Also known as gastroesophageal reflux, gastric reflux, and heartburn acid reflux is a condition whereby the patient experiences a painful, burning, painful sensation that develops when gastric acid flows back from the abdomen into the esophagus and throat. Normally, the pain is felt in the esophagus behind the breastbone, and radiates to the jaw, neck, and throat.
Other acid reflux symptoms include:
-Swallowing difficulty (dysphagia)
-Hoarseness of the voice
Acid Reflux Causes
In terms of physiology, acid reflux is the result of a malfunctioning LES or lower esophageal sphincter that causes food and acid contents in the stomach to flow back into the esophagus. Factors that may cause the LES to malfunction include:
-Inadequate amounts of digestive enzymes in the abdomen
-Certain food triggers
-Overeating and large meals
What is Acupuncture?
Having been practiced in China and other parts of East Asia for thousands of years, acupuncture is an ancient Chinese healing art that requires the utilization of needles on the skin to help the body heal itself from symptoms of disease, injury, and illness.
TCM or Traditional Chinese Medicine is grounded on the theory that energy pathways known as meridians crisscross all over the body. These meridians convey chi or vital energy throughout the body nourishing tissues with much needed energy. When a blockage develops in a particular meridian, chi flow stagnates or slows down preventing the affected part of the body from receiving the much needed chi it needs to function properly. This results in poor states of mental, emotional, and physical health.
TCM and acupuncture base its practice on the two aspects of chi which is yin and yang energy; when these opposing and yet complementary forces are in balance, the individual experiences good health. An imbalanced yin and yang (specifically when yin energy is lacking) ill health such as emptiness and desperation may be experienced. This compels the sufferer to fill the emptiness inside with an addictive behavior or substance, which may physically show itself as a form of hyperactivity. The hyperactivity, in turn, worsens the addiction, causing even more yin energy to be depleted. This leads to a more and more vicious cycle where yin energy is depleted further, leading to even more strong cravings for the addictive behavior or substance at hand.
How can the symptoms of acid reflux be treated with acupuncture?
Researchers at the University of Adelaide conducted several studies demonstrating how needle stimulation of specific acupoints lowers the amounts of relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter. This is important in the solving of acid reflux problems as it is the LES relaxations that cause the upward regurgitation of stomach acid in the first place.
Acid reflux sufferers can benefit from acupuncture if they find their symptoms worsened by emotional issues, anxiety, and stress. Acupuncture helps relieve the stressors by relaxing and calming the nerves and inducing a deep state of relaxation in the patient.
Acupoints commonly treated for acid reflux conditions
St 36 point – This acupoint is situated about four finger widths just below the patella (kneecap). When it is activated, this point can lessen the stomach chi that prevents the harmonization of the stomach and may be the reason for the occurrence of the reflux.
The Ren 12 point – Situated along the stomach near the Conception meridian on the abdomen, the stimulation of the Ren point can harmonize the abdomen and alleviate digestive stagnation.
The Pc 6 point – Found along on the pericardium meridian, about three finger widths from the crease of the wrist on the forearms, this acupoint’s activation can help alleviate any chest discomfort caused by heartburn as well as relieve nausea. The Pc 6 can also help lower the relaxation times of the LES by 40%.
The number of treatments required to treat acid reflux
In order for acupuncture to relieve acid reflux symptoms, you need to talk to a licensed and qualified TCM practitioner or acupuncturist who can help you out with your condition.
Acupuncture Health Center
1303 Astor St #101
Bellingham, WA 98225