mental well-being, we don’t stand a chance at achieving remission.
There’s never a more important time to take care of yourself than when you’re in a flare. It’s time to let go of everything you can. Get support from your family, your friends, your neighbors, your partner… leave the dishes, the vacuuming, the laundry…
There’s many mental health wellness tips I could impart you with today—selfcare and prayer, meditation, talking to a girlfriend.. these are all important, but the one I want to drive home for our top repair the flare mental health tip is to find space in your life to smile and laugh, even in your darkest moments.
There’s a reason why we all know the saying laughter is the best medicine. It’s because it is. I could go all into the endorphin release laughing creates, I could talk to you about the positive physiological changes laughter creates, I could mention the research studies that show how laughter boosts our immune system, lowers stress hormones, and decreases pain… but I’m not going to do that because I’d rather show you what laughter can do… with a joke.
This is one of my mom (who passed away earlier this year), this was one of her favorites. It’s a courtroom joke. A supposedly real conversation between an attorney and a witness. It’s the kind of joke you could hear 100 times and it would be funny every time you hear it. Here goes–
ATTORNEY: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse?
ATTORNEY: Did you check for blood pressure?
ATTORNEY: Did you check for breathing?
ATTORNEY: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy?
ATTORNEY: How can you be so sure, Doctor?
WITNESS: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar.
ATTORNEY: I see, but could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless?
WITNESS: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practicing law.
Ba dum bum… could that be a real courtroom conversation? Somehow I doubt it, but it’s funny. It always cracked my mom up and I can’t help but laugh when I hear it. Watching you tube videos, funny movies, tickling your kiddos—or even just watching kids playing together is funny.
Laughter is the best medicine.
Laughter, tip #7.
LET’S DO A QUICK RECAP
[39:49] Let’s do a quick recap of our repair the flare tips.
Tip #1- Homemade bone broth, remember to get the healing collagen and gelatin benefits, homemade is the way to go.
Tip #2- Skip the health food, eat food in a way that’s easy to digest and absorb. Purred, blended, in a soup… make all your food easy for you to use its nutrients to heal.
Tip #3-Herbal tea, hot or cold… peppermint, ginger, chamomile… they all have gut healing benefits.
Tip #4- Homemade fermented 24-hour yogurt- just can’t be beat for its bacterial balancing benefits
Tip #5- Eggs- full of vitamins and minerals, high quality eggs are a must, especially the yoke and as raw as you tolerate—in a hot broth is ideal.
Tip #6- Epsom salt in a bath, in a foot soak, even to soak your bum when hemorrhoids are bothering you, Epsom salt gently detoxifies and reduces inflammation in your body.
Tip #7- Laughter, the best medicine. Laugh often, laugh with your kids, laugh with your friends, find something to laugh at every day.
So how can you use these tips without getting overwhelmed or stressed?
Well, first of all you’ll want to get started well before the flare gets out of control. These tips work best when you feel a flare coming on. Remember, the quicker you get started the better. If all of these are new for you, there’s no need for overwhelm and trying to do all 7. Pick anywhere from 2 or 4 to get you started. You don’t need all of them, just some key tips will get you started. And pick the low hanging fruit and run with those first. Do you already have a whole chicken in your freezer at home? Start with the bone broth. Is Epsom salt in your bathroom cabinet? Go for it with an Epsom salt bath tonight. Get started with what you can and the rest will fall into place when you are ready.
IT’S TIME TO “DO IT LIKE A MOM”
And when your mama, everything is easier when you can get the kids involved. Make eggs for breakfast for everyone in the morning. If you’ve got olders—let them make the eggs! Plan an activity or a movie where the whole family will sit around and laugh. Trying to find a way to eat nutrient dense fruits and veggies in a way you can tolerate them? Smoothies for all! Yes, you can put veggies into your smoothie—spinach and kale blend great and they don’t change the flavor of the smoothie.
Are you ready to add a couple of these tips into your life? You can do it. And I’m by your side if you need help. DM me on Facebook and we’ll chat about how these tips can fit into your life. @TheIBDHealthCoach
OK mom friend, remember, you can get 4 more repair the flare tips and my IBD Action Plan by going to karynhaley.com/actionplan
So there you have it. 7 of my best tips when it’s time for serious gut repair healing. Stop diving in with the diet, the supplements, or whatever else, before you set the stage for gut healing. You’ll be so happy that you took this time to ensure your IBD remission success.
Until we meet again, I’m wishing you a cheeky and healthy IBD healing journey. Chat soon!
Thank you so much for joining me today and for listening to today’s episode. When it comes to IBD, I know there’s a lot of resources out there, and I’m truly honored that you chose the Cheeky Podcast to get your IBD information today. If you found this information helpful, please give us a rating and review. It helps other moms find the podcast and see what we’re doing over here to help IBD moms everywhere. And if you feel called feel a call to do it, share this podcast with an IBD mom who you know could really use an uplifting message today, ’cause that’s what we’re all about over here at the Cheeky Podcast.
[45:39] One last thing, if you’re still with me, and if you are, you’re definitely my kind of gal. We have to get to know each other better. If you’re tired of living on the hamster wheel of IBD with all the ups and downs between flares and remission, if you’re struggling to get control of your abdominal pain, gas, bloating, diarrhea and other troubling IBD symptoms, go to my website. It’s karynhaley.com, and my mom had to be just a little bit different, she spelled my name with the Y. So it’s K-A-R-Y-N H-A-L-E-Y.com and schedule your very own free 30-minute IBD root cause trouble-shooting session with me where we discuss the challenges you’ve been having, we set goals to help you move forward, and we talk about how we can work together to help you get your life back. It’s a power packed 30 minutes. You don’t have to live in IBD status quo. There’s so much that can be done to transform your life so you can thrive in motherhood and thrive with IBD. I’ve seen my clients walk this path and it gives me so much joy to take that journey with them.
My entire coaching practice is run online, so you never have to leave your house and you never have to get out of your jammy or yoga pants for us to work together. You know I’m wearing them to. If you’re ready to take your first amazing step towards healing, I’m ready to chat with you. Schedule your free 30-minute IBD root cause trouble shooting sesh today at karynhaley.com. Click on the work with me tab and I’ll see you soon. It’s important to note that the information in this podcast and in this episode is for general information purposes only and not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The statements made in the Cheeky Podcast for moms with IBD, either by me or my guests, is not intended to diagnose, treat, to cure, or prevent any disease. Before implementing any new treatment protocols, do yourself a favor and consult your physician first.
