Acupuncture for Acid Reflux
Acid reflux, or heartburn, is a common condition we see in the clinic. It is usually described as a burning sensation in the chest or throat. A bitter or sour taste may even flush into the back of mouth. If symptoms persist more than twice a week, it may be considered GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease. Chronic GERD can eventually lead to more serious health problems.
You may have GERD without experiencing heartburn. Symptoms may include excessive clearing of the throat, problems swallowing, feeling that food is stuck in your throat, burning in the mouth or pain in the chest.
Long-term GERD can sometimes cause complications. Inflammation of the esophagus from stomach acid may cause bleeding or ulcers. Also, scars from to tissue damage can narrow the esophagus and make swallowing difficulty. Barrett's esophagus is a condition where the cells of the esophageal lining take on an abnormal shape and color which overtime may lead to cancer. Some studies show that asthma, chronic cough, and pulmonary fibrosis may be aggravated or even caused by GERD.
Some risk factors that may contribute to GERD include alcohol use, being overweight, pregnancy, or smoking. Also some food maybe associated with with reflux including citrus fruits, chocolate, drinks with caffeine, dairy products, fatty and fried foods, garlic and onions, mint flavor, spicy foods, and tomato-based food.
It is recommended that if you're using antacids for more than 2 weeks you should seek medical advice. Most doctors will use drugs or in extreme cases surgery to treat GERD.
According to the World Health Organization and the National Institutes for Health, Chinese medicine therapy such as acupuncture and herbal medicine are useful natural treatments for acid reflux and many other digestive orders, including food allergies, gastritis, ulcers, irritable bowel, and colitis
Unlike Western medicine which sees GERD as a single disorder, Chinese medicine has recognizes different patterns that may cause this condition. From the Chinese medicine perspective, the gallbladder, pancreas, liver and spleen work to aid the stomach’s normal function. When the body is out of balance digestive disorders may occur.
Emotional stress is also considered to be a common cause for acid reflux. When your emotions are out of balance they affect the organ systems and often cause disruption in the stomach's ability to absorb and descend.
Chinese medicine therapies help reduce stress and restore the healthy function of the digestive system. Along with acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine, other lifestyle modifications may be suggested.
Besides avoiding some of the foods that may cause reflux, other recommendations include eating slowly and chewing well, avoid eating while stressed or upset, avoid big meals and overeating, having your last meal at least 3 hours before bedtime, eating smaller more frequent meals.
Stress management programs such as Tai Chi, Qigong, meditation, or other deep breathing techniques. We offer all of these treatment methods at our clinic!
To find out if acupuncture and Chinese medicine is right for you, schedule a free consult today.