Did you know that acupuncture can help with a number of digestive issues? Yes, it’s true!
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), one of the most common GI issues among Americans, occurs when stomach acid frequently flows back into your esophagus – the tube connecting your mouth and stomach.
If you suffer with this, or you’ve ever suffered with it, you might have felt hopeless and frustrated at times that there are no known causes and the only known treatments are either medications or dietary adjustments.
Wouldn’t it be nice to know what causes it in the first place, so that you can start treating and healing the root cause?
Enter Chinese Medicine (CM). CM has known for thousands of years that the blueprint of many physical manifestations is an imbalance in our bodily functions. Reflux esophagitis in CM focuses on transforming, harmonizing, and restoring the normal movement of the stomach to prevent it “rebelling” upwards. The treatment with acupuncture and/or herbs focuses on restoring normal functioning of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), enhancing gastric motility, and improving gastric emptying.
Stomach function usually rebels because of:
- Eating in a hurry;
- Eating when stressed or angry;
- Working late hours;
- Eating while walking or standing, repeatedly and over time;
If we take a look at the most common lifestyle factors which cause or exacerbate GERD, or the upward rebelling of stomach function, we can see that simply doing the opposite of what causes it will be helpful. Also, introducing calming practices like meditation, walking in nature, and, of course, coming for acupuncture treatment. Because whilst changing our habits will help to prevent GERD from returning, CM specializes in healing the problem and lessening the damage done by the issue.
Quick At-Home Tip: Something very simple you can do at home to help yourself is after every meal, stroke down the midline from the bottom of your rib cage to the top of your belly button for about two minutes gently. This will help your food to move downward instead of rebelling upwards.
Here’s some more good news: In a 2018 study, acupuncture was trialed over a period of 6 weeks with daily treatment for GERD, with a few days break in between each week of treatment. The CM control group fared significantly better than the conventional medicine control group. There were also far fewer side effects (virtually none) in comparison to the control group who were taking Proton Pump Inhibitors and other medications for GERD.
The conclusion of the study – compared with PPIs or Prokinetics therapy alone, CM single therapy can better improve the clinical total effective rate and symptom relief and decrease the recurrence rate and adverse events in the treatment of NERD (non-erosive reflux disease – a type of GERD). The study’s results suggest that CM will be a promising alternative therapy for NERD patients in the future.