Reflux Esophagitis

The esophagus does not have a thick layer of mucus to protect it from strong acids.  In reflux esophagitis, stomach acid splashes upward into the esophagus, creating an intense form of heartburn.  If it happens often enough, esophageal ulcers are the inevitable result.

In the normal situation, gravity and peristalsis ensure that gastric acid flows downward and not upward.  If, however, a small portion of the upper stomach becomes trapped or pinched in the diaphragm (a condition known as hiatal hernia) then stomach acid can be refluxed upward (reflux esophagitis).

Hiatial hernia is created by an opening in the diaphragm that is too large.  It is a structural defect that may flare up frequently, rarely or never.  Whenever the stomach becomes pinched in the diaphragm, the only way to correct this problem is to restore the stomach to its proper position.  This can be done in a number of ways:  (1) Chiropractic adjustments can relieve the muscular spasms affecting the diaphragm, causing it to relax its hold on the stomach.  (2) Drinking two glasses of water and jumping up and down uses gravity to drop the stomach back into place.  (3) Allowing sunlight to shine on the forehead and face for about 8 minutes stimulates a pineal reflex that relaxes the spine, which in turn relaxes the diaphragm, allowing it to release the stomach.  (If sunlight is unavailable, a flashlight or light bulb focuses over the bridge of the nose, with the eyes protected, can often have the same effect.)  (4) Sleeping with the head elevated (e.g., by placing four inch blocks under the head of the bed will ease the problem, by preventing the backing up of gastric juices, until further corrective action can be taken.

There is some evidence that hidden food sensitivities may also cause or aggravate reflux esophagitis by relaxing the lower esophageal sphincter and overstimulating gastric secretions.  Foods that have been implicated include alcohol, sugar, chocolate, coffee, tea, milk, orange juice, spicy foods, tomatoes, and fatty foods.

See also the chapter, “It Begins with Digestion”, in NUTRITIONAL SOLUTIONS FOR 88 CONDITIONS:


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