The most common symptoms experienced by people suffering from heart burn are chest pain, indigestion and acid reflux. In the USA, the incidence of heart burn is quite high and in fact a 2004 study reported that 20-30% of the population experience heartburn at least once a week. This is good news for shareholders of companies like Proctor and Gamble that make Prilosec as it can bring in huge profits. The CEO of Proctor and Gamble David Taylor earned in excess of USD $14,000,000 for 2016. Not all doctors and researchers are however, in favor though of indiscriminate use of medications that treat acid reflux. Medications such as Prilosec, Prevacid and Zegerid increases the risk of early death as reported in the New Zealand Herald.
Acupuncture on the other hand has been used for thousands of years in the treatment of heart burn. Even though modern Chinese medical physicians know that acupuncture has been used historically to treat acid reflux, there still seems to be a modern day trend to try demonstrate this to the scientific community. Liu Qi et al from Chongqing did exactly that and concluded with their research “that acupuncture significantly reduces instances of heartburn, acid regurgitation, chest pain, and indigestion”.
Their study used standardised simple acupuncture point combinations of
- Neiguan (PC6)
- Taichong (LV3)
- Gongsun (SP4)
- Zhongwan (CV12)
- Zusanli (ST36)
What is interesting about these points is that they are simple and formulaic and in a true traditional acupuncture clinic, there would be many other points to choose from to improve the individual diagnostic requirements of the patient.
Alan Jansson, traditional acupuncturist practising on Australia’s Gold Coast says “I rarely have used these points that were part of the research program. That is the problem with so much of the modern acupuncture research, it doesn’t take individual diagnosis of the patient into account. I for example, use direct moxibustion on the abdomen to treat acid reflux and most importantly needle what is known as shu acupuncture points on the back bladder meridian channel“.
Alan also said that “The acupuncture research on acid reflux has provided good news and makes people aware that an alternative treatment for people with acid reflux is available“.
Shareholders of drug companies that make acid reflux medications may not be so excited by the research of Doctor Ziyad Al-Aly, assistant professor of medicine at Washington University School of Medicine. He reported that “No matter how we sliced and diced the data from this large data set, we saw the same thing: there’s an increased risk of death among PPI [proton pump inhibitors] users”
The researchers found a 25 per cent increased risk of death in the PPI group [proton pump inhibitors] compared with the H2 blocker group.
Acupuncture NZ has hundreds of qualified experienced members throughout New Zealand that can treat acid reflux.
Will McLean and Jane Lyttleton in their 3 volume series of Clinical Handbook of Internal Medicine; The treatment of Disease with Traditional Chinese Medicine, have an extensive chapter on acid reflux in Volume 2.