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Treating GERD With Acupuncture

An interesting story about a gastroenterologist from Taiwan wanting to study acupuncture and an opening at an Australian hospital has led to a potentially useful and more natural treatment for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Scientists used acupuncture to treat GERD based on how they believed it would affect transient lower esophageal sphincter relaxations (TLESRs), known to be the most important mechanism of acid reflux in normal subjects and patients with GERD, in two studies.

Patients were treated with electrical acupoint stimulation -- a high-tech form of acupuncture -- with a GERD model imposed on normal subjects by inflating a balloon in their stomachs. In two separate studies, barely perceptible stimulation was applied at the acupoint known as Neiguan on the wrist, which reduced the number of TLESRs by 40 percent -- from six an hour to almost half that.

Electroacupuncture is relatively new and successful. In fact, it's been found to cut elevations in blood pressure by half. But, if you're not at all crazy about needles -- especially ones running electrical currents -- and want to stay away from proton pump inhibitors like Nexium, here are some safer, natural treatments that will do the trick.

EurekAlert August 30, 2005

American Journal of Physiology -- Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology, Vol. 298, No. 2, August 2005: 197-201