Heartburn or acid reflux is a digestive issue which affects about 45% of the US adult population each month; some of them (about 20%) experience this problem at least once each week. The Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics and the Alimentary Pharmacology and Therapeutics, both US journals, released studies denoting the effectiveness of acupuncture as a treatment for a chronic type of acid reflux known as GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease.
Acid reflux develops when liquid or food in the abdomen reflows back into the esophagus. The contents and acid in the stomach leads to irritation of the esophageal lining causing the usual clinical condition of heartburn. Dietary and lifestyle changes including avoiding nicotine, alcohol and caffeine, not lying down a couple of hours after eating, consuming smaller portions during meals and weight loss are very much recommended to help prevent or properly manage GERD.
Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine
One of the most important tools of traditional Chinese medicine is acupuncture. Acupuncture, according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, is slowly but surely being accepted as a viable form of treatment since the early 70’s. When certain parts of the body are stimulated with very fine needles, the effect is the return of good health. Acupuncture should only be practiced by practitioners with the proper credentials in order for it to be safe and effective. However, even under a qualified and licensed practitioner, minor bruising can occur especially on the site of the treatment. The bruising may last after a couple of weeks or even sooner.
Findings of Studies
It was reported in the Journal of Gastroenterology, published in 2006, that acupuncture is found to be potent in the treatment of GERD because it helps inhibit acid secretion in the abdomen and promotes gastrointestinal motility. Also, another study printed in the Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics in which 30 patients with GERD participated showed that combining acupuncture with the use of proton-pump inhibitor medications resulted in superior outcomes compared to the doubling of intake of medications.
Talk to your doctor first before embarking on an alternative type of treatment for your acid reflux. Your body may be suffering from a structural problem such as hiatal hernia that may aggravate your condition. You may require several weeks of acupuncture treatments to get really good results. Your acupuncturist may require you to undergo more regular treatment sessions if you manifest really severe symptoms.