The hiatal hernia results from the upward displacement of the stomach and the resultant kinking of the esophagus. This often results in heartburn, acid reflux or the newly coined GERD (Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease). 50% of the American population over 50 have this condition in varying degrees.
Resulting symptoms include belching, hiccups, nausea, bloating, shortness of breath, difficulty swallowing capsules — or foods, chest pains, irregular or rapid heart beat – all made worse or precipitated by bending over or lying down. So one must ask: Why does the stomach decide to climb through the diaphragm and move toward the throat?
The answer is: It doesn’t go willingly. It is pushed up there by a digestive tract full of gas. These gases fill up the intestines like a balloon pushing the stomach up into, and sometimes through the diaphragm (which is a muscle that divides the digestion organs from the heart and lungs). This in turn causes the esophageal tube to bend or kink making swallowing difficult and putting pressure on organs above the diaphragm like the thyroid, heart and lungs.
If the lack of nutrients in the body allows for weak connective and muscular tissue, the diaphragm opening will weaken permitting more of the stomach through the opening. The diaphragm will create a pinching force on the muscles of the stomach causing a lower blood flow and consequent cramping of the upper stomach muscle – just like any muscle cramp in your leg or arm, etc.
This displacement also puts pressure on the main artery and vein to the lower part of the body creating poor circulation, increased blood pressure and stress on the heart. This produces pain and all the symptoms listed above. So that is the ‘why’. Now how does one fix it?
How to Mechanically Help a Hiatal Hernia
First it may be advisable to do the Ileocecal Valve Massage for about a week prior to pulling down the stomach. Also it will be more effective if there is no problem with constipation, which obviously will continually act to inhibit the exit of gas producing material. If constipation is a problem, you should get that resolved before beginning.
Hiatal Hernia Massage
This technique should be done on an empty stomach.
- First thing in the morning is best, but doing this before each meal will bring quicker results. After massaging the ileocecal valve and colon area first (see above), palpate the stomach area below the sternum or breastbone to find the hardened and/or tender areas.
- Now gently try to relax them using a gentle circular massage. Again it is sometimes like feeling for a golf ball through a pillow. Now take a deep breath and exhale slowly. While exhaling and relaxing the abdomen apply a firm inward and downward (toward the feet) pressure with overlapped thumbs from the base of the sternum down toward the navel.
- You should move about 2 inches down as you exhale. Hold for thirty seconds. Repeat this 3 times.
- The whole technique should be repeated daily for at least one month, doing it before each meal. This can be done through the clothing.
You’ll begin to notice a positive difference not only in the amount of tenderness in the abdomen area but in the over all quality of your life and health. Those who experience a stiff neck will find their neck has greater freedom of movement without pain.
Often it is easier to get someone to do this massage for you. They will be using the pads of their fingers to do the pulling – they also may need to cut and file their fingernails. If you are uncertain that either you or your helper is doing the technique correctly, you can just massage the abdomen. That is, find and massage any tender spots in the abdominal area.