Acid Reflux – Traditional Chinese Medicine And Acupuncture


hello and welcome to traditional Chinese medicine my name is Cristina acaba thanasis I am a licensed acupuncturist here in the state of Hawaii and I am nationally certified under the national certification Commission for acupuncture and Oriental Medicine I am also the head the executive director of the Hawaii Oriental medicine and acupuncture Association thank you so much for joining me today I am going to talk a little bit about acid reflux also known as GERD ter D I know that several people suffer from this and mostly it affects men the statistics say that up to fifteen percent of people feel acid reflux symptoms once a month and seven percent of people feel acid reflux symptoms daily or weekly we know that part of it is caused by stress and part of it is caused by diet there are so many stressors in our lives these days and we just have to try to control the ones we can so that our body can function why can some people eat tons of jalapeno peppers and not have acid reflux whereas others eat one spicy meal and they are popping zant acts like candy that is because that everybody’s Constitution is slightly different their heat and her cold level is different and how many stressors they have on their plate until something gives when man has a history of pretty Tabasco sauce on every single thing he ate breakfast lunch and dinner eggs rice and spam musubi and he was fine for 50 some years until all five children moved from the wife’s house into his house and he was responsible for raising children from elementary school through high school all by himself and then stomach couldn’t handle the added excitement and/or stress of raising all the children and therefore he couldn’t take the spicy anymore and he had acid reflux so whatever symptoms you’re suffering from yes we will try to get some of those under control but the easiest thing to do is to control the stress that’s on your body through what we put in our mouth many people who feel acid reflux will will describe different kinds of symptoms so some people will even be given antacids though they’re not experiencing the symptoms because the doctor may have done an endoscopy or looked at the throat and seen signs of damage from acid so there’s a wide range of symptoms and/or you can be asymptomatic with acid reflux some people describe the feeling in their stomach as a hollow or empty feeling some people say that they have a ravenous appetite well it seems like they’re always hungry they have that little something like hunger but something like heat or hollow something like burning as if you just ate spicy food that kind of heat that you can feel in the stomach and some people feel just outright pain pain and/or stabbing or cramping some people feel that this the burning sensation is coming up their esophagus so they feel it all the way down from their throat to their stomach and some people feel that they’re having panic attacks or anxiety attacks when they actually are having acid reflux attacks which is very interesting some people may be experiencing post nasal drip they’re calling it and/or phlegm they’re coughing up phlegm or they can’t cough up anything but in Chinese medicine we call something may ho Chi something like pit plum in the throat that you can’t quite all down and you can’t quite spit up you’re just constantly clearing your throat mm hmm and this might be due to the acid that’s coming up from the stomach and irritating the back of the throat now causing some mucus buildup that is trying to coat and cover the irritated skin some people may have the acid flavor in the back of their mouths especially when they wake up in the morning or after meals and other people may feel dizziness and or nausea so all of these symptoms can be attributed to acid reflux but we need to get to the bottom of it and see why these symptoms are rising so that we do not have to stick with the Western medical solution of one or several antacids after every meal or every single day Western medicine says that the stomach lining has been damaged by acid and/or foods and you just need to keep the acid level under control by using an antacid pill if you take antacid pills sometimes you’ll be able to get off of them but more likely you will be on them for the rest of your life which doesn’t seem like a very positive outlook we’re going to be much easier to take away the inflammatory our the irritants and/or the inflammatory foods help your stomach lining heal and be better all around if you are taking antacids to control the stomach acid and/or any of the symptoms we just discussed that is only a band aid and this inflammation is not limited to your stomach it is going all the way through your digestive system and you know that your digestive system takes nutrients and feeds every single tissue and organ and gland in your entire body so if you’re having acid reflux the irritation that’s in your entire digestive them is being taken to very vital organs like your heart and brain liver kidneys skin eyes and whatever tissue you can think of so it would be much healthier overall you will feel better in probably many different symptoms if we can get to the bottom and take out this inflammation and heal your stomach lining the Chinese explanation the Chinese pathology has several different ones first of all it can be from people have a tendency to overeat I know that people are busy and they will skip meals and they may eat only one big meal when they come home they skip breakfast work