Heartburn can be a sign of acid reflux or its chronic form, GERD or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. GERD is a disorder that causes stomach acid and contents to reflux or regurgitate into the esophagus.
The stomach acid can inflame and injure the lining of the esophagus, although sometimes no indication of inflammation can be seen in some patients. Relatively healthy people have a lower esophagus sphincter that remains closed, hindering stomach content from going back into the esophagus. Heartburn is the burning that can be felt in the mid to upper chest and is caused by the same malfunctioning of the esophagus.
Besides heartburn, the signs of symptoms of acid reflux/GERD include a change in the person’s voice, sore throat, nausea, chronic bronchitis, asthma, and coughing. A stress filled lifestyle as well as chocolate, spicy and fatty foods, acidic fruit juices, tomatoes, and caffeine can also lead to heartburn.
According to the National Institutes for Health and World Health Organization traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) treatments such as acupuncture in Jacksonville can be a natural form of treatment for acid reflux or GERD and many other digestive conditions like colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcers, gastritis, and food allergies.
GERD is seen by Western medicine as having one main cause, which is different to TCM that views the condition as having several possible different diagnoses, known as patterns. According to TCM, the digestive function of the stomach is aided by the spleen, liver, pancreas, and gallbladder; when these organs dysfunction, it causes an imbalance in the digestive system causing heartburn and acid reflux/GERD to occur.
Emotional stress that disrupts the flow of vital energy or Chi can also contribute to acid reflux/GERD. Emotional stress tends to affect a cranial nerve (vagus nerve) that controls stomach secretion causing a rise in secretion of various gastric acids as well as contraction of the stomach muscles.
Qi gong, Tai Chi, Chinese herbal medicine, acupuncture and other TCM procedures can be used to help treat acid reflux/GERD. These treatments have the power to balance the functions of the digestive organs, regulate esophageal pressure, and lower gastric acid content.
Your acupuncturist can diagnose your condition after evaluating you. A plan of treatment is then made to address the symptoms as well as the underlying cause of the problem. Besides the above mentioned TCM treatments, a dietary modification and stress management plan will be suggested by your acupuncturist to prevent heartburn and acid reflux/GERD.
TCM treatments restore the healthy flow of Chi and decrease emotional stress. Acupuncture treatment stimulates specific acupuncture points to prevent the relaxation of the lower esophageal sphincter helping reduce or prevent the occurrence of heartburn and acid reflux/GERD. Acupuncture points chosen for treatment are found in the legs, lower arms, and in the stomach area.
Moderate regular exercise, good sleeping patterns, lifestyle changes along with TCM treatments can lead to the restoration of proper digestion and prevention of heartburn, acid reflux, and GERD.