ERIC – THE BRAIN IN THE GUT

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.

WEIGHT WORKSHOP FEEDBACK

There’s something ironic about having “feedback” on a workshop that’s all about food and eating and weight, isn’t there?

But nothing ironic about what the ladies on the “What’s Weighing You Down?” workshop at Claridge House shared (yes, sadly no men this time round). Stories emerged of less-than-happy childhoods with harsh parents and punishments, lack of love and nurturing, and a sense that they were “in the way” or “not good enough” or even “not wanted”.

Digressing slightly, that reminds me of an incident when I was in a local supermarket a few weeks ago. A young boy – maybe 6 or 7 – was trying to find a particular newspaper or magazine. The display was not good, and inevitably, some other papers slid around, out of place. Instead of just putting them back, this poor young boy started telling himself off:  “you never do things right, you. You’re always breaking things. Why don’t you take more care?”
My heart went out to him. If that is what has been drummed into him already – as it obviously had been – what sort of life is he being set up for, bless him?

Back to weightier issues …. we talked about the many and varied reasons why we hold onto excess weight – anything from childhood abuse (yes, I would call verbal tongue lashings and lack of emotional nurturing “abuse” as much as physical beatings) to relationship problems, even silent mourning for the loss of an interrupted pregnancy or the loss of a new-born baby.

These reasons can often be traced back to past lives, and I shared examples of clients I have worked with over the years who were amazed when they discovered they had had a past life at all, let alone one in which they starved to death or were always having to beg for food.

We also talked about spirit passengers, literally little lost souls who can sometimes “hitch a ride”. I explained what that was all about – nothing spooky or witchy, just totally natural – and gave a very recent example of a young lady I worked with. I found a spirit passenger with her and removed it. The session was on a Saturday and early the following week she sent me a text message to say she had lost her craving for cakes and biscuits and chocolate! You can hear her telling her story on a recorded testimonial here on the site.

Then we talked about the brain in the gut. Officially called the Enteric Nervous System, I call it Eric for short – although it’s anything but short, it’s about nine metres long, actually! Eric exerts enormous influence on our overall health and wellbeing. Once the links are made, the dots are joined, it’s easy to see why we have a gut reaction, or butterflies in our stomach, or feel gutted . . .  We learned about Ghrelin the Gremlin that makes you feel hungry and PYY the “I’m full” messenger.

And then we talked about bariatric surgery, complete with diagrams showing gastric by-pass and a gastric band – good job we had had our coffee break by then! Did you know the official rate of people dying after a surgical gastric band operation is 1 in 200, and for a gastric by-pass it’s 1 in 100? Not to mention the huge amount of excess flabby skin that accumulates after a by-pass operation because the weight loss is so fast – that often entails another serious operation too.

And you see – however successful these bariatric operations seem to be – if the emotional root causes have not been tackled, then the patient is still going to be suffering . . .

I honestly believe that the process I follow – discover the root causes, resolve the issues and (if necessary) fit a hypnotic gastric band – is by far the best, and my clients seem more than happy to agree!

Workshop: “What’s Weighing You Down?” Tuesday 3rd June, Lingfield

What's Weighing You Down poster

The three main topics in this half-day workshop are:

***    The emotional reasons why we hold on to excess weight – this will cover “spare tyres” serving as protection from abuse and bullying; avoiding hurtful relationships and so on as well as the impact of past lives and spirit “passengers”.

***  The Brain in the Gut – learn more about the Enteric Nervous System (I call it Eric for short!) and how it affects your emotional and physical health and wellbeing.

***  Bariatric Surgery and Hypnotic Gastric Banding. One in 200 people die following surgical gastric banding, and for surgical gastric bypass the odds are 1 in 100. Hypnotic Gastric Banding is safe, non-invasive – and very cost effective too.

Everyone is welcome – just give me a call on 07597 020 512 to let me know you’re coming.

 

 

“WHAT’S WEIGHING YOU DOWN?” WORKSHOP WENT WELL

The gods smiled. The weather was fine – in fact, I had to scrape ice off the windows of my car last Sunday before the “What’s Weighing You Down?” half-day workshop at Vinings in Haywards Heath, here in West Sussex.