Thank you so much for listening, for being here, for saving this space for us to spend some time together. Until we chat again, I’m wishing you a cheeky and healthy IBD journey.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This podcast, video, and blog post is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Are you trying to cut out coffee, but you just can’t find a coffee alternative that ignites your senses and your tastebuds like coffee does… one that even has the power to improve your gut health at the same time?
Oh yeah, it’s possible.
Today, we’re taste testing 4 coffee alternatives to help you decide which one is worth ditching your daily coffee crutch.
Prepare to have your mind blown with some strange (but healthy) compounds that actually taste like the real thing. Coffee connoisseurs welcome—but tea connoisseurs are going to love this episode too!
We’re talking about:
And so much more!
After this episode, you’ll be rushing out to the grocery store to purchase your first coffee alternative—or at least booting up your computer to buy it online ; )
Mentioned in This Episode
Additional Resources From the Episode
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This podcast, video, and blog post is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
So you probably have a doctor… You probably use internet doctor as well. We all do that from time to time. What else are you using to help bring your Crohn’s or colitis into balance?
One of the practices I’ve used for some time now is called craniosacral therapy.
Have you heard of it?
Maybe you’ve even tried it. If you have, you know how gentle and truly transformative this approach can be.
Craniosacral therapy works with our own innate power to heal.
Yes, you have that power. Maybe you just haven’t tapped into it yet.
Because sometimes that power, it can be very deep within, but we all have it and craniosacral therapy, can help bring that power out in you.
To help us explore how craniosacral therapy can help you find the power within, I invited leading craniosacral therapist, Margie Holly, to the episode so she can enlighten us with her wisdom and knowledge and the guiding principles behind this healing practice.
Margie has a really unique viewpoint and a unique take on craniosacral therapy and how it can help those of us with Crohn’s and colitis.
We’re talking about:
And so much more!
After this episode, you’ll exactly what craniosacral therapy can offer to help you feel better with IBD. You’ll also know how to find a craniosacral therapist who can help you take this knowledge at put it into practice.
Episode at a Glance:
Mentioned in This Episode
Karyn: So you probably have a doctor… You probably use internet doctor as well. We all do that from time to time, what else are you using to help bring your Crohn’s or colitis into balance? One of the modalities that I’ve used for some time now is called craniosacral therapy, have you heard of it? Maybe you’ve even tried it, if you have, you know how gentle and truly transformative this approach can be, it works with our own innate power to heal… Yes, we all have that innate wisdom to heal, sometimes the power, it can be very deep within, but we all have it and craniosacral therapy, it can help bring that power out in you, and if you’re thinking that this is just a little too woo woo for me, Karyn, I want you to just give this episode, listen with an open mind. I think you’ll find that it isn’t as woo woo as you might think. Craniosacral therapy, it’s back in science, and it can be really wonderful, it can be a great adjunct to your current IBD treatment plan. Now, I’m definitely not an expert in craniosacral therapy, so I invited leading craniofacial therapist, Margie Holly, to the episode so that she can enlighten us with all her wisdom and knowledge on this subject. Margie has a really unique viewpoint and a unique take on craniosacral therapy and how it can help with IBD symptoms.
There’s really great information in this interview, but what I love is that Margie is really down to earth and she’s just so knowledgeable, you know, it just… Information just comes out of her because it’s just already in there, she didn’t have to look it up in a book, she’s just so versed in craniosacral therapy that it just comes right out of her… I know you’re gonna love hearing from Margie, you’re gonna love what she has to say, so let’s dive in.[02:03]: You are listening to The Cheeky Podcast for Moms with IBD, a safe space for moms with Crohn’s and colitis, connect explore powerful tools for healing and transform our lives to thrive in motherhood and in life. I’m your host, Karyn Haley, IBD Health Coach, integrative wellness enthusiast, and mom to three outstanding kids. After having Crohn’s disease for 30 years and working at the health advocate exclusively with IBD clients for the last 10 years. I know it’s time to bring the types of candid conversations I have with my clients out into the open, it’s our time to go on an IBD healing journey and do it like only a mom can… Let’s do this.
Well, I can welcome dear one, we meet again.
LET’S LEARN MORE ABOUT OUR GUEST.
And I’m especially excited about this episode because I get to introduce you to craniofacial therapist, extraordinaire Margie Holly, talk about… a professional who knows her stuff, Margie has been practicing energy medicine for almost 20 years. Her work combines elements from advanced massage therapy, biodynamic craniosacral therapy, polarity therapy, and RAI with Margie. Every session is unique to her client’s needs, creating a partnership that optimizes your health, therapy sessions with Margie are about restoring calm, finding clarity and regaining control. I know we all want that, right? I love that Margie talks about being passionate to help clients tap into their own capacity to heal, sometimes we just need to hear that somebody else believes in us. Somebody believes that we have the power to heal. During my conversation with Margie, we talk about what a typical craniosacral therapy session looks like, we talk about how craniosacral therapy can get you to the heart of your Crohn’s and colitis by strengthening the immune system, balancing the microbiome and reducing inflammation. Margie talks about how she sees trauma and getting diagnosed with IBD. Don’t sugar-coat it’, it’s a trauma, and she talks about it in a term that I just love, she talks about it with what’s called undigested life experiences.
I just love that. And she talks about how to see your doctor as a consultant instead of one with limitless knowledge on high… Basically, Margie says that we’re in charge of our healthcare, and you’ll see from our conversation how Margie’s work as a craniosacral therapist can help you find the power within to bring your health back into balance. I talked to Margie on Zoom, so I had the pleasure to see her and enjoy this wonderful, serene nature scape that Margie has, it’s right behind her on the wall. right behind her, is a beautiful waterfall in a lush green space with a blue pool of water. Can you picture it? After my interview, Margie and I had a great conversation about this waterfall space, and we talked about the importance of being in nature and how that can have a profound impact on your health as well. If you wanna see her ideal nature scape, head over to my YouTube channel. I’ll leave a link in the show notes so that you can check it out. You can check out that beautiful background, if you could go to a place like that. I just know that it would have a positive impact on your health to…
Alright, I won’t make you wait any longer. Let’s dive into my conversation with craniosacral therapist, Margie Holly. Hi, Margie, welcome to the podcast. It’s so great to have you here today.[05:46] Margie: Thanks, Karyn, and I’m really excited to share what I know.
TEA OR COFFEE?
Karyn: This is gonna be awesome, and I know that no one on the podcast knows who you are, so I want to introduce you to them, and I like to start with just a couple… Get to know you questions. I find that there’s a couple of questions that are really simple, but they just tell a lot about who you are, is that okay if we start with that? Yeah, fire away. Okay, so there are two questions and they’re either/or questions. So the first question is… tea or coffee?
