Irritable bowel: reduce your pain with The Belly Lab
Laure wrote to us last June, a week after starting The Belly Lab program. That gave us the opportunity to talk about her irritable bowel syndrome and the relief which TBL quickly gave her.
Some will recognize the symptoms that have affected you for many years in Laure’s testimony. Irritable Bowel Syndrome can sometimes affect women without them knowing exactly what they are suffering from. This was Laure’s case, whose pain was triggered by psychological shock and whose medical history was rather chaotic.
The Belly Lab: How long have you been practicing The Belly Lab and why?
Laure: I started TBL in May 2020 and I’m in the 5th week, which I have been repeating for 1 month in a loop, before moving on to the 6th and final week, once I have fully integrated the practice. I’m 41 years old and I’m single with no children, at least not yet (laughs). I moved to Stuttgart, Germany, to work as a German and French teacher, as well as a classical singing coach, which I’ve studied for 7 years.
Recently, I had gained a little weight and did not feel well in my clothes. My sister too, by the way, and she even had a little crease in her stomach. When we saw Joëlle’s video, we thought to ourselves: “These breathing exercises look very good. These are not empty promises and we aren’t going to burn out doing an intensive workout every day! “.
My sister bought TBL and told me “once you get the hang of it, you will teach me how to do it!”
I showed her the basics of The Belly Lab and saw her again after a week for the rest of the exercises.
TBL: You’ve been practicing The Belly Lab since May 2020. Are you in pain during your practice?
Laure: Just before starting TBL, I had some big personal issues. At the time I was fine, but three days later I felt an excruciating pain in my stomach and nothing was giving me relief. Even the simple act of walking and breathing was unbearable, but then I got serious about The Belly Lab program.
As I am a singer I know breathing well, so Joëlle’s approach spoke to me. I also followed her food combination recommendations for my meals, as I tended to eat things that made my stomach bloat. Before discovering TBL, I would say my pain was 15 out of 10! After a few days of TBL exercise, my pain has reduced considerably. My intestinal transit calmed down and my waist really slimmed down shortly thereafter. At the same time, I started a mental coaching program in addition to TBL, which allowed me to finally see results.
TBL: What were your irritable bowel symptoms?
Laure: It manifests differently from person to person and every case is unique. As far as I’m concerned, I had been in terrible pain for quite a long time. I was diagnosed with colopathy and the doctor assumed that the condition was not fatal so there was not much that could be done.
I was told that my colon was a bit long and I did all the tests that were available: everything was normal. I am a complex case and it has been a very long and painful journey. I had constipation and diarrhea, which is very complicated to deal with, especially when you’re working. My grandmother also had irritable bowel syndrome, although less severe than mine and only in her youth, so there is a genetic factor. When she had children everything went back to normal, but when her husband died, it started again.
TBL: When were you diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome?
Laure: 20 years ago after an emotional shock. I spent my life in the bathroom and I became laxophobic (an obsession with finding a toilet wherever you go). You should know that there is a real connection between the brain and the belly. And when the disease develops, it’s like a neural highway: the brain creates this path that you can’t get out of and imposes it on the body. The body always maintains the same reactions, despite the efforts to push it to react differently. I didn’t understand where the problem was coming from, and I was in so much pain that at one point in my life I wished I had been diagnosed with cancer!
TBL: what medical protocol did you follow?
Laure: I have taken anti spasmodics and all that is usually given for this type of disorder. Unfortunately, in the case of irritable bowel, there aren’t many treatments. I also saw a neurologist 7 years ago, who explained to me that the pain region of my brain was very large. She prescribed me a treatment with a mixture of antidepressants which calmed me down a bit, but I quickly stopped taking them because it was a heavy chemical treatment, and above all else I am NOT depressed!
TBL: Have you tried any alternative techniques?
Laure: Yes, I really tried a lot of things! I first saw a naturopath who gave me natural hormones equivalent to endorphins (painkillers) and dopamine (well-being), but since I had already been in pain for more than 15 years, it was difficult to replace them naturally. I followed her nutritional rebalancing treatment for a few months by excluding dairy products and fruits that I ate outside of meals, and I have to say that I saw some small improvements. Then I used a variant of EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) and tried a technique to treat phobias. I also did hypnosis and kinesiology. All these techniques have of course helped me to release my emotions and certain traumas, such as the death of my grandmother or a heartache, but it was only a minor relief: we become aware of our trauma, but we do not deal with the substance of the problem. If we don’t work on our whole being, we can’t get out of it. However, nothing was ever really changing in my life and yet I “programmed” myself to be positive every time I tried a new technique.
TBL: Have you looked into a possible psychological cause for your pain?
Laure: I think it’s an accumulation of things related to emotions that I haven’t been able to express since childhood. Do you know the principle of Lise Bourbeau’s 5 wounds*? They are abandonment, rejection, betrayal, humiliation and injustice. 20 years ago I had an emotional shock. I was an intern working in tourism in Austria for 6 months, and the internship director humiliated me and really took me for her slave. This woman said horrible things and I didn’t know how to react: I was barely 20 years old. It completely broke me inside. First I had back pain and then I had more and more diarrhea, to the point that I thought I was having repeated gastroenteritis episodes. I thought it was something I ate that wasn’t okay. There is a real connection between the brain and the belly.
Back then I was very healthy, but unfortunately at the time I did not know of any emotional techniques that could have helped me.
TBL: What has your personal journey and The Belly Lab given you?
Laure: Looking back, I think my years of therapy have served me well, but finally I saw that a lot of our problems come from not accepting ourselves, and our body shows it to us! I was self-conscious during my teenage years because I’m a brunette, my skin is pale and I’m tall, so I didn’t meet the criteria of the teen magazines of the time! As women, we always have complexes, but back then I completely rejected my body. Then I dropped the standards of perfection and with The Belly Lab I learned to accept my body. Ever since then, when I experience a positive feeling my plexus is lighter. I massage my stomach every night with argan oil, which helps soothe my pain, and I drink a lot of herbal teas. Right now I’m taking aloe vera, and I feel it helps my intestines to recover. It’s the first time I’ve taken it all together, with the help of a coach and The Belly Lab. I’ve always felt divided in two, when after all we are whole beings, right?
TBL: So, is The Belly Lab for life?
Laure: Oh yes! I have found my exercise rhythm. I do 10 to 15 minutes in the morning, rather than in the evening, as the activity gave me too much energy at bedtime. I always try to contract my perineum and synchronise myself well. Joëlle is a great teacher, and since I am teacher myself, I really appreciate how she explains everything really well. With The Belly Lab, you have to put in the time need to learn to be patient, especially if you have health concerns. It’s like singing, it can’t be learned in 3 months. I am an emotional sponge and you have to learn to protect yourself from the aggressiveness of others. So with TBL I meditate, I refocus, I no longer let myself feel invaded and I am able to distance myself from events.
TBL: Laure, you have suffered a lot and had an incredible journey. Bravo! Any last words for our readers?
Laure: When you are confident and calm, that’s when things happen. But it’s not easy to stay zen: it’s a daily job and it’s difficult in the West. I’s a hell of a challenge but the universe is here to help us, so I’m not letting go and will persevere with The Belly Lab! And above all else, we must accept and love ourselves as we are, and our body with it!
A few tips from The Belly Lab
>> If you think you have irritable bowel syndrome you should definitely see a specialist.
You can follow my The Belly Lab program and my wellness dietary advice to relieve your intestines, but this will in no way replace regular monitoring by a proctologist or gastroenterologist.