Posts Tagged Stress Management

Try Tai Chi, Stay Reflux-Free

Try Tai Chi Before or After Reflux Surgery in DallasStress may be a fact of life, but it can be a pain for those who suffer from acid reflux. By making your esophagus more sensitive to acid backwash, stress can cause heartburn symptoms to worsen, sparking a cycle of acid reflux and anxiety that makes every day more difficult.

Though reflux surgery can provide a permanent solution to acid reflux, reducing stress before your procedure can be an asset in keeping symptoms under control. Even after reflux surgery, stress management techniques can help you quell anxieties and face each day with greater calm.

Progressive muscle relaxation is one useful activity, but fleshing out your stress management system with a variety of relaxing strategies will be even more beneficial. Tai chi is an ancient practice that can help you reduce stress with meditative movements and a focus on your breathing.

Meditation in Motion

Tai chi originated in ancient China and has since developed worldwide popularity largely due to its accessible nature. Tai chi is unlikely to spark acid reflux and is known as an activity that nearly anyone can do—it is often recommended for the elderly, patients recovering from surgery and even those confined to wheelchairs.

The movements of tai chi are slow and deliberate, flowing together without ever fully extending the joints or tensing the muscles. Focus is placed on breathing deeply, giving the practice a meditative and calming effect that can be powerful in reducing stress. As an added bonus, these gentle movements can help you build strength, balance and flexibility.

Getting Started with Tai Chi

Because tai chi is so low-impact, it is generally a safe choice both before and after reflux surgery. Still, it will be wise to speak with Dr. Ihde before trying tai chi to ensure that it is a healthy activity for you.

Once your GERD surgeon gives you the go-ahead, your first step should be taking a class. Though tai chi is highly accessible to beginners, its language and concepts can be intimidating to the uninitiated. A good instructor can help you get the basics down and answer any questions you have about the activity. You should also give tai chi a chance to prove its value—you may not notice any dramatic benefits until you’ve practiced the activity for several weeks, so give yourself some time to master it.

Has tai chi helped you control stress before or after reflux surgery? Tell us about your experiences with tai chi in the comments below!

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Quick Solutions for Stress-Related Reflux

Reduce stress before reflux surgery with these quick tipsThough exercise and techniques like progressive muscle relaxation can help you keep stress at bay long-term, you won’t always have time for them in the midst of a hectic day. When stress threatens to spark your GERD symptoms at work, you may need to find another way to ease your anxieties quickly without even standing up from your desk.

Fortunately, there are as many ways to control stress as there are stressors. Whether you’re working with your GERD surgeon to control acid reflux or are preparing for reflux surgery, there are many ways to find fast-acting relief from stress-related reflux.


The next time you’re feeling overwhelmed by anxiety, calm down in a jiffy by:

  • Imagining a more peaceful place. If your current surroundings are stressing you out, take a few moments to picture yourself doing something more tranquil. Envision yourself kicking back on the beach of a desert island, taking a stroll through your favorite park, living it up in your dream house or cuddled in a cozy blanket by a roaring fire. Think through your fantasy in as much detail as time will allow, giving your mind a chance to settle into the comfort of your visualization.
  • Listening to some mood music. Music can relax us like few other things, but only if it’s the right music—death metal is probably not going to help you calm down. Though the soothing power of classical music has been documented by research, listening to any slow, gentle song can help you control your heart rate and unwind.
  • Changing your attitude. A pessimistic attitude can make stress far worse. Instead of worrying incessantly about your situation, it will help to find the good in your circumstances. A positive outlook will make any situation easier to cope with, but it can also slow your heart rate and reduce the tension in your muscles. If you’re having trouble staying optimistic, think of anything that brings a smile to your face—focusing your attention on your spouse, your dog or a party you’re planning can be a big help in feeling less stressed.

Tips like these can help you reduce stress quickly, but they may not always be enough. Remember: if stress and acid reflux are consistently disrupting your days, it may be best to speak with your GERD surgeon about a permanent solution with reflux surgery.

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Muscle Relaxation for Acid Reflux Relief

Relax your muscles to relieve acid reflux and indigestion in Ft. WorthThough dietary triggers may be the most apparent causes of acid reflux, heartburn and indigestion in Ft. Worth and Dallas, they are not the only things that cause the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). When you feel stressed out or anxious, it can slow down your digestive system and lead to stress-related overeating, both of which can spark serious symptoms in GERD sufferers.

Because stress is a consistent and unavoidable part of our daily lives, stress management techniques are important for everyone, but become especially crucial when you regularly experience acid reflux. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to naturally and effectively reduce stress with nothing more than your own body. Progressive muscle relaxation is a simple skill, but can do wonders when it comes to keeping stress under control.

Anyone can master progressive muscle relaxation, so give it a shot the next time you’re feeling stressed out. Begin by finding a quiet, comfortable place to sit or lie down. You’ll need about 15 minutes to go through the entire process, which works by tensing and relaxing each of your body’s muscles in succession. The idea is to flex each muscle for about 20 seconds, then release it for about 30, focusing on the soothing sensation of that tension leaving your body.

Walk through your muscles in this order:

  • Forehead. Wrinkle it by raising your eyebrows.
  • Eyes. Keep them clenched shut tightly.
  • Nose. Wrinkle it by flaring your nostrils.
  • Tongue. Keep it pressed firmly against the roof of your mouth.
  • Jaw. Grit your teeth.
  • Neck. Bring your chin down towards your chest and hold it there.
  • Back. Arch it and hold.
  • Chest. Hold in a deep breath.
  • Stomach. Flex your abdominal muscles.
  • Arms. Flex your biceps.
  • Hands. Ball them tightly into fists.
  • Thighs and butt. Flex them both and hold.
  • Calves. Push down on the ground with your feet.
  • Feet. Turn your toes up.

Be sure not to rush through these steps—it’s important to take your time if you hope to get the most out of progressive muscle relaxation. As you move through each muscle, pay close attention to how it feels to flex and release. Each time you release, imagine your anxieties fading away with the tension that leaves your muscles.

To really experience the benefits of this technique, you should aim to do it at least two times each day, but you can do it as often as you like. Complementing progressive muscle relaxation with other stress reduction techniques like deep breathing can also be very helpful.

Remember: stress may be a fact of life, but acid reflux, heartburn and indigestion in Ft. Worth or Dallas do not have to be. Do you know of any other stress management techniques that help with GERD? Share your favorites in the comments below!

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