Acupuncture for Acid Reflux: Information on Acid Reflux and the Benefits of Acupuncture


At the Santa Barbara Herb Clinic, you’ll have the opportunity to undergo acupuncture for acid reflux. Acid reflux can be somewhat common, and it can range from uncomfortable to potentially cancer-causing. Thus, treating it is of utmost importance. However, treatment isn’t always easy or simple, and that’s where acupuncture can come in. In the case of acid reflux, acupuncture can function both as an alternative treatment as well as a complementary one.


acid reflux
Photo via Pixabay


What you need to know about acid reflux

Acid reflux is also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), heartburn, acid indigestion, or pyrosis. The condition manifests as a burning pain in the lower chest — a pain that results from stomach acid moving up into the esophagus.


This is a somewhat common issue that many people experience once in a while. However, when acid reflux starts occurring more than twice a week, it has likely developed into a disease such as GERD. There are also certain foods and habits that can increase the likelihood of you experiencing acid reflux.


You can take medications such as H2 blockers, which are formulated to help reduce acid production in the stomach, as well as reduce the potential damage that acid can cause. However, you can also undergo acupuncture as a complement or alternative to these medications.



Our stomachs have hydrochloric acid, which can be quite strong. It helps the stomach digest food and protect from bacteria. The stomach has a protective lining that keeps the negative effects of hydrochloric acid at bay, but this lining doesn’t extend into the esophagus. Thus, when acid reflux occurs, there is a painful burning sensation involved.


One cause of acid reflux is the failure of a muscle called the gastroesophageal sphincter to perform its function properly. The gastroesophageal sphincter allows food to enter the stomach and keeps the food from making its way back into the esophagus. When this muscle fails, however, acid reflux can occur.


Another possible cause is a hiatal hernia. The hiatus is a wall of muscle that separates the abdomen from the chest cavity. Normally, the esophagus goes through the hiatus and connects to the stomach. However, when a hiatal hernia occurs, the stomach intrudes into the chest instead. This can cause acid reflux, let small bits of food back up, and even cause bad breath and difficulty swallowing.


Risk factors

Unfortunately, if you have a hiatal hernia, there’s not much you can do to solve the problem at the source. However, if it’s your habits that are causing your acid reflux, some lifestyle changes may be in order. Obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, smoking, and eating habits may all increase the risk of developing acid reflux.


Acid reflux may also occur due to pregnancy, certain medications, certain foods, or eating large meals.


When to see a doctor

If you’ve made the necessary lifestyle changes and taken the necessary medications, but you’re still experiencing symptoms, it may be necessary to see a doctor. You should also go see your doctor if you’ve been losing weight for seemingly no reason, getting food stuck in your throat, and having heartburn for three or more consecutive days.


Your doctor may prescribe medicine for you, but if the symptoms come back after you’ve finished your medication, you may need long-term prescriptions. You also have the option of acupuncture if it seems that nothing is working, or if you simply want the experience. Before you book an acupuncture appointment, however, make sure to speak to your physician about your options.


acupuncture and medical advice
Talk to your doctor first before booking your first acupuncture appointment. Photo via Pixabay.


Acupuncture for acid reflux

There may be a chance that you won’t be responsive to medications prescribed to you for acid reflux. Fortunately, researchers have found that acupuncture is an effective alternative for when medications aren’t working. There is also evidence that acupuncture can help improve the function of esophageal muscles that regulate the flow of stomach acid.


Acupuncture is generally safe, though it may result in some bruising at the needle insertion sites as well as a feeling of heaviness. However, these side effects go away shortly, and more severe side effects are very rare and are usually the result of an inexperienced or unlicensed acupuncturist.


The basics of acupuncture

Acupuncture is one of the most important components of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). According to the principles of TCM, our health is governed by the flow of qi (pronounced “chee”), an energy force that flows through points in our body called meridians. When this flow gets out of sync or is concentrated around certain meridians, it results in ill health. Acupuncture is meant to restore the flow of qi and thus restore good health.


At the Santa Barbara Herb Clinic, you can expect all-natural and holistic healthcare, including acupuncture. Our owner and Licensed Acupuncturist, Tram Pham, has a Master’s Degree in Chinese Medicine from Yo San University. She also has years of experience providing treatment based on the age-old principles of TCM.


acupuncture in Santa Barbara


How acupuncture can help treat acid reflux

There is evidence that acupuncture can help improve your body’s mechanisms against acid reflux. Studies have found that acupuncture can help improve the function of the lower esophageal sphincter, which can help keep stomach acid out of the chest area.


Also, a type of gastroesophageal disease called refractory GERD does not respond to proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), which are medications that decrease the production of stomach acid. However, research has found that acupuncture, can help improve refractory GERD. There is also research that has found that acupuncture can be more effective than a type of PPI called omeprazole.


While acupuncture can be an alternative to PPIs, it can also work well with the medications. It’s best to consult with both your doctor and your acupuncturist to find the exact root of your acid reflux and come up with the best way to address the issue.



Acupuncture at the Santa Barbara Herb Clinic

The Santa Barbara Herb Clinic has been around since 1986, providing the Santa Barbara and Goleta area with treatments grounded in TCM’s age-old principles. Tram, our owner and Licensed Acupuncturist, took over the clinic in 2016. With her skills and experience, you can trust the clinic to provide you with effective acupuncture for acid reflux.


Call us at 805-563-0222 or email us at to book an appointment or schedule a consultation with Tram. Even if you are not within driving distance, you can have a consultation with Tram over the phone or via video call. Contact us today and begin your journey to holistic health.