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During the Christmas season, many of us indulge in rich, heavy foods that aren’t always tummy friendly, leaving us feeling quite unwell and unable to enjoy the holidays to the full!
So, to help improve your digestion over the festive period, we’ve put together five simple, but effective tips to get you ready for the new year and feeling healthier than ever!
Gentle yoga and stretching are not only relaxing and suitable for all levels of flexibility, but also great for improving digestion, easing bloating and helping with constipation. It can relieve tension and give your organs more space to relax. Not only does it have physical health benefits, but the moving meditation of yoga helps mentally too; allowing us to let go of the stresses of the holiday season, such as cooking for the in-laws, that can play havoc on our tummies!
Want to try a yoga position that promotes digestion? Nahid de Belgeonne from Good Vibes recommends the ‘Cat / Cow’ pose, which stretches muscles of the hips, back, and abdomen, whilst stimulating the organs and gastrointestinal tract. Nahid explains:
“Get on all fours with your wrists under your shoulders, knees under hips, begin to breathe in as you lift your breastbone to the front of the room. Have a sense of stretching the skin from the pubis to the throat, and then exhale as you round your spine up towards the ceiling; feel as if you are stretching the skin from the tailbone to the crown of the head. Do this a few times, gently stretching your tummy out.”
It’s healthy to put time aside to focus on yourself, so ask Santa to bring you a gift card for a professional massage this year! Massages not only feel great, but also improves our internal health. According to several studies, getting an abdominal massage can accelerate your digestion, ease abdominal pain, stop uncomfortable bloating and relieve constipation. Third helping of turkey, anyone?
Over the festive season, social calendars are packed and late nights are inevitable, so quality sleep is probably going to be a low priority. Your gut might feel the effects, but there are key sleeping positions that can help improve the gut’s happiness. Sleeping on the left side, for example, helps to prevent heartburn at night and improves digestion, as it encourages food to move along easily from the small intestine to the large.
Acupuncture may not seem like a solution to digestive health issues, but this ancient Chinese method can help to treat many digestive disorders including bacterial infections, heartburn, lactose intolerance, inflammatory conditions and more. It’s recommended that even those who are not phased by tiny needles should do their research on this before booking in a session though, to make sure its suitable for them.
Want to try it out for yourself at home? The Life Centre shows you how:
“The acupoint Stomach 36 is often used to strengthen weak digestion and improve digestive disorders, ranging from constipation to diarrhea, gas, bloating, vomiting, and nausea. It can also boost the immune system and strengthen overall energy. To locate the acupoint, slightly bend your leg and place four fingers just below the kneecap. Begin with the index finger at the base of the kneecap. The point is where the little finger rests, on the outside aspect of the hard shinbone. Feel around for the tender spot.”
Recent research in MINDBODY’s ‘Wellness Index’ found that downtime takes a backseat for many of us, with the nation getting fewer than nine hours of headspace a week! We can often let daily stresses (especially during the holiday season) build up, meaning that when we’re stressed or anxious our bodies resort to the ‘fight or flight’ response, which results in abdominal discomfort and temporary digestive problems. Finding a bit of time to clear your head could help.
If you need encouragement, use the easy search filters in the MINDBODY app to find a studio near you offering guided meditation. There are even studios dedicated to meditation, such as Re:Mind and Inhere, which offer visitors a moment of calm in the hustle and bustle of London!
Meditation doesn’t necessarily mean you must be sat cross-legged in a (yoga) studio though, it’s whatever makes you feel comfortable. This could be cooking, colouring or simply taking a five-minute break to focus on your inward and outward breathing.