Bowel disease (IBD) is an idiopathic autoimmune disease which affects the digestive tract caused by a dysregulated immune response to host intestinal microflora. The two main types of IBD are ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn Disease (CD). The gut-brain axis scientific findings applied to IBD have correlated mental stress with worsening of the disease activity. During stress, endogenous cortisol release enhances permeability of the intestinal wall, promoting intestinal dysbiosis and inflammatory immune activation. Altered autonomic nervous system was also observed in IBD, in particular, the reduction of the number of the gastro-intestinal efferent vagal fibers and the failure of the anti-inflammatory vagal reflex, worsening systemic inflammation. Non pharmacologic evidence-based approaches integrated to standard of IBD care, such as anti-inflammatory diet, prebiotics and probiotics, fecal microbiota transplant, phytotherapy, vagal nervous stimulation, acupuncture, mind-body therapies (i.e., meditation yoga, physical relaxation), and psychotherapy are illustrated.
Keywords: IBD, Pnei, Stress, Vagus nerve, Intestinal microbiota, Integrative therapies.