Got heartburn? You might want to put down the pills and try some belly breathing.
Deep-breathing exercises can reduce acid reflux in adults with mild gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, according to a recent clinical trial published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology. Researchers believe the breathing technique can strengthen the muscles of the diaphragm, preventing the esophagus from opening and allowing stomach acid to back up.
Researchers from the Medical University Graz, in Austria, studied 19 men and women with frequent heartburn. Half performed abdominal breathing exercises 30 minutes daily, while the other half did its regular (medicine) thing.
After one month, those who performed the breathing exercises had a decrease in the amount of acid reaching the esophagus (measured with a tiny catheter threaded through the nose and into the esophagusÃ¢â‚¬”yuck!).
Next, the rest of the study participants were instructed to complete the breathing exercises as well. Nine months later, those who had stuck with the exercises had less acid reflux and were using medications less frequently.
But... only 11 out of the 19 patients actually stuck with the exercises. Some said they preferred to take medication, some said they were too busy for the exercises, and some said they were just "too lazy."
What about you? Would you give belly breathing a serious go if it could reduce your acid reflux?