Heartburn and Reflux – can Acupuncture help?
January 28, 2024
What is heartburn or acid reflux?
Heartburn and acid reflux are those uncomfortable sensations you get when stomach acids move in the wrong direction, causing a burning feeling in your chest or throat. This is often known as GERD; GastroEsophageal Reflux Disease. It can bring along symptoms like stomach pain, bloating, nausea, and hunger.
How does Chinese Medicine view heartburn?
In Chinese Medicine, the Stomach and Spleen are responsible for digesting food. When you experience heartburn, it is like the stomach’s energy rebels and moves upward instead of downward as it should. This can happen due to energy blockages, excess heat, or weakness in the stomach’s energy. Factors like poor digestion, stagnant energy, or the presence of certain substances like phlegm can also contribute to this rebellious movement.
What are the causative factors of heartburn?
Let’s have a look at some everyday factors that can contribute to heartburn:
- Dietary Habits:
- Eating large amounts of heat-inducing foods like spicy dishes, alcohol, coffee, and chocolate can trigger heartburn.
- Acidic foods like citrus fruits, tomatoes, and onions can be problematic.
- Irregular eating habits, late-night meals, rushed eating, or eating during stressful times can disrupt stomach function.
- According to Chinese Medicine, emotions can also play a role. When the energy of the Liver stagnates, which is often caused by repressed emotions like frustration and anger, it can lead to reflux and heartburn. It can also affect the Spleen’s ability to process fluids and result in the accumulation of phlegm.
- Pregnancy can bring on heartburn due to hormonal changes that relax muscle tissues and the physical pressure from the expanding belly.
- Other Factors:
- Obesity, smoking, and certain medications are known to increase the risk of developing GERD.
What can you do to help alleviate heartburn?
- Make some dietary adjustments: reduce the amount of spicy and fatty foods and also limit foods like citrus. Opt for smaller, more frequent meals instead of large ones.
- Stay hydrated: drink plenty of water throughout the day but avoid excessive intake during meals.
- Avoid late night eating: give yourself at least 2-3 hours between your last meal and your bedtime.
- Elevate your head: use extra pillows to keep your head higher than your stomach while sleeping.
- Drink Herbal Teas: use ginger, chamomile or peppermint tea into your routine, they have a soothing effect on the digestive system.
- Stress Management: practise stress reducing techniques such as deep breathing, mediation or yoga.
If you’re still having problems, get some acupuncture treatment!
Acupuncture works by addressing the disrupted energy flow and helping the stomach and spleen to function better. The great thing about acupuncture is, it is not just about treating your symptoms; it is also about working at the root cause of the problem. This prevents the heartburn from happening.
Acupuncture can also regulate the liver energy and addresses imbalances in the body, which can, over time, contribute to emotional disturbances that might be linked to GERD.
So, acupuncture is a holistic approach to improving overall health and reducing the chances of heartburn.