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vagal maneuver

FAQs Natural Therapies: Use of the Vagal Maneuver for A-Fib Attacks

 FAQs Natural Therapies: The Vagal Maneuver

Complementary & Natural Therapies

Complementary & Natural Therapies

4. “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 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@yahoo.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: Wednesday, August 26, 2015 

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FAQ: Natural Therapies & Holistic Treatment for A-Fib

Complementary & Natural Therapies

Complementary & Natural Therapies

FAQ: Natural Therapies & Holistic Treatment

Many A-Fib patients have questions about treatment alternatives such as naturopathic doctors, complementary or integrated medicine as well as mind/body practices (such as chiropractic, acupuncture, yoga and meditation).

1. How do I find a doctor with a more “holistic” approach? I want nutritional counseling and a more integrated approach to my A-Fib treatment plan?

2. I’ve read that yoga and acupuncture are considered ‘Complementary Medicine’. What is that? How does it relate to conventional medicine?

3. “A dietitian friend referred me to a Naturopathic doctor. What is naturopathic medicine? Are they ‘real’ physicians?

4. 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?

5. Have any A-Fib.com readers reported success working with a Naturopathic doctor? Anyone controlling their A-Fib with supplements?

6. Is a whole food or organic diet helpful for patients with Atrial Fibrillation? Is there any research recommending one or the other?

7. Do A-Fib patients find chiropractic adjustment useful? If so, what are their results? In the past, I’ve found it helpful for other ailments. Could it help with my A-Fib symptoms?

8. I do Yoga. It relaxes me and helps with my stress level. Is there any evidence on Yoga helping with other A-Fib symptoms?

9. “What’s the research on acupuncture and Atrial Fibrillation? I’m willing to try it if it will help ease or reduce my A-Fib episodes.”

10. “Have there been any tests comparing natural blood thinners to the new anticoagulants (NOACs) in terms of efficacy and speed of onset?

“Most people use non-mainstream approaches along with conventional treatments. The boundaries between complementary and conventional medicine overlap and change with time.” ∼ US National Institutes of Health

Last updated: Wednesday, May 18, 2016 

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