through lunch and eat one big meal all at once that is quite damaging to the digestive system and the lining and that may be causing food stagnation in the stomach we might be seeing the problem by hot or inflammatory foods in the diet and many Western medical doctors and internet sites will tell you to stop eating acid things like tomato vinegar spicy coffee etc and that is one big irritant as well stress and liver stagnation causing the stomach to be weak this one I am sure is intertwined into every single person that comes into the office it is like we discussed how many stress factors you can handle before your stomach will start to talk back to you and say you’re pushing me too far in Chinese medicine the liver is where we hold our stress and it will come over and will tack the stomach and the spleen we can see this in several different kinds of symptoms whether it would be acid reflux and stomach ache or we can see it in people who get nervous and that anxiety and stress builds up in their liver and maybe they have loose stools people with acid reflux may be suffering from constipation or loose stools it really depends on how much heat is in the body and then sometimes it can be caused by the justice system being drained of Chi if we work over work and we’re too hard and we’re too long hours we may not have enough energy to go around to maintain our work level and have enough energy to digest the food that we eat so then we have spleen and stomach Qi deficiency and this one is a little bit more rare here in the US the types of syndromes or patterns the subcategories of acid reflux that I see mostly in patients is the idea of damp heat the people that are eating very heavy meals and lots of damp heat foods which I’ll go over with you in minute the next one is eun deficiency and the third one is the liver stagnation that is attacking the spleen and stomach so those I see are the big three and we can hopefully help you today decide which one you are and what kind of changes you should be making today the easiest way to look at these three different syndromes is to look at your tongue we want to have a nice beautiful pink tongue with a thin white coating like mine if you look at your tongue and you see that it is cherry red with a thick white or yellow coating on it then you are type number 1 damp heat in the stomach there can be different degrees of heat and dampness but if we go to the extreme and I see this all the time the tongue itself is very red and the coating on top of it is very white snow white this is the damp heat and these people usually indulge in more rich foods like we and dairy and different cheeses alcohol heavier oily rich foods or salty fried foods you know who you are and these people will usually be stuff in a different kind of way the in deficiency patients will come in with a possibly a red tongue but the main issue that we see is patches of their tongue coding are scraped off and these people have damaged the lining in that we don’t have a thick mucosal build up anymore it’s patches of intestinal lining are also thinner and weakening from not having enough moisture if you will so this idea of en deficiency you can see missing patches on the tongue the easiest way to tell the liver stagnation patients is to look at the tongue it might look completely normal this is possibly more of a chi problem as we explained that she or energy in your body binds up in the liver and it comes over in and attacks the stomach and spleen these people may have a slight purple tinge to their tongue but I may have purple dots or purple patches on the side but the easiest way to tell is their pulses will feel extremely tight and jumping we want the pulse to be nice and soft the previous two pulses the damn heat pulse will feel extremely slippery and fast and the even deficiency pulse sometimes can be slippery and sometimes it can be thin so this is the easiest way to tell what kind of acid reflux you have and then we have to go and see how we’re going to treat that acupuncture herbs and dietary changes are the easiest way to start and then we probably have to target a little bit of the stress that is causing you to topple over I know that we have a lot on our plates and people like to get everything done including myself and I’m scolded by my patients all the time but we try to we need to find balance in that so if we come at it from an herbal perspective we need to either take down the heat we definitely need to build up the mucosal lining in the stomach and the intestines not just the stomach we cannot put bandaid on it and then we might need to take care of the liver if the liver is coming over and attacking this leaning stomach these are a selection of some of the herbs that I would use though every formula is personalized to your specific set of symptoms tongue and pulse that’s the beauty of Chinese medicine we do not prescribe wine and acid for everyone it is very personalized so that you can feel your absolute best we just have to get to the root of why most people has some degree of inflammation buildup in their stomachs so I’m usually always going to use some kind of herb like the Guru here which is a kind of bamboo it tastes lovely no problem it’s cooling and it takes out the inflammation or in Chinese medicine we call that dampness this herb also is very calming which is an added benefit so we get the calm from this herb and then we also can stop nausea this herb is excellent it has so many added benefits we get so many birds with one stone with the bamboo