Traditional Chinese Medicine – A Natural Treatment for Heartburn
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) the problem of heartburn is approached in a totally different way. The most common pattern (diagnosis) for heartburn in TCM puts the cause down to an imbalance between the liver and the stomach. This imbalance is most often due to an unhealthy lifestyle and poor diet.
The liver is responsible for keeping you on an emotional even keel. When you suffer prolonged periods of stress which make you feel irritable, angry and frustrated, your liver suffers and because of the very strong link between the stomach and the liver, this then has a direct impact on the functioning of the stomach. Emotional stress is believed to trigger a reaction which causes the vagus nerve to contract the muscles of the stomach and increase production of stomach acids. The link between stress and heartburn has not been directly proven but many people do report that their heartburn increases when they are experiencing excessive work pressures and/or overloaded schedules.
Problems with the stomach can be increased by eating the wrong foods. TCM therefore places the blame for heartburn on foods which are categorized as being “heating” foods. If you eat too much of these types of foods your stomach becomes overheated and it results in the uprising of the stomach Qi. Foods classified as heating foods include hot and spicy or fatty foods, tomatoes, citrus fruits, coffee, and alcohol. The link between these foods and heartburn is more established and advice to avoid these types of food will often be given by a Western medical practitioner.
A liver-stomach imbalance is not the only cause of heartburn and for a proper diagnosis you would have to see a qualified practitioner of TCM. They would look to provide you with a treatment plan to address the root cause of the problem and manage the symptoms until the problem is resolved. In TCM a wide range of treatments would be considered in drawing together the plan which would include Chinese herbal medicines and acupuncture as well as diet and lifestyle modifications. The video below gives a very comprehensive basic introduction to all the different compenents which make up Traditional Chinese Medicine but it is almost one hour long so you will need to set aside some to watch it.