Karyn: coffee… cream sugar or… How do you take it?
Margie: I’m trying to get away from dairy, but I do, I haven’t been able to eliminate that dairy from my coffee yet. Yeah.
Karyn: Gotcha, okay. And one more… cats or dogs?
Margie: Oh good God, they’re both… I love them both and I have them both. So can I say both?
Karyn: You can. Absolutely say both. Lots of animal lovers say that. I love it. Okay, so that just kinda gives our viewers just a little bit of a sense about you before we get into the meat of it, you are a craniosacral therapist and in full disclosure for everybody, you’re my craniosacral therapist. And so the work that we’ve done together, it’s been so amazingly profound to me that I just knew I had to have you on because I have to share your light and the amazing work that you’re doing with everybody else that has Crohn’s and colitis, that just doesn’t really… They might not know about it. So for our viewers that don’t know what craniosacral therapy is, can you just kinda give us an overview, what is… craniosacral therapy, and I would also love to know how did you get into this work?
[7:22] Margie: Well, in a nutshell, craniosacral therapy is a very gentle form of body work that taps into your nervous system’s ability to bring you back into balance, so it’s very gentle, non-invasive, and it really just helps to optimize the health within your system. Is that not enough of an explanation?
Karyn: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. We’ll get into more specifics, but I love that.
Margie: Yeah, yeah.
Karyn: Yeah, yeah, yeah. And so how did you get into this work?
Margie: Well, I think it was born under the sign of Mercury, so I’m a communicator at heart. My whole life, all of my careers have been as a communicator, and I really just was drawn at one point to get into energy work. I trained in Reiki just for my own satisfaction and to help my family and friends, and then several years later, I was just working with somebody giving him Reiki and he said, You know, have you ever tried massage? And so, I kind of just followed the breadcrumbs, so I went into massage and then I realized that, Okay, well, that’s okay, but it’s kind of limited and it’s very physical in terms of what I had to do with my body, and so I was looking for something else that would be a little bit deeper, a little bit more gentle and cranial came into my awareness. I’m very much a believer in that we hear what we need to hear when we’re ready to hear it, and so that’s how cranial came along, and I’ve been doing that since 2017, and it’s really changed, not only changed my practice, but also changed my life in terms of helping me to be able to navigate the ebb and flow of the chaos that’s life on planet earth.
Karyn: Is it an interesting how… When we go into something, how we might go into it with intentions of helping others, and then what we find is that it also helps us as well, it’s like this beautiful circular energy, it’s like something going on in the ether that where it’s this… I don’t know, it’s like a path that it helps both of us.
Margie: Right, absolutely. And how many adages are out there? Physician, heal thyself. Carpenter, fix your own house, you really have to be coming from a balanced whole place, and if you’re not whole, you can’t help other people be whole as well. I mean, we’re all human and we’re all on this journey, so we’re none of us perfect yet, but it’s in the partnership and the sharing and the learning from each other, I definitely… I think I teach my clients as much as I learn from them. Yeah.
Karyn: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Something that… There’s a lot of different energy works, like you talked about doing Reiki before, right? You talked about massage, something that I think is really unique to craniosacral is the whole idea of the body having the wisdom to heal, having the power to heal itself in craniofacial therapy, tapping into that power, and I know for me, I spent… I’ve had Crohn’s for 35 plus, I think it’s 35 years now, and for 20 of those years, I was giving my power away, I was listening to the doctors only, I was doing… I came from that western medical background, I did everything that they told me to do, and I never got better. Not once, not ever. Surgeries, medications, I never got better. And it wasn’t until I said, What am I doing here? I’m giving my power away. And I’m not getting any better. Why am I doing that and how can I take that power back? And I find that really interesting about craniosacral therapy, because I think it has so much to do with tapping into your own power that maybe you don’t know that you have... How do you experience that with craniosacral therapy? Do you know what I’m talking about?
TAP INTO YOUR INNATE POWER WITHIN.
[11:02] Margie: Exactly, yeah. We all have a healer within us, and we were born with that innate ability, if you look at the way the body was designed, it heals itself, it’s always bringing itself back into balance. If you cut yourself, it heals… If you break a bone, it heals, and it’s the same with your nervous system, it has the capacity to come back into balance and heal and diffuse what I like to call undigested life experience. Some people call it trauma, and trauma has many definitions, but a surprise, a shock and overwhelmed to the nervous system, it can be anything that kind of sets you up for an imbalance, and if you’re not given an opportunity to come back in to balance, the body can’t do what it’s designed to do it. Getting back to that, taking your power and connecting to your inner healer, it is, I think a pathology of our western world where we have been trained from birth not to trust ourselves, not to be the authority, like, Well, we don’t know anything, we just listen to the doctor, listen to the teachers, listen to your parents, not that you shouldn’t listen to your parents, but you should listen to that inner wisdom, and we all have it, we all have that inner wisdom and we were born with it, but…
It wasn’t cultivated in us, and as a matter of fact, it was kind of squelch in us, so the trick is really learning the habits that help you to hear your inner voice, your inner wisdom, and… Yes, consult the doctor’s, consult the experts, they are your consultants, they are not your taskmaster, they’re not the ones there to tell you what to do, they’re the ones who are sharing their wisdom and their understanding of the human system that you’re dealing with, and then you take that information and you combine it with all your other research, and then you combine it with your inner knowing, and then you make your decision… That’s taking your power back.
Karyn: Yeah, exactly. So much of the time, I think, especially as women, we’re trained that we need to give our power away, and specifically for moms who are listening to the podcast, that’s just so important that we feel the power that we already have, right? because we have it. We just haven’t tapped into it. And I love that phrase that you said, this undigested life experience, when you’re talking about how people can feel trauma, whether it’s emotional trauma or physical trauma, and getting diagnosed with a chronic illness that really is a trauma, it’s a physical and an emotional trauma, and I really like how you worded that, that undigested life experience instead of saying… there’s something about the word trauma that makes you feel like victim… It’s traumatic, right? But what I like is this undigested life experience, because then I feel like, Okay, it’s just… There’s something that I still need to do, but I don’t have to be the victim
Margie: Or… Exactly, yeah. And it’s about being able to complete a process. There’s so many… I was just listening to an early childhood, a doctor who specializes in early childhood education and in how you get two-year-olds with the tantrums or teenagers with tantrums, and it’s because they haven’t been allowed to complete their process, but if we allow ourselves to complete a process, then it’s finished and it’s done, and it’s not taking up space in our nervous system, in our brain. In our life.
