Reflux and Heartburn

Acupuncture treatment for  Reflux and Heartburn
Reflux and Heartburn

Reflux and heartburn are a common form of digestive complaint that our team often treats with Chinese medicine (CM). When experienced, Helicobacter pylori should always be excluded as a factor however, even after identification and medical treatment, reflux often does not clear entirely.

Our team has anecdotal evidence to suggest that antibiotic treatment for H. pylori followed by a CM treatment that strengthens digestive function and normalises gut biome, encourages positive long term results and gut health after H. pylori diagnosis and treatment. There have been some promising research to date in CM on the treatment of heartburn with acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine.

Acupuncture works by:

  • Inhibiting gastric and duodenal motility by activating sympathetic nerves via spinal reflexes, and increasing motility via the vagus nerve and supraspinal reflexes (Chang 2001; Takahashi 2006; Sehn 2006; Yao 2006; Noguchi 2008),
  • Altering acid secretion, and visceral pain (Takahashi 2006),
  • Improving delayed gastric emptying (Xu 2006),
  • Reducing inflammation, by promoting release of vascular and immunomodulatory factors (Zijlstra 2003),
  • Stimulating areas in the brain that are involved in gastric perception (Zeng 2009),
  • Inhibiting stress-induced pro-opiomelanocortin expression in the hypothalamus (Sun 2008),
  • Increasing vasoactive intestinal peptide and nitric oxide in plasma, gastric mucosal and bulb tissues, and elevating expression of vasoactive intestinal peptide in antral smooth muscle (Shen 2006),
  • Decreasing permeability of intestinal mucosa in patients with acute pancreatitis, and reducing accumulation of endogenous inflammatory mediators and vascular active substance in intestinal mucosa (Wang 2007).


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