Yoga helps to improve physical and mental health and well-being. While it is unlikely to treat acid reflux directly, it may impact other factors that can contribute to the condition.
Someone who experiences a rising, burning sensation just behind the breastbone in their chest and throat may have acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux (GER). It is
Many people may try complementary and alternative therapies — such as yoga — if nonprescription and prescription medications do not help reduce their reflux-related symptoms.
Read on to learn more about how yoga can help with symptoms, yoga poses to try, and safety considerations.
According to the
- cardiovascular disease
- chronic respiratory disease
There is very limited research specifically exploring the relationship between acid reflux and yoga.
For instance, most studies focusing on yoga and acid reflux are typically case studies focusing on one individual. Due to the lack of control groups in these studies, they can only provide preliminary findings. These are not applicable to a larger population.
While this preliminary research indicates that yoga may help with acid reflux, it does not prove cause and effect.
Preliminary research suggests that yoga may help acid reflux in the following ways:
Improve anti-reflux barrier function
The lower esophageal sphincter (LES) is a band of muscle fibers between the esophagus and stomach.
It is a valve that opens to allow food into the stomach and closes to prevent the contents from flowing back up. Acid reflux
Research indicates that breathing exercises may significantly improve the pressure the LES generates, relieving acid reflux-related symptoms. The mechanism behind this could be breathing exercises enhancing the anti-regurgitation barrier, particularly the skeletal muscles that support the functioning of the LES.
Strengthen the diaphragm
An older 2013 article published in the
Kapalbhati is a rapid breathing exercise of pranayama, and Agnisar Kriya
According to research, both forms of yoga
Stress may contribute to many conditions, including acid reflux.
In a 2015 study on people with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), 45.6% of them experienced “feelings of continued stress.” Some data show that stress
According to the
Alleviate anxiety and depression
2015 research indicates that anxiety and depression may play a role in acid reflux for some people. Additionally,
Maintain a moderate weight
Practicing yoga may help a person with this in various ways.
For example, a 2016 study found that people following a yoga program were more mindful about what they ate and more in tune with their hunger and fullness cues. These factors help people decrease their food intake and increase their awareness of overeating.
Yoga may also increase muscle tone and improve metabolism, which helps to support weight loss.
Yoga practitioners may recommend the following yoga practices for digestive disorders:
- Vibhaga pranayama (yogic deep breathing)
- Madhya pranayama (chest breathing)
- Adham pranayama (abdominal breathing)
- Nadi Shuddhi (alternate nostril breathing)
- Vatasara (air swallowing)
- Vatasara with holding
- Laghu Shankha Prakshalana (short intestinal wash)
- Kapalabhati (frontal brain cleansing)
- Agnisara (activating the digestive fire)
- Suryanamaskar (sun salutation)
- Shitali (cooling breath)
- Shitkari (hissing breath)
- Shavasana (Corpse Pose)
- om chanting
Yoga is generally a safe form of physical activity when performed under the guidance of a qualified practitioner. However, as with all forms of physical activity, it has an inherent injury risk. Severe injuries are rare.
There is limited research exploring the relationship between acid reflux and yoga.
Some small preliminary studies have investigated whether yoga improves acid reflux and noted promising findings.
Yoga may help acid reflux by improving the anti-reflux barrier function, strengthening the diaphragm, and reducing stress. It can also help a person maintain a moderate weight.