A Mind-Body Healing Approach to Acid Reflex

by: Sheila Patel, M.D.

Question:
I am a 24-year-old female  who has suffered from GERD (acid reflux) for four and a half years now. I have been on medication since then that decreases the amount of acid my stomach releases. However, I still have been experiencing problems and do not want to be on medication for the rest of my life. I also fear developing esophageal cancer. What are some natural remedies and approaches I can take to help alleviate my condition?

Thank you,
Natalie

Dr. Patel’s Response:

Dr. Sheila Patel

Hi Natalie,

I am sorry to hear about your health issue.  From an Ayurvedic perspective, GERD is usually an imbalance of the Pitta dosha (the heat element) and cooling herbs can help alleviate symptoms without interfering with digestion.  You could try pure aloe vera juice — try ¼ cup daily; or drink  coconut milk with water daily to soothe the heat.  That being said, the most important thing to do is to address the underlying issue of why this got started.  Pitta imbalances may be provoked by “over-doing”  (such as having  too many things on your plate — too much work, too much activity, etc.).  There is also often an underlying emotional issue that is unresolved, such as anger, resentment, guilt, and so on.

Without addressing the underlying issue, even using natural remedies may not solve the problem.  I recommend reading Deepak Chopra’s book Perfect Health or David Simon’s Wisdom of Healing  for a good holistic understanding of what is going on.  Diet is likely playing a role ,and you most likely require a Pitta-pacifying diet.  There is information in these books and on our website. You can learn more about Pitta and the other doshas — and how to balance them —  in our online library.

In addition, anything that calms the body will be helpful in returning to balance; therefore, daily meditation, yoga and other mind-body practices are a must. You might want to begin by joining us for our free 21-Day Meditation Challenge™, which begins next week, on February 20.  Perfect timing!  You can learn more and register here.

Best wishes,
Dr. Patel

Do you want to deepen your understanding of Ayurveda and Mind-Body Health?

Join us for the Journey into Healing workshop, led by Deepak Chopra and a team of guest experts and Chopra Center master educators. Our next Journey into Healing  takes place this March 7-11 at La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad, California.

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About the author

Sheila Patel, M.D.
May 1, 2013 - 3:50pm,

Sheila Patel, M.D. is a board-certified family physician who is passionate about bringing holistic healing practices into the Western medical system. Before coming to the Chopra Center, she practiced full-spectrum family medicine, from prenatal care and deliveries to ER coverage and primary care for all ages. As the Chopra Center’s Medical Director, she offers integrative medical consultations that combine the best in conventional medicine with the wisdom of Ayurveda. Her special interests include preventive medicine and mind-body medicine, with an emphasis on Ayurveda.

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