that’s perfect this one is a moon this is a root that comes in a bulb and it’s cut into small slices like this and it’s a bamboo is also cooling and it helps take down that dampness phlegm or inflammation these small slices are going to also be excellent for the people who are clearing the throat all the time at home so the tub a mu will not only help to reduce the stomach acid and take down that inflammation but it’s going to work directly on the people who have the clearing of their throat now yes when you take down the information but we also need to nourish the stomach in and these herbs over here are the absolute best so sure whoo it’s very hard to get in the whole farm this very expensive herb so we buy in powder we can also use you to these two herbs are marvelous for nourishing the stomach lining helping it regrow as fast as possible u2 is one of the most fragrant herbs in my opinion that we have in the pharmacy it smells like bread and butter it’s really sweet and it tastes wonderful so these are nice and cooling and nourishing to the een they will be excellent at replenishing the intestinal lining and then it depends on how much heat you have so when we looked at the body of the tongue and we’re looking to see how wet it is the rhetoric is the more of these kind of herbs are going to need to add in to clear the heat my tongue is mostly a nourishing vegan herbs like these back here but my dome can also take out heat especially in the stomach so it can make that red tone become pink more cool and shinsen is even stronger this one will really flush out the fire and it will nourish the in as well and it will cool the blood so my don’t also have the added benefit of cooling the heart Ian which will be calming so we try to look for as much calming double duty herbs as we can these little tweaks right here that you see these are called Tahu and Thai who is usually used in colds for the exterior that’s the category that it falls under though it has many other uses and the way that we would be using it for acid reflux is to clear the heat circulate the Chi and take down that liver stagnation so it helps to get everything moving around in the liver cool it down and calm the liver down so that it stops attacking the spleen muli is another herb that we can put it’s in powder form here and this will also help to reduce the acid in the stomach and take down the liver fire and calm the people so altogether these herbs and or different ones like Shan yo if I want to further help the stomach lining we can see what symptoms they’re having if their tongue coating is extremely thick and their tongue is red in order to get that dampness down fast I might use a little bit of herbs like choose the Wong Jing Wang nian Huang Bo to see if I can flush that out a little bit faster or if the nausea and dizziness is a little more extreme we might want to put in something like bun shot depending on how much tongue coding they have and we usually use 10 to 15 different herbs in a concoction you can boil the whole herbs you see here or if you don’t have time because you’re too stressed out we are not in the business of giving more stress we try to take it away so we always have the option of powder that you can just stir into water and drink it’s very easy and it tastes just fine so these are some of the herbs that we would use to help patients take down the heat and replenish their stomach lining if we do not do the diet at the same time it does not work well it just doesn’t we take heat out you put heat right then and until you can retire and have no stress the easiest thing to do is to take out the stress of the diet so what are the biggest irritants yes I’m sure that most of you are already aware and you can feel it immediately when you eat things like spicy foods and tomatoes vinegar citrus the lemon and lime sometimes it’s okay oranges are usually more aggravating and then alcohol possibly fried foods and if your stomach is really weak raw vegetables might even be hard for you to digest but what Western medicine is missing and it is the key to acid reflux over and over and over I see people especially men its wheat and dairy one man was so wonderful he had a full time job he was a single parent raising a teenager as I know I was a handful and as a teenager and so this poor guy was going to bread and milk for his snack when he felt anxious that was the worst thing he could have possibly been doing that was irritating his stomach people come in and say yes but they say drink a glass of milk to coach your stomach do not drink a glass of milk to curse your stomach oh my cause more information and will set your acid reflux off I promise when we take all of the inflammatory foods out and we switch them for other foods you can still have bread we just make it rice bread you can still have milk people usually can find some kind of alternative milk that suits them if you like skim milk there’s rice milk if you like creamy milk whole milk there’s almond milk and there’s a whole slew of flax milk hemp milk whatever you like you can try one of each and mix them all together until you find something we can usually find substitutes for everything what you do need to focus on eating is like everybody hears me say I like a broken record is green vegetables green vegetables are the only thing that will help your stomach lining heal and we’ll keep it healed so inevitably you will go back to things like bread and milk in some form or another wheat and dairy will sneak into your diet and you will notice