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Hiatal Hernia: Hidden Cause of Chronic Illness

When people are new to natural healing, they can often feel overwhelmed by the various supplements and modalities that are available. Often, they just don't know where to begin—especially when there are so many different companies and healers telling you to “buy our products!”

Although I do sell herbs and nutritional supplements, there are many things that are important to improving health that don't involve swallowing something. In fact, there is one key to helping people improve their health that has solved more health problems than anything else I've ever learned. It has helped me resolve cases where people had been to numerous doctors and healers but had made no progress. It is an underlying problem in all chronic illness. This problem is tension in the solar plexus and/or a hiatal hernia.

My own health improved dramatically when Jack Ritchason taught me about the hiatal hernia (also called a hiatus hernia), and pulled mine down. At the same time, I learned about the ileocecal valve and how to fix that, too. Learning to fix these problems was the single biggest key to improving my health and has been a big key in improving the health of others, too.

Before I learned how to fix this problem, I had to be extremely careful about what I ate and I had to take a lot of herbs and supplements to stay healthy. I also had to do a lot of cleansing. Even then, my health was not as good as I would have liked it to be.

Once my hiatal hernia was fixed and my ileocecal valve was closed, I found that I could eat a wider variety of foods without suffering a negative impact to my health. I also had to take less than half as many herbs and supplements to get the same results. When this was corrected, I had more energy, gained muscle mass and felt better overall.

Jack taught me that all chronically ill people have a hiatal hernia. I'm not sure that this is the case, but I do know that nearly all chronically ill people have tension at the solar plexus that is interfering with digestion and breathing. Whether this condition would be considered a full-blown hiatal hernia by the medical profession or not, I don't know.

What is a Hiatal Hernia?

Hiatalhernia.gifThe esophagus passes through an opening in the diaphragm muscle called the hiatus. The esophagus ends where it connects to the stomach. The stomach lies in the abdominal cavity below the diaphragm. What a person has a hiatal hernia, a portion of the stomach protrudes up into the chest cavity through the opening for the esophagus (as pictured below).

The diaphragm muscle is supposed to contract downward into the abdominal cavity to expand the chest area when we inhale. As the diaphragm relaxes upward, we exhale. This is why a baby's tummy rises and falls when they are breathing. The movement of the diaphragm causes the abdomen to expand outward when we inhale and relax inward as we exhale.

When the stomach is in the way of the diaphragm, it can't move like it is supposed to, so the person can't take a deep abdominal breath. In order for the person with a hiatal hernia to take a deep breath, they must lift their chest and shoulders.

This is what I do to determine if a person has a hiatal hernia. First, I ask them to take a deep breath. If they breathe upwards into their chest, I show them how to breathe abdominally and ask them to try it.  A person who has a hiatal hernia cannot take an abdominal breath—even when I try to coach them how to do it.

Chronically ill people are almost universally chest breathers. Occasionally, with a little coaching they can take a little bit of an abdominal breath, but even then it is strained, suggesting that they may have a partial hiatal hernia. Some chest breathers seem able to be taught how to breathe abdominally and can do it with coaching. This suggests they don't have a hiatal hernia, but they still have tension in the solar plexus, which is inhibiting breathing. I believe this tension is adversely affecting digestion, too, even though the problem is not actually a hiatal hernia.

Check yourself, right now. Place one hand on your abdomen and one hand on your chest. Take a deep breath. Your chest should move only slightly, but your abdomen should expand outward noticeably when you inhale. If your chest expands outward and your stomach pulls inward when you take a deep breath, you probably have a hiatal hernia or at least tension in the solar plexus.

Medical literature suggests that 1-20% of the population have a hiatal hernia, but about 95% of the people I see have problems breathing deeply from their diaphragm. While this doesn't mean they have a medically-diagnosable hiatal hernia, it does suggest they have problems with both breathing and digestion that are contributing to their health problems.

Problems Caused by a Hiatal Hernia

The first problem a hiatal hernia creates is shallow breathing. Shallow breathing increases acidity in the body because breathing is the first line of pH buffering. Shallow breathing also increases pain, since pain is usually a sign of lack of oxygen to the tissues. Shallow breathing reduces energy levels, because the cells need oxygen to create energy. A low oxygen environment is ideal for the growth of bacteria, parasites and cancer cells. In short, lack of oxygen is one of the primary causes of chronic illness—a cause that is overlooked by most people who are selling nutritional supplements or teaching people about nutrition or health.

