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  • Writer's pictureNicci

Acupuncture and acupressure and lifestyle tips for acid reflux and nausea

Old chinese medicine book illustration

Acid reflux and nausea are common gastrointestinal issues that can disrupt daily life and lead to discomfort. In this article, we'll explore how acupuncture offers an alternative approach to managing acid reflux and nausea.

Understanding Acid Reflux and Nausea:

Acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), occurs when stomach acid flows back into the esophagus, causing a burning sensation and discomfort. Nausea, often accompanied by vomiting, is a common symptom that can result from various causes, including digestive issues, pregnancy, motion sickness, and certain medical treatments.

How Acupuncture Can Help:

Acupuncture, a core component of classical Chinese medicine, involves the insertion of fine needles into specific points on the body. These points, known as acupoints, are believed to correspond to energy pathways that affect various bodily functions.

Here's how acupuncture can alleviate acid reflux and nausea:

Balancing Energy Flow: Acupuncture aims to restore the balanced flow of energy, or "Qi," throughout the body. When Qi is disrupted, it can lead to digestive issues and discomfort – one of the reasons for this is called counterflow. An example is Rebellious Stomach Qi which refers to the upward movement of stomach Qi, causing symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and acid reflux. The stomach's natural downward movement of Qi is disrupted, leading to discomfort. By targeting specific acupoints, acupuncture helps regulate the digestive system, promoting smoother digestion and reducing acid reflux symptoms.

Stimulating Natural Responses: Acupuncture triggers the release of endorphins, the body's natural pain and stress-relieving chemicals. This can have a calming effect, reducing stress and anxiety and helping to alleviate the discomfort associated with acid reflux and help manage nausea.

Enhancing Digestive Function: Acupuncture can improve blood circulation and stimulate the gastrointestinal system, aiding in proper digestion and reducing the likelihood of acid reflux.

Anti-Inflammatory Effects: Inflammation in the digestive tract can contribute to acid reflux and nausea. Acupuncture's anti-inflammatory effects can help alleviate inflammation and discomfort.

Acupuncture offers a holistic approach to managing acid reflux and nausea by addressing the underlying imbalances in the body. While individual responses may vary, many people find relief and improved well-being through acupuncture treatments. If you're considering acupuncture as a complementary therapy please do get in touch with us at Acupuncture Surrey and we’d be happy to talk through your symptoms and give an indication of whether acupuncture could be helpful for you.

In the meantime here are some acupressure and lifestyle tips that may help too.

Acupressure for immediate relief:

For those seeking immediate relief from acid reflux or nausea, acupressure—a technique that involves applying pressure to acupoints—can be a valuable tool. Here are two acupressure points to try:

Pericardium 6 (Neiguan): Located on the inner forearm, about three finger-widths above the wrist crease. Apply gentle pressure using your thumb and hold for a few minutes. This point is known for its anti-nausea effects.

Stomach 36 (Zusanli): Found on the lower leg, about four finger-widths below the kneecap on the lateral side of the leg. Apply pressure using your fingertips and massage in a circular motion. This point can help regulate digestion and alleviate acid reflux symptoms.

Some general lifestyle tips for acid reflux and nausea:

Please note that these tips are general in nature and may not be a substitute for professional medical advice. If you're experiencing persistent or severe symptoms, it's important to consult a healthcare professional for proper evaluation and guidance.

Dietary Changes:

Avoid Trigger Foods: Certain foods can trigger acid reflux and nausea. Common culprits include spicy, fatty, fried, and acidic foods, as well as caffeine, alcohol, and carbonated beverages. Keep a food diary to identify your personal triggers and try to limit or avoid them.

Eat Smaller, More Frequent Meals: Eating smaller meals throughout the day instead of three large ones can help prevent overloading your stomach and reduce the likelihood of reflux.

Fiber-Rich Foods: Include high-fiber foods like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and legumes in your diet. Fiber can help prevent constipation, which can exacerbate acid reflux.

Meal Timing:

Avoid Eating Before Bed: Try to finish your last meal at least 2-3 hours before lying down to sleep. This can help prevent stomach contents from flowing back into the esophagus.

Posture and Sleeping:

Elevate Your Head: When sleeping, elevate the head of your bed by 6-8 inches using blocks or a foam wedge. This can help prevent stomach acid from flowing upward.

Avoid Slouching After Meals: Maintain an upright posture after eating to prevent pressure on your stomach and reduce the risk of reflux.

Weight Management:

Maintain a Healthy Weight: Excess weight can put pressure on your abdomen, leading to increased reflux. If you're overweight, losing weight through a balanced diet and regular exercise may help alleviate symptoms.


Stay Hydrated: Drinking plenty of water throughout the day can help dilute stomach acid and prevent dehydration, which can worsen nausea.

Stress Reduction:

Manage Stress: Stress and anxiety can exacerbate acid reflux and nausea. Engage in relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, yoga, or mindfulness to help manage stress.

Avoid Smoking: If you smoke, quitting can have numerous health benefits, including reducing the risk of acid reflux and improving overall digestion.

Clothing Choices:

Wear Loose-Fitting Clothing: Tight clothing, especially around the abdomen, can increase pressure on the stomach and promote reflux.

Chew Thoroughly: Take your time while eating and chew your food thoroughly. This can aid digestion and reduce the strain on your digestive system.

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