Q: Can you exercise with a hiatal hernia? A: Yes, once I learned how to belly breathe during exercise, I was able to run, Zumba, walk, do yoga, and lift weights symptom free.
Q: How long did it take to heal? A: Since each individual has different circumstances, ie, diet, size of hernia, weight, consistency in practicing the exercises etc., healing times will vary. For me, learning to effectively pull my stomach down took about 3 weeks. My diaphragm strengthened over a period of about 1 month once I started doing the diaphragm exercises correctly. My hernia was about 2.5 cm.
Q: How long will I have to continue doing the exercises? A: I plan to continue my breathing practice for life (exercise 8-9 plus relaxed meditative breathing for about 5 minutes a day). It will maintain the strength of my diaphragm, plus it is beneficial for upregulating the para sympathetic nervous system, which is when the body is better able to digest and repair.
Q: How will I know if it’s working? A: Once I effectively moved my stomach out of the herniated position, I knew it was working because I began getting instant relief when the stomach was down and out of the hiatus. I was consistent and gentle with my practice and kept coming back to it in the beginning even though I wasn't getting much movement at first.
Q: What if my hernia is large? A: Be patient, be consistent. Do the exercises on an almost empty stomach. Really relax the belly. Adopt a plant based diet to promote general healing, especially within the gastric system. Surgery may be your only option, but it won’t hurt to try natural methods. There is only one way to know if you can pull your stomach down and that is to try it. Find a doctor that will support your goal of healing naturally. There are supplements you could try with the help of a qualified naturopath or integrative specialist that would support healthy acid production, healthy LES function, and digestive healing.
Q: Is there any way to reduce intra-abdominal pressure besides decreasing inflammation with diet? A: YES! Relax that belly and practice belly breathing daily. Also, stop wearing tight clothing around your middle, avoid heavy lifting, and eat more fruit! If your hernia is a result of a lifetime of being constipated and you avoid addressing that issue, you will continue to push the stomach up into the herniated position every time you strain.
Q: I have determined that I have low stomach acid but I also have an ulcer. Should I take HCL acid supplements? A: No. If you have an ulcer that means the protective lining of the stomach is injured. Additional acid would make it worse. Seek professional help from a medical doctor who has a track record of helping people heal ulcers, and balance low stomach acid.
Q: Hiatal hernias run strong in my family. Is there any hope for me if it’s genetic? A: Yes. Remember that genetics load the gun, but lifestyle pulls the trigger. Don’t let genetics stop you from trying to heal your hernia. They run strong in my family too!
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