That's bad enough, but the problem doesn't stop there. Besides causing shallow breathing, the hiatal hernia also inhibits digestion. It causes stress on the nerves to the stomach, which reduces secretion of acid and enzymes. As a result, proteins are not properly digested and minerals are not properly absorbed. This is why people with severe hiatal hernias lack muscle tone and are often very sickly. Many young people with this problem are excessively thin, while older people tend to be overweight with poor muscle tone.

Depending on how far up into the diaphragm a person's stomach protrudes, a hiatal hernia may or may not cause problems with acid reflux. If the stomach is in certain positions, the sphincter at the top of the stomach will not close properly to hold acid in the stomach. In my experience, people with chronic acid reflux always have a hiatal hernia. However, the reverse is not true—not everyone with a hiatal hernia experiences acid reflux.

The ironic thing is that people with hiatal hernias don't produce enough hydrochloric acid to properly digest food, but because they are prone to acid indigestion, heartburn and acid reflux, they are frequently neutralizing what little acid they do produce with antacids and acid blockers. The result is a vicious downward spiral of declining digestive function and general health.

The Ileocecal Valve

ileocecal-valve.jpgThe problems we've discussed so far are directly caused by the hiatal hernia, but there are also numerous secondary problems caused by this condition. For instance, a hiatal hernia will often cause frequent gas and bloating. This is because improperly digested protein will accumulate in the intestinal tract and contribute to intestinal irritation and inflammation. Poorly digested food irritates the ileocecal valve (which separates the small intestine from the colon) causing it to become inflamed. When the ileocecal value is inflamed, it swells and the swelling prevents it from shutting properly. This allows bacteria from the colon migrate into the small intestines and feast on the sugars in the small intestine. This will cause severe gas and bloating. I've relieved many severe cases of bloating just by closing the ileocecal valve.

An open ileocecal valve is like having your septic tank or the sewer back up into your kitchen. Not a very pleasant thought is it? About 95% of all people with a hiatal hernia also have an open ileocecal valve, although occasionally you'll find one without the other. An open ileocecal valve weakens the entire body.

You can locate the ileocecal valve by drawing an imaginary line from your belly button to the protrusion of bone on the front of your right hip. The ileocecal valve is located just under the halfway point along this line. Find this point right now and press inward. If you feel pain when you press on this spot, you probably have an open ileocecal valve. You can close it by massaging this area using small circular movements while breathing deeply. When the pain goes away, the valve is closed. You'll probably need to do this at least once a day for a few weeks to keep it closed.

Other Problems Related to a Hiatal Hernia

If the hiatal hernia protrudes upward far enough, it puts pressure on the bottom of the heart. Occasionally, I have seen people with a rapid or irregular heartbeat which cleared up when their hiatal hernia was fixed. Also, Jack Ritchason taught me that a large percentage of heart attacks (about 50%) are triggered by intestinal gas and bloating putting pressure on the heart via a hiatal hernia. So, add cardiac problems to the list of potential problems from a hiatal hernia.

Since the esophagus has to be shortened because the stomach is protruding upward, this can cause a slight “kink” in the esophagus. This often happens in the throat area, which can cause the sensation of a “lump” in the throat. It can also cause difficulty in swallowing food or capsules. If this “kink” in the esophagus occurs near the thyroid, it can irritate the thyroid. In younger people, this can cause the rapid metabolism that makes them very thin. In older people, it can cause low thyroid and excess weight.

The shallow breathing and lack of hydrochloric acid (HCl) production can cause an over acid pH in the body, which makes a person more susceptible to infection. Lack of HCl also makes one more prone to infection because HCl kills infectious organisms in the stomach so they can't reach the small intestines. Lack of HCl also makes one more prone to fungal infections.

Improper digestion of proteins and lack of proper mineral absorption have more subtle and far-reaching effects. For starters, a hiatal hernia weakens the immune system and makes one more prone to infectious diseases, autoimmune conditions and cancer. It also weakens the structural system, causing more problems with arthritis, back pain, osteoporosis and other structural problems. Improperly digested proteins also contribute to chronic respiratory problems such as chronic sinus congestion, allergies and asthma. The glandular system is also weakened.

