Acupuncture Offers a Natural Solution for Indigestion
When indigestion is more than just an occasional problem, acupuncture treatments can ease your symptoms. Treatments may help you decrease your reliance on over-the-counter or prescription medications or even eliminate medication completely.
Common Acupuncture Symptoms
Do you feel nauseated and bloated after a meal? Although these symptoms of indigestion may not pose a serious health problem, they can make you feel awful. Indigestion can also cause pain or burning in the upper part of your abdomen and make you feel full soon after you've begun eating. Belching may momentarily relieve symptoms, but the relief doesn't last for long.
You may be more likely to develop indigestion if:
- Your meal contains fatty, greasy, or spicy foods.
- You drink a lot of coffee, caffeinated or carbonated drinks, or drink alcoholic beverages often.
- You overeat.
- You eat too quickly.
- You're stressed.
- You smoke.
- You take certain medications, including antibiotics, ibuprofen, or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
How Acupuncture Can Help
Acupuncture soothes and resets a gastrointestinal system that's become unbalanced. Indigestion can occur if QI, the vital life force that travels through your body in a series of meridians, becomes blocked at some point. These blockages may alter the normal function of your stomach, spleen, or liver, increasing your risk of indigestion.
Acupuncture treatments clear blockages by inserting hair-thin needles into your skin. Treatments improve blood flow to your digestive organs and improve nerve function. If your nerves aren't functioning properly, it may be more difficult for your stomach to digest food.
Increased stomach acid production can cause some of your unpleasant symptoms. Acupuncture decreases the amount of acid in your stomach and helps control the contractions that move food through your gastrointestinal tract. It can also ease bloating, pain, and inflammation, regulate your intestines, and prevent overgrowth of yeast.
Treatments not only ease physical symptoms but offer an effective way to control stress. Acupuncture decreases the production of the stress hormone, cortisol, while triggering the release of endorphins. Endorphins are natural "feel good" chemicals that relieve pain and help you feel calm.
Acupuncture is often combined with herbal medications and lifestyle modifications to optimize the effects of the treatments.
Acupuncture Offers an Effective Treatment for Indigestion and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disorder (GERD)
A recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine examined whether acupuncture could reduce indigestion symptoms. Participants received real or sham acupuncture treatments over four weeks. The study evaluated how well acupuncture treated three common symptoms of indigestion: fullness, bloating, and early satiation (feeling full even though you haven't eaten much).
After treatment, only 52 percent of sham participants reported an improvement in symptoms compared to 83 percent of the people who received acupuncture treatment. Twenty-eight percent of the acupuncture group experienced complete relief of their early satiation, fullness, and bloating symptoms.
Some people who have indigestion also experience GERD symptoms. The disorder occurs when stomach acids travel backward into the esophagus, irritating the sensitive lining. In addition to heartburn, these symptoms can include chest pain, coughing, bad breath, hoarseness, or a feeling that something is stuck in your throat.
In a study published in the Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine, 30 control group subjects were treated with medications while the remaining 30 study participants received acupuncture treatment. At the conclusion of the six-week study, the acupuncture group had fewer symptoms and a reduction in acid and bile reflux.
Do you suffer from frequent indigestion? Why not try acupuncture?! Call our office to schedule your appointment.