Heartburn and Acid Reflux: An Alternative Medicine Approach
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) is commonly referred to as heartburn, or acid reflux. Acid reflux results from contents in the stomach (both solids and liquids) leaking backwards from the stomach up into the esophagus (the tube that connects your mouth to your stomach). These particles of food and liquid irritate the lining of the esophagus which creates burning and sometimes a nauseating sensation.
Heartburn is often the result of the lower esophageal sphincter losing muscle tone which can occur due to aging, obesity, heavy metal exposure, food sensitivities, a hiatal hernia, and/or a functionally slow liver. Occasionally, acid reflux is present with healthy endurance athletes and pregnant women that experience mild spasms of the diaphragm. The diaphragm is the main muscle involved in deep breathing, and can affect digestion when it becomes functionally impaired. Symptoms of heartburn are often made worse through lying down after eating, exercise, and certain foods such as chocolate, caffeine, fats, and alcohol.
Diagnosis of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is often made based on the history of the patient, but if a hiatal hernia is present, diagnoses may be found through x-ray, or a GI endoscopy. Traditional treatment includes is prescription of antacids or OTC H2 antagonists such as Zantac or Tagamet to stop heartburn and acid reflux problems.
Complementary and alternative medicine approaches to heartburn and acid reflux can include the following:
· Weight loss in patients that are overweight
· Avoid food sensitivities and inflammatory foods such as coffee, alcohol, gluten, casein, chocolate, and poor quality fats/oils
· Chiropractic manipulation of the epigastric region in order stimulate neurologic activity to the lower esophageal sphincter which will increase tone to the musculature
· Nutritional supplementation of zinc and/or beet derived betain HCL
· Herbal detoxification of the liver and gallbladder systems with herbs such as milk thistle, turmeric, dandelion, and garlic
· Quantum neurology rehabilitation of the esophageal sphincter through cranial nerve rehabilitation protocols with an emphasis on vagal nerve activation
Do you experience heartburn or acid reflux? Looking for an alternative to medications? Contact The Hayden Institute to see if a complementary and alternative approach to heartburn and acid reflux is for you!