almost immediately where this man I just saw this week came in and he said I was perfect and I said okay why were you perfect until the last two days your formula did not change it was the same for the whole week can we review what you ate he went to a party with Hawaiian food but he was very careful he ate this list that and at the end of the meal he had a piece of cake cake it is wheat sugar so wheat dairy and sugar oh he didn’t even think about it then it had wheat and dairy and sugar in it it’s just a matter of realizing what we need to avoid and what we can eat and people can feel so much better as soon as the stomach lining heals you can handle a little of those foods and nothing will happen but until the stomach lining is nice and strong again we try not to add oil to the fire and aggravate it until it’s nice and strong acupuncture is excellent for regulating the digestive system and helping it heal we usually do make one and a point on the foot goal Sue and those points together are an excellent strong combination for tackling any heart and stomach conditions together so heart meaning the anxiety that’s bringing on and then stomach being the actual stomach lining where the irritation is so we get to pursue Sunstone it’s beautiful and those are two points that we usually use for acid reflux there’s also points on the outside of the knee that will help to reduce acid production in the stomach and opinion if you have heat in the digestive system and the thick tongue coating we might do points like chew chew or points on the legs we might work on the 270 points Shang Shu Shu Xiao Jie’s you targeting the stomach and the intestines to try to get the Chi flowing and moving and take out that inflammation and then we might use calming points to help the patient through whatever is stressing them out in the beginning they can also use these points in between appointments and or we can put ear seeds which people love for calming it’s a small seed attached to a piece of tape and we put it on the calming points in the ear and or for the stomach and you can press on those and people immediately it just takes the edge off a little bit when we think about taking the stress off from the body we also need to get down and dig a little bit more and see why they’re in the predicament they are and to begin with maybe the man who had all five children live with him all of a sudden needed to ask if possible for a little bit help since he’s not used to raising children and he all of a sudden became a single parent of five whereas another man came in and felt a little bit overwhelmed at the task of pain a huge mortgage and he felt overwhelmed so whatever we can do to face the stressors and take the fear factor way anxiety and scared feeling will kill us it will make our cortisol levels go up that’s the hormone that stress just triggers to release from the adrenal glands on top of our kidneys that is a blowtorch of inflammation through our entire body whether you put a piece of spicy jalapeno food in your mouth or not you just have that stress and it’s a it’s a flame of fire going through you anyway so I like to talk with people and we get down to what are the stressors what can we take off our plate what’s the worst case scenario that can happen and we try to make peace with that so that we can manage what’s on our plate any stressors that come your way and a little bit more of a calm way and that way we can give the stomach a stret a little bit of relief but we can also give a relief to your heart and your kidneys and your liver and all the other organs that are suffering along acid reflux is just one sign that something is going off I promise that the stress is causing other problems in the body and if you have a cleaner diet and you have one less stress for your body to worry about you will be getting a full body help because your just going to be helping every tissue in your body I thank you so much for joining us today I love helping people with any condition especially people with acid reflux because it’s so easy to reverse and you don’t have to suffer from that please give us a call we would love to help you and if we’re not in your area give us a call and we will help you find somebody who can because Chinese medicine is excellent for this condition and thank you again for watching until next time Mahalo..

If you’re new to Acid Professor we focus on not just useless advice but actually doing something about it. We look at how to stop heartburn within 48 hours rather than just treating the symptoms constantly.


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  • I am a TCM herbal student and I was wondering if you could write out the pinyin names of these herbs so I can look them up (…figuring out spellings from listening to properly pronounced Chinese is really tough!!),,,

    And by the way, I’d like to say thx– I’m learning tons about being a clinician from watching these videos– I have a client right now suffering from GERD and I get frustrated cos she won’t change her diet enough to clear the damp heat from her stomach… I like the gentle way you are encouraging but gently chiding in explaining that fact that if people won’t meet you halfway that the herbs and acupuncture just won’t work that well 🙂

  • You’re videos lack attention to detail. Tell me, how are people supposed to know when you reference in Chinese a random herb on your table.. How are people supposed to know. You’re videos are terrible in this aspect

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