Acid Reflux – Hiatal Hernia
The Hiatal Hernia – Acid Reflux has been called the “great mimic”, because it mimics many disorders. A person with this condition can get such severe pains in their chest that they think they are having a heart attack. They may think they have an over acid stomach because they will regurgitate stomach acid after they eat, or their stomach may hurt so badly they will think they have an ulcer. This is just a sampling of the symptoms that may occur from this disorder.
We always recommend that you see a medical professional to make sure there is nothing seriously wrong.
What is a Hiatal Hernia?
When you swallow, your food passes down a long tube known as the esophagus into the stomach. This tube must pass through a muscle known as the diaphragm, which is located near the bottom of your rib cage.
This opening in the diaphragm, which permits the esophagus to pass through, is regulated by a sphincter muscle (or “valve”), which relaxes and opens, when we swallow, to permit the food to pass through the diaphragm and into the stomach. This sphincter or valve closes to prevent stomach acid from coming back up into the throat.
A hiatal hernia-acid reflux occurs when the top of the stomach rolls or slides up into this opening and becomes stuck there.
Naturally, when part of the stomach is forced up into the
diaphragm the sphincter muscle cannot close properly.
Thus, stomach acid may travel back up into the esophagus causing burning sensations (heartburn), esophageal spasms, inflammations and ulcers. (known as the Acid Reflux)
Your diaphragm is a muscle. The diaphragm has three large openings for passage of the aorta, esophagus, and vena cana. When you don’t use your diaphragm to breathe, it weakens, and becomes flaccid.
This allows your stomach to be pushed through your diaphragm by gas pressure in your digestive tract in what is known as a hiatal hernia. The resulting pain is often confused for the onset of a heart attack.
A flaccid diaphragm most often results from chest breathing or shallow breathing.
The digestive tract has a series of one way valves to keep food material moving in the correct direction: the esophageal valve in the esophagus, a sphincter muscle valve between the esophagus and the stomach. The pyloric valve between the stomach and the small intestine, the ileocecal valve between the small intestine and the large intestine, and the Houston valve in the descending colon.
When one or more of these valves malfunctions, pressure from gas in the intestines may force food material to back up, pushing stomach acid into the esophagus.
The interesting discovery that we made with our studies in kinesiology was the relationship between these valves and the diaphragm muscle.
The valves generally do not malfunction as long as the diaphragm muscle remains strong and in balance. Once the diaphragm muscle weakens one or more of these valves may malfunction leading to a hiatal hernia and/or acid reflux.
Once the causes of mock heart attack (hiatal hernia) and acid reflux are properly identified, the preferred treatment becomes apparent. Both conditions can be corrected by doing diaphragmatic breathing exercises that both strengthen the diaphragm muscle and force the stomach down and out of the diaphragm.
Technique in Practicing Using The Diaphragm
1. Place your hand on your stomach
When you take an in-breath your stomach goes out.
2. When you release your breath your stomach goes in.
This may be difficult to do at the beginning.
To practice, you can lie on your back and put a book on your stomach. Concentrate with your in-breath pushing the book up and letting it fall when you release your breath.
This exercise can be done on the spot in whatever position you happen to be, standing, sitting, or lying down.
What I have discovered is that when I went to bed at night and did not feel very well, I would put my hand on my stomach and concentrate when taking an in breath to push my stomach out and feel it relax when I let my breath out. I would do this slowly.
The ultimate answer is learning to breathe with your diaphragm all the time. This involves regular practice of diaphragmatic breathing, and a continuing consciousness of how you are breathing.
As you continue this over a period of time, diaphragmatic breathing will become automatic.
A further benefit of diaphragmatic breathing is improved airflow into the lower parts of the lungs and better oxygenation
Once again we have found that helping your body to heal itself through muscle and energy balancing often provides satisfactory results in the long run.
Proper diaphragmatic breathing is important for our overall well-being. Proper diaphragmatic breathing assists us to properly oxygenate our body, particularly during physical exercise, reducing chronic fatigue due to shallow breathing.
It also helps us to maintain proper muscle tone in our diaphragm. This in turn helps us to hold our abdominal organs in the proper position and to reduce abdominal and chest pains. This is often helpful after eating to reduce gastronomic distress.
Another important feature of the Barhydt basic balances is that they always drive the body-mind toward equilibrium (or balance).
A person cannot harm himself or herself by doing these balancing exercises. Just do the exercise if you feel it may be helpful; it generally takes just a few seconds in any case. This makes basic balancing exercises appropriate for self-help.
Another benefit I have discovered when I learned to breathe using my diaphragm is that I can eat most anything like tomato-based foods (ketchup, spaghetti sauce), citrus fruits, mint, and even chocolate within moderation.