The Acupuncture Treatment of GERD
Chief Complaint: Severe abdominal pain
Western Diagnosis: gastric reflux
Medical History: 14 year old female with abdominal pain for three months. Onset began with a heavy deep fried meal, and has gotten worse since then. It is accompanied by nausea, and it has been necessary to remove her from school.
She is normal weight and has acne on her back and face, and her periods have become irregular as a side effect of anti-nausea medications. It was discovered she felt responsible for the death of her aunt who recently died, although this was not true. She had been in silent emotional stress.
Questioning exam: The pain was more burning othan cramping. The nausea will come and go, the burning is worse if she eats something like oils and fats, but there is always a low level pain.
Excessive belching. Periods were regular but accompanied by painful cramps. Stools are constipated and pebble-lie. She awakens in the middle of the night.
Pulse exam: Pulse – wiry, rapid and slightly bounding in the middle jiao.
Her abdomen was very tender in the upper quadrants (especially the right), it was hard at Ren 14-15.
Tongue exam: Tongue – red, especially the sides and tip. A thin yellow coat in the rear almost reaching the center. The center was a little dry.
OM Diagnosis: She was experiencing Liver overacting on the Stomach, with rebellious Stomach Heat. Her allopathic diagnosis explains that her pyloric valve was not closing properly, and bile was refluxing into the Stomach. This involuntary “muscle spasm”, and consequent Heat, is a symptom of Liver Qi stagnation. The upward rising or, “flux” is a symptom of Stomach Qi not descending due to the disturbance.
Treatment Principle: Smooth Liver Qi, descend Stomach Qi and clear Stomach Heat.
Point Prescription: Pericardium 6
Large Intestine 4
Herbal Formula: She was using a formula from a local herbalist that included cayanne pepper and digestive enzymes. It worked very well in conjunction with the acupuncture. I am still just coming to understand this type of traditional North American herbalism.
Lifestyle Prescription: I suggested when she is more mobile to do yoga or stretching routinely. Possibly a creative dance class. Fresh green veggies, and to avoid deep fried foods.
Results: After her first treatment, she felt 50% better. Still not able to eat much, and it only lasted a few days. Still taking anti-nausea medication.
The second,third and fourth treatments were even better.
By the fifth treatments she had her period and was able to eat, and returned to school.
Her sixth treatment was to help with her adjustment to the stress of school. She is no longer taking medications. She intends to come once a month for stress management.
Synopsis: The reaction to her self-imposed guilt created an internal knot in this young blooming teenager. She was able to express it in therapy with her parents, and I feel that was the most important part of her recovery. The physical manifestations were really to flag down the needed attention to this matter. Our work together was really a clean up job after the fact. She is a very bright sensitive girl, and like most younger patients, she responded quickly to treatment.
Julia M. Thie L.Ac., Dipl.Ac.
4229 Fort Henry Drive
Kingsport, TN 37663