Thursday, December 27, 2012

Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease or GERD

This time of the year we have a tendency to over indulge, especially when it comes to food. Along with the desserts, appetizers, fried food, and so on, many of us experience heartburn or acid reflux. The medical term for acid reflux is Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease or GERD. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), such as acupuncture and herbal medicine, can offer an effective and natural treatment for acid reflux.

Your acupuncturist will place thin needles into various parts of your body to regulate the flow of Qi (energy) to restore organs, such as the spleen, liver, heart, stomach and kidneys, to their normal function.

During the busy holiday season, if you cannot get in for a treatment here are some points you can use to help yourself.

• PC 6 (inner gate) is located on the palm side of you wrist, about 2 thumb widths above the wrist crease and in the center of the arm. Use the thumb of the opposite hand to apply firm pressure on the point; inhale and exhale deeply for a few minutes while applying pressure.

• ST 36 (three mile) is located on the lateral (outside) side of the lower leg, four fingers width from below the lower border of the kneecap and one finger width off the shin bone on the outside. Apply firm pressure for about a minute.

Regarding herbal remedies, your TCM practitioner will need to diagnose the cause of your reflux. For example, acid reflux may be caused by a TCM condition known as stomach fire, which indicates that excessive heat is flowing into your stomach and irritating it. Another cause for acid reflux could be an imbalance in the liver. One function of the liver, according to TCM, is to control the proper flow of Qi throughout the body. Qi flows through specific pathways, known as meridians, to ensure that all organs of the body are functioning properly. If the liver is not functioning at maximum potential, medical problems can develop in the body.

A number of factors may contribute to acid reflux:

• Obesity
• Smoking
• Pregnancy
• Consumption of certain types of foods (such as spicy foods)

Lifestyle changes can cure or greatly reduce symptoms:

• Eat smaller meals throughout the day
• Do not eat right before bedtime
• A glass of warm water with lemon juice first thing in the morning
• Saltine crackers first thing in the morning
• 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar mixed with 8 oz. of water
• If you feel you ate something that caused your stomach to be upset, then try chewing on a piece of ginger or drink ginger tea to help your stomach feel better.
• Most of all, reduce the stress in your life

For long term and lasting results, I would encourage you to talk to a Chinese Medicine practitioner for specifics on your reflux symptoms.

I would like to wish you and your family a Happy and Healthy Holiday Season!