The #1 App of 2021 You’re Not Using {but should be for your IBD}

How much do you love the apps on your phone?

I bet you use them multiple times a day for their convenience, and yes, for the fun games too!

What if there was an app that actually had the power to lessen your IBD symptoms, help you feel less stress, less anxiety, less depression—one that can even help you sleep better? You’d stop what you’re doing and get it right away, wouldn’t you?

Well stop what you’re doing dear one because today, I’m telling you all about that very app.

We’re talking about:

  • The best app of 2021 (to help your IBD symptoms) is Insight Timer
  • My top 7 recommendations to make meditation work for those of us (me included) with “busy mom brain”
  • The best meditation guides who specialize in Crohn’s, colitis and healing (so you can get started right away)
  • Insight Timer isn’t just for grown-ups, with fun meditations like “Yuri and the Dragon” your kids will get into it and reap the benefits too!

And so much more!

After this episode, you’ll have everything you need, along with the clarity and confidence to give meditation a try—mom style!

Episode at a Glance:

  • [05:28] The best app of 2021 (to help your IBD symptoms) is Insight Timer
  • [08:45] The 8-week study that showed the power of meditation on your IBD symptoms, your anxiety, depression, and the overall quality of life
  • [11:45] My top 7 recommendations to make meditation work for those of us (me included) with “busy mom brain”
  • [15:50] I’m walking you through how to use the app with all the nuts and bolts, so you know exactly how to use it to your best IBD advantage
  • [22:02] The best meditation guides who specialize in Crohn’s, colitis and healing (so you can get started right away)
  • [23:32] Insight Timer isn’t just for grown-ups, with fun meditations like “Yuri and the Dragon” your kids will get into it and reap the benefits too!
  • [29:13] The best way to take your IBD healing journey to the next level.

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Mentioned in This Episode

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Additional Resources:

Mindfulness Training Helps Patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Meditation May Relieve IBS and IBD

Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation and How to Get Started

Meditation: In Depth

The Basics of Meditation for Kids of Any Age

Episode Transcript:

Do you like apps? Phone apps that is, not appetizers. Apps can make your life easier and, in some cases, more fun? In the last 10 years, apps have changed all of our lives. And if you knew about an app that has the power to lessen your IBD symptoms, you’d stop what you’re doing and get it right away, wouldn’t you?

Well, today, I’m sharing with you that very app. It’s the #1 app you’re not using, but you should be. Let’s get to the intro so I can tell you all about it.


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.


[01:27] Hello dear one. Thanks for joining me today. Whether it’s your first or 39th time listening to the podcast, I’m so glad you’re here. Us IBD gals have to stick together. Cause we’ve got bonds baby. And we are stronger when we bond together. Let’s keep this growing and learning and bonding party we’ve created going.

Today’s topic is an extra sexy one—Apps. Ooohh la la, apps. Ha! I don’t usually get techy because it never works out for anyone, and obviously I’m being sarcastic about our topic being sexy, but this week we’re going tech because I believe this tech is going to be important for your IBD healing journey.  

Do you have apps on your phone? I’m willing to bet with 99.9% certainty that you have at least a few of them besides the ones your phone comes with. The app industry is making bank my friend. I remember back when apps first became a thing, phone technology was exploding, people were texting and taking their phones everywhere they went. This was probably 2008ish, give or take a year. I remember telling my husband, I think this app thing is a fad. It’s not going to last.


Boy was I wrong. Apps haven’t gone away and today they’re bigger than ever. It seems like there’s an app for everything. Just today, I saw a picture of the cutest dog (on a social media app of course) and I didn’t know what breed it was. I really wanted to figure it out because we’re thinking of getting another dog and I wanted to find out about this dog’s temperament. It was just so stinkin’ cute! The only information I had was the picture of the dog and I thought to myself, there’s got to be an app for that—one that uses facial recognition to tell me the breed. It took me all of 2 seconds to find Dog Scanner, an app that scans a dog’s picture and tells you what breed it is. Fantastic, right? By the way, the dog ended up being a Shih Tzu—adorable little thing. I’m still trying to convenience my big dog loving hubby that we need this tiny, dog, but stay tuned on that. I’ll keep you posted.

So what kind of apps are on your phone? Entertainment apps, maybe your bank app, social media apps like Instagram and Facebook, Amazon??? I’ve got all of those too and I do use them a lot, but my most used app is one that not a day goes by without me using. It’s without a doubt it was my most used app of 2020 and it will definitely be my most used app of 2021. And it’s an app that has capitol H huge prospects for helping your IBD symptoms.


[05:28] This app is called Insight Timer.

