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Acupuncture Alleviates GERD And Heartburn

Researchers demonstrate that acupuncture is effective for the alleviation of GERD and associated gastrointestinal diseases.

Researchers conclude that acupuncture significantly reduces instances of heartburn, acid regurgitation, chest pain, and indigestion. Additionaly, the acupuncture and electroacupuncture techniques used to achieve the positive patient outcomes are easily implemented in both outpatient and inpatient settings.

CV12 (Zhongwan)

Acupuncture alleviates gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Based on research, investigators conclude that acupuncture produces positive patient outcomes for patients with a special type of GERD, called non-erosive reflux disease (NERD). The researchers determined that acupuncture is successful in the treatment of NERD and associated esophageal dysmotility (Liu et al.). Acupuncture significantly improved scoring indices for esophageal dysmotility, GERD symptoms, and lower esophageal sphincter pressure. Acupuncture successful reduced the frequency and intensity of heartburn, regurgitation, chest pain, and dysphagia (difficulty or discomfort with swallowing).

NERD is a major subcategory of GERD, a common gastric motility disorder that affects the LES (lower esophageal sphincter). The LES is the ring of muscle between the esophagus and stomach that acts as a crucial anti-reflux barrier between the stomach and esophagus. It is involved in the contraction of the distal esophagus, which is paramount in transporting food into the stomach after initial consumption.

Esophageal dysmotility is a major cause of GERD (Wong et al.). In GERD patients, the stomach and duodenum’s contents regurgitate into the esophagus thereby causing heartburn or a variety of acid indigestion complications. Treatment with proton pump inhibitor (PPI) medications is commonly used for mitigating acid indigestion, but is yet unable to treat NERD with esophageal dysmotility. Martinucci et al. note that “actual therapeutic options are limited because there is no specific pharmacological intervention that reliably restores LES function.” As a result, acupuncture remains an important treatment option. Let’s take a look at the results of the investigation. Thirty-two NERD patients with esophageal dysmotility were involved in the study. Patients received acupuncture treatment for a total of four weeks.

In a related investigation, Heilongjiang Academy of Chinese Medicine Sciences researchers conclude that acupuncture is effective in treating functional dyspepsia (indigestion). The clinical trial finds acupuncture effective in producing significant positive patient outcomes. In a fifteen day follow-up after completion of the controlled study, subjects receiving acupuncture had a total effective rate of 80.6%. The control group that received oral medications (domperidone) had an 87.5% total effective rate. However, after 30 days, the treatment total effective rate of the domperidone group stayed at the 87.5% peak. The acupuncture group saw a surge to a 93.5% rate. Additionally, the acupuncture group had significant improvements in the gastric emptying rate and FD symptom reduction.

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