One of the people there was a current client of mine, a young lady who asked if she could share her experiences of having had a couple of sessions with me. She told the group that she had been quite skeptical about concepts such as spirit passengers and past lives, and did not think that she would “go under” into a deep state of relaxation. In the first session, a spirit passenger was found and released, and the young lady showed exactly where it had been lodged – at the back of her neck and across her shoulders. She explained the immediate effect it had had on her: physically she felt lighter and, to her delight, she found she was no longer craving chocolate, cakes and biscuits. In the second session, we explored a past life and she shared brief details of Sarah, a young lady who had a very hard life in the 18th century, and who never had enough to eat. She died young, having lost her husband to an unknown illness, feeling outcast, alone – and hungry.

In the next session we will go back to the various years in which there were traumas (the client’s unconscious told which years these were during the first session) and we will do what the Shamanic tradition calls Soul Retrieval. Rather than the fabulous but rather long and noisy chanting, drumming and trance-like dancing, my clients work while in a deep state of hypnotic relaxation. We regress to those various ages, find the (say) 4-year old, 13-year old, 28-year old and so on, let her express how she is feeling at that time, and then “bring her home”. It is always an emotional process, but one which brings closure and a feeling of “wholeness” once it is over.

It was quite a revelation to the others in the group that normal, everyday people could and did have these experiences, and that they could make such an immediate and profound difference.

We discussed the various emotional reasons why people hold onto weight, and it was interesting to hear one of the group, a lady who has run a support group for obese people for more than 10 years, confirm my belief that emotional traumas are behind the vast majority of extra pounds and kilos being held onto by overweight people.  We talked about bariatric surgery – gastric banding and gastric bypass – and how neither of these procedures take any account of the underlying emotional causes that people hold onto weight: no wonder these operations don’t work for everyone.

I shared some of the official NHS facts and figures about these surgical procedures. There is a 1 in 200 chance of dying following a gastric band operation, and a 1 in 100 chance following gastric bypass surgery. The risk of any sort of complication after a gastric band operation is around 1 in 10, and that rises to 1 in 5 after gastric bypass surgery.

Given those odds, a hypnotic gastric band doesn’t seem such a bad bet after all, does it? I explained how the process works using hypnosis, and just how effective it can be. In fact, not everyone who come to me for a hypnotic gastric band ends up having one fitted. By the time we have “peeled the onion” and explored those underlying emotional reasons for holding on to excess weight, the body very often sorts itself out at every level. The client will say things such as “I feel so much better in myself” or “I’ve remembered who I am, I’m not so lost now” or “Something has shifted, I can’t say what it is, but I feel more in control of my life now”.
And nothing pleases me more than that!

I will be holding some more “What’s Weighing You Down?” half-day workshops in the next few months.
If you have a group and would like me to come to you – I’d be delighted!
Just contact me through the email form on this website, or by phone: 01444 459 433 or 07597 020 512.

THE BRAIN IN THE GUT – MEET ERIC!

We all know that we have a brain in our heads – but did you know that we have a second brain? And that it’s located in our gut? It’s official name is the Enteric Nervous System (ENS) – but I think Eric is easier to remember, don’t you?

Eric the ENS has at least 100 million neurons, which is about the same as a cat’s brain – and you know how smart cats can be! This brain is not a mass, as the brain in our head: rather it is a sort of mesh, or network, located under the mucosal lining and between the muscular layers of the esophagus, the stomach and the small and large intestines, so it is several metres long.

Eric the ENS is connected to the brain in our head by the Vagus Nerve, that runs from the abdomen to the brain. But if the Vagus Nerve is cut, Eric the ENS continues to function quite happily, controlling and co-ordinating the process of digestion and all that goes with it. In fact, some 90% of all the signals that pass along that Vagus Nerve are messages from Eric to the brain, and not from the brain to Eric – so it could be said that, actually, Eric’s in charge!

Just think for a moment of all the common expressions we use – “I’m gutted”; “it’s a gut reaction” “I can’t stomach it any more”; “I’ve got butterflies in my stomach” – to mention a few. These are all linked to responses from Eric the ENS to our moods and emotions: in fact it is often Eric the ENS who tells the head brain how we are feeling!

