Self-Help Corrections for a Hiatal Hernia

This article is the final part of Hiatal Hernia: Hidden Cause of Chronic Illness

Start by checking your breathing. Accessing your pattern of breathing is the first step in correcting a hiatal hernia. Put your hand on your abdomen as you breathe. If your abdomen moves in and out more than your chest, you are probably handling your stress well, or at least, you aren't letting stress control you. You probably don't have a hiatal hernia, either.

If you are breathing from the top of your lungs, just sit back and relax to allow your breathing apparatus to revert to normal abdominal breathing. If it doesn't, then you need to relax the diaphragm and help your stomach move downward. To do this, take lobelia essence or blue vervain in liquid form. Then, practice breathing from the abdomen again. You can also practice abdominal breathing while relaxing in a bath with lavender oil. It is also helpful to massage your abdomen, especially in the area under the rib cage while concentrating on breathing deeply.

When you are practicing breathing deeply, practice exhaling completely. Force as much air out of your lungs as you possibly can before inhaling again. This both exercises and relaxes the diaphragm and will help bring down the stomach.

Find healthy ways to vent your repressed anger and frustration. This releases tension from the diaphragm and will help defuse much of the tension maintaining the hiatal hernia problem. For example, try taking a long, slow deep breath and feel the tension build up in your diaphragm (like you are starting to get angry). Make your hands into fists and raise them up in front of you as if you want to punch somebody. Exhale forcefully with an angry “huh!” sound while shaking your fists downward like you are hitting something. Do this several times, safely discharging your inner tension and frustrations.

You can also throw a mini-temper tantrum. Again breathe in deeply, clench your fists like you are angry and then as you exhale, yell, scream or just use a sound like "arrr" while shaking your fists and stomping your feet like a little child throwing a tantrum. This may sound really stupid, and may be very hard for you to do, but I've seen the stomach come down and the diaphragm noticeably relax after someone has done this.

Other methods of dealing with stress include changing your environment, finding new ways to resolve problems and communicating your thoughts and feelings honestly with others.

It is also possible to bring down a hiatal hernia using manual manipulation. Find a chiropractor a massage therapist who knows how to manually manipulate a hiatal hernia. You can also massage your own abdomen daily for about 5-15 minutes paying special attention to massaging the area under your ribs.

As an alternative, the following technique can be used as a self-help form of manual manipulation.

Drink a pint of warm water first thing in the morning. Next, stand on your toes and drop suddenly to your heels several times. The force of this little jump and the weight of the water help pull the stomach down in place while the warm temperature of the water relaxes the stomach area. Taking a dropper full of lobelia essence with the water will relax the stomach and make the treatment more effective.

If you're adventurous, jump off a chair or down a short flight of stairs to get the same effect. The idea behind this technique is to get your stomach to “drop” as if you were in an elevator that suddenly started going down. I

f this doesn't solve the problem, place both hands under your breastbone in the center of your rib cage. Take a deep breath and press your fingers firmly into the solar plexus area (just under the breastbone). As you forcefully exhale, push your fingers downward and bend forward slightly. Be careful not to push your fingers up under the rib cage. Repeat this action several times. Do this before meals on an empty stomach.

It is usually important to work on the ileocecal value when correcting the hiatal hernia. This valve is located on the right side of the abdomen midway between the belly button and the right hip bone. Just start massaging in that area and if there is any pain or discomfort in that region gently massage the area while breathing deeply until the pain goes away. Do this at least once a day.

Finally, although nutritional supplements won't correct a hiatal hernia, they will help it heal as you mechanically get the stomach to move downward. Supplements can also help the ileocecal value, which will help the hiatal hernia to heal, too. The companies that make these supplements are listed in parenthesis after the supplement(s).

Red raspberry is a very good herb for toning abdominal muscles and is useful to take in capsules or teas when correcting a hiatal hernia. Trace mineral supplements such as Colloidal Minerals, Mineral Chi Tonic or HSN-W (NSP) will also be helpful in promoting healing from a hiatal hernia. To correct the ileocecal value problem and improve the hiatal hernia problem at the same time I have found two formulas to be helpful. One is Intestinal Soothe and Build and the other is Spleen Activator. Slippery elm is also useful here.

People who suffer from a hiatal hernia also benefit from taking digestive enzymes. My favorites are Proactazyme (NSP), Digestazon Plus (Amazon) and Absorb-Aid (a health food store brand).

To treat hiatal hernia syndrome that is accompanied by heartburn, use slippery elm powder mixed with a little juice or water or whole leaf aloe vera juice. If you continue to get acid in your throat, sleep with your head and chest slightly elevated. Elevate your pillow to raise your head and chest.

I find flower essence to be very helpful in correcting the underlying emotional issues that contribute to a hiatal hernia. Dandelion flower essence in particular is very helpful, which is interesting to me as Jack Ritchason taught me that dandelion was a very good herb for people with a hiatal hernia. Dandelion flower essence is for people who are two "uptight." They over form and over plan their lives and don't know how to relax and "go with the flow." I've seen dandelion flower essence alone noticeably relax the diaphragm after just one dose.

Chamomile and St. John's wort are two other herbs that regulate the solar plexus and both can be helpful as flower essences for correcting a hiatal hernia. Chamomile is helpful for promoting a more relaxed, even and "sunny" disposition while St. John's wort helps people get in touch with their "gut instincts." Both are helpful as herbs, too.

Finally, I might mention that people with the thyroid-type body build (tall and thin) usually have the most problems with a hiatal hernia. They also tend to have adrenal weakness and the two problems (adrenal weakness and a hiatal hernia) seem to go hand in hand. Building the adrenals helps one manage stress better, so I also recommend that people with a hiatal hernia work on building up their adrenal glands, too. Adrenal Support and Nervous Fatigue Formula (NSP) are the two supplements I use most often for this purpose. However, licorice root and adaptagenic herbs like Eleuthero root are also helpful.

I have also posted video demonstrations on how to work on a hiatal hernia on yourself and others. Be sure to watch these videos. Since writing this article, I have also learned that SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) is also a factor in this problem. So I recommend reading that article, too. We also have a longer webinar we did on Assessing and Correcting SIBO and Leaky Gut, which you can purchase in our store.