Treat Acid Reflux With Diaphragmatic Breathing
Can changing the way you breathe help with Acid Reflux Symptoms?

Treat Acid Reflux With Diaphragmatic Breathing

Treat Acid Reflux with diaphragmatic breathing

by Adam Carmen

If you have Acid Reflux (GERD) you have probably been in this situation. You are stuck somewhere without your medication or access to a drug store. Maybe work or on the train or driving. Suddenly, that familiar pain between your rib cage in the middle of your torso brings you to a stop. You know what it is and it feels awful. The contents of your stomach are making their way up through your Lower Esophageal Sphincter (LES).

You take two fingers and try pressing where it hurts but that only moves things around. Maybe you should not have had that bacon and coffee with breakfast. Or maybe that red sauce at dinner was not such a good idea. Or maybe it was nothing at all. Maybe it was just one of those days. If you were home you might take tums or some other fast acting antacid. But now you have to suffer through it until you get home or reach a drug store or wherever you might have a fast acting remedy. However, did you know that you can temporarily relieve Acid Reflux without any drugs, prescription or over the counter? It does sound crazy but if done correctly you can provide yourself with almost instant relief.

What is this amazing remedy? Well, the answer is something you already do all day long, just differently.

Breathe…Really breathe? Yes! Just breathe.

But not like you normally breathe. Most adults breathe through their chest (as opposed to their diaphragm). When you are a child you naturally breathe from your diaphragm. This means your whole midsection expands and contracts, even your back. Unlike breathing from your chest where the air feels like it stays in your upper body, breathing from your diaphragm is a more natural way of breathing.

Children naturally breathe this way until they are about 5 years old. Animals also breathe this way naturally. Watch your dog or cat breathe. Their whole body moves, not just their chest. At some point after 5 years old, most people begin to move away from natural breathing into what most adults do, which is breathing through your chest.

Below are directions for a simple exercise that, if done correctly can help relieve the painful symptoms of an Acid Reflux flare up.

WARNING: this can make you very light headed, so it’s recommended you do this exercise sitting down and definitely not while driving. Depending on your physical fitness you can get very light headed from this.

Go somewhere comfortable where you can focus and concentrate. You probably do not want to do this with a lot of people watching you or in a crowded space. Find a quiet space, ideally, someplace you can sit down.

  • Start by taking a giant deep breath, if possible, close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Don’t think about where the air is going just take your current natural deep breath, then let as much air out of your body as you can.

  • While still in complete exhale position, slowly breathe in filling only your diaphragm with air. Go slowly and concentrate on bypassing your chest, sending the air straight to your diaphragm. Breathing through your nose at this point will help.

  • Hold for 3 seconds then let the air out. NOTE: The diaphragm is a large dome-shaped muscle at the bottom of your ribcage. You should feel like your filling your “stomach” with air as opposed to your chest.

  • With your diaphragm full of air, make sure you are sitting/standing up straight with good posture and tip your chin up. Good posture and Chin Up gives you the feeling of stretching out your esophagus.

Repeat this process again, each time holding a second or two longer. As you breathe in and fill your diaphragm with air, hold for a few seconds or as long as comfortable. Keep in mind your stomach should be sticking way out upon inhaling, it's not meant to be flattering! Most people report feeling a sensation of pressure in their stomach pulling the stomach down away from the LES.

If done correctly, after 3 or 4 deep
breaths into your diaphragm you should begin to feel relief. This is not meant to be a permanent solution and there is no guarantee it will work for everyone, however, this is an exercise that over time can help train your body to produce fewer Acid Reflux Flare Ups. It’s also great in a pinch when you have nothing else.

So if you suffer from Acid Reflux/GERD and find yourself without your antacids or zantac or whatever it is you reach for, try diaphragmatic breathing. You can start slowly and train your body to reduce the symptomatic feelings of Acid Reflux/GERD.

Disclaimer: We are not medical professionals. As with any medical advice, you should check with your doctor or medical professional before trying anything new. Nothing in this article or any content on should be considered medical advice 

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