What does Eric the ENS do? Quite a lot, actually –

  • it controls the mechanical blending of food in the stomach, and ensures that the pH balance is right at various sections of the system. When we digest food it goes through a process where it is first broken down by an alkaline mix and then by a special acid mix: it is important to keep the two separate and both working as they should.
  • it identifies bad bacteria that may have got into the system via the digestive system (eg in something you have eaten). If the sensors on the gut wall detect something that shouldn’t be there, substances such as histamine are released. This alerts Eric to one of several responses – diarrhea perhaps, or a message up the Vagus Nerve to the head brain, who will trigger vomiting: both designed to get the bad stuff out of the system.
  • it produces as much dopamine (the pleasure and reward molecule) as the head brain.
  • it produces lots of serotonin too. Serotonin is the “feel good” molecule that helps counter depression and regulates sleep. Serotonin that is produced in the ENS passes into the blood stream and helps to repair damaged cells and supports processes such as bone density.

Considerable research is being done on the links between Eric the ENS and not only moods and emotions but also physical conditions. For instance, stress triggers the gut to produce more ghrelin, a hormone that reduces anxiety levels – but it also stimulates feelings of hunger. Hence comfort eating at times of worry and stress – blame it on Ghrelin the Gremlin! And when we have had enough, then PYY comes to the rescue – that’s the chemical that sends the message to the head brain that says, “I’m full.” But that takes the slow route – it can take up to 20 minutes for the brain to get that “I’m full” message, which is why we should eat slowly. Not only does it give Eric and his team time to digest the food in a more efficient way, but it allows time for the PYY to send the full message at the appropriate time, rather than when Eric has been bombarded with a pile of food that has to be sorted through, analysed and sent to the relevant areas for processing!

So next time you have butterflies in your stomach, or you have a gut reaction to something – think of Eric!

related content:  weight loss

WHAT’S WEIGHING YOU DOWN WORKSHOP, SUNDAY 16th FEBRUARY, HAYWARDS HEATH, WEST SUSSEX

WHAT’S WEIGHING YOU DOWN?

red apple, inches tape measureExplore why you’re holding onto excess weight – it could be unconscious emotional causes or even past life traumas!

 Learn about the brain in your gut (yes, really!( and how it can influence weight and digestive issues.

Find out more about Hypnotic Gastric Banding – the process, what’s involved, is it for you?

Come and join me for a fascinating morning and learn how hypnotherapy can help take a weight off your mind in more ways than one!

SUNDAY 16th FEBRUARY, 10.00am to 1.00pm. VININGS NATURAL HEALTH CENTRE, CHURCH ROAD,
HAYWARDS HEATH  RH16 3UF, WEST SUSSEX

Maximum 10 people, so please book early – £20 per person.
To book or for more information, give me a call –
01444 459 433 or 07597 020 512.

“WHAT’S WEIGHING YOU DOWN?” WORKSHOP SUNDAY 16th FEBRUARY

Sunday 16th February
Vinings Natural Health Centre
Church Road, Haywards Heath  RH16 3UF
10am – 1pm                         £20
Info & booking:  Judy Sharp
07597 020 512 or
judy@effective-hypnotherapy.co.uk

Sunday 16th February – yes, that’s the Valentine Weekend, so I felt it was most appropriate to invite you to spend a few hours focusing on someone very special: YOU!

This is a half-day Workshop that will look at three main areas:

1.    The emotional reasons why people hold onto weight. We will look at some of the most common reasons why we pile on the pounds – to stop us getting hurt again, as a measure of protection, to honour the lost baby . . .  and discuss ways of dealing with those issues if they are no longer relevant in our lives.

2.   The brain in your gut – yes, really! I will introduce you to a powerful new ally, the brain in your gut. It has more than 100 million brain cells and can have a very profound effect on various eating and digestive disorders. It also sends the all-important “I’m full” message to the brain in your head, so monitoring your food intake.

3.    What is a Hypnotic Gastric Band? How does it work? We will look at how a gastric band works to reduce the size of the stomach, how this is done with Bariatric Surgery and how a Hypnotic Gastric Band is a safe, non-surgical alternative.

This will be a fun, informative morning to help you discover just what it is that’s weighing you down – and what you can do about it!  Email me or give me a call if you would like to come along – I look forward to seeing you there!