Karyn: Yeah, and craniosacral therapy can help with you completing that process. Yes, yeah, yeah. I like what you said about how you see the doctor as the consultant, right, they’re not the God on high, they’re not the person with all the wisdom. But when you’re seeing your doctor, you’re coming in as equals, I have this thought, you have this thought, and let’s just kinda see what we can come up with. One of the things I really feel like when I come in to see you for craniosacral is we’ll talk beforehand, right before the treatment, we talk, this is my experience, and you kinda draw out how is that affecting you and what did you want your focus to be for today, I never feel like that I’m coming in and saying, You’re my guru, solve my problem, it’s like, we’re in this place together, we’re on this equal footing, and let’s figure out how to best help me together, so I just love having a mindset of that.
TAKING RESPONSIBILITY IS SCARY… AND POWERFUL.
[15:24] Margie: Yeah, and part of that Karyn is that when you decide to take your power like that, there’s an implied responsibility that it’s so easy to give your power away because it’s kind of intimidating to think, Oh my gosh, I got myself here. How do I get out of it? I have no idea. Give me a pill. Cut me open, tell me to do this five times a day, whatever. No, it’s about taking that personal responsibility to participate in your own life, be the star of your own life, and even when you just make that shift, I think something in your physiology can shift…
Karyn: Yes, I experienced that myself when I’ve made that shift and said, There’s no savior here, there’s nobody coming in to just give me the wave of the magic wand, give me the pill. I can do this. Right, there’s a freedom in that. But also that, like you said, that responsibility.
We kind of talked around, just in general terms, what craniofacial therapy is that I would really love for you to talk our listeners through what happens during a craniosacral therapy session. When I come in the door from start to finish, what’s happening, because for somebody who’s never heard of this before, it might sound kind of like.. What are they actually doing? A lot of people are familiar with massage. How is it different than massage? How was it like massage? What’s actually happening when someone comes into your office?
WHAT HAPPENS DURING A CRANIOSACRAL THERAPY SESSION?
[16:49] Margie: First, when someone comes to see me, as you said, the conversation is the first thing, and there’s a reason for that, it’s to engage in a partnership, first of all, and understand what your goals are, therapeutics are, where your challenges are, and then to explain how the therapy might help, but it’s also… There’s something that happens in your physiology when your body and your brain hear the words out loud versus just thinking them… We’re writing them down on a piece of paper. There is a physiological response to that, so at the start of a session, we’ll talk about briefly, what’s going on for you, what’s going on in general, what’s going on this week or today, because then your nervous system or the mechanism inside that inner heal or can hear those words and say, Oh good. That’s what we’re gonna work on that. Great, and it sort of primes your system to work on it, and then we get on a massage table, you’re fully closed, it’s very private, you can get under the covers and get all cocoon or just lay on top, however you prefer. And the first thing we do is we settle your system, so the craniosacral system Just to sort of back up a little bit, is everything from your head to the bottom of your spine, so it’s your brain, it’s all of the membranes and the bones in your skull, it’s your spine, the nerves that come down your spine, so that whole system is something that I hold and help to settle in practical terms, as you’re laying on the table, I might contact…
Your body in place is very light contact, I might cradle your head or I might even hold at your feet, will put my hand underneath your sacrum, which is that triangular bone at the bottom of your spine, and that helps to settle the nervous system. So the first thing you need to do with anything is to have the resources, so maybe the first 10-15 minutes even of a session, I might just be begin in stillness, getting your system so still that it has a chance to come out of its fight or flight mode and come back into the healing, rest and digest mode, Let your nervous system settle out so that then I can hear your system, so in those 10 minutes, I’m listening deeply to what’s going on in your nervous system, so I can understand where there might be some hiccups, some patterns of holding, and then your body tells me where we’re gonna work, and then I get more specific, so in the case of your audience who are dealing with IBD, I will probably likely work in that whole field… The abdominal field, now that starts at the diaphragm and goes all the way to the top of the pelvis, and it encompasses all your viscera, all your vital organs, but it also has other things going on and they’re working more specifically with that area.
It can tell me where there might be restrictions that need to be released, where there might be fluid build-up that needs to be flushed, where things just need to be able to have a chance to come back into balance, and the great thing about the type of craniosacral I practice is not putting any force in from outside the body, I’m just sort of letting your body tell me where it needs support, and then when the body is supported, it can say, Oh, I had no idea I was holding that there, let me just release that, let me open and it’s amazing. You’ve felt it. In the context of a session, people might just have little twitches or releases or energetic shifts, a feeling of flow, there’s a lot that could happen in a session and then… So it’s really your body that’s guiding me through just gentle placement of hands on specific areas to help support whatever needs supporting in that area.
Karyn: Yeah, and so when you’re doing this during the session, just in terms of what you are feeling it as the practitioner, are you feeling kind of like energy from our body as we’re lying on the table? What are you feeling?
[20:52] Margie: Well, there’s several layers to this, in my two-year training, it’s a two-year program to learn this, we learn how to palpate the flow of spinal fluid, so the spinal fluid has a natural oscillation from the cranial field down through the spinal column and back up again, and its function is to feed the nerves, to flush out the metabolic by-products of the nervous system that has a palpable motion, just like learning how to feel a blood pulse… We don’t all know how to do that, so I’ve been trained to do that. We start with that flow and that will tell me a lot about what’s going on in your nervous system, how vital it is, or how deplete in it is, or if there are blockages anywhere that would interrupt the optimal healing for health of that. So that’s what I’m tapping into first and foremost, is that fluid flow, that oscillation, that title flow, and also that flow reflects on… our bodies are what? 75-80% water. And so, fluid kind of reflects on itself, so that cranio cerebral spinal fluid, as it oscillates back and forth, it also affects all the parent bones of the body, the shoulders, the arms, the legs, the hips, so I can feel sort of a…
It’s almost like a breathing of the body, of the tissue field, so we look at the fluid field, the tissue field, which is your bones and your muscles, and then yes, there is an energetic component too, I can feel the bio-field, which is your… Some people call it aura, science calls, is it the bio-field electromagnetic field, whatever you wanna term it, that’s the energetic field of your body, so the form of cranio that I practice is called biodynamic, and it takes in all three of those fields and treats it as a whole… So there are other forms of cranial that are a little more by mechanical, a little more applying for us from outside the body, I prefer mine because it just lets the body do its adjustment in its own way, in its own time, and that provides for a more lasting shift.
