Stomach ache, constipation or diarrhea, bloating and spasms … If the change of diet and laxative or antispasmodic drugs relieve an irritable colon, their effect is not very durable. In addition, “sophrology represents an interesting solution to help the person to control the pain of this chronic pathology”, says Dr Jean-Louis Payen, member of the French National Society of Gastroenterology. Although its effectiveness has not yet been scientifically validated, experience in the field attests to its interest.
Sophrology replaces pain
The sophrologist works on sensations or uses visualization. For pain due to bloating, he proposes “sensory substitution”: replacing suffering with a pleasant sensation such as heat. We warm up one hand, then place it on the stomach, giving a time limit to the action of the heat, for example one hour after the session. The therapist asks to find a “reminder” gesture such as placing the hand on the stomach: doing it again during painful episodes makes it possible to immediately find appeasement.
“We always start with a abdominal breathing and a few minutes of body scan while becoming aware, eyes closed, of all his muscles, releasing them one by one, explains Laura Jauvert, sophrologist. In this state of deep relaxation, the brain is between wakefulness and sleep. ”
Sophrology regulates transit
The practitioner has several tools to regulate intestinal motility. In case of constipation, one of the most effective is “churning” breathing. It consists in completely emptying the lungs by several small exhalations through the mouth, rapid and jerky: the abdomen is sucked inwards. Once in apnea, empty lungs, we release the belly then we put it in again, before inhaling through the nose and starting over several times.
” This self-massage of the abdomen stimulates the activity of the intestine ”, says Valérie Giacometti, sophrologist. Very dynamic, however, it is not suitable for everyone. In this case, we can use the “vital activation”. Sitting straight on the edge of a chair, breathing freely, you focus on your stomach. Speaking mentally on inspiration “activation” and on expiration “vital” for one minute releases tension in the abdominal area and thus improves constipation.
Sophrology acts against stress
The cause of irritable bowel syndrome is not well understood. One evokes a hypersensitivity of the viscera, disturbances of digestive motricity or an imbalance of the intestinal flora. What we do know is that stress makes it worse. Learning to manage it is profitable. “Breathing is a fundamental tool for this,” emphasizes Valérie Giacometti.
The squared breathing, for example, consists of mentally counting 4 seconds at each stage of the respiratory cycle: an inspiration, a suspension of the breath in full lungs, an expiration and a suspension in empty lungs. We can couple the breath with a phrase on the inhale like “I am relaxed” and visualize it on the exhale.
Sophrology improves self-esteem
Gas or frequent urges to go to the bathroom are often seen as shameful symptoms.
According to Laura Jauvert, “Visualization exercises are effective in dealing with these avoidance situations. If it is a question of going to a restaurant, I suggest that the person represent themselves there, get up, apologize to the guests and experience the situation as best as possible. ”
Alone or with a sophrologist?
It is best to start with a practitioner. Count at least five sessions, spaced two to three weeks apart, to begin to manage your disease well on your own. Between 40 and 65 € depending on the sophrologist and the city, a little less in a group. the sophrologist can record the session, in order to train at home. The ideal is to devote a few minutes to it every day.
Where can I find a sophrologist?
You can consult theDirectory of the Sophrology Union Chamber. The safest thing to do is to choose a sophrologist who holds an RNCP (National Directory of Professional Certification) title: this guarantees that the training gives him a certain level of qualification.