In muscle testing some clients, I've found that nearly every system of the body tested weak. Just by working on the hiatal hernia, I've had most of these systems test strong again. Clearly, the hiatal hernia weakens the whole body, so I think instead of saying, “death begins in the colon,” we should say, “death begins in the stomach.”

This article has three pages. Continue reading with "Correcting a Hiatal Hernia"

Comments (45)

Said this on 8/25/2010 At 02:52 pm

This is really good information. For the past 3 years, I've been suffering from GERD and was not sure what was causing the issue. Up until 3 months ago, I started experiencing shortness of breath and sharp pain in my abdomen. My doc gave me medicines for the ulcers and prescribed PPI's for the acid reflux. The PPIs just mask the problem of gastrci reflux. Today, on my search through the Internet, I found your youtube link and therefore your website. It makes a lot of sense now. I have not checked the whole website, but are there any exercises to reduce/eliminate this condition?

Said this on 12/8/2013 At 05:12 pm

Me too I am so glad to have found the link about curing acid reflux and the idea that I might have a Hiatal Hernia, which I am convinced I do. As a result of a 50 lb weight gain over the course of a few years my stomach has been squeezed up high and so I have done the I'm angry harumph exercise and also massaged the area under my ribs and chestplate moving the stomach down. I'd like to find a masseuse or a chiropractor who can help me with this. Meanwhile it is greatly improved in very short time. I feel so lucky to have found the articles addressing this. I don't feel as ill and have much hope for full recovery and weight loss not anymore gaine.

Said this on 1/11/2014 At 08:51 am

It said the handout to fix it was on the facing page. I can't find it.  I have suffered with this for 5 years and would like to try the technique of pushing the stomach back where it belongs

Said this on 8/25/2010 At 08:01 pm

Thanks for a very good lesson on the problems that hiatal hernias can cause and how to fix them.  I would like to add a couple of things that I have found over the years about hiatal hernias:

1.  In some people, the hiatal hernia can allow sufficient acid reflux so that the base of the esophagus becomes irritated and very sensitive.  Not only can this lead to Barrett's Esophaugs, which is a dangeorus, often pre-cancerous condition, but it can also cause the irritated esophagus to go into spasm.  When it does, it can distort so much that it puts pressure on the vegus nerve.  This can cause many problems including cardiac insufficiency and arrhythmias.  Dangerous as that sounds, if the correction is applied as per your video lesson, the cardiac problems are almost always resolved very quickly.

2.  In most people certain food aggravate and even trigger the hiatal hernia to go "active" and to cause the organ dislocation that is so typical of it.  These include foods that irritate the base of the esophagus, such as sodas, beverages containing caffiene  and foods that one is subtly allergic to.  I often muscle test my clients to determine those foods that trigger the hiatal hernia so that they can learn to avoid them.

3.  Also, even though you pointed out the tall thin people seem to get the initial hiatal hernia more easily than people with more "noraml" statures and physiques, once the condition exists, gaiing weight seems to make it trigger more easily and also more difficult to correct.

Hope this additional info is helpful.

Steven Horne
Said this on 9/14/2010 At 03:49 pm

Thank you so much for those excellent points about this problem. I'm sure people will find this information very helpful.

Said this on 7/4/2011 At 02:37 am

I have suffered with a hiatal hernia for 5 years. Have tried many remedies. Prefer to not take the PPI b/c they make me feel dizzy.  I have been considering surgery but really hate to do this if I can cure it by other mean. I have problems sleeping at night sometimes if I exercise of have strenuous activity. Also I stress alot. I have tried  lots of remedies to varying degrees of success. However, when my diaphram gets tight I feel awful. Am going to try to lobelia and see if it helps. I found this information very helpful and am going to utilize the exercises and breathing techniques to see if it helps.  My biggest complaint has been the breathing problems. I believe I injured myself one day riding the lawnmower when I hit a huge hole and it jarred me. From then on my breathing has not been normal. I did have a period of 5 mths when it was much better but it came back and has been a moderate improvement at best.  I am not on any meds at the moment.  However, I have been treated like an asthmatic b/c they couldn't figure out what was the problem for many years. I have mild to moderate reflux but usually improves with diet. However, the breathing problem fluctuates to varying degrees.  I have been losing some weight and I notice that this helps. Any tips or information is always appreciated.