Karyn: It’s absolutely fascinating to me, right, if you never think in terms of this, it’s just… It’s like a whole new world is opening up to you. Right, it’s just absolutely fascinating. So something that I’ve heard, and you can tell me if this is true or not, but it… So people who are coming to you for craniosacral therapy and they’re coming with Crohn’s disease or with colitis, they’re probably thinking, well, all of my work is gonna be focused right here, right in the intestine, and you can’t see where my hands are, but it’s the small intestine the large intestine may be the esophagus, but from what I hear, you might be touching my foot or my head, right, but it’s still having an effect on the digestive system…
YOU ARE NOT YOUR SYMPTOMS.
Margie: Yeah, and it’s because Karyn, you are not your symptoms…
Karyn: Wait a minute, we gotta sit with that for just a second, you guys say that one more time because that’s good… say that one more time.[24:08] Margie: You are not your symptoms. Yeah, and so just focusing simply on the symptoms, it’s kind of like taking an energetic aspirin, okay, so maybe that might help, but if you’re not treating the whole person, the whole body, mind, spirit, that’s the organism that we’re working with, and that’s who you are and to treat things on a global scale. Gives your system the space and can draw on resources to help me… You’re imbalanced in your digestive system, it didn’t happen all at once, it was probably an expression of your body trying to hold some kernel of health and saying, Okay, I’ve got to encapsulate something here, I’ve got to… So that this organism, this person can continue functioning, I need to grab this and put it here and control it, and so if you really look at any condition, I consider it an expression of health, it’s your body trying to do its best to do its job that might not hurt. That might not feel good. It might hurt, it might cause you sleepless nights, but if you can make that shift of shifting from, Oh my gosh, this is wrong, to oh my gosh, how wonderful my body is, but sending me these signals, and now it’s up to me to interpret the signals, that’s where my role as communicator comes in, because I’m helping facilitate a conversation between you and your body.
Karyn: Yeah, so big. So huge. And so when you’re doing this, tell me, do you have sessions where it’s completely quiet and nobody is saying anything, right, and there’s so much going on, but yet it’s silent, and then other sessions where you’re talking with your client the whole time. How does that work?
Margie: Yeah, and you know what, I can have those kind of sessions, like a variety of sessions for the same client, it really just depends on what’s going on with your system today and what needs support, someone who has some chronic condition is more than likely be in sort of constant low-grade state of fight or flight. You know what that is, right?
Karyn: Yes, but explain it for those who might not know.
FIGHT OR FLIGHT ISN’T JUST FOR CAVEMEN.
Margie: So your autonomic nervous system, that’s the nervous system that… consider it like automatic, it’s everything your body does to keep you functioning every day from blinking your eyes to breathing, to sleeping, digesting your food. Things you just don’t have to think about. There’s two pieces of that, one. It’s job is to keep us safe, and that’s the prime directive of our nervous system, is to keep us safe and keep us functioning so that we have turned fight or flight mode, so when the body or the system perceives a threat, and back when we were cavemen and there were saber tooth tigers or other rival tribes coming along, we had to fight or flee, there’s other components to that for women in particular, there’s freeze and fawn, they’re the other two… and it’s basically all the survival mechanism, so we’re not running from saber tooth tigers today, but you know what? We’re navigating traffic, we’re dealing with our spouse and our kids and trying to deal with our careers maybe, and also maybe our aging parents, however many pieces of our life are swirling around us, if we’re not ready and fully resourced, all of them can be perceived as a threat, and if all of that hits at once for many of us, if that’s what it’s doing, and then not even to mention this past year with covid…
Our systems are always trying to keep us safe, they’re always monitoring for where the danger is, and so if that danger is so overwhelming… it overwhelms the nervous system, it cannot do its job of helping us thrive because we’re just trying to survive, so… Yes, some people who are in that right now, probably their whole session is just going to be holding and allowing that system to calm down, come out a fight or flight, recognize that, alright, it’s safe now, I can shift into the other part of the functionality, which is we term rest and digest… well rest, digest and reproduce. There’s a lot of clients that I work with who are dealing with fertility issues as part of their stuff is dealing with stress and being able to get out of fight or flight mode, so their bodies are like, Oh okay, now I can make a baby. So, tiny steps first though, so if somebody is in that kind of a chronic chaotic existence, it’s gonna be very beneficial and maybe even one or two sessions just doing nothing but being still, and once we get into the other part of that, when people have a little bit more resources, and usually it happens within the course of a session that maybe after the first 10-15 minutes, I feel a greater vitality in that drive behind the fluid flow or in the expression of that breathing of the bones.
It just gets bigger. I can tell there’s more vitality in the system, and then we can start taking that vitality and applying it to things, and that’s where a lot of times, sometimes the session gets talky because I wanna hear feedback like, Okay, I have my hand on your belly right now what are you sensing? What’s going on for you? And then when you’re giving me that feedback, I can respond appropriately and we can really work through it to help make those dramatic shifts that… And sometimes they’re real subtle shifts that will support your underlying health.
Karyn: I really like that you mentioned that one of the things that you’re doing with craniosacral therapy is helping people with infertility because that’s something that people with Crohn’s and colitis really struggle with, and I can imagine that along with infertility, that it probably would be helpful for anybody, even just having menstrual cycle challenges or going through menopause too, because as women, we’re all gonna be in those stages at one point or another.
[30:14] Margie: So guess what? In the brain, which is the large part of what I treat, that’s the cranial field, your brain has chambers in it called ventricles, where the spinal fluid is manufactured and then pointed and then deliver it out to the system, but laying right around or on top and below those chambers are the major glands, the pituitary gland, the hypothalamus, they are the ones who regulate our hormones, they regulate puberty regulate our reproductive hormones, and they work in conjunction with our adrenals in the case of adrenal fatigue or our ovaries in the case of fertility, so helping to balance and to support the optimal functioning of those glands is very important to all of those issues. Yeah.
HOW CRANIOSACRAL THERAPY HELPS IBD.
