The Treatment of GERD With Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine

GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, is a condition where stomach contents flow back up into the esophagus.

The signs of GERD include:

• Heartburn that may occur after eating, when bending over, or after laying down
• Acid reflux
• Bitter taste in the mouth
• Chest pain
• Feeling that something is stuck in the throat
• Nausea after eating

Western treatment may consist of:

• Elevating the head during sleep
• Avoiding any foods that trigger symptoms such as alcohol or spicy foods
• Quitting smoking
• Antacids after eating

GERD has also been shown to possibly lead to further complications. If untreated it may cause:

• Dental problems from acid regurgitation
• Cough
• Changes in the lining of the esophagus that may cause cancer, a narrowing of the esophagus, or inflammation of the esophagus
• Irritation of the airways

In Chinese medicine, GERD is generally caused by wood-earth or liver-spleen disharmony mixed with heat. This is caused by the liver channel not flowing smoothly due to stress or blockage of Qi and the spleen channel not being able to perform its digestive functions. The heat is what causes the burning sensation and ability to eat certain foods.

An effective treatment plan in Chinese medicine will consist of acupuncture points and specific herbs that help clear heat, move your liver Qi, increase your spleen Qi, and stop acid from ascending up into the esophagus. Treatment will eliminate the need to sleep in an elevated position, acid regurgitation, eliminate the bitter taste in your mouth, get rid of the feeling of something stuck in the throat, and stop the nausea after eating. It will also eliminate the dependence on antacids. Thus, you may return to your normal activities and avoid the disruption that GERD causes.