Said this on 12/25/2011 At 06:01 pm

This makes absolute sense to me from the symptoms I have [gastric reflux, hiatus hernia, shallow breathing, gastritis]   - even the pain in the ileocecal valve and improvement after closing it. I also had a slight heart murmur which may well have been caused by this condition. I am learning to manipulate the hiatus hernia - I wonder how many times a day  need to do it initially?

Steven Horne
Said this on 12/28/2011 At 11:50 am

Once or perhaps twice a day is enough.  Concentrate on breathing deeply from your abdomen throughout the day, however.

Said this on 12/26/2011 At 08:46 pm

This site is amazing, up front, and filled with information.  Thank you for creating it. I've learned things that no doctor ever takes the time to explain.

Said this on 3/20/2012 At 09:01 am

Thank you for an excellent and informative article!


Said this on 3/20/2012 At 12:01 pm

Hi Steven, thanks for the great article.  I wanted to ask what can be done for a HH if the manual manipulation doesn't help?  I've had this done many times and it never works on me, only causes great pain while it's being done.  Also, what is done to close the illeocecal valve like you talked about?  BTW, my HH affects my vagus nerve causing me horrible heart palps (my heart has been cleared as fine by a cardiologist), and adrenal fatigue. Thanks.

Steven Horne
Said this on 3/21/2012 At 10:37 am
If there are adhesions the manual manipulation won't work. It will probably require surgery.
Said this on 4/9/2012 At 09:17 am

Steven, I've had a hiatal hernia and gerd since youth(now 50). Recently I've had an episode that was first thoughtto be heart related, but now is diagnosed as likely hiatal hernia related. Endoscopy has confirmed. I've had low level chronic illness most of my life, and want to get this fixed. In your experience, does surgery benefits outweigh risks? How often do you need to re-adjust your hernia, or did the initial fix by Jack Ritchason sustain? Do you know of anyone in the SF area competent in adjustment?

Thank you

Said this on 4/23/2012 At 07:52 pm

hi .. i had my hiatal hernia fixed about almost 10 yrs ago and a couple yr back it reopened..the dr said he couldnt fix the fix.. and that i needed to lose weight which i did.. not enuff but i did lose  it.. well  lately im really having a hard time breathing and taking deep breaths.. i do smoke but it came on so quickly then i remebered that my hiatal hernia is back and even tho im on meds..maybe this was causing my problems..what do you do when it is so bad you cant breath good but they say that cant fix it cause the way he fixed it in the first place.. if anyone can gove me any insight on this i would appreciate it..

Said this on 11/11/2012 At 01:01 am

Hi Steven,  hope you can help with this issue.  I've had silent reflux for the past 4 years now (no heartburn, just a throat tickle and coughing and sometimes burning only in my throat) but that happens mainly when I don't watch what I eat.  I had an endoscopy done about 2 months ago and the dr. said that there is no esophageal damage and that i have a small hiatal hernia.  I started doing your massage technique about 4 days ago and since then I have been burping a lot and have heartburn which I never had before.  Does this happen at the beginning of the treatment and then subsides?  If I stop will these symptoms go away or have i done irreversible damage to my esophagus.  Please help!

Steven Horne
Said this on 11/15/2012 At 02:18 pm

What you're describing doesn't happen often, but I have seen it happen. Make sure you drink plenty of water (one to two glasses 1/2 hour before meals).  Try taking some digestive enzymes to help you break down food better.  Also make sure you also work on the ileocecal valve (this is demonstrated in the videos) as this eases the gas.  If the heartburn continues to be a problem, try taking a little baking soda in water once a day for a few days to alkalize your system. Beyond this, I'd need to do a consult to figure out what's happening.

Steven Horne
Said this on 1/23/2013 At 09:01 pm

What's your question?  

Said this on 1/24/2013 At 05:56 am

hi steven! my name is gabriel from trinidad and i have this acid reflux for more than two years now. i discovered you last friday the 18th 2013 and i saw you demonstrating a hiatal hernia with a russian woman and it looks interesting. with this condition, i experiencing all kind of symtoms like bloating, shortness of breath, difficulty of swallowing capsules, chronic fatigue, chronic yawning, chronic belching, chronic with extreme hunger like if i haven't eaten for weeks and during my sleepimg hours of the night, feel like a lump in my throat, panic attacks, anxiety, sometimes pain of my stomach, i can hear my stomach with lots and lots of bowels of gas, extemely weight loss like i'm 29 years with a height of 5'6'' and used to weigh 150lbs and now i'm weighing 110lbs.

