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Did you have an overly indulgent weekend? Are you feeling bloated this week?

Do you feel like your stomach is churning? With the holidays in less than a month (yikes!) it’s time to start thinking about how you’re going to fit all of these hearty meals in while wearing your holiday outfits!

Post-meal discomfort can be a huge barrier to enjoying the holidays both before and after meal time, and that’s why there’s a need for quick remedies. Sufferers of bloating, cramping, and constipation usually gravitate to over the counter digestive aids, peppermint tea, ginger, and supplements.

However, there is another fix that may provide quick relief of gastrointestinal discomfort: physical positioning of the body. With digestion being quite physical in nature with both breaking down and moving the food, gasses, and waste through our body, physical movement is an convenient and helpful solution.

Digestion has a two components: mechanical and chemical. Mechanical is where actual movement of the teeth or stomach breaks down our food; and chemical, being stomach acid or saliva breaking down foods, and both of these happen all along the digestive tract from start to finish.

Typically through a variety of positions, we can use gravity, and our body tissues, to our advantage, aid in digestion. This is actually commonly seen in infants where “the bicycle” is recommended to relieve stomach discomfort and constipation.

Our stomachs lie on the left side of our abdomen, just under our ribs, and empty downward towards the right side. Lying on the right side is said to promote “gastric emptying”, where the food exits the stomach for the small intestine, by using gravity as a guide. The orientation of the organs is also key for abdominal self massage after a meal. Rubbing the stomach in a clockwise (on yourself/left to right) circles over the entire abdomen, can help with early digestion, while due to the opposing direction of the large intestine, rubbing counter clockwise aids in waste removal and gas discomfort.

Written by Dr. Deborah Mechanic and published in the Canadian Jewish News

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