Acid Reflux From an Acupuncturist’s Perspective

For more than 5,000 years, nutrition in Oriental medicine has been and continues to be based on the balance and harmony of the body, as well as understanding the nature of food and how it affects the body. Oriental medicine focuses on the triad of mind, body and spirit working together to bring about harmony and balance.

Thus, when a patient presents symptoms and complaints of GERD, acid reflux, indigestion,

irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), diverticulitis, diverticulosis or other gastrointestinal (GI) disorders as defined by Western diagnoses, Oriental medicine not only treats the symptoms through acupuncture, herbal medicine and essential nutrition based on the constitution of the person, but searches for the root cause of the problem. Treating just the symptoms does not bring harmony and balance to the body.

When treating a patient with any GI symptoms, acupuncturists delve into other factors that may be causing the symptoms, such as stress, lack of sleep, relationship or work issues and too little or too much exercise, as well as the type, quality and quantity of foods. Emotions play a huge role in our digestive health. Frequently we may find ourselves “chewing” on an issue, “swallowing” the words we want to say or habitually “stuffing” our emotions.

In many cases, the cause of the symptoms, especially acid reflux and indigestion, are not from too much hydrochloric acid or pepsin, both of which are needed for digestion, but from too little. The chronic use of antacids and acid-blocking drugs can contribute to long-term problems and lead to more complex health issues. If this is the case, as determined through questioning, examination and application of Oriental medical principles, then we begin healing the gut with appropriate herbal medicine, acupuncture and nutrition.

Many health issues are directly related to poor nutrition and digestive issues. Oriental medicine nutritional concepts help to reestablish a healthy digestive system, so the body can begin to heal itself. Because every individual is unique, each treatment session and herbal formula is designed for that person alone and may continue until the GI tract is healed, which is possible in most cases.

Patti Carey is a licensed acupuncturist, Chinese herbalist and the owner of Patti Carey, L.Ac., located in Plano. For more information, call 972-704-3730 or visit

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