Claudia Burger steht vor einem Feld mit den Händen über dem Bauch

Holistic Gut Health

Do you have a healthy gut? What exactly is a healthy gut? And is your digestion ‘normal’?

This blog article is a non-medical introduction to the importance of holistic gut health that informs about how non-medical experts like us can find out for ourselves whether our gut health is in balance or not.

First, I explain what I mean by “holistic gut health.”

I then give reasons why our current mainstream understanding of gut health is misleading and offer alternative perspectives on what to consider as ‘normal.’

After, I explain what you can do to become your own holistic gut health expert.

Interested in getting to know your gut for good? Great, let’s get started.

What’s ‘Holistic’ about Gut Health?

Nowadays, we know that gut health is central to our overall wellbeing, don’ we?! It has become general knowledge that our gut’s state of being is intertwined with our immune system, our skin health, and our mental state, to make but three cases in point.

While scientific research and research-based medical practice have just come up with these clues of interdependency, the ancient wisdom traditions of Ayurveda and TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) have known this all along, for thousands of years. It’s what they mean by ‘holistic.’

‘Holistic’ means that everything in our organism – and beyond, actually – is interconnected.

This makes sense and goes beyond esoteric chatter if we believe in some common knowledge derived from scientific hard facts: that the human organism consists for the most part of water. Percent values differ, but it’s agreed upon that we are largely composed of it.

This research fact offers a way of understanding why everything in our body is interconnected:

What’s characteristic of water? Fluidity. What does fluidity facilitate for? Movement. Thus, if we are (to a very large extent) water, and if water provides for movement, this means that there is lots of circulation and exchange of tiniest elements happening in our body.

Also, if we largely exist of water, then the clear-cut boundaries of which we think when it comes to our body’s ‘components’ are not so clear-cut after all. Because water is permeable.

Picturing this, does it still come as a surprise that the state of our gut somehow connects with the state of our health in general?

This is but one explanation of why it makes sense to think of our body & mind not as an organism consisting of single units that work individually, separately, for themselves, BUT as a network in which everything is connected with everything else – just like the worldwide web. (In fact, we are the worldwide web, but let’s elaborate on this some other time.)

Misleading Mainstream Understanding of ‘Normal’ Gut Health

Although we know by now that our gut health is important for our overall wellbeing, we do not take it seriously enough and ignore the signs and signals it is sending our way.

2 reasons why we overlook these signs:

  • We have a misleading understanding of what a healthy gut is, i.e. we consider its ‘behavior’ normal even though it’s not.
  • We are unable to read the signs & signals our gut is sending out. In other words, we do not speak ‘gut language.’

What does this mean exactly? Let’s elaborate a bit:

We are made to believe that our gut’s ‘behavior’ is normal according to the standards of mainstream or school medicine. Even though research-based approaches to medicine have improved human health in many regards, they have their shortcomings.

Other approaches to medicine, too, such as Ayurveda and TCM, have their shortcomings. At the same time, however, they offer highly valuable tools that non-medical experts like us can use to find out for ourselves whether our health is in balance.

Different Standards of What’s Considered ‘Normal’ In Terms of Gut Health

Both modern school medicine and ancient medical systems such as Ayurveda and TCM apply different standards of what ‘normal’ gut health means. What’s considered to be ‘normal’ according to school medicine standards is considered pathological, i.e. abnormal, in Ayurveda and TCM.

Let’s look at an example to better understand these different approaches to gut health:

Imagine you have gut issues such as permanent bloating and stomach cramps, and you also suffer from heartburn. You seek advice from a physician / medical doctor specializing in gastrointestinal disorders. There is an examination in the form of ultrasound diagnostics, then they perform a gastroscopy, followed by a colonoscopy.

The results show that you neither suffer from inflammation nor have they found tissue alterations (e.g. a tumor). Of course, that’s great news!

However, you keep suffering from heartburn sensations, permanent bloating, and stomach cramps. What to do now?

Given the examination results, you conclude that these inconveniences are normal, which means that you simply have to live with them.

But hang on for a sec: Why not check for yourself? Because you are not an expert, right?

