As most doctors would agree, a bout of acid reflux or digestive issues is likely caused by your diet. If you had anything spicy, fatty, or fried, your food is to blame for your symptoms. But there’s another common cause of poor digestion that we often overlook: posture. And a recent TikTok video explains why poor posture affects the whole digestive system.
The Link Between Poor Digestion and Bad Posture
The video on poor digestion comes from Monica Yearwood, a TikToker and Ayurvedic practitioner. (Ayurveda is a system of medicine that originated in India, which uses special diet, herbal remedies, massage therapy, yoga, and meditation to treat patients.)
“What if your digestive issues have nothing to do with your diet?” Yearwood asks. “Poor posture and misalignment can alter the position of the stomach and cause compression on the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve [technically a system of nerves] is the longest running nerve in the body. It innervates all the major organs, and it helps to regulate heart rate, blood pressure, sweating, digestion, and breathing. And it stimulates the release of hydrochloric acid.”
Hydrochloric acid is just one ingredient in the stomach secretions that help us digest food. It’s also a very important ingredient, because it helps the body break down and absorb nutrients, and it kills bacteria and viruses.
If the vagus nerve is compressed, however, the stomach may secrete too much or too little hydrochloric acid. This can cause a host of symptoms, including acid reflux, abdominal pain, and bloating.
Also, slouched posture can cause reflux for another, more simple reason: According to Harvard Health, poor posture puts pressure on the abdomen, which forces stomach acid to shoot up your esophagus.
How To Change Your Posture to Improve Your Digestion
Yearwood offers a masterclass where you can learn how to restore proper alignment at home using daily exercises. But if you’d prefer to try a few free fixes, check out these tips:
- To avoid slouching at your desk, try a posture corrector device! It sits on the upper spine and beeps any time you revert to a slouching position.
- Replace your chair with an exercise ball or an anti-slouch chair (Buy from Amazon, $119.99).
- Set a timer for every 30, 45, or 60 minutes. When the timer goes off, perform a few stretches for better posture. (Bonus: This trick will give your eyes a break, too!)
Now, this doesn’t mean that posture tricks will resolve all your digestion issues — especially if certain foods continue to trigger symptoms. Be sure to talk with your doctor and discuss a plan for reducing your symptoms. Just remember: With any treatment, your improvement depends on how much you commit to the plan! Consistency in your diet and your posture training should help you live a happier life.
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