Karyn: And so one of the things that I’m thinking about, I’m just kind of thinking, I’m putting myself in the mind of somebody listening or watching us, and they might be thinking, that sounds really interesting. Right, and of course, I’m looking for anything that could heal that could help my Crohn’s or colitis and bring it into remission, but how could it help me specifically… So some of the things that people with IBD really think about and really have challenges with is our immune function, right, this is an autoimmune disease. So it impacts our immune system, and we kinda have what I call this wonky immune system that’s really over-active, and so that’s a challenge for us. Another challenge for people with IBD is bacterial balance, you the microbiome. It’s completely out of balance. So that’s something that’s really challenging for us. And then the other part, the other piece of Crohn’s and colitis is inflammation, we’re dealing with inflammation, and that inflammation isn’t just housed in the gut, it might start in the gut, but then through leaky gut through other processes, because we’re not just walking one organ… Right, we’re a holistic body and it all is…
It all is together, right? So it might leak into other systems, so that inflammation might show up in your joints or it might show up as a skin rash, or it might show up as a brain fog, or even ADHD, poor concentration, it’s amazing where that inflammation can go. So we’re dealing with these three issues, this autoimmune feature, the microbiome that’s out of balance and the inflammation, so in what ways could it specifically help those types of issues for people who are saying, wow, you know, Margie, this sounds really interesting, but how can it help me specifically with my illness.
[33:04] Margie: I understand. So I’d say that the effects of cranial on those three things are both indirect and direct... Okay, so indirectly… Well, we’re looking at the nervous system, all of those functions are controlled by the nervous system, to take the idea of the immune function and the autoimmune specifically, it kinda comes down to there’s an element of the body not recognizing itself, and so it thinks that it’s invading itself, so it’s always trying to fight itself. So part of that is that the nervous system is so… I’m gonna say over-regulated, it’s kind of like it’s hyper-regulated, it’s like spinning in on itself so that it can’t recognize friend from foe, and so it’s in the stillness where, like I said, coming from the fight or flight back into the rest and digest, helps the body to calm down and see, Okay, I don’t need to always continuously be sending the signal of something wrong, something’s wrong, something’s wrong. So in other words, I guess I put it shortly, it helps break that feedback loop so that your system can recognize itself and begin to differentiate where it needs to build itself up and where it can just sort of fall off and not attack itself.
I know there’s a better way to put that, but…
Karyn: No, I think that was great because that is… That’s exactly what is happening. We are attacking ourselves, that’s the whole issue with autoimmunity, and so finding a way to break that cycle is huge, and I love that craniosacral therapy can help with that.
0:34:56.6 S2: And so that also kind of goes back into the microbiome imbalance area too, because again, it’s… What craniosacral can do is to still the system, we work with something called a still point, that’s a therapeutic term. A still point is where we encourage that flow of the CSF to just stop, and so when that stops, it’s like the body can Pause and all of the energy that it used to keep that going can be used for something else, it can settle and it can build and it can potentiate. So, that allows that you’re living organism to recognize and learn that, Oh, balance is possible because when you’re out of balance, your body doesn’t even know that balance is possible, so getting into the stillness, and it’s not only craniosacral that helps with this, but that’s part of the… As a feature of it is that it just helps your body be able to learn that, Oh, this is what balance feels like, and then again, let’s… It then build on itself, it’s kind of like, remember those old toy cars that you would just sort of pull back and full back and…
Karyn: Yes, my kids love those, they make those.
Margie: So we go back to your system and let it build up and then it can go to zoom, it has a much more potency in it.
Karyn: There’s some sort of scientific… Some physics principle at play there, right?
Margie: Yes, yes, I know. I didn’t really do well in physics.
Karyn: We’re not the right people to answer that, but… Yes, but I totally get what you’re saying, right? When you take that step back, it gives you the energy to propel forward, right, and that’s what we’re trying to do here is give the body a place where I can propel forward, and sometimes with craniosacral, I find that sometimes… when I’m in a session, there’s a light bulb that goes off and it’s in it, like you said, you have a sigh or a breath or something, and then other times, I just don’t know, I’m like, I just have to sit and think with this for a little while I’m not quite sure what… I know something happened to here, I’m not quite sure I feel a release, but I’m gonna have to go and think about that… Right, so it’s interesting how sometimes you have this light bulb moment and then other times… I just know it’s more subtle, like the transformation is subtle, it’s still pulling that car back so that you can propel yourself, but it’s… How it hits you different, depending on where, I guess where you’re at, where your mind is out, where your body is that for that day, yeah.
Margie: Exactly. And then when you have a conversation with someone you don’t always… You might go away thinking, Wow, that was a really fulfilling conversation, you might not be able to remember what you talked about. You just remember it was a really great experience. Well, it’s the same thing, you’re having a conversation with your body, your body is communicating things to you, and when you get off the table, you might not really understand what exactly just happened, you just know you feel better, but everything is a little bit more resourced, everything’s a little more smooth. Yeah, so it’s not something you have to put a label to or a finger on like, Oh, that’s what happened. If you just feel like that was beneficial. Right, there’s something that shifted in me… That’s enough.
And the other thing too, is that your on the table starts a process, sometimes takes two or three days to integrate and continues… I have people who sometimes they get off the table thinking, Oh my God, I feel like I slept for eight hours, and other times they get off the table thinking, Well, I felt good, I don’t really know what that was, but then they called me three days later, and say, Oh my God, I just… It was amazing, I slept so well last night, or I feel so clear-headed or my stomach not bothering me today, so it’s a cumulative kind of progressive effect. We’re seeing your nervous system how to bring itself back into balance so that it can support you in your day... Yes.
Karyn: Okay, something that’s coming up for me that I’m thinking about when people are coming to you for a session, do you say to them, You know it’s gonna take eight sessions, do you say to them, You need to come once a week. If you want this to be effective, how can people plan what craniosacral therapy might look like in their lives?
Margie: Well, again, I go back to your inner healer, you have to know, you have to decide, and some people are so out of touch with their bodies then they can’t even feel what’s going on, even if I say, Oh, I also do massage. So sometimes if I’m doing a massage, I say, How do you feel right now? I don’t feel a thing, some people are just really out of touch. And it makes sense if you’ve got something going on where you feel like your body has betrayed you… You don’t want to be friends with that, you don’t wanna even know, you know what, I don’t wanna hear it, you just wanna get through your day, so… You can’t really say, Oh yeah, it’s gonna take X amount. I do tell people, hey, give it three sessions. That will really help you see if this is for you, now, there’s plenty of other forms of therapy out there that can really be beneficial for people, and that’s why there’s so many individuals, that’s why there are so many different ways of helping you access your own health but my advice is always to listen to yourself. One of the things that I do in all of my sessions at the end is I connect the gut wisdom, the gut brain to the head brain, and literally connecting that neural pathway through that vagus nerve, most people have heard about the vagus nerve in context of…
Oh, that’s what helps you relax. The vagus nerve, that’s only 20% of what it does, 80% of the nerves of fibers of the vagus nerve is listening and sensory, and it’s giving your brain information and so if you think about how the body is formed in embryology, the gut forms before the brain, so you have neurons in your gut that give you information, and so being able to tap into that and listen to that, and that’s another thing that’s been trying to kind of try to… They weed it out from us, they train us not to do that, right, oh, you have to manage by facts and data, you can’t… You have to… Where’s the science? No, where’s the gut feeling? Where’s the understanding of what’s really going…
Karyn: Yes it’s that, second brain.
