Yoga for Heartburn and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Posted Jun 02 2009 4:40pm
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
The most common gastro-intestinal disorder is the Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS which affects about 30 percent of world population. This generally affects the large intestine and is characterized by cramping, bloating, gas, diarrhea and constipation. IBS is a functional disorder wherein the nerves and muscles in the large intestine (bowel) become extra-sensitive. This may either cause cramping and diarrhea during or shortly after meal, or cramping and when the bowel is stretched. Researches also show that women suffer more from IBS during their menstrual periods, creating a link between IBS and reproductive hormones.
Though IBS does not really cause any damage to internal organs, it causes great deal of suffering and anxiety. Stress is one of the factors that trigger IBS symptoms. Food, exercise, and hormones may also trigger IBS symptoms. Foods like milk products, chocolate, caffeine, carbonated drinks, alcohol, and food with high fat content can also trigger symptoms. Treatment for IBS includes diet changes, stress relief and medicine.
Heartburn or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
Another common Digestive Ailment is the Heartburn or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) which means acid indigestion. This occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) does not close properly and the stomach contents reflux or return into the esophagus. This may create a burning sensation in the chest or throat when the refluxed stomach acid touches the lining of the esophagus. The burning sensation is the one called Heartburn. Occasional Heartburn does not necessarily mean that one has GERD, but Heartburns that occurs more than twice a week may be considered as GERD and may lead to more serious health problems.
Anyone can have GERD, including children and infants. Heartburn and acid regurgitation are the most common symptoms of GERD, though some people may have GERD without the Heartburn. They experience pain in the chest, hoarseness in the morning or trouble swallowing instead. Bad breath and dry cough may also be a result of GERD. Factors that may contribute to GERD include alcohol use, Obesity, Pregnancy, and smoking. Some food like citrus fruits, chocolate, caffeinated drinks, fatty and fried foods, garlic, onions, mint flavorings, and spicy and tomato based foods may also contribute to GERD. Like IBS, GERD dealt with lifestyle change, change in diet and the use of antacids. Yoga, the combination of the Asanas or Yoga Postures and following the Yoga Lifestyle, is proven to be great help in coping with IBS and GERD. Yoga makes you feel relaxed, reduce anxiety and help you cope with stress. It also stabilizes digestion, reduces stress and Anxiety, and minimizes or completely eliminates Menstrual Cramps which usually aggravate IBS. Yoga also helps you gain control over you health and well-being, however, you should always bear in mind that Yoga is not the sole treatment for any ailment. Always seek your physician's advice before you begin any exercise. Here are some Yoga Poses that will help you deal with Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Heartburn:
This is one of the classic Meditative Poses and is usually performed after doing the Corpse Pose. The Easy Pose helps in straightening the spine, slowing down metabolism, promoting inner tranquility, and keeping your mind still.
The Cat Yoga Pose teaches you to initiate movement from your center and to coordinate your movement and breath. These are two of the most important themes in Yoga practice. Keep in mind that the Cat Pose may not be advisable if you have any chronic or recent back pain or injury.
The Dog Pose improves flexibility of your spine, stretches the hips and middle and low back, rejuvenates the body, and helps in preventing back problems. Take note that this Yoga Pose should not be performed if you have serious back pain or injury.
If done properly, the Half Spinal Twist lengthens and strengthens the spine. It is also beneficial for your liver, kidneys, as well as adrenal glands. Practice this Yoga Pose under the supervision of a Yoga instructor. In this section, learn how to perform the Half Spinal Twist.
The term Pavanamuktasana comes from the Sanskrit word 'pavana' which means air or wind and 'mukta' which means freedom or release. The Wind Relieving Pose works mainly on the digestive system. specifically, it helps in eliminating excess gas in the stomach.
The Corpse Yoga Pose is considered as a classic relaxation Yoga Pose and is practiced before or in between Asanas as well as a Final Relaxation. While it looks deceptively simple, it is actually difficult to perform. Learn more on how to do it with the help of this article.
The first step in Yoga practice is to learn how to relax your body and mind. In this section, know why relaxation is essential in practicing Yoga and learn how to do the Corpse Pose and other techniques for physical, mental, as well as spiritual relaxation.