Acupuncture for Acid Reflux

One of the most commonly heard of complaint by doctors involving digestive system and abdomen related conditions that affect the central nervous system or digestive system is acid reflux.  In acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), the nature of vomiting, nausea and reflux are about the same. So, they also have the same treatment.  This article will talk about the condition primarily related to digestive issues.

Basically, it is a good idea to utilize TCM especially acupuncture for reflux and other conditions such as nerves, stress, ulcers, GERD and other related bad food choices. China has the largest population in the world and it, historically, has been fighting for food for centuries. The Chinese people did not have enough to eat and during hard times, some of them were only able to eat one or two meals per day. Food was severely scarce that a person would eat the flowers and bark of an elm tree, grasses, and even soil.  Chinese physicians knew that starvation, irregular diet, overeating, s tress, and anxiety among others can cause disease, and nutritional and digestive problems that may include diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, etc.; and so, one of the responsibilities of Chinese physicians was to devise a system to help address these problems.

Acupuncture and TCM treat vomiting, nausea, reflux, etc. in different ways and based on the manifested symptoms. This is known as Pattern Differentiation/Individual-Based-Fit-Treatment, and is a unique aspect of acupuncture and TCM. In this case, the pattern-differentiations can be:

  1. Stomach Cold – the person has an aversion to cold and if he/she does eat anything cold, it will worsen his/her condition. The person also easily feels cold.
  2.  Stomach Fire/Heat – the person has an aversion to anything hot, spicy, or warm. If he/she eats anything hot, spicy, or war, his/her condition will worsen. The patient also feels warm easily
  3. Liver Stagnation – stress or frustration can worsen the condition while easy and happy situations can make the person feel better.  The person may likewise become easily irritated for no reason.
  4. Spleen Deficiency – tiredness, especially to the extremities will worsen the person’s situation. The person has no energy to talk.
  5. Stomach Yin Deficiency – the same as stomach fire/heat, except that the person is much weaker compared to one having stomach fire/heat.

There may be other kinds of pattern differentiations although the main ones are the 5 patterned categories mentioned above. These patterns can manifest separately, or may be a combination of two or more of them.

The mode of treatment is dependent on the person’s pattern-differentiation. If anyone shows any of the aforementioned patterns, he/she should visit an acupuncturist or TCM practitioner for a thorough diagnosis and treatment.  One needs their expertise to help him/her get rid of these patterns.

If your problem is much simpler, then certain steps are available to cope with this that can bring you temporary relief.  A diet change, for example, can be helpful.  If you’d rather not see a specialist, you can follow the following suggestions:

  1. Avoid spicy/ hot food and drinks including alcohol.
  2. Avoid cold food
  3. Avoid food that is hard to digest. This may include nuts, beans, etc.
  4. Avoid very dry or greasy foods and sweets.
  5.  Consume well-done foods instead of raw with the exception of fruits, juice or salads.
  6.  Fresh ginger root juice – often very effective for stomach issues but particularly for reflux, vomiting and nausea.

There are several acupuncture points that can be treated for reflux. When pressured, these points often provide significant relief. The P6 point for example, is 2 units above the wrist crease found along the tendons of flexor carpi radialis and palmaris longus found between the inside of the elbow and crease of the wrist.  The Spleen 4 or SP4 situated at the foot is another acupuncture point that can help treat digestive problems. From time to time, you can apply pressure on these points and it should provide you some type of relief. Besides these points, there are several more acupuncture points that can help as well.

If vomiting and nausea are the result of your morning sickness, then Chinese herbal therapy and acupuncture can definitely help. If these symptoms are due to a central nervous system disorder or a tumor among others, it would be highly advisable to consult with a medical specialist like a Neurologist or Oncologist instead of going first to a TCM practitioner or acupuncturist even if Chinese herbal remedies and acupuncture can help treat these symptoms.