The purpose of this page is to share my successful experience with NAULI, a yoga abdominal exercise, for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). I have a hiatal hernia, and had 4 - 5 years of GERD, at times quite debilitating (a nauseous day in bed, constant vigilance about what/where/how/when I eat). I had also lost a lot of weight, was losing hope that there WAS a cure. Now, after about 10 months of NAULI, I seem to be fine with some minimal care as to diet, and I again have a healthy weight. It's a HUGE relief.
I had tried regular doctors, chiropractors, herbs, various strange manipulations, raised head-of-the-bed, everything short of drugs, in the past 4 years. I did not choose commercial drugs because of their side-effects, and the fact that they only seem to treat symptoms, not causes; I was also concerned that they may ultimately worsen my condition by undermining digestive efficiency. Then, in January/07, I decided to try the NAULI exercise, a lot of them (100 rotations, about 8 minutes) every morning. At the time, it was the only new treatment I'd been doing, and my digestion started getting stronger. Within a few months, the GERD symptoms became nonexistant unless I ate in a truly unhealthy way (lots of ice cream late at night etc.) I stopped using therapeutic herbs months ago. In the past few months I have substituted MULA BANDA, another yogic abdominal exercise practiced in the same posture, for one-third of the NAULI rotations, and the results seem about the same. Perhaps MULA BANDA could completely replace the NAULI; I don't know.
I assume that these techniques are effective with GERD because they increase digestive efficiency by stimulating the muscles, and thereby the digestive processes, in the abdomen. By speeding up digestion, there's nothing to creep back up the esophagus to cause problems. (I assume that many digestive problems could be cured by these techniques, if they act on fundamental digestive function.) For me, an otherwise healthy person, it took a few months of regular, daily practice of NAULI to see great improvement in GERD, though I could sense some improvement immediately. I continue this practice, and plan to indefinitely.
NAULI and MULA BANDA can be learned from a trained yoga teacher. There are also instructions on the web. Although it is easy, however, it IS important that you do it correctly, so I would suggest a session or two with a good teacher. Are there contra-indications for NAULI? I don't know. See Disclaimer below.
Disclaimer: Since I'm not a health practicioner, I would not make any recommendations regarding treatments, exercise etc. for any disease, so please consult your health care provider before embarking on any exercise program. If upon such advice you try NAULI, however, I'd be interested in hearing your experience.