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​Managing Acid Reflux with Acupuncture

When refluxed stomach acid touches the lining of the esophagus, it causes a burning sensation in the chest or throat called heartburn. The fluid may even be tasted in the back of the mouth, and this is called acid indigestion. Occasional heartburn is common but does not necessarily mean one has GERD. Heartburn that occurs more than twice a week may be considered GERD, and it can eventually lead to more serious health problems. 

In the perspective of Traditional Chinese Medicine, GERD often occurs when there is dysfunction of the Stomach system due to disharmony between the Liver system and the Stomach system or other causes.The natural flow of the stomach channel flows down.When the flow is reversed, symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, acid reflux and dry heaves occur.A hiatal hernia may contribute and other factors such as stress, alcohol use, overweight, pregnancy, smoking, and certain foods can be associated with reflux events.
​Issues with GERD medication
Almost all antacid medications consist of either aluminum hydroxide, magnesium hydroxide, sodium bicarbonate or some combination of these chemical compounds to neutralize the acid in your stomach. The downside of neutralizing stomach acid is that your stomach can no longer efficiently digest your food. It also causes problems for the good bacteria that live in your digestive track. When your stomach senses that acid levels are being reduced it automatically makes more hydrochloric acid. This of course causes acid reflux heartburn symptoms to increase. This cycling is hard on your digestive system and makes your life miserable.

The most commonly prescribed acid reflux heartburn medicines including Nexium, Prilosec and Prevacid are only intended to be used for short periods. However, most people are using them for months at a time. The drug manufactures never conduct tests to determine the long-term side effects of these drugs. It is well known within the medical community that taking these medications increases your risk of contracting pneumonia. It is understood that taking these medications reduces stomach acid and beneficial bacteria that kill the harmful bacteria.
Earlier this year, the FDA warned that use of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) -- including popular brands such as Nexium, Prilosec, and Prevacid -- may increase the risk of Clostridium difficile associated diarrhea.Apparently this is due to long term use which these medications were not created for.More disturbing is that PPIs have been associated with other adverse events in the past, including resistance to clopidogrel (Plavix), low magnesium levels resulting in a greater risk of leg spasms, arrhythmias, and seizures, greater risk of osteoporotic fractures from chronic use, and cardiac birth defects when used during pregnancy.
The worst part of using medication to control acid reflux/GERD is the probability that a patient will have to use these products for long term control of their symptoms.Because GERD medications literally wipe out all stomach acid, if a patient were to discontinue use of medication, the stomach would over produce acid, creating worse previous symptoms.
Anytime you take any kind of medication you leave yourself open to side effects. This can be minor or in some extreme cases life threatening. Many people do not know that some antacid leave you more vulnerable to food poisoning. The use of antacids affects the levels of good bacteria that normally protect the body from bacterial invasions. Certain enzyme secretions necessary for proper digestion are also affected by the use of antacids. They can also interfere with the absorption of vitamins, micronutrients and calcium compounds.
Issues with GERD medication is that food does not properly digest, the acid in the stomach over produces and medications eliminate the good bacteria in the digestive track.
Acupuncture can be safely used to help eliminate GERD.Patients have reported relief in as few as one treatment after an acupuncture treatment.This is dependent on how chronic and the duration of medication.Acupuncture can help with GERD by stimulating certain acupuncture points to reinforce the downward flow of the stomach channel.


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