Your local drugstore probably features an entire aisle dedicated to medications designed to treat acid reflux and heartburn. Although those medications can be effective in treating your symptoms, they often cause uncomfortable side effects. Acupuncture can help you control your symptoms naturally and without the unwanted discomforts.
The Painful Symptoms
Acid reflux occurs when stomach acids back up into your esophagus from your stomach. The problem is caused by a faulty sphincter between the stomach and esophagus. If your sphincter is weak or does not close completely, acids flow back into the esophagus. The acids irritate the sensitive lining of your esophagus, causing a burning sensation in your chest, also known as heartburn.
Heartburn that occurs two or more times per week is a symptom of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Changing your diet and losing weight may reduce GERD symptoms, but sometimes, you will continue to suffer from the disease no matter what lifestyle changes you make.
Acupuncture Targets Your Life Force
Acupuncture is ancient Asian medical practice based on the belief that disruptions in the flow of Qi, a life force that travels through your body, can cause a variety of physical symptoms. Qi passes through various passageways, called meridians. If you experience acid reflux and heartburn, a blockage may affect the stomach meridian.
The stomach meridian starts just below your eyes and passes through your mouth, stomach, spleen, and leg before ending at your second toe. Stomach Qi normally travels downward. When it flows in the opposite direction, heartburn and other gastrointestinal symptoms can occur. Acupuncture treatments restore the normal direction of Qi, relieving your symptoms.
In some cases, heartburn can be caused by a problem in the spleen meridian, which starts at the tongue and travels through the heart, stomach, abdomen, spleen, and legs. During acupuncture treatment, your practitioner will determine the origin of your symptoms and insert acupuncture needles at specific points on the meridian to improve Qi flow.
Acupuncture is an Effective Treatment for Acid Reflux and Heartburn
Acupuncture has proven to be an effective treatment for common GERD symptoms. In fact, it can offer the same benefits as medication, in some cases. In one study, patients were given daily acupuncture treatment for six weeks. At the end of the treatment period, they experienced similar results as patients who took proton pump inhibitor and H2-blocker medications.
Acupuncture can also help medications work better. Patients who participated in a study published in Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics received acupuncture treatments and took proton pump inhibitors, while another group of patients were given double the normal amount of the medication but did not receive treatments. At the end of the study, the patients who received acupuncture treatment experienced significant improvement in heartburn and acid regurgitation. The patients who received a double dose of proton pump inhibitors did not experience any improvement in their symptoms.
Not Just Needles
In addition to acupuncture treatments, practitioners can also recommend herbal remedies that will help reduce acid reflux and heartburn. For example, your practitioner may offer dragon bone (long gu) to redirect Qi flow, ginger to treat nausea, and bupleurum (chai hu) to decrease inflammation in your gastrointestinal tract.
Are you tired of taking pills to manage acid reflux and heartburn? Acupuncture offers an effective, natural way to relieve your painful symptoms. Call us today to schedule an appointment.
Stay Away From These Foods That Cause Inflammation
Inflammation in your gastrointestinal tract can worsen your acid reflux and GERD symptoms. Avoid heartburn pain by staying away from these foods.
Milk and Other Dairy Products
You do not have to be lactose intolerant to have a problem with dairy products. Many adults have a sensitivity to dairy products and experience gas, bloating, diarrhea, or constipation when they drink a glass of milk, eat a bowl of ice cream, or snack on yogurt.
It can be very hard to give up sugar, but after a few weeks on a sugar-free diet, you may find that you really do not miss it. Giving up the popular sweetener helps reduce inflammation that can make acid reflux, arthritis, and other health problems worse.
White bread, white flour, white rice, pasta, and other refined grains should be avoided. Instead, use whole grain products to reduce inflammation.
Hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils and vegetable oils can also cause inflammation. Try coconut or olive oil oils instead. Meats that are high in saturated fats are also a problem. Stay away from ribs, bacon, hamburgers, and hot dogs. Salmon and tuna are healthier choices.