Sarasota / Manatee / Charlotte Edition
Bookmark and Share Email this page Email Print this page Print Feed Feed

Gratitude and Gut Health

by Christina Captain, DAOM, MSAOM, MSHN, MA 


One of the specialties of my practice is the treatment of various gastrointestinal symptoms. In 20 years of working with the public, I have found that extreme emotion has a significant impact on the normal function of the digestive organs. We must think outside-the-box of conventional medicine to understand that emotional stress can result in a physical manifestation. Patients who come in to address these symptoms are invariably experiencing a barrage of emotional stress and subsequent physical suffering. 


How Does Chinese Medicine See It?

In Chinese medicine, each organ has an assigned emotion. The digestive organs—liver, gallbladder, stomach, spleen and pancreas—are affected by the emotions of anger, resentment, worry and overthinking. Where does gratitude fit into these emotions, and how might it affect the digestive experience? If these emotions are at the forefront of your experience, then gratitude surely is not. Some of the digestive complaints that accompany these emotions range from pain, acid reflux and GERD, nausea or vomiting, and changes in bowel movements like constipation or urgent diarrhea. 


Where Does Gratitude Come In?

Honestly, gratitude one of the ways in which living beings can re-frame their current situation and come into alignment with what is. Resentment and anger fuel resistance to accepting the facts and eventually letting go. In the darkest of times, it can be challenging to be grateful. Yet in my experience, being grateful is the only path that delivers you from that same darkness.

I have experienced my share of darkness this year—the deepest of betrayals from my former spouse and the death of my father in the same month nearly drove me to the brink of sanity. The only path I found out of my personal darkness was to be grateful in the midst of it. My healing continues to come from a place of gratitude and grace, knowing that in forgiveness, strength and perseverance, I will be victorious. And you can be too.


What Is the Treatment?

In my experience, the full continuum of the person must be addressed which means adjusting nutrition, environment, emotions, mindset and, of course, gratitude. A clean diet is essential— elimination of inflammatory foods, GI detox if necessary, targeted nutritional supplementation—as well as meditation, support systems and a daily gratitude process. It is important to understand that gratitude is not simply stating what you are grateful for. 

For gratitude to take you over and help you out of a personal darkness, you must feel it, embody it and express it. Express your gratefulness to others in whatever form you can, from a handwritten note, Facebook posts, and small gifts or anonymous gestures of kindness.  Make this your focus, and you will be lifted out of the low vibration of whatever is troubling you into a higher vibration of love and light. By working this plan, you can also resolve GI issues and move forward into your highest expression of living.

 Using myself as an example, I would not have become the most optimal version of myself while still locked into a situation where I was, in effect, blind to what was. Now freed from all that darkness, I am moving into a place where I can fully express the highest version of me, and in doing so, I can help others who are going through similar situations. I believe in you and your ability to lift yourself out of the dark and into the light. Always choose the light.


*Remember, some symptoms are indications of a more serious condition and require additional medical attention. Be sure to visit your primary care doctor or a specialist to rule out anything that could be an emergency.


Dr. Christina Captain is nationally board-certified by the National Commission for Certification in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). She is the lead practitioner at the Family Healing Center which she founded in 2000. Dr. Captain is also an expert Feng Shui practitioner and teacher who studied under Nancilee Wydra of the Feng Shui Institute of America, before originating her own style, Essential Balance Feng Shui. Since this discipline is a branch of Oriental Medicine, she often blends Feng Shui principles into her treatment plans. Family Healing Center is located at 2650 Bahia Vista St., Suite 101, Sarasota. For more information, call 941-951-1119 or email


Edit ModuleShow Tags