IS THE SECOND BRAIN REALLY THE FIRST BRAIN?
Margie: Yeah, and that… I call it the first brain… Really.
[41:23] Karyn: You know what? I love it. It is the first brain. You are so right. You know, I remember my son, I always would talk to the kids about their second brain, which I hear what you’re saying first brain, but I always would say it’s your second brand, you know, we actually have… We have two brains, and there’s one in your gut, and my son went to… It was either kindergarten or first grade, and they were talking about the parts of the body, and the teacher mentioned the brain, and my son said something about the brain in a stomach, and the teacher was like, What are you talking about? What is that kid learning… And she actually called me, Why are you teaching this kid that there’s two brains like… Well, actually there is, right? And I really love Margie that you talk about it, how it being the first brain, we have more neurons there than we do in our brain, so that makes complete sense that feeling it is so much more powerful and impactful than the thought that we’re getting in our brain.
Margie: And being able to tap into that. Now, this… That simple thing you can do to do that, put your hand on your stomach and put another hand on your neck, this is the track where the vagus nerve comes down behind the ear, down through the chest, stomach, so as you’re contacting those points along that pathway, you’re actively activating that pathway, that neural pathway, you’re reinforcing it,
Karyn: And anybody who’s listening to this, if you’re not driving a car, operating a car.
Go for it, try that, so that you can kind of feel that connection for yourself, it’s really powerful if you really dive into it, you really concentrate on it. I’ve done that myself. Yeah.
Margie: Yeah, yeah. Why, I encourage people to do that when they’re deciding how many sessions they need, to say, Hey… Did that work for me? How was that? Some people know, Hey, I’m working on a specific things… I got specific goals, like for instance, if somebody’s dealing with a concussion, but those concussion symptoms, they might need to schedule, I say at least three sessions, one, because you’re building on momentum and you’re flushing things out and you’re really addressing a specific issue when it’s something a little bit more general, like stress management or anxiety, that could be something that we do two or three sessions in a row in close succession, and then you decide, Okay, maybe I need to come see you once a month, maybe I’ll come back for a tune-up once a quarter, once a year, whatever works for your body, and you are the one who knows best what works for your body. Amen to that.
Karyn: Yeah, so it sounds like what you’re saying, you may feel something from the first session, you may not, but give it three sessions. And see, how do you feel? At least a minimum of three. And see, did it make a difference for me? Do I feel different? With my illness? Yes, yes, yeah. And I know we’re not, Oh, and I know we’re not coming to you with just Crohn’s or just colitis… Right, we all have lots of other issues, so what I think is really cool is when you go to your gastroenterologist or you go to your cardiologist, right, you’re going for that one thing with craniosacral therapy, you’re not just going for the Crohn’s or just the colitis, you’re going for your whole body, so that might be your most pressing issue, but what I find is that you might find… Actually, you have some other things going on, right? As well, and so it’s working on all of those, so it’s questioning like, how do I feel overall, how does my whole body feel after this session or after a couple of sessions…
WHO SHOULD STAY AWAY FROM CRANIOSACRAL THERAPY?
Karyn: Yeah. Is there anybody, Margie, in wrapping up today, is there anybody that you feel like just it would not be a good fit for craniosacral therapy, maybe there’s a contraindication, or maybe it could even be some sort of emotional barrier or block… Is there anybody that you feel like… No, it wouldn’t be for them.
[45:01] Margie: Well, yeah, there are certain… Overall, there are very few contraindications for this work because it is so gentle, it’s really just very still, and that’s allowing your body to do what it’s gonna do at its own pace, that being said, I would not work with somebody who has a very acute head injury, I’d wanna make sure that they see their primary care acute management team first to make sure that there’s nothing going on, because we are working with the fluids and the pressures in the membranes and the brain, and so if somebody had just had a stroke or who has just had a traumatic brain injury, I will not see them because they need to get stabilized first, this is more of a rebuilding therapy versus a primary acute care thing. Other people, I wouldn’t say I wouldn’t see, but I have worked with folks who have come to me to say, Yeah, I know I’m holding trauma. And what I can do is support their system, but I will refer them to, say, a psychologist to work with, if they’re dealing with really horrendous stuff that’s very deep in there, I know my limitations and I know my scope of practice, and I’m not a psychologist I know I can help work with your psychologist as a team, as part of your health team to help you work through these issues because mental emotional trauma is stored in the body as well, so getting at it from a what’s called a somatic standpoint, really help move the needle in terms of diffusing that experience so that you’re not…
Something like that. It’s kind of like, if you’ve ever seen a whirlpool, your life is flowing along and something might happen, for instance…a couple of months ago, somebody cut me off in traffic and I saw him changing lanes and he just didn’t see me, and he just came right in front of me, so it was just a little fender bender, but now when I’m in traffic and I see somebody changing lanes, I still have that trigger like, Oh, and your like danger, these triggers kind of get stuck in our system if they don’t get diffused, they can become kind of like a whirlpool just swirling around on itself. Now, the little fender bender is a very gentle example, but people have some really deep trauma in their lives, and some of them just might not even remember the trauma if it happened long ago or if it was buried so deep. So what I’m saying is, I will work with folks who are working with those issues, but if they’re working with a healthcare, a mental healthcare provider as well, so that we can all work in a team to help diffuse the trauma, wherever it’s a living…
IBD HEALING TAKES A VILLAGE.
Karyn: It takes a village. It takes a village to heal. It really, really does. I really like what you’re saying about that. Something that I talk about often on the podcast is this invisible wheel of wellness that we all have, and it has spokes, and so I like what you’re saying that you’re… Nothing in craniosacral is the end all be all. It’s the one thing that you need to do. No, it’s one spoke in that wheel of wellness, it’s part of your care, it’s part of your wellness journey, it’s not the one thing, and they all can work synergistically together to bring about health. Exactly, yeah, I love it. And so that brings me to my last question, which is, most of my listeners, they are not local in Maryland like you and I are, so I’m just curious, is craniosacral therapy is something that somebody could benefit from virtually… Could they contact you and work with you virtually, or is it something that they should really try to find somebody locally?
