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Natural Heartburn and Acid Reflux Treatments (Chinese Herbal Medicine and Acupressure)

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TCM or Traditional Chinese Medicine has been treating heartburn effectively for more than 3,000 years. With Chinese herbs and acupressure, the symptoms of heartburn not only can be relieved, but more importantly, they can adjust the esophageal pressure, reducing gastric acid, and balancing the digestive organs in the process thereby helping the person recover from the cause of reflux.

Acid reflux and Stagnation of Liver Qi

Because the direction of Qi (pronounced chee) in the body is controlled by the Liver energetic organ system, acid reflux is usually associated with “Rebellious Qi” (meaning that the flow of energy is moving in the wrong direction) and imbalances in the Liver organ system. Typical signs of acid reflux related to Liver Imbalances can include:

• Acid reflux occurring at night
• Feelings of anger or frustration
• Acid reflux related to stress

The smooth flow of vital energy or Qi in the body is the responsibility of the Liver; when this organ’s not functioning optimally, digestive issues may occur. Moreover, when the energy of the Liver becomes strangled, Stagnation of Liver Qi comes about causing stagnant energy which leads to inflammation and heat in the body.

Chinese Herbal Medicine Therapy: Free and Easy Wanderer formula

Acid Reflux and Spleen Qi Imbalances

The Spleen, in Chinese Medicine, plays a major role in digestive problems. In Chinese medicine, the function of the Spleen can be damaged by poor eating habits and result in Phlegm and Dampness forming more blockages for the digestive process and making it likely for the Abdomen to develop digestive problems:

• Uncooked foods or raw foods
• Juices
• Carbohydrates and simple sugars
• Fried foods
• Cold foods

To limit the development of acid reflux lifestyle choices should be made. These include:

• Good Posture: Try sleeping on your left side or raise your upper body by five to six inches when you sleep. Avoid stooping or bending from the waist just after meals.
• Stopping Smoking
• A Good Diet: Heartburn can be reduced with Chinese food therapy. Stay away from alcohol, fried and fatty foods, spicy hot foods, sour foods, acidic fruit juices, coffee, peppermint, and tomato
• Modifying your eating habits: acid reflux can be eased by following good eating habits. Chew well and eat slowly. Big meals should be avoided. Eat moderately. Consume five to six small meals each day. Dinner should by three hours at least before bedtime. After eating before doing any activity sit down in an upright chair and rest for half an hour.
• Stress Management: Stress can be reduced by performing deep breathing techniques, meditation, Qi, gong, and Tai Chi. Take into account Enlightened Emperor formula and other adaptogenic formulae.

Acid Reflux from the Western Viewpoint

The LES or lower esophageal sphincter is the lowest end of the esophagus. For healthy people, it usually stays closed preventing the backing up of acidic fluid into the esophagus each time the stomach contracts. The LES is actually an area of relatively high pressure and not a muscular valve.

The esophagus is closed off by the high pressure which prevents the food and acid content in the stomach from flowing back to the esophagus. Heartburn occurs when the stomach acid backs and the esophagus fails to function properly. According to traditional Chinese medicine the Pancreas, Spleen, Gallbladder, and Liver work together to aid in the digestion of the Stomach. Excess amounts of stomach acid travels up to the esophagus causing heartburn or acid once these organs function improperly.

What conditions can bring about heartburn and acid reflux?

Contributors can be anything that irritates the esophagus or reduces lower esophageal pressure:

• Pregnancy
• Hiatal Hernia: An anatomical abnormality, hiatal hernia develops when a part of the abdomen protrudes through the diaphragm and up into the chest. This type of hernia usually happens if one is overweight or during pregnancy.
• Tobacco
• Obesity
• Stressful lifestyles
• Eating late
• Overeating
• Poor diet

Related complications and symptoms:

Frequent occurrence of acid reflux or heartburn may lead to complications in the esophagus like a pre-cancer lining of the esophagus known as Barrett’s esophagus and ulceration. An inflamed esophagus may result in bleeding and pain during swallowing.

Other symptoms can include:

• Coughing and respiratory issues such as chronic bronchitis, pneumonia, and asthma
• Sour taste in your mouth
• Burning pain when swallowing
• Nausea
• Voice change
• Sore throat

According to TCM theory, it is important to note that habitual use pharmaceutical antacids can impair the natural digestive process and result in digestive problems (Stagnation of Food Qi). A lot of health problems can develop over time if food is not appropriately being digested in the stomach. These may range from very slow digestion to severe health disorders. This is the reason why a lot of people choose a natural treatment such as Chinese herbal therapy that can resolve acid reflux by targeting the underlying cause of the acid reflux instead of merely inhibiting stomach acid, as this type of acid is needed for normal digestion.

Acupressure for Acid Reflux:

1. The Inner Gate or Neiguan (P6) acupressure point can be tonified. The P 6 point is found above the wrist’s transverse crease between the tendons palmaris longus muscle and the flexor radialis muscle.

2. Pressure can be applied to the Union Valley or Hegu acupressure Point (Li 4). The point is found on the hand‘s dorsum between the 1st and 2nd metacarpal bones on the radial side of the middle of the second metacarpal bone.

3. To address Liver Qi Stagnation release of pressure on the Liv 3 point (Great surge or Taichong) is required: Liv 3 is found in the foot’s dorsum, in the depression just distal to the first and second metatarsal bone’s junction.

4. Even pressure is applied to the middle of Epigastrium or Shongwan point (Ren 14): this point (Ren 14) is situated on abdomen’s midline just above the umbilicus.

Scott Paglia is a licensed and board certified acupuncturist in Bellingham, WA and provides master level pulse diagnosis, Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture in Whatcom County, WA.

Written by Valerie

December 6th, 2016 at 9:04 pm

Posted in Acupuncture

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