Hypnosis and our Second Brain

“I have butterflies in my stomach” or “I have a gut hunch” are common sayings we use to describe a certain knowingness that tends to reside  deep in our stomachs. We sometimes ignore these feelings. What would our stomachs know, afterall? Well, the answer is actually quite a lot.

Research has shown that our gut acts as a second brain, controlling our enteric nervous system whilst our ‘upper’brain controls our central nervous system. Throughout the ages the upper brain developed so we could improve our problem-solving capacity and better feed ourselves with the lower brain working predominantly on the digestion process.

There are many similarities between the brain and the stomach and they both use the same neurotransmitters or ‘language’. Serotonin is one of them. In the upper brain, serotonin means well-being and happiness, in the gut it means a well-regulated immune system. Interestingly, 75% of the serotonin that our body produces is in the gut. Another important reason to take care of what we put into our bodies. And as a result, our gut strongly influences our emotions just like our emotions influence our gut. It works both ways.

When there is a miscommunication between the two brains, disease occurs. A common communication problem is Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS. This is due to neuronal hyperactivity. As we carry a lot of things subconsciously in our stomachs and as our upper brain often discards emotional hurt to our lower brain, hypnosis has been found to be very effective in the management of IBS pain. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) have also recommended hypnotherapy along with CBT and psychological therapy in helping people with IBS to cope with their symptoms.

Our mind is strongly influenced by our bodies internal chemistry.Our enteric nervous system directly effects how our brain perceives the world. In this sense, our gut could be considered a contributor to our unconscious. Don’t ignore those gut feelings and remember, your stomachs are your second brain.