There are many reasons why people experience heartburn or indigestion, says Shirlene Ried, chief dietitian at Understood Nutrition in Missouri. These reasons can range from sleep deprivation and food intolerances to the consumption of carbonated beverages. The discomfort can also come from genetic or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which occurs when stomach acid enters the esophagus and causes a burning sensation. If this is chronic, you may want to consider talking about the pattern with a provider. But, regardless of the cause, you have some options if you are looking for a timely solution to heartburn.
Start with a deep breath
Put one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach, Ried says. Then take deep breaths counting in for four and out for four. Repeat this breathing pattern for 5-10 breaths to activate your parasympathetic nervous system, which activates your digestion at high speed and can, in turn, reduce discomfort. It also massages your system from the inside out involving your diaphragm, a strong muscle located beneath your lungs.
Then try rubbing it clockwise
Imagine your stomach like a clock and your navel is at noon, says Elizabeth Trattner, AP, LAc, NCCAOM, a Florida-licensed acupuncturist and nationally certified acupuncturist. It is recommended to use your hand or three fingers to slowly rub your stomach in a circle clockwise, starting from your navel. Then continue taking deep breaths and moving slowly. The idea is to increase blood flow to the area and facilitate digestion – something that can continue to help reduce your symptoms.
Finally, try a massage to induce a bowel movement
Peristalsis is a wavy contraction and relaxation of your digestive muscles and pathway that moves the contents of your stomach through your body and out when you are injured. Hence the phrase “bowel emptying”. Because this is unintentional, you do not need to think about it. However, Dr. Trattner recommends a gentle massage to possibly support the natural peristalsis of your digestive system, which can help you do your poop. Studies show that this muscle movement can reduce indigestion and heartburn by keeping your system moving.
Dr. Trattner recommends that you start by lying on your back with a pillow that supports your head. Next, raise your knees, but keep your feet flat on a bed or sofa. Start massaging your lower left abdomen and use your hands and fingertips as if moving gently from top to bottom left. Then gently massage in a diagonal line on your abdomen below your navel. This is the path that your stool goes through in your body.
“Be polite, do not push and apply pressure as if you were working with clay. There are times when you may feel battered stools or the sound of your colon,” says Dr. Trattner. “Another good way to deal with heartburn is to lie on your right side, preferably after your massage. Your stomach empties on the right side of your body and will help with gastric emptying and emptying.”
These experts emphasize that it is important to move slowly and gently when trying a heartburn massage. The most important part of this is probably your breathing, says Ried.
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