Q: I’ve been suffering with severe heartburn for the last few years and have had little success with medications. Can acupuncture and herbal medicine treat heartburn?
A: Yes, definitely. Heartburn, or acid reflux, is effectively treated with acupuncture and herbal medicines allowing patients to have alternatives to drug therapy which can have several side effects. In addition to acupuncture and herbal medicinals, I always have my acid reflux patients complete a week-long diet diary which can pinpoint elements in the diet that increase acid reflux symptoms. Some of the diet and lifestyle pointers I give my patients are: avoid eating hot, spicy foods, don’t recline or lay down within three hours of eating, drink at least eight 9 ounce glasses of water daily, practice stress reduction as excessive stress levels increase acid production, and avoid cold, icy foods and beverages as these can also increase acid production. Also, excess abdominal weight creates abnormal upward pressure on the stomach which can cause acid to be pushed upward from the stomach and “reflux” into the esophagus (the “swallow tube”), so it’s important to maintain normal weight.