Making Bubbles: Finding Ways to Relax with IBS
Not everyone can afford a trip to the spa. This, and the fact that not everyone suffering from IBS will find themselves comfortable in such a public setting, can make finding ways for us to relax very difficult. Despite this, do not lose hope just yet. In fact, find that hope again, put it in your pocket, and hold on tight, because I am going to give you some relaxation tips that you can achieve right in the comfort of your own home.
Just because going to a spa might be difficult, does not mean that we cannot bring the spa to us. If you have a friend, family member or significant other that is willing to help you, there are many ways that we can find relaxation right at home.
Massages can help us relax in a way that nothing else can. Though, of course, getting a professional massage is an entirely different kind of heaven, it is not always feasible. Getting your loved one(s) to help with small, short massages can make a huge difference. If I am feeling achy or sore from an IBS or fibromyalgia flare up, a good hand or foot rub can make all the difference. The combination of massaging the right set of nerve ends and having something else (other than pain) to focus upon can be very helpful.
Soak it Up
One of my favorite ways to cope with an IBS or fibro flare up is a bath. There are many benefits to having a warm or hot bath that can help not only with relaxation, but muscle tension and cramping as well. Generally, applying heat -whether in the form of water or a hot pack -helps increase blood flow and calm inflammation. Thus, having a hot bath when your stomach is cramping, legs are stiff, or back is aching is a great, inexpensive way to cope. Furthermore, it's incredibly relaxing. Much like swimming, having a bath can help our bodies feel more weightless, less constricted, and our joints and muscles less tight.
Other than with general muscle tension and cramping, hot baths can also help move your body along -so to speak -and keep your bowels nice and flexible. In other words, hot baths can help relieve the symptoms of constipation; however, don't fret for heat can also be very helpful with diarrhea. I know, it's a magical creature. So, whether or not you suffer from IBS-D or IBS-C -or both -do a little hot bath experimentation and see what kind of bubbles you can make.
Things to remember before you soak
- As with any experiment with intense temperatures, use caution when finding a comfortable, relaxing bath temperature. Furthermore, hot water can cause nausea, so pay attention to your body and its symptoms.
- Remember, there are many ways to make a bath more relaxing and enjoyable: candles, scents, oils, and more, are available for your use. Find shops in your local mall, online, or a small independent store that provides in-home spa treatments and bath accessories.
- Worried that you won't be able to relax? It is possible to stay busy while in a bath. At times, I have a hard time simply staying still in hot/warm water with nothing to do. There are ways to fix this: grab a book, play music, or safely set up a laptop and binge on some Netflix!
Have you checked out our free IBS food journal?