other symtoms like cold hands and feet, muscle tension like back of my neck and my traps, upper back, tightness of my chest, jaw pains sometimes, sometimes i does get alot of problems of bringing up gas to my throat and i have to be dancing and walking, crouching, breathing exercising just bring out the gas and sometimes when that happens it does come right up to my throat and sticks their which is very frightfull etc; but i know i have a hiatal hernia and soon i'm going to do a ultra sound to see if its a hiatus hernia.

alot of stress since from childhood with family and people, over eating and drinking with meals, lying down after i eat, not eating on time, lack of greens, not taking a detox, lifting heavy stuffs after a heavy meal, eating very poor diet like spicy foods, can juices, eating indian curries, etc; all these contributed to my body.

i can't remember everything but please help me and i know its an acid condition. i have alot of knowledge of organic herbs health but i need your help.


thank you


Steven Horne
Said this on 3/5/2013 At 06:12 pm

Unfortunately, I don't know how to disable this feature on the website for you.  If I did, I'd be happy to.

Said this on 2/1/2013 At 02:41 pm

Hi Steven,

Thank you for providing this information.

Yes, I am one of the tall thin body types, and stress has been and is a major component in my life.  I was diagnosed with a rather large sliding esophageal hiatal hernia 4 years ago.  I have been experincing pain, pressure, and fatigue on exhertion and adrenal issues.  Slightly hypothyroid and my progesterone is off as well.  I'm working with a naturopath and she says we must heal the gut of bacterial and yeast overgrowth before addressing any adrenal issues though you seem to mention above that both can be treated simultaneously. Would that be correct?  I have brought this up with her a few times, that I think we should treat the energy issues, but she says if the gut isn't healthy then any adradal addressing we do will not work.

Can you please advise?

Thank you and regards.

Steven Horne
Said this on 3/5/2013 At 06:09 pm

I have recently learned about how the problem of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) can contribute to this problem. My friend Thomas Easley did a lot of research on it and we did a webinar together. Basically, the bacteria in the small intestines create gas, which causes belching, but also pushes upward on the stomach.  Going on a diet that avoids all simple sugars and starches, taking digestive bitters (like Swedish Bitters) prior to meals, drinking a lot of water between meals and taking remedies to reduce the bacteria (like goldenseal or enteric coated peppermint oil) can also be helpful.  I do think that you can work on the adrenal issue at the same time, however.

Said this on 2/5/2013 At 06:24 pm


This is article is so interesting as I have had two different visits regarding my hiatal hernia.

i would like to know if I can do the message on my hiatal hernia and does the hiatal hernia 

cause silent reflux? Is the HH the main culprit for reflux? Also how long should you massage 

the HH area? I believe I have silent reflux because of my throat symptoms, sometimes I feel 

heartburn and my HH acting up.

Any help would be so appreciated,


Steven Horne
Said this on 3/5/2013 At 06:04 pm

Yes, a hiatal hernia can contribute to acid reflux.  Since writing this article I've also learned that small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) can also contribute to acid reflux and is a contributing factor in a hiatal hernia.  I need to write an article about this, too.  If you burp a lot after eating, it's an indication you may have SIBO.  Taking a digestive bitters formula (like Swedish Bitters) before meals, avoiding simple sugars, grains and other sugary and starchy foods, drinking lots of water between meals and taking goldenseal and/or enteric coated peppermint oil can help with the SIBO.  We did a webinar on the topic and intend to make it available for sale on a CD later this year.  I hope this helps.

Said this on 2/10/2013 At 10:04 am

Hi Steven, Over a period of six months I began to have a burping fit that would last hours, maybe once a week... I noticed it was when I consumed alcohol. This last week I have had it constantly for about 5 days, but also with severe heartburn, where flatulence gives very mild relief. Searching the Internet, there are many sites that first recommend medication, I do not like to use medication as I believe in most cases masks the problem and create side effects worse than the initial problem. I have watched your video and and I'm reading through your sites.. I have tried apples, bananas, not eating before bedtime, nolonger drinking alcohol and seen some sites that offered hope, but required an initial payment to access the cures. nothing has relieved pain and discomfort. I tried massaging as in your video and I already feel Im on the right track as the severity decreased greatly.  Thankyou thankyou thankyou for offering hope and for sharing your knowledge before promoting medications.

