Acid Reflux / Heartburn / GERD
On this page you can find a brief discussion about acid reflux/heartburn/GERD according to Chinese medicine principles, the possible causes of this condition in terms of Chinese medicine diagnosis, and the treatment protocol at our clinic.
Please keep in mind that Chinese medicine is very different in principles, concepts, language, and treatment methods from western medicine. The information here is intended for the lay people who have no knowledge about Chinese medicine, therefore this discussion must be limited in scope and depth. The purpose is to impart the relevant information and to help you gain a general understanding, from your standpoint as a potential patient of Chinese medicine, how Chinese medicine views and diagnoses this condition of interest and what you can expect from a treatment if you decide to become a patient of our clinic.
Below are brief explanations of some common terms and concepts in Chinese medicine diagnosis that you would come across in a reading. This also helps you to understand better the discussion on this page.
- Qi - means energy. Qi is the universal energy that pervades within and without us everywhere in this realm of existence. Strictly speaking in our body, qi is the vital force that causes all movements, activities, functions, growth, development, control, check and balance, nourishment, protection, and transformation.
- Yin - pertains to the material basis of our body.
- Yang - pertains to the energetic, functional aspect of our body.
- Damp - refers to moisture in the body. The mentioning of damp in a diagnosis usually refers to an excessive accumulation that consequently produces problems.
- Heat, cold - temperature in our body. The mentioning of temperature in a diagnosis usually indicates an extreme level of imbalance.
- Wind - exists naturally in our body. The mentioning of wind in a diagnosis indicates an imbalance has occurred which causes the activity of wind to become excessive or in severe cases out of control.
- Meridian - another term for energy channel.
According to Chinese medicine, acid reflux/heartburn/GERD are conditions of rebellious qi stoking upwards, going counter to the normal movement of digestive qi which is downwards. This condition is commonly present in chronic stress cases.
Acid reflux is the result of one or more of the following imbalances:
- Qi stagnation of liver, stomach, heart, and gallbladder channels
- Blood stagnation (if pain feels stabbing)
- Excessive heat in stomach and/or heart
- Excessive heat in liver and gallbladder (if sour taste is pronounced)
- Spleen qi deficiency
In treating acid reflux/heartburn/GERD, we use acupuncture and Chinese herbs to achieve the following effects:
- Open the energy system.
- Unblock stuck energy in the channels.
- Move qi and blood
- Clear heat.
- Guide the qi to flow downwards.
- Fortify yin and qi.
The normal course of treatment is six weekly sessions and followed by a maintenance program. Prevention requires attention and changes to the diet. Stressors in one's life must also be controlled and eliminated.