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The abdomen is our centre of vital energy and our second brain

What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear this anatomical term: abdomen? Is it the image of the firm muscles and flat tummy that turned into an aesthetic norm of our times? Is it the thought of exhausting workouts at the gym? Is it the vision of a forbidden culinary delight? If this is the case, well, no offense, but you have been deceived by appearances. You are missing the point: the abdominal area is the source of our vitality, the centre of our energy, a relay connecting the body to the spirit and the source of our physical and mental wellbeing.

In traditional Chinese medicine, the abdomen is one of the three major energy centres, the lower Dan Tian. The Japanese consider it the seat of our vital energy – hara. Nevertheless, we, “modern” people, have taken this huge stake and turned it into a ridiculous ideal, our only concern being to have a firm, flat stomach (need I say that the more “packs”, the better?)

Dr. Denis Lamboley, integrative medicine doctor and author of “Bien respirer pour bien vivre ” (“Breathe well to live well”), sorts things out: “Our emotions are directly related to our abdomen. Stress, in particular, disturbs digestion and toxin elimination in no time. The abdomen is a privileged area where we can listen to what is going on in our entire system”. It is not hard to understand, then, why it is looked upon as the “second human brain”.

The laboratory where the “happiness molecule” is manufactured

This is pretty much how the yoga therapist Dr. Lionel Coudron defines the abdominal area. 90% of the total amount of serotonin (the hormone known as “the happiness molecule) in the human body is produced by the digestive tract. And any dysfunction affecting the digestive tract – abdominal bloating, abnormal transit etc. – may reveal physical ailments just as well as it may indicate emotional disorders. First and foremost stress.

It is a vicious circle: stress, our faithful partner, entices us to ask for rewards. Typically, food rewards: sugar, fats. All of them pile up on the abdomen. For the sake of our … flat tummy – a standard of beauty and a health indicator –, but mostly for the sake of our mental and emotional wellbeing, doctors advise we should adopt high-fiber diets based on vegetables, cereals, dried fruits, red fruits, whole-grain bread; as for coffee and alcohol, sweets and “bad” fats – butter, red meat, cheese – we should consume them only once in a while.

Let’s decode its messages!

Now that we’ve got the point – our wellbeing depends on our abdomen’s wellbeing – let us learn how to decode the messages it is trying to convey to us.

The abdomen is the main seat of somatization. To listen to what it tells us means, first of all, to stop telling ourselves constantly: “I ate something that went the wrong way” and start asking the right questions: “What is wrong with my emotions? Why do I feel the need to invigorate myself by eating foods that are difficult to digest?” And, if we are honest to ourselves, we will find out that what went the wrong way is actually a negative emotion – anger, sadness, fear…

Do not giggle: talk to it and give it a nice massage!

The psychoanalyst and psychosomatician Anne-Marie Filliozat advises that we should (re)establish physical contact with our abdomen. She invites us to rub it gently and talk to it, so that we can start a peaceful, tender relationship with it. Fair enough, don’t you think? Our abdomen supplies 90% of the happiness hormone in our body. Why note give it back a little bit of the wellness we receive from it?

And the more massage we give it, ideally using fortifying or anti-cellulite creams, the better it will look and the happier we will feel.

Excercises that will help you renew your vital energy

Taï-chi and qi gong masters also have something to teach us: by taking care of our abdomen, we take care of our vital energy – Qi. And taking care means, mostly, breathing properly.

– Here is a perfectly suited breathing exercise you should do every morning (it is a lot better to take the time to do this exercise than to have your first cup of coffee).
Stand with your arms along your sides, then raise them, opening them up to the sky and inhaling. Lower your arms, place them behind your basin, exhale the air and prolong the exhalation with a “heee!” sound, feeling the air passing over your tongue. Repeat this exercise ten times every morning and you will purify and strengthen your vital energy – as the masters assure us.

– Another double targeted exercise – intended to tonify your abdomen and keep your vital energy high – is inspired by the uddiyana bandha yoga techniques: lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet on the ground, inhale and exhale deeply. Then open up your chest as widely as possible without inhaling; this will work your abdominal muscles to the maximum. This exercise works as a massage on your internal organs, strengthens your abdominal area and improves the energy flow in your body.

We can therefore take care of our body and spirit at the same time, treating our “second brain” and serotonin storehouse with due respect.

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The abdomen is our centre of vital energy and our second brain by Technology for life is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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