Said this on 3/6/2013 At 05:20 pm

I have had a hiatal hernia since the early 80s and was for most of my life very thin.  Now that I am 60 years old, and have finally put on a little bit of weight, going from 143 lbs. to 165 lbs., symptoms are increasing, i.e. digestive and sinus troubles.  I've been to several gastroenterologists over the years who have put me on PPIs and H2 receptors and the side effects cause me worse problems, the worst of which is increased tinnitus which I've had since serving in the military.  My list of issues now include IBS-C, gastric reflux, belching, shallow breathing, gas, TMJ, sinus issues, eustachian tube dysfunction, allergies, and other things that I'm not as yet convinced are the result of the HH.  I'd like to have that manuever done that fixes the hiatal hernia but have not found a chiropractor in Tampa who knows how to do it.  I'm still looking.  Incidentally, herbs are impossible for me to digest, although I do take without problems digestive enzymes every day prior to every meal.  Also, I drink a fiber laxative, Citracel, almost every day.  Belching is one of my worst problems.  Surgeries have been suggested which I've chosen not to do.  

Said this on 3/18/2013 At 04:10 am

Dear Dr Horne I was diagnosed with a hiatal hernia in 2008. I was told people live with it so I didn't try to fix it until now. Over the years I've had a bloating sensation and what I feel as delayed stomach emptying. I tried this technique but the bloating sensation increased and now the bottom of my oesophagus feels painful whenever I swallow food. My stomach itself feels inflamed and solar plexus area is painful. Discomfort in my throat too. Did I pinch a nerve? Any suggestions? Many thanks!

Steven Horne
Said this on 3/22/2013 At 04:19 pm

My friend Thomas Easley did a webinar with me on gastritis, leaky gut syndrome and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).  It added a whole new dimension to my understanding of this topic.  I'm trying to get the shopping cart set up so people can purchase it.  (It's three hours of material.)  I really feel this will help many people for whom the mechanical technique isn't working.  I also need to write an article about it, but I just haven't had time.  I don't think you pinched a nerve, but you may be dealing with SIBO and will need to get that under control to get relief.

graham bryce
Said this on 3/24/2013 At 01:58 pm

just read about HH i am a competitive cyclist and been having severe central chest pains which become like an open wound feeling in the same area after approx 45 mins very gentle warmup for 5 months(am 44 yrs)

have had ecgs ,stress ecgs breathe tests all excellent results, meds for reflux ,asthama,angina very little difference, could this be HH related possibly pressing on something ,help really ruining my life physically and mentally

matt chambers
Said this on 12/13/2013 At 04:37 am
In response to Graham bryce i also cycle at three months ago suddenly had a bad reflux attack and since then unable to cycle over a heartrate of 120 with pain in the chest getting worse as heartrate picks up.Had barium meal and gastroscopy showing small hh .Starting with the breathing excercises and swimming to see if can get regular breathing back at higher heartrates.Am looking for solutions to this so any suggestions welcome.
Said this on 3/29/2013 At 09:51 am

This site and your videos have helped me realize what was going on with me. I realized I had all the symptoms of the hiatal hernia, and had that confirmed after an endoscopy. My esophagus was so constricted during the test they had to dilate my esophagus to let food reach my stomach. My symptoms started 4 months ago and in the last two months have gotten worse. I was already skinny and under weight, but now I am pretty sickly. Nothing feels good to eat because of the feeling in my throat, and my nose is constantly plugged. I have a sore throat feeling with weird white patches on one of my tonsils. I have started Nexium, but don't know if that's making me feel better or worse. Sounds like the best thing for me to do is start some herbal suppliments?

Said this on 4/22/2013 At 07:09 pm

Dear Steven,

I have been very ill for two months and finally today my allergist said they think I have vocal chord dysfunction from my acid reflux and my hiatal hernia. I also have allergies and asthma which have made the diagnosis hard to make. I am short of breath, difficulty breathing when lying down and trying to sleep. They are suggesting I see a speech pathologist to help me learn to use my vocal chords correctly. After reading all the comments here - I am wondering if that would be viable treatment? I am tired all the time, constantly hungry, gaining weight, unable to lose weight when I seriously try for weeks, and have constant sinus problems. Now my voice is involved - i lose it often, have difficulty talking because I can't get enough air and often have sore throats. Help. I'm 63 and life is not a pleasant experience right now because I am unable to do much of anything because of the breathing difficulties. I also cannot take antibiotics unless intraveneously and then get c-dif which I have had 3 times - once last year after being hospitalized with pneumonia.



