GERD and meditation

Are there any GERD “sufferers” out there, who find that their meditation practice, particularly one undertaken in the evening, can cause reflux symptoms to appear? As the breath becomes more subtle, to the point of disappearing, the swallow reflex (saliva production?) also seems to abate. I often conclude practice with a mouth full of unswallowed saliva, a sore throat and heartburn - none of which I was conscious of whilst meditating.
I have tried to avoid prescribed medication for this condition, but other than stopping evening sitting, does anyone have any suggestions, or experiences to share? I don’t eat in the evening at all. Thank-you.


My mom has had GERD for a long time, actually developed Barrett’s Esophagus which increases the risk for a certain cancer. She tried a lot of treatments including medications, but what ended up being most effective (for her) was a dietary approach. The book that introduced her to the idea is called “Dropping Acid”. Just be warned, it’s a very restrictive diet, but has worked wonders in my mother’s case.


My guess is the reason is similar to why we fart when we meditate. Relaxed sphincters. In this case the one in your esophagus.

I don’t get much reflux but do have the saliva problem. I find that drinking a decent amount of water before I sit helps. When I do get reflux eating ginger settles it very quickly.


I always thought I’d drop acid as a teenager one day, when conditions were right - most sensibly :slight_smile:
And now they are! Thank-you kindly for the recommendation SCMatt, and I’m glad to hear your Mum has found some respite. I shall follow it up.


I never took on the obsession with “adequate” hydration, and carrying around plastic bottles of water everywhere. But I will try your suggestions, Pasanna. My throat is pretty sore at the moment, so maybe I’ll mash-up the ginger in the water. Thank-you :slight_smile:

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You could try making ginger tea. Just chop some ginger up and boil it in water for a while. I don’t find it quite as effective for my tummy, but it is good for a sore throat.
I hope it helps


Try putting the tongue on the roof of the mouth. Curl it up until the tip or top of the tongue slips just behind the hard palate to the soft palate, and right at that boundary ridge the tongue can sort of hang there, taking the same effort it takes to hold the jaw closed. This helps a lot.

(Someone is going to mention this in relation to subtle energy or prana or qi or some damn thing, though. Ugh.)

Then of course, just like breathing, just swallow as needed. Swallow long, swallow short, whatever. Why not?

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Thanks Dave, for your suggestion. More grist to the mill of practice, or maybe bolus to the epiglottis :wink:

Becoming more and more conscious of the meat machine can be pretty scary, but it can also give rise to a state of wonderment and awe - which (over time!), may come with less and less investment.

Disgust? Not so much. I am female, a carer, have given birth to two children, and worked as a Kindergarten teacher. Meh. :slight_smile:

Thanks everyone.

I have GERD (a version called laryngo-pharyngeal reflux which is specifically difficult sometimes). I’m also a physician’s assistant and have investigated tons of options and tried many things. The only thing that has seriously worked is medication-- omeprazole. Works in 80% of patients with GERD and has the least side effects or problems. Ginger tea, moderations in diet etc can help but it never went away for me substantially. You can get lots of problems from GERD like Barrets esophagus as mentioned, dental problems, etc. For meditation it can be disruptive I totally agree. There are some cases you can help with diet modifications but some just can’t avoid medications to treat it. Because of the cancer risks, if you have a significant case, its probably best to pursue that.


Thank-you, dharmacorps.

I was prescribed omeprazole, many years ago, but I tend to be a non-compliant patient :slight_smile: I have always had trouble swallowing tablets. Recently, I was diagnosed with esophageal dysmotility, just to complicate things. I have tried a semi-dispersible lansoprazole (I know there has to be delayed release with these drugs), but again, did not persist with it, as it caused an aggravated sore throat. This is why I’m keen to try the diet/lifestyle route to better digestive health, basically. I appreciate that I may have to go back to the PPI option though.

They are making some smaller omeprazole pills these days if you have trouble swallowing bigger ones. The esophageal dysmotility does complicate things :frowning: sorry meme. As I’ve got older I have gotten to be a better pill swallower I think by necessity! :slight_smile: a useful skill in aging!


Would you care to write 1-2 lines what the diet includes and excludes?

Back in the 90s I had torn cartilage in my knee I couldn’t get fixed due to lack of insurance.

I read a book about Ginger, written by educated herbalist who took the reader through the book study by study.

Ginger is a very effective antinflammatory. The active ingredients in ginger survive all forms of processing. The cheap $1 powdered gingers is as effective as the fresh organic root raised in the Himalayas, blessed by the local priests, and shipped to you by Whole Foods in a refrigerated truck surrounded by magic spells.

Anyway…one of the easiest ways to get the benefit of ginger is to just put a tablespoon of ginger into a tall glass of water and drink it very fast. Give it about 15 min to notice any differences.


I found a short review of the book SCMatt mentioning helping his mother with her GERD.

Basically, you try to avoid food with a pH below 5

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I hope the community don’t mind my posting this here. I found it very moving - and I’ve always liked Jundo.
May he be well, and may he be free from suffering.