Have you heard of it? I probably have mentioned this powerful app on the podcast before in passing, but it really deserves its own episode, because that’s how powerful this little app can be for you.

People who are novices with the app, might call it a meditation app, and it is, but it’s so much more than that.

When I work with moms in my health coaching practice, we often have a conversation about meditation and other mindfulness practices that can help lessen IBD symptoms. And the response I often get is, “That sounds great, but I just can’t quiet my mind, Karyn. All that stillness would drive me crazy!”

And to that, I always say, “Have you heard of Insight Timer?” It’s the perfect meditation app for the mom with an always active brain!”

Insight Timer isn’t about the kind of meditation that berates you if you can’t completely quiet your mind. It’s an app with literally thousands of meditations—I like to call them visualizations or guided imagery (free mind you), with every length of visualization time length you and possibly imagine—even as little as 1 minute. You can also completely customize your Insight Timer experience. Last time I looked, there were 95,000 free meditations on the app.


Want to focus on healing, there’s hundreds of visualizations for that. What to feel more grounded or happy, or relaxed, or use your breath to calm your belly when it’s doing a roller coaster course inside of you or ease the pain you’re feeling all over your body? Maybe you have a specific meditation practice in mind. Manifesting? Chakra balancing? Body Scan? Mantras? Chanting? Using Prayer? There’s visualizations for all of these. Whether you consider yourself to be spiritual, religious, or none of the above, trust me, there’s an option for you—and in the amount of time you’re able to give in that moment.

So, that’s what Insight Timer is. But the next question you’re probably thinking is why would use it? What’s in it for me? This is such a great question and why I wanted to dedicate this episode to this very special app. The power of meditation and visualization for Crohn’s and colitis is what’s it’s all about.


[08:45] Specifically for IBD, a study was published in the Inflammatory Bowel Disease journal showing the benefits of using MBSR- or mindfulness-based stress reduction meditation. A group of IBDer’s participated in meditation practices for 8 weeks and reported reductions in both physical and psychological symptoms related to their illness. They also reported experiencing less anxiety and depression around their illness. The study even looked in on its participants 6 months later and found that they reported much greater quality of life after continuing to use their MBSR practice.

Harvard, smartie pantser’s like they are, are also studying the impact of meditation on IBD. Their study lasted 9 weeks, with participants using relaxation response meditation and the majority of those with IBD reported significantly improved disease-related symptoms, less anxiety, and better overall quality of life.

And although I know we’re all most interested in the IBD benefit, it’s great to know that meditation and mindfulness practices can help with other areas of our life as well. How many of us struggle with sleep? Oh yeah, we do! Meditation research shows that it can help relieve ruminating (or that thinking brain we can all get and are unable to turn off) when it’s time for bed. A 2018 study showed that meditators had less insomnia and more quality sleep when they meditated before bedtime.


Practicing some sort of mindfulness practice has also been linked with lowering blood pressure, lessoning headaches, lowering the stress hormone we have in our body called cortisol (which when elevated can impact our gut health), boosting the immune system, and reducing chronic pain.

When you see all the research mounting to support the powerful impact of meditation on our IBD and other areas of our health, it really becomes a no brainer.

Meditation can improve the quality of your life.

Now that you know what the scientifically proven benefits of meditation are, let me share with you my top recommendations to make sure meditation will work for you— whether you choose to use the Insight Timer app or one of the many other options out there.

So here’s my 7 recommendations to make meditation work for you:

  1. I recommend that you meditate in the morning or in the evening (or both). There’s something about the quiet that surrounds these times of the day that makes you more focused and helps meditation work for you.
  • When you meditate/visualize focus on what you are thinking and feeling in that moment.
  • Try to focus on the present as much as you can. Let the past and the future go. Thoughts will pop into your head. That’s normal. Just try not to follow the thoughts. If you find that you are drifting away from the present, just ask your mind to come back to the here and now.
  • Allow yourself grace, especially in the beginning. If you’ve never meditated before, it’s going to be a very new experience. Meditation takes practice. It’s a skill you develop, not an innate gift you’re born with.
  • Chose a place to focus your energy—it could be a prayer, a chant, a mantra, or the words of your meditation guide in Insight Timer.
  • You may want to light a candle or close your eyes and go inward when you meditate. Rituals like these can make your experience better.
  • Above all, let meditation be a judgement free zone. A place where you don’t beat yourself up or feel less than or unworthy. You are worthy, you are strong and capable. You are human. No judgement.

How are you feeling? Are you ready to give meditation a try?