Said this on 5/10/2013 At 06:51 pm

I just had an upper endoscopy performed today and my doctor confirmed that my esophogus shows no signs of damage from the acid reflux, but I do have a hiatel hernia.  My doctor put me on a strict low fat diet and OTC Zantac 150 mg twice a day.  The meds are for 30 days, and then he will taper me off of those.  Low fat diet is boring! :-)  In your articles I read about low protein, but nothing about fat.  How relavent is fat intake?  Thank you!

Said this on 5/20/2013 At 02:13 pm

Hi Dr. Horne,


I need your help!  I have had HH for 4 years now and my main complaint is difficulity breathing, which leads to extreme fatigue.  It also effects my heart and gives me constant burping.   I have done your massage techniques and i find that it does help with releaving the heart episodes.  I recently kind of stumbled into a technique that allows me to breath better but at the same time it gives me the sensation that im pushing or trapping all the gas down there.  So I get pressure in my back, seemingly my kidneys sometimes, liver and even my head.  Is this possible??  I feel like I rather deal with this then the breathing difficulties.  But should I still feel like this if the stomach is fully down?  Is my body getting use to fitting my stomach back into the cramped space?  How long should does it take for the diaphram to heal and the stomach to be down permanently if I keep doing these exercises?  Thanks

Steven Horne
Said this on 6/7/2013 At 01:45 pm

It sounds like you have a lot of gas in your small intestines.  Read the article we just posted on Small Intestinal Bacterial Ovegrowth.  It might give you some good ideas about what to do.

Said this on 6/8/2013 At 01:42 pm
I was curious if you ever considered changing the structure of your website?
Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the
way of content so people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text
for only having 1 or two pictures. Maybe you could space it
out better?
Said this on 7/31/2013 At 02:43 pm

Steven.  I am a 49 year old male. Your Hiatal Hernia segment describes me exactly.  I believe I have most likely had this issue since my teens however, it has only recently been discovered.  I believe it has gotten worse during these last three stress filled years.  I have recently discovered the vicious circle of Nexium and have weaned myself off of PPI drugs completely.   I am now miserable.  I have always been healthy as a horse but now feel i am hitting a brick wall with this issue.  I would like to have a personal consultation and hernia adjustment as well as a total health assessment.  


I live in Saint George and will be scheduling this in the very near future.

Thank you for this article. 

- Dave

Said this on 8/22/2013 At 06:37 am

Hello Steve,

Thanks for this wonderful information.  I was wondering if you can recommend any holistic doctors like yourself in the New Jersey area?  It is so hard to find a doctor who is willing to try a holistic approach to this problem thru supplements and manipulations.  You are a blessing to all of us who suffer from HH.  The pain is not only physical but emotional as well.  I never had so much as one episode of heartburn before I was told I had HH.  I have suffered for 3 years and have become very depressed.  Can you tell me if doing abdominal exercises is okay for this condition?  I thought perhaps strengthening my core may help as well as doing the massages you show.  Thanks for the information and for caring for all of us who suffer with HH.  Maureen

Alex man
Said this on 9/28/2013 At 07:49 am

Good day STeven i need some help ive been experiencing some breathing issues and ifeel like i cant draw my breath ive got some sort of nasal allergy and now they are treating me for asthma but its not normal i cant breath in like something its bot letti g me from my throat or my ribcage yesterdsy i had a reflux i felt it in my nose and throat it let me without breath and the abbility to swallow other symptoms i experience i feel tired all day i feel nausea and dizzi and my hands and legs are cold i feel fatigue and i feel like the chills and muscle spasms.could it be the gerd to cause asthma like simptoms and fatigue i eas diagnosed with hiatal hernia mediu its sliding they say

Said this on 12/4/2013 At 03:13 pm

Thank you Steven for this amazing article! I have HH too, and of the most delicate problem I'm facing is heart arrhytmia with different forms, such as extrasystoles, AFIB, atrial flutter. Vagus nerve seems to be involved as a trigger of these types of arrhytmia. Do you think that HH is a root cause of Roemheld syndrom (gastro-cardiac syndrom) and gas and bloating directly affects vagus nerve and thus trigger arrhythmias? 


