What is Acid Reflux?Acid reflux is also commonly referred to as heartburn, gastric reflux and gastroesophageal reflux. It’s felt as a burning, painful sensation that occurs when gastric acid backflows from the stomach into the throat. The pain is normally located just behind the breastbone, in the esophagus and often radiates to the throat, neck and jaw.
Others symptoms may include:
- Chest pain
- Dental erosion
- Hoarseness of the voice
- Food regurgitation
- Dysphagia (difficulty in swallowing)
Causes of Acid RefluxPhysiologically speaking, acid reflux is caused by a dysfunctional lower esophageal sphincter in the stomach that allows for acid to backflow into the esophagus. Whilst science is still deciding, there are number of reasons thought to cause the sphincter to be faulty in the first place. Some of these include:
- Large meals and overeating.
- Certain food triggers.
- Bending forward.
- Hiatus hernia.
- Peptic Ulcers.
- Insufficient amounts of digestive enzymes in the stomach.
What is Acupuncture?Acupuncture is ancient Chinese practice that employs the use of needles on the skin to restore the body from symptoms of illness, injury and disease.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is founded on the principle that energy channels (meridians) run all over the body nourishing tissues with energy. When blocked, the energy is obstructed and prevented from nourishing the tissues, which may result in poor states of physical, emotional and mental health.
Acupuncture & TCM bases it practice on the principles of yin and yang energy, which in a healthy individual are balanced. When out of balance with deficient yin energy, feelings of desperation and emptiness can result. This can lead a person attempting to fill the ‘void’ with an addictive substance or behavior, which may manifest physically as a kind of hyperactivity. This hyperactivity then exacerbates the abuse, depleting yin energy even further, increasingly creating more and more of a desperation for the addictive substance or behavior at hand.
Studies from the University of Adelaide have demonstrated that needle stimulation of certain acupuncture points on the wrist reduces frequency of the ‘relaxations’ of the muscle band that lines the esophageal-stomach passage. This is significant to the fight against acid reflux as it is the ‘relaxations’ of this muscle band that allows acid to regurgitate up into the esophagus in the first place.
How does acupuncture assist with symptoms of acid reflux?
Acupuncture may also benefit acid reflux patients who find their symptoms are brought on or worsened by stress, anxiety and emotional issues. Acupuncture works to relieve the body of these stressors by helping to calm the nerves thus inducing a state of relaxation.
Acupuncture points for acid reflux
- Ren 12 point, which may be found along the Conception meridian on the abdomen, on the front midline of the body. When stimulated this point can relieve any digestive stagnation and harmonise the stomach.
- Pc 6 point, which may be found three finger widths from the crease of the wrist on the forearms inner side along the Pericardium meridian. When stimulated this point may relieve nausea and any discomfort in the chest caused by heartburn. This point has also been shown to reduce the frequency of lower esophageal sphincter relaxations by up to forty percent.
- St 36 point, which may be found four finger widths below the kneecap along the tibialis anterior muscle on the front of the lower leg. When stimulated, this point may lower any stomach qi that may be causing the reflux and harmonise the stomach.
How many treatments will you need?The number of Acupuncture treatments required to treat addiction will differ between individuals. For more long-standing addictions however, treatments up to several months may be recommended.
If you are interested in finding out more on how acupuncture can help relieve acid reflux, please speak to a trained Acupuncturist or TCM Practitioner.
Find out about other effective natural acid reflux treatments.