Let’s make this as easy as pie for you. My recommendation, whether you’re a seasoned meditator or your just getting started is to download the free Insight Timer app on your phone. It’s available on google play as well as apple. Once you have the app on your phone, and maybe you even downloaded it while we’ve been chatting– look for the icons at the top of the screen. If you’re driving or otherwise engaged, just mark this place of the episode on your phone so you’ll know where to come back to. OK, so you’re on the app, looking at the icons on the top of the screen. Choose the “Guided” icon. From there you’ll see various filters by time. 5-10-20-30-and 30+ minutes. Pick the one that fits the amount of time you have. Keep in mind that if you pick 5, let’s say, that will include all meditations with times from 1-5 minutes. If you pick 10, it will be meditations between 6-10 minutes and so on.

Let’s say you have up to 15 minutes, click the 15-minute filter. From there, you will see thousands of meditations pop up. I like to first use the filter icon at the top right. So press that. Then, within the filter, I select meditations. If you’d rather listen to music only as you meditate or listen to an uplifting talk, those are options as well. Within the filter section, you’ll also have options for a female or male voice, background music or none, and then in the advanced features, you can filter by benefit (like pain management, stress reduction, or sleep) and also by practice like guided imagery, chakra balancing, or affirmations. Choosing these options will get you closer to the type of meditation you’re looking for. Otherwise, your choices are just so huge, with hundreds and hundreds of meditations, you can get overwhelmed by which one to pick.

The last bit of info to increase your Insight Timer experience is that once you have your benefit and practice selected and your back on the screen to pick your meditation, you can also click on the sort (the icon at the top left) by highest rated or most played, even shortest or longest. This will also help narrow down your choices.

Once you’ve done this and you see your meditation options, tap on one that calls to you, then you have the option to look at the summary of the meditation and it’s rating and number of plays to help you decide it’s the one for you.

It’s a really user friendly system. If you had the app open while I was walking you through it, I bet you’re on your way already.


[20:57] Once you’ve used the app for a few days, you’ll find that there are meditations you like more than others. Be sure to heart the ones you love, and they’ll always stay in your bookmarks. That way you can go straight to those and bypass the thousands of other meditation options—unless of course you’re in the mood to try something new.

If you’re looking for some really helpful meditation guides with great meditations, especially for IBDer’s, there’s a few I highly recommend checking out. Michelle White, Ruthie Hanan, Kelly Schwegel, Davidji, Alexandra Elle, and Sara Blondin are a few that come to my mind. Check them out to help you get started.


Before we part ways today, I’ve got to tell you how to do Insight Timer like a mom. I know once you get started, you are going to rock this. You’re going to end up falling in love with it. I’ve given you everything you need to get on it, but there’s one section we haven’t talked about yet, and that’s the most wonderful section in the app called “for parents.” You’ll definitely want to check this part out.

It houses the most incredible meditations for our kiddos. And not relax your body, or woo woo mystical meditations some kids might not take to, these are meditation stories with kids in mind. They are so absolutely clever and great for kids. My youngest uses the kid’s meditations every night. He struggles with going to sleep by himself, but as soon as I started him on this app, with meditations like Yuri and the Dragons, Billy & Zac and the Cat Go to Space, and Unicorn Sleepover, his sleep habits turned right around. These stories, even though the names sound exciting, are designed to calm little brains and help them drift off into slumber land peaceful and happy.


So your Do it Like a mom for today is to try Insight Timer on your kids as well. Whether they do it in the morning or at night, they will get those same amazing benefits I mentioned earlier—less stress, less anxiety, better immune function, better sleep habits. And with kids, we also see better focus, creativity, and self-regulation, greater attention span and a better mood. Who wouldn’t want all those amazing benefits for your kids?

The app is there. You know how to use it. What are you waiting for? Maybe this week, you’ll try it once or twice. That’s a great goal for your first week. See how it works for you. Play around with the time of day if you like. There’s no right way or wrong way to do this. Find the way that works best for you. And then, once you have a schedule that works for you, keep at it.

Meditation is not a kind of magic pill formula. It’s the type of practice that works overtime. So be patient with it. Remember the studies I mentioned, those participants were practicing meditation for 8 and 9 weeks before they were asked about results. Give it 2-3 months and see if it helps.

OK friend, will you do me a favor? Once you have Insight Timer on your phone and you try a few meditations, DM me on Facebook and tell me what your favorite meditation is so far. I love expanding my meditation practice. I’ll share with you my current favorite too. On Facebook, I’m @TheIBDHealthCoach

OK dear one, may your meditation practice be peaceful and rewarding, and may you get as much out of Insight Timer as I do. 

Until we meet again, I’m wishing you a cheeky and healthy IBD healing journey.

Chat soon!

[28:34] 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.

[34:02] 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, 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 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 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.

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