The word esophagus sounds so very exotic to me. It conjures up images of Egyptian artifacts and even mummies. Maybe that’s because it sounds like sarcophagus...which is most definitely not the same thing as your esophagus. Yikes.

esophagus blueThe word esophagus comes from ancient Greek and it means “passage for food” or more literally “what carries and eats”. Your esophagus does just that, it carries the food that you chew and swallow down into your stomach. In medical terminology the esophagus is called a muscular tube. As such it can be easy to just visualize some kind of meaty tube that just runs from your throat to your stomach, no magic, no mystery, but that would be a shame. Your esophagus is as graceful as a snake, mucosal tissue rippling to carry your food down into your stomach for digestion.

The average adult esophagus is about 8 inches long, give or take an inch and runs from your throat, just past your diaphragm and meets up with your stomach. There is a sphincter at each end. The one at the top can be manually controlled, for swallowing, burping, even vomiting Remember that gag reflex in the epiglottis? It’s the sphincter in the esophagus that keeps anything from actually exiting. The sphincter at the other end is not manually or voluntarily regulated it opens and allows food to exit the tunnel and hopefully, if all is going well, closes and doesn’t allow food or liquid to come back up. Obviously, sometimes there are issues with the sphincter closing and it can result in acid reflux or other uncomfortable problems.

esophagus healthy mediumYour esophagus is actually considered an organ and is comprised of fibromuscular tissue that is covered with a lining of mucosal tissue. When you swallow something it engages in peristaltic contractions, which is a completely unromantic way of describing this amazing rippling effect that moves the ‘bollus’ of food down toward your stomach. If you were to peer down into your esophageal tube, you would see beautiful pink rings and sections of muscular, mucosal tissue.
The muscles and sphincters in your esophagus are sensitive and stress can play a big role in whether or not they function well. Slow it down, inhale, exhale, salivate, savor, and your esophagus will thank you.

Easiest way to manage stress quickly and efficiently? Through your breathing patterns...Just Breathe