"This book is incredibly complete and easy-to-understand for anybody. I certainly recommend it for patients who want to know more about atrial fibrillation than what they will learn from doctors...."

Pierre Jaïs, M.D. Professor of Cardiology, Haut-Lévêque Hospital, Bordeaux, France

"Dear Steve, I saw a patient this morning with your book [in hand] and highlights throughout. She loves it and finds it very useful to help her in dealing with atrial fibrillation."

Dr. Wilber Su Cavanaugh Heart Center, Phoenix, AZ

"Your book [Beat Your A-Fib] is the quintessential most important guide not only for the individual experiencing atrial fibrillation and his family, but also for primary physicians, and cardiologists."

Jane-Alexandra Krehbiel, nurse, blogger and author "Rational Preparedness: A Primer to Preparedness"


"Steve Ryan's summaries of the Boston A-Fib Symposium are terrific. Steve has the ability to synthesize and communicate accurately in clear and simple terms the essence of complex subjects. This is an exceptional skill and a great service to patients with atrial fibrillation."

Dr. Jeremy Ruskin of Mass. General Hospital and Harvard Medical School

"I love your [A-fib.com] website, Patti and Steve! An excellent resource for anybody seeking credible science on atrial fibrillation plus compelling real-life stories from others living with A-Fib. Congratulations…"

Carolyn Thomas, blogger and heart attack survivor; MyHeartSisters.org

"Steve, your website was so helpful. Thank you! After two ablations I am now A-fib free. You are a great help to a lot of people, keep up the good work."

Terry Traver, former A-Fib patient

"If you want to do some research on AF go to A-Fib.com by Steve Ryan, this site was a big help to me, and helped me be free of AF."

Roy Salmon Patient, A-Fib Free; pacemakerclub.com, Sept. 2013

 FAQs Natural Therapies: The Vagal Maneuver

Complementary & Natural Therapies

Complementary & Natural Therapies

“What is the ‘vagal maneuver’? I’ve heard it might help me during an A-Fib episode. What is it and how is it done? Is it safe?”

Have you ever had the hiccups and held your breath for at least 5 seconds trying to get rid of them? That’s called the Valsalva maneuver (one type of vagal maneuver). You also use the maneuver while lifting, coughing, belching. and going to the bathroom.

What if you tried it for an A-Fib attack? Research has found the Valsalva maneuver, if performed properly, is safe and about 25% of time is effective in slowing many types of SVT such as atrial fibrillation. (But for some patients the arrhythmia returned shortly after.)

Hans Larsen of the A-Fib Report recommends the Valsalva Maneuver for Lone A-Fib patients not on antiarrhythmic drugs. He describes it this way: “Sit down and bend forward at the waist―hold your breath and strain as if blowing up a balloon.” Hold the maneuver for five seconds or so.

This maneuver greatly increases pressures inside the chest cavity―which stimulates the vagus nerve and increases vagal tone. (The vagus nerve is one of 12 cranial nerves and extends from the brain stem to the abdomen, via various organs including the heart, esophagus and lungs.)

Judi Coffey has written me that repeated deep belching will get her out of an A-Fib attack. (You can contact her at: Luckers567(at)yahoo.com)

Doug Hartz writes, “The only thing that has several times gotten me out of A-Fib (induced by strenuous exercise) was the Valsalva maneuver—done immediately after onset and repeated several times if necessary. It doesn’t always work if delayed.” (You can contact Doug at hartzchartz(at)hotmail.com.)

So try the Valsalva maneuver—and try it several times—since it only works about 25% of the time. (After all, it’s cheap and ‘natural’). It just might work for you!

References for this Article

Last updated: Saturday, March 18, 2017 

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