Margie: You know, it’s interesting because this past year with us being in lockdown, many of my colleagues have done distance… I do distance work, it’s not technically called cranial work though, this is a therapy that’s been around for quite some time, it’s… Roots are in osteopathy, and then it’s grown from there. But we have to be very careful about our people’s understanding of the work and where are places in the overall scheme of the healthcare landscape, so to call something craniosacral means you’re putting hands on someone and you’re working manually with their cranio system. I can tell you people get a lot of really amazing results, even in terms of releasing physical tension and stress from the distance work that I do, but I can’t call it craniosacral because I don’t wanna do that to our industry, we’re struggling for legitimacy as it is, so I just like to be really clear about what it is and what it isn’t. And so there are some things that can be done virtually, but people can also look for a craniosacral therapist in their area.
Karyn: Probably 10 years ago, it was really difficult to find somebody, but I’m willing to bet most everywhere that somebody lives, probably even overseas, that there could be a craniosacral therapist in your area. Is there a national association or anything like that, that I could go and say, find a practitioner?
WHERE CAN I FIND MY OWN CRANIOSACRAL THERAPIST?[50:15] Margie: Yes, in North America, which is a Canada and the US, there is an association called the Craniosacral Therapy Association of North America. Their website is craniosacraltherapy.org
Karyn: I’ll be sure to put that in the show notes.
[50:33]: Yeah, and they have a Find a Practitioner feature on their website, you can also read a lot of articles and learn a little bit more about the nitty-gritty of it, now that is a reference to anyone that practices biodynamic craniosacral therapy. As I said, there are other forms of cranial therapy, which may or may not be as effective, everybody has their own flavor that they like, for me, that’s the most effective because it treats the whole person body-minded spirit. There are other more biomechanical forms of this work where it’s, no matter how light the touch, you’re still applying pressure from outside the body and force from out the outside the body, and the therapist is deciding when and where to do that. That can be a very effective work, but if you want to just let your inner healthcare healer do the work, then I would look for the bio-dynamic form.
Karyn: I have loved this conversation because even though I feel like I’ve been doing craniosacral for a while, it’s been really beneficial for me, and I felt like, Oh, I know a lot about that, I learned a lot today, or just even affirmed of my understanding of how it can help me and it just gives me just kind of a little skip in my step today thinking, Hey, pat on the back, I do that. So I wanna thank you so much for joining us for this conversation today, I know that after hearing your story about how you came to craniosacral therapy and about hearing about your practice, I know that my listeners are gonna wanna find out more about you, so is there a place that they can go… Do you have a website that they can go to to find out more about the wonderful work you’re doing?
CONNECT WITH MARGIE.
[52:14] Margie: You can find me at findthehealthwithin.com, because this is what this work is about. It’s about finding the health within your own system, so findthehealthwithin.com. You can read a little bit more about me and my background as well as Schedule, I offer a free 15-minute phone consult if you really just wanna chat and find out about how it can help you. I think that might be the place to start.
Karyn: This is really amazing, if you’ve never done this before, it can have a profound impact on how you feel overall and on your Crohn’s and colitis symptoms. So I highly encourage you to do that. I will put the link to Marie’s website on the show notes so that you can go and check it out. Awesome, thank you so much, Margie. I just really enjoyed our conversation today, thank you for sharing the space with me.
Margie: Thank you Karyn for having me, I appreciate the opportunity to educate people on the possibilities that are out there for them.
Karyn: Awesome, take care.
Isn’t she just so knowledgeable? I love hearing how Margie talks about our body’s ability to heal and how craniosacral therapy can really help us tap into that, if you wanna know more, if you want more information about Margie, remember there’s a link to her website in the show notes, I know that she’d love to hear from you whether you live in Maryland or you live anywhere else in the world, and if you want to find a craniosacral therapist in your area, there’s a link in the show notes for that as well, so you can find a practitioner where you live, I hope you learned something today that made you just say, Ah, or maybe you just got a glimmer or a feeling of hopefulness when it comes to healing your Crohn’s or colitis, there’s always another door opening, another modality to try… Craniosacral therapy is another modality that you could possibly try, don’t give up Mama, stay in the fight and just know that I’m in it with you, I’m right there by your side, if you wanna reach out and chat with me…
Remember, I have a new Facebook page. It is @TheIBDHealthCoach @TheIBDHealthCoach, let me know how this episode landed for you and also let me know what other episodes you want… What do you wanna hear about? Until we meet again, I’m wishing you a cheeky and healthy IBD healing journey.
Thank you so much for joining me today and for listening to today’s episode, when it comes to IBD, I know there’s a lot of resources out there, and I’m truly honored that you chose the tacky podcast to get your IBD information today. If you found this information helpful, please give us a rating and review, it helps other moms find the podcast and see what we’re doing over here to help It moms everywhere. And if you feel called to do it, share this podcast with an IBD mom who you know could really use an uplifting message today, because that’s what we’re all about over here at the typo cast. One last thing, if you’re still with me and if you are, you’re definitely my thing, we have to get to know each other better.
If you’re tired of living on the hamster wheel of IBD with the ups and downs between players and remission, if you’re struggling to get control of your abdominal pain, gas, bloating, diarrhea and other troubling IBD symptoms, go to the website, it’s Karynhaley.com, and my mom had to be just a little bit different of my name with a Y, so it’s K-A-R-Y-H-A-L-E-Y dot com, and schedule your very own free 30-minute IBD Root Cause troubleshooting session with me where we discuss the challenges you’ve been having, we set goals to help you move forward, and we talk about how we can work together to help you get your life back to power-packed 30 minutes. You don’t have to live in IBD status quo. There’s so much that can be done to transform your life so you can thrive in motherhood and thrive with IBD, I’ve seen my clients walk this path and it gives me so much joy to take that journey with them. My entire coaching practice is run online, so you never have to leave your house and you never have to get out of your damn your yoga pants for us to work together. You know, I’m wearing them too.
If you’re ready to take your first amazing step towards healing, I’m ready to chat with you, schedule your free 30-minute IBD cause troubleshooting, fasted at Karen healed com, click on the work with me tab and I’ll see soon. It’s important to note that the information in this podcast and in this episode is for general information purposes only and not intended to be a substitute for pro-professional medical advice. The statements made in the CD podcast for moms with it, either by me or my guests, is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Before implementing any new treatment protocols, do yourself a favor and consult your physician first, thank you so much for listening, for being here, for saving this space for us to spend some time together. Until we chat again, I’m wishing you a cheeky and healthy journey.
This podcast, video, and blog post is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.