What is Acid Reflux?
Acid reflux is also commonly referred to as heartburn, gastric reflux and gastroesophageal reflux. It’s felt as a burning, painful sensation that occurs when gastric acid back-flows from the stomach into the throat. The pain is normally located just behind the breastbone, in the esophagus and often radiates to the throat, neck and jaw.
Others symptoms may include:
- Chest pain
- Dental erosion
- Hoarseness of the voice?
- Food regurgitation
- Dysphagia (difficulty in swallowing)
Causes of Acid Reflux
Physiologically speaking, acid reflux is caused by a dysfunctional lower esophageal sphincter in the stomach that allows for acid to backflow into the esophagus. Whilst science is still deciding, there are number of reasons thought to cause the sphincter to be faulty in the first place. Some of these include:
- Large meals and overeating
- Certain food triggers
- Bending forward
- Hiatus hernia
- Peptic Ulcers
- Insufficient amounts of digestive enzymes in the stomach
Natural Treatments for Acid Reflux
- Nutrition: If you suffer from heartburn you may like to consider your diet, as the food you are eating may be causing the symptoms themselves with symptoms often dissipating with a change in diet. Foods that are safe for some may trigger attacks in others, hence why there is no one prescribed anti-reflux diet. Those who suffer from reflux should eliminate all possible trigger foods, and slowly reintroduce them back in, one by one in order to identify personal triggers. See nutrition and acid reflux for more information.
- Hypnotherapy: Hypnotherapy is therapeutic technique used to safely access the powers of the subconscious mind. It acts to put the acid reflux sufferer into a sleep-like state in which they act only on external suggestion. It may be used to incite different patterns of thought and behaviors, particularly those that trigger acid reflux, such as smoking, stress, digestion and weight control. See hypnotherapy and acid reflux for more information.
- Herbal medicine: Herbal Medicine employs the use of medicinal plants and herbs to treat acid reflux, relieve its symptoms and assist the individual in reaching an optimum state of health. Herbs may be taken in tea, tincture, tablet or capsule form, and for best results the herbs should be coupled with other actions such as a change in diet, quitting smoking or increased exercise. See herbal medicine and acid reflux for more information.
- Acupuncture: Acupuncture is ancient Chinese practice that employs the use of needles on the skin to relieve symptoms of acid reflux. It is thought to do so by stimulating points that relax the esophageal sphincter, as well as reducing the stress and anxiety known to trigger reflux attacks. See acupuncture and acid reflux for more information.
- Colonic hydrotherapy: Colonic hydrotherapy (otherwise known as Colonic irrigation) aims to rejuvenate and rebalance the body by introducing filtered, oxygenated water into the colon through a very small tube via the anus. It may assist acid reflux by relieving constipation, water retention and assisting with weight control.
- Counseling: A professional counselor may assist reflux patients in reducing symptoms by exploring and resolving with them the underlying triggers that may be causing the attacks in the first place. Common triggers for reflux attacks that may be resolved with counseling include overeating, smoking, stress, anxiety and eating disorders such as Anorexia and Bulimia.
- Weight control: Those who are overweight may be more prone to acid reflux attacks due to excess fat or fluid that puts extra pressure on the abdominal cavity thus forcing stomach contents to back-flow up the esophagus. Weight may be controlled in a number of ways, including a balanced nutritious diet, regular exercise, hypnotherapy, Traditional Chinese Medicine techniques, meditation and so on.