I do a lot of work with people who are obese, who are holding onto excess weight.
That has lead me to do research in various areas, and one that fascinates me is the concept of the Brain in the Gut, the Second Brain as it is sometimes called. I shouldn’t really call it a concept, it has been clearly proven that the Enteric Nervous System (to give it its proper name) exists and is capable of “thinking”. I call this Enteric Nervous System ERIC for short – it’s much more user-friendly, don’t you think – and the way in which it affects us is really interesting.

You know for yourself that feeling of “butterflies in your stomach”, or that “gut reaction” or “feeling gutted”. They are all Eric at work! Whereas the brain in your head is a lump of grey matter that weighs some 3 pounds and has 100 billion brain cells, Eric lines the whole of the intestines and has more than 100 million brain cells (that’s about the same as a cat).

Eric is linked to the brain in the head by the Vagus nerve, and far more signals are sent from Eric to the brain in the head than the other way round, so Eric instigates more activity. If Eric senses something wrong with food or drink that has been taken into the system, it will spring into action, deciding whether to expel it onwards through the digestive system or back the way it came (or, in extreme cases, both!).

It is highly sensitive and will pick up signals that it then transmits to the brain in the head – hence the “butterflies” sensation before you actually realise that you are feeling nervous or excited; or the “gut reaction” before you analyse why you are feeling the way you do. Nor is it any coincidence that Eric covers the area of the Solar Plexus, where we give out and receive energy signals – logical, really, isn’t it?

Eric rules the digestive system and, therefore, is involved with all issues to do with that part of the body. In my work, it is not unusual for me to consult Eric as well as the client’s unconscious to gain a better understanding of what is really going on, and what needs to be done in order to resolve issues that are based in that area.

One of my (many) questions about bariatric surgery is just what effect it has on Eric. I am aware of the effectiveness of a surgical gastric band or, even more extreme, a gastric by-pass, but at what cost? First, the emotional root causes of holding on to weight have not been dealt with and secondly, what consideration has been given to Eric? Precious little. Like chopping down trees to make way for a road, and then wondering why there are more landslides (no tree roots to hold the earth in place), bariatric surgery achieves its goal – but there is always a price to pay, and by interfering with Eric’s normal function, it could be a very high price indeed.