No, you are not an expert trained in gastrointestinal disorders BUT you are an expert at perceiving and feeling yourself, or not?!

You were trained long ago, which is why you have forgotten a lot. But it’s like never forgetting how to ride a bike: Once learned, it’s still in your system. You can re-learn by re-doing.

Before explaining how to re-learn, let’s turn back to the question of what’s ‘normal’ in terms of gut health.

What’s Does Normal Digestion Look Like? New Ancient Understanding of Digestion-Normality

If you suffer from gut issues such as delineated above, it is for sure relieving to learn that you do not (yet?!) suffer from serious health conditions that need surgery or other highly intrusive treatments.

However, there are 2 reasons why you should question the diagnosis of everything being ok with your gut:

(1) Suffering from heartburn sensations, permanent bloating, and stomach cramps is uncomfortable and painful, do you really want to take this state of being as a given?

(2) If you ignore these symptoms, they might turn into something more serious, do you want to run this risk?

Now, here’s 1 big take away of this blog article:

Some medical approaches to gut health tell you that symptoms such as heartburn, bloating, and cramps are normal, which disqualifies them as symptoms in the first place, and which indicates that these inconveniences are normal and not worth treating.

In contrast, other (much more lay(wo)men) approaches consider these body signs as abnormal, i.e. pathological, which is why they encourage treatment.

Let’s be more exemplary and specific.

According to both Ayurveda and TCM, the following bodily phenomena (and more) qualify as abnormal and thus worth treating: constant or recurring bloating, constipation, diarrhea, heartburn.

Hence, if you hear yourself say “I’m bloated daily, it’s just my weakness, I have learned to live with it,” both Ayurveda and TCM answer “Yes, my dear, it’s your sore spot, but it’s just an imbalance that you can re-balance.”

Another example: You believe that bowel movement every two to four days is normal. “That’s just how it is,” you think. However, both Ayurveda and TCM consider daily bowel movement normal. If this is not the case, irregular bowel movement qualifies as an indication of imbalanced gut health.

You see: These are different normality standards being applied, and it’s time you decide for yourself what you consider to be normal or not.

Personally and professionally, I have deep faith in and feel convinced by this new-ancient understanding of normal gut health.

Why? Because if I can choose between being bloated and not being bloated, for instance, guess what’s my choice?! Exactly. What’s yours?

How to Become Your Own Holistic Gut Health Expert

Now you are wondering: But Claudia, how do I know what’s normal and what isn’t?! I’m not a trained Ayurveda or TCM specialist.

No, you are not, and you don’t have to be. BUT are you not expert at perceiving and feeling yourself? Or is there someone else doing it for you?!

Here are the 2 things you need to become your own holistic gut balance expert:

  • Ability to perceive and feel yourself
  • My freely available video “Normal Digestion

In this video, I teach you ‘gut language.’ I lay out for you a tool to assess for yourself whether or not your gut is in balance.

Also, the video comes with a checklist that helps you navigate an easy-to-follow step-by-step process of self-perception.

Further, if you find out that imbalance is in place, you get info on the next steps for re-establishing your gut health balance.

The video is very short & simple, no tricky medical terminology, no pre-knowledge required. Yet, it stands on incredibly solid ground: the ancient wisdom knowledge of Ayurveda & TCM.

Talking about Gut Health Taboo-less-ly

Unfortunately, although we consider our modern society so open-minded, raise rainbow flags and advocate same-sex or sexless-identity-marriage, we do not talk openly about digestion the way necessary to understand what’s normal and what’s not.

In my freely available video, I’m breaking the ice and talk taboo-less-ly.

Now, decision time: Do you wanna learn whether or not your gut health is in balance and if your digestion is normal? Interested in becoming your own holistic gut health expert?

If your answer is yes, just follow this link to my video “Normal Digestion”.

Enjoy learning about your holistic gut health.

See you in the video! Looking forward 😉

Take care, all best & Namasté,


Dr. phil. Claudia Burger

Sep 6, 2023

Hi, I'm Claudia

As a former researcher turned women empowerment & Ayurveda coach, I help you get from Working Mom Burnout to Woman by Nature Balance.

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