Rose Fenton
Said this on 12/8/2013 At 02:15 pm

Dear Stephen Horne,  What I have read on your website has been helpful.  However, I am an elderly lady, with chronic illness and disabilities, so cannot exercise, spending much time confined to bed.

I have various problems, and the latest which has flared up is hiatus hernia.  My muscles generally are extremely weak and have much difficulty in eating altogether.   I always prefer, if possible, to go the natural route rather than drugs.   I am now getting a lot of belching, feeling sick, and coughing a lot, and can choke easily on a tablet, with much difficulty in swallowing.   Have been getting a lot of heartburn as well.   I have my bed raised which helps.     I seem to have restriction if I try to deep breathe.       I also have gall-stones with one stuck in the bile duct, but chose not to have surgery as there were risks, when I know that has been stuck there for some 50 years.  I take Milk Thistle and also lecithin to keep down the fats. Can you please suggest something which might relieve my symptoms?   I have taken slippery elm drinks, but after a week, find I am worse.   Thank you so much.  

Said this on 12/9/2013 At 03:36 am

Hi!  Thank you for a great site.

3 weeks ago I had a stomach flu, vomiting included.

The day after vomiting, I had trouble taking deep breath lying down, or even sitting reclined.

While getting better from stomach flu i became very gassy and swollen, for no reason. Still had problems with deep breaths.

Now, 3 weeks later my stomach is better. I still have a little more gas in my stomach than I usually have. And when i have to burp, it sometimes feel like its more difficult to get it out than usual.

AND, the problem that still is there.

I cant run or jog as it is right now. As soon as I start running, it feels like something pushes/pressure my lungs as my body bounces of the ground when running. 

So if i take a breath it sometimes feels like something is pushing on the lungs which makes me breath out.

I have no problem walking or going to the gym(except doing excercise lying down. like bench press. I cant get any air. it feels like someting on my chest).


Could this have something to do with diaphragm or Hiatal?


What Can i Do? I want to run my weekly 10km.

As it is now I cant run more then 10-20 meters.


Best regards

Ben Knippel
Said this on 12/11/2013 At 09:24 pm

Is there any exercises for the lower esophageal sphincter?  If so, how do you do them?   I have a sliding hiatial hernia. I keep it out the majority of the time.   I believe if I can get the LES under control it will help me control this reflux I have . I believe I have LPR (Silent Reflux) because of the symptoms .  I never get heartburn. Doc says I have reflux. Take PPI'S. Any information will be helpful

Said this on 12/14/2013 At 10:51 pm

Hey Steve,


Fantastic article!

I've been diagnosed with a hiatal hernia and have nasuea, anxiety, and constant brain fog.

I've gone to a chiro, but they say my stomach is so far up into my diaphgram that it's hard to work w/.


I've tried the drinking warm water + jumping down procedure...and I'm seeing some moderate relief.

Do you have any advice? Keep doing water jump? Do you think surgery is a viable and longterm option?



Said this on 12/14/2013 At 10:57 pm


Having a time with irregular heartbeats here....I had a ventral hernia that I discovered, had come from a hernia surgery last year that failed due to my dramatic weight loss ....but this hernia (at least it seems related) has been causing me a mess with the irregular heartbeats.  My wife and I tend to be very practical people, but we just see the relation of these two things coming about the same time and we do believe they are related.  

What or where is this youtube exercise I keep reading about that shows how to massage or stretch the HH?  

Thank you ventral hernia is now repaired over a week now...still having the irregular heartbeats but I do have some extensive swelling and pressure it seems in my stomach and abdomen area.


Said this on 4/24/2015 At 07:34 pm

I am having a very difficult time losing my breath with very little excertion, acid reflux, hiatal hernia and umbilical hernia, i have ibs and a few years ago had ischlemic colitus and spent 4 days in intensive care. I can't sing without coughing, have bloating in my stomach,pressure in the middle of my chest and gas all the time. All i want to do is sleep because i am tried all the time, i had an echocardio yesterday, had one 3 years ago but they told me that the tech couldn't get a good read on my test,so they never got any info till yesterday.Anyway right now from the middle of my chest to my belly button i am all bloated and hurts, but keep getting told they don't want to do surgery,i am about  50 pounds overweight but can't get enough breath to do much of anything, i have passed out a few times i will be seeing a surgeon on the 27th don't really want surgery, but would like a better quality of life. I think it is my hernias, but keep getting told if i lose weight it would help, if you can't breat it is hard to exercise, help.

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