The digestive system receives and prepares food for assimilation by the body. There are many body parts that are involved in this process. The last organ of the alimentary canal is the large intestine. The large intestine, which is about five feet long, connects with the small intestine. When food enters the stomach, the intestine is stimulated to contract and expand, which causes a defecation reflex. This stimulates the bowels. The last five inches of the large intestine make up the rectum.
The large intestine does not take part in the digestion or absorption of food. By the time that material has reached the beginning of the intestine, all the nutrients have been absorbed, and the contents are liquid. In passing through the intestine, the contents become more solid as water is absorbed. It takes about 16-24 hours for the contents to pass through the large intestine and reach the rectum.
The functions of the large intestine are to absorb water, salt, and glucose (a simple sugar) back into the body. It also prepares cellulose, which is present in grains, vegetables, and fruits, as well as any undigested protein, to be passed out of the body.
Gas may be caused by bacterial fermentation of food. Sometimes cellulose in vegetables is broken down in the intestines to produce methane and hydrogen gases. Other foul smelling gas odors, such as the rotten egg smell, comes from sulfurated hydrogen and
carbon disulfate found in eggs, peas, and beans. In order to lessen intestinal gas several things are necessary. First, the intestines and the digestive system must become stronger. Secondly, the cooking preparation of both high cellulose vegetables, such as whole grains and beans, must be done correctly. Proper cooking of these foods allows the gases to be changed before you eat them. Thorough chewing is the last step in minimizing gas production inside the body.
Colitis is the inflammation of the lining of the large intestine. Its first signs are not feeling well, vague discomfort in the abdomen, and mild diarrhea or constipation. As the disease progresses symptoms like bleeding from the rectum, fever, loss of appetite, and weight loss develop.
Hernia is the protrusion of part of the abdominal contents through a defect in the wall of the abdominal cavity. The most common site for a hernia is the groin, but they occur in other places as well.
Hemorrhoids (piles) are enlarged veins around the anus. External piles can he seen and felt below the anus. Internal piles may also occur. Hemorrhoids are a common cause of bleeding from the rectum.
An increased fiber content in the form of whole grains and vegetables is essential in the healthy function of the large intestine. Numerous scientific studies have shown that a high protein, high fat diet, low in fiber and complex carbohydrates, leads to many of the diseases of modern people including cancer, heart and vessel diseases, and digestive disorders. Whole cereal grains such as oats, millet, barley, rye, corn, brown rice, buckwheat, and whole wheat are the most abundant sources of fiber. Vegetables, beans, and fruits
also supply good amounts. Minerals and nutrients found in seaweed are an important addition to the diet. Fermented foods such as miso soup and pickles add valuable enzymes to aid in both digestion and assimilation.
The avoidance of congesting and excessive heat or cold producing foods should be observed. These include beef, eggs, chicken, sugar, honey, milk and its products, alcohol, and the nightshade family of vegetables (potato, tomato, eggplant, bell pepper, and tobacco), as well as curry and spices. Raw or cold foods encourage diarrhea in people with poorly functioning intestines.
A full shiatsu treatment will strengthen the body and digestion. Specifically, shiatsu application on the back and abdomen can be done.
Have the receiver lie face down. With the heel of one hand press and rub in a circular movement, thus warming the area. This is to be applied in the mid-to-lower back from T^ to the sacrum.
Then, while standing over the receiver, press with the thumbs down the channel near the spine beginning at lo to the sacrum. Hold each point for 3-5 seconds; repeat several times.Have the receiver turn over and massage the abdominal area. With the heel of the hand, stimulate circulation with a circular motion of the palm. Next place both hands flat on the abdomen and push and pull, somewhat like kneading bread. Then with the tips of the fingers together, one hand on top of the other, press directly down on the abdomen, while exhaling together with the receiver. Begin in the pit of the stomach moving downward toward the waist and then
continue in a circular direction around the inside of the abdominal cavity. Move from one point to the next, as if the abdomen was the face of a clock and you were moving from one number to the next. (See full treatment section for complete description of abdominal massage.)
Diarrhea is the frequent passage of loose stools. For infants, diarrhea is rare if they are breast fed. In bottle fed babies, it is usually due to unsuitable feeding (such as too much fat or sugar), or to gastroenteritis, which is an infection of the bowel. It can be serious in young babies, and quickly leads to dehydration on account of the fluid loss from both diarrhea and vomiting. Urgent treatment is necessary.
In older children and adults, diarrhea can be of two main kinds: sudden onset, which is caused from unsuitable food, such as unripe or too much fruit; or food poisoning— food contaminated by bacteria. Along with diarrhea there can be nausea, vomiting, colic, and fever. Dehydration can follow due to loss of fluids. Drugs and medicines may also cause diarrhea. Long-term diarrhea may be related to havinghad certain operations such as those of the stomach or intestine. Crohn's disease causes symptoms of diarrhea, malnutrition, and malabsorption. This is usually found in the 20-30 age group. Intestinal parasites can cause diarrhea; amebic dysentery is one such common source. Additionally, more serious troubles can cause diarrhea; they are: diverticular disease of the large intestine, ulcerative colitis, intestine cancer, allergies, poisons and drugs, and irritable bowel syndrome.
Weakness in the stomach or intestines, as well as chilling in
the lumbar and leg regions, causes poor digestion. Improperly digested food stimulates the mucous membranes of the intestine, thus speeding up the peristalsis and causing the contents to pass rapidly through the system before liquid is adequately absorbed. Therefore, the contents reach the rectum in a more liquid state than is normal. There are other stimuli which can create imbalances in the auto-nomic nervous system causing the intestine to speed the transportation time through the bowel before all the liquid has been reab-sorbed. In both cases the end result is diarrhea.
In all cases of intestinal trouble, diet is the first adjustment which must be made.