Do you have digestion problems? You are not alone. Millions of people have digestion problems – this is obvious from all the commercials on TV for all the drugs for stomach problems – hopefully, this will give you some insight as to how you can achieve optimum digestion., drug-free.
First, your stomach is as big as your fist, it stretches; but, it is naturally as big as your fist. Your stomach also tells you when it is full – it is amazing how we have “unlearned” this over the years. When your stomach is full – it pushes on your diaphragm wall and causes your body to “sigh”. It is important to be aware this is happening. Listening to your stomach helps you to eat the right amount of food which helps your waistline as well as your health. Listening instead to the portion sizes at the restaurant can be self-defeating.
One of the most common problems I see with my customers is Hiatal Hernias. (See drawing) This is when part of the stomach muscle moves into the upper cavity between the diaphragm muscles. This can be a little bit, or a lot – depending on the person. Sometimes only a little bit of the esophagus is pinched above the diaphragm, and sometimes part of the stomach is above the diaphragm. This is like a “kink” in your digestive tract. This can cause, stomach upset, gas, chest pain, heartburn, shortness of breath, high blood pressure, or no symptoms at all – other than an illness that isn’t going away –because food isn’t being digested and proper nutrients are getting absorbed.
Pretty much every person I have ever worked with that has a major illness has had a Hiatal Hernia. The only way our stomach can communicate with us is to cause us pain or create an illness – if we don’t have a problem, why would we change? Something needs to nudge us to eliminate our bad habits.
What causes Hiatal Hernias?
Stress – in Chinese medicine, every organ has an emotion associated with it – The kidney is Fear, the Liver is Anger, and the Stomach is worry – There is a lot of stress in the world right now, it isn’t surprising people have these.
Another cause is underwire bras – there is an acupuncture point under the left breast. When a wire lies over the top of that point, it often stimulates the stomach to be agitated and move where it shouldn’t be. Also, tight bras and clothes can cause this as well. There are bras that do not cause these issues without underwires, that many women have found more supportive than underwire bras. If the body doesn’t have room for the organs, they are often moved to unnatural positions to accommodate the clothing we wear.
Pregnant women often get Hiatal Hernias as the baby often kicks and pushes the stomach. There is just so much room in there and the baby moves things around so they can get comfortable.
Another cause is eating too fast and/or not chewing your food – many people must think that they have teeth in their stomachs because they inhale their food without chewing properly. It isn’t possible for your stomach to digest large pieces of food – often this undigested food is just passed onto the small and large intestine and is sitting there rotting in the intestines instead of being digested properly. This can often attract harmful bacteria, viruses, and parasites.
Another cause of Hiatal Hernias is poor food choices. Many people should not eat dairy, wheat, or other foods that often cause the stomach to be in distress. It is best to talk to a health professional to see what food would be best that you avoid. In addition, many people buy into the billions of dollars of advertising and purchase fast food made by a cooked that slaps food around, often with a bad attitude. The energy from that food then is transferred to the person that eats it. Cooking food that is fresh and prepared with a positive attitude is not only more appetizing, but also more nutritious, less stressful, and easier to digest.
How to fix a hiatal hernia – good Chiropractors can fix these a few different ways. I recommend seeing a chiropractor that is a Palmer Graduate that knows Applied Kinesiology and Cranial Sacral techniques. They are taught how to fix these easily and effectively. Just like any other profession, there are good and bad chiropractors – make sure you find one you feel comfortable with and that has proper credentials. Some chiropractors are not trained in working with Hiatal hernias.
There are 4 different adjustments that address Hiatal hernias:
- Cranial Adjustment
- Spinal Adjustment
- Actual Stomach Adjustment
- Hip adjustment
There are 2 other internal valves that should be checked as well – the Illeoceccal Valve (a one-way valve between the small and large intestine) and the Valve of Houston (a one-way valve between the large intestine and the rectum). If your stomach is not in its natural place, it can cause the valves to not close properly as well – preventing you from absorbing nutrients in the small intestine and instead of absorbing toxins from the large intestine. Some osteopaths and massage therapists are also trained to work with Hiatal hernias.
If you don’t get it fixed correctly, and the stomach muscle becomes conditioned to remain there, it will keep reoccurring. Once you have it fixed correctly, there are 2 exercises you can do to keep it in place.
- Drink an 8oz glass of water each morning on an empty stomach and jump off of a step, or jump so you feel your stomach slosh – if you don’t feel a slosh, like when you were a kid, then your stomach is more than likely still stuck – jump till you feel the slosh.
- Each night before you go to bed, layback on a large plastic ball – this helps to stretch out the stomach and put it in place.
Find other stress-reducing techniques that work for you to lower your level of stress and worry in your body – exercise, meditation, breathing, etc. Make healthier food choices for yourself and chew your food, putting your fork down in between bites.
Digestion is the most important function in the body – if you don’t digest your food – you can’t get proper nutrition to repair and build new cells. The analogy I often use is – your body is like a car. If there is a kink in the gas hose – the car will probably just put-put along – just surviving instead of thriving. In our bodies, Hiatal hernias can prevent us from optimal health. Thriving is much more fun than putting along. You get to make the choice!