Around 15% of people globally suffer from acid reflux. As a result, looking for methods that help reduce or ease the symptoms of this unpleasant condition is also quite common.
Luckily, there are many more ways that you can combat the symptoms of heartburn than just using over-the-counter or prescription drugs. For example, a lot of people these days reach for exercise as a form of treatment for various conditions, including heartburn.
In the same way, many people believe that practicing yoga can help with heartburn and other acid reflux and GERD symptoms.
But how much truth is there to it?
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Is Yoga Good For Heartburn?
According to research, practicing yoga can be a great way to help ease heartburn and other symptoms of acid reflux and GERD. Specifically, there are many yoga poses that can improve your breathing and positively impact the health of your digestive tract.
Yoga also helps reduce stress levels, which have been linked with an increase in the secretion of gastric acid in your stomach.
So, by practicing yoga and other stress-reducing exercises, you can greatly reduce the symptoms of acid reflux, such as heartburn.
Nevertheless, remember that yoga isn’t a cure for heartburn – you will still have to take some medication if your symptoms are persistent or if you’re diagnosed with acid reflux or GERD. But yoga can be a great, natural addition to your daily anti-heartburn regime.
How can yoga help with heartburn?
Heartburn is a symptom of acid reflux and GERD. It’s described as a burning sensation felt in the throat, esophagus, and upper stomach area. It can be not only quite irritating but also dangerous if left unaddressed.
So, using yoga to help with this issue can be a good idea.
The primary reason why yoga is great for people with acid reflux and GERD is that it’s a wonderful method for reducing stress. According to lots of research and many experts, stress increases your risk of acid reflux symptoms by upping the production of gastric acid.
Too much acid in your stomach raises the risk that it can rise up your esophagus, causing various symptoms of acid reflux and GERD, such as heartburn. By reducing your stress levels, you can avoid these problems.
In addition, yoga is a form of exercise, so practicing it can help you maintain a healthy weight or lose some extra pounds.
Studies show that overweight individuals are at a higher risk of severe acid reflux symptoms. So, by implementing exercise, including yoga, in your lifestyle, you can ease heartburn and other symptoms as well as improve your overall health.
Yoga can also be an excellent low-impact form of exercise for pregnant women suffering from heartburn. Sometimes, it might be impossible for pregnant women, especially those far along, to exercise with high intensity. But yoga is still a great option.
Because of that, it can help you treat pregnancy-induced heartburn.
It’s also important to note that the research performed on yoga’s connection to less frequent acid reflux symptoms didn’t include yoga as a standalone treatment.
In fact, yoga usually only works if it’s used alongside over-the-counter or prescription medication for acid reflux, depending on the severity of your condition.
So, make sure to keep taking your medicine and include yoga as an additional form of treatment.
What are the best yoga poses for heartburn?
There’s a wide range of yoga poses that can help with acid reflux symptoms, including heartburn. In fact, many videos and online publications list poses and positions that you can try to improve your symptoms and figure out what works for you.
Some of the best yoga poses for heartburn include the ones that relieve tension in the neck, stretch your back, and improve your focus on breathing. Some of them include Dancer, Mountain, and Chair.
There are also some yoga positions that can potentially reduce digestive system problems and acidity in your stomach.
These include reclining poses, Trikonasana, Warrior I, Side Stretch, Revolved Triangle, Supported Supta Sukhasana, and similar ones.
As a result, these might be the best ones to start with if you want to ease your symptoms.
Certain forms of yoga, such as Kapalbhati and Agnisar kriya, have also been shown to help with improving the strength of the muscles found between your esophagus and stomach.
Because of that, gastric acid is less likely to rise up and cause heartburn.
These are only some examples of yoga techniques that help with heartburn. If you want to find more, a simple online search can give you a lot more options.
Still, remember that everyone will respond differently to yoga for heartburn. So, always be sure to try new positions slowly and check if they work for you or not.
This is important, as some of them might not be good for you and even worsen your acid reflux symptoms.
It’s also a good idea not to practice yoga and other forms of exercise right after eating. This is because it increases the risk of acid reflux symptoms like heartburn.
So, be sure to wait around an hour after eating before doing any intense form of workout.
Should you practice yoga at home or at a studio for heartburn?
Whether you choose to practice yoga at a studio with others or at home alone is entirely up to you.
Both of these options offer a range of benefits, depending on what your requirements are and what makes you the most comfortable.
The benefits of trying yoga at a studio include the fact that you can book a class specifically designed for those trying to treat heartburn and improve acid reflux symptoms. During those classes, the instructor can guide you and help you find the poses that work for you.
If you choose to practice yoga at home, you will have to do more research to figure out what poses work for you and which should be avoided. It might be more time-consuming than simply attending classes as well.
But if you prefer to exercise in the comforts of your own home, this might be the best option for you.
Can yoga treat heartburn on its own?
There’s limited research when it comes to yoga’s effectiveness on heartburn and other acid reflux symptoms when it’s used on its own.
Because of that, it might be best to use yoga as an additional form of treatment if you suffer from acid reflux.
So, it’s important to keep taking your medication, especially the ones you have prescribed by your physician.
Sometimes it might also be better to use over-the-counter medication, such as antacids, to treat symptoms of acid reflux and heartburn. This is a good idea, as untreated heartburn that’s severe can damage your esophagus and digestive system.
Be sure to keep that in mind.
It can also be beneficial to avoid high-acid foods and beverages when dealing with frequent heartburn. What’s more, consuming these right before exercising, including practicing yoga, can further worsen your acid reflux by forcing the acid up your esophagus.
So, try to follow an alkaline diet that’s rich in alkaline-forming and alkalizing foods and drinks.
In some cases, yoga can help with heartburn, even if it’s used on its own. But that’s usually the case for people who experience heartburn sporadically and those who aren’t diagnosed with acid reflux or GERD.
By reducing stress and improving your metabolism, yoga can reduce the frequency of heartburn-like symptoms in people who experience this condition from time to time.
This can also lower your need to take antacid and other over-the-counter medications, which aren’t good for you in the long run.
Can yoga worsen heartburn?
In some individuals, certain yoga poses and positions can worsen acid reflux, depending on the severity of the condition and which symptoms are most prevalent.
As a result, make sure to stop practicing the ones that make your symptoms worse as soon as you notice them.
What’s more, some exercises can weaken the lower esophageal sphincter muscles, leading to a higher risk of gastric acid rising up your esophagus, causing heartburn. So, try to avoid exercises and yoga poses that put extra pressure on that area of your body.
Luckily, this isn’t a very common concern, so you should still be able to practice yoga.
Generally, though, practicing yoga shouldn’t trigger any more severe acid reflux symptoms. So, you should be able to utilize most if not all yoga poses and positions.
This is because yoga is a safe practice that can improve your health in various ways.
As you can see, practicing yoga can actually be incredibly helpful for people suffering from heartburn caused by either acid reflux or GERD.
This practice helps you stretch, improves your mobility, and reduces stress levels. It’s good for practically everyone.
With that being said, if your heartburn is severe, it’s still important to take over-the-counter or prescription medications to treat the symptoms.
After all, yoga isn’t a permanent treatment for heartburn and should only be used as an addition.