Gastroesophageal reflux, otherwise known as acid reflux, is a condition that is typically caused by eating too much, or eating certain foods. As a result of poor eating habits, acid from your stomach can move up into your esophagus which can cause discomfort or chest pain, known as heartburn.
From the perspective of Eastern medicine, acid reflux and the following heartburn is caused by Yin and Yang, or cool and warm energy, being imbalanced in the stomach, liver, or both. When you eat an excess of foods high in Yang energy such as meats, coffee, and chilli peppers you can develop a fiery stomach which is more likely to cause it. In addition, frustration and stress can also contribute to an excess of Yang energy in the stomach and liver which can lead to acid reflux.
Furthermore, If you have poor digestion, fluids can accumulate in your stomach and cause stomach dampness. Stomach dampness can lead to acid reflux as it can signal your body to feel full. When this occurs Qi can flow in the wrong direction, upwards instead of downwards, and cause stomach acid to move into the esophagus.
To combat this, you can consume foods that offset Yang energy, strengthen the liver, and clear bodily dampness. Some foods high in Yin energy include celery, eggplant, and melons. Other foods that are green and hydrating are also good sources of Yin energy. Avoiding spicy foods will help as well. Moreover, sour foods are believed to strengthen the liver. Some examples are kiwi, tomato, and lemon. Finally, you can eat bitter foods such as onion and radish to treat acid reflux as it can clear dampness in the body caused by poor digestion.
You can also alter your lifestyle and sleeping habits to combat acid reflux. If your acid reflux is the result of an excess of Yang or heat in your body, you can benefit greatly from reducing your stress levels. This is because stress, anxiety, and anger can contribute to the production of Yang energy. Although it may seem unrelated, Identifying your stressors and incorporating relaxing hobbies are a great way to decrease the likelihood of experiencing it. In addition, How you sleep can also prevent acid reflux from occurring. By sleeping in an elevated position, with your head slightly raised, you can treat this by ensuring your Qi flows downwards as it should.
The contributing factors of acid reflux and heartburn can all be controlled, but the hard part is figuring out which specific foods to eat and avoid, and what stressors can be eliminated. If you are looking to treat your acid reflux with Eastern medicine, we work with you to analyze your habits and lifestyle to create a customized treatment plan. Contact us today to learn more!