Acupuncture Continuing Education

Acupuncture Stops Heartburn

A study notes that “acupuncture proved to exert a great influence in minimizing the heartburn in pregnancy.” The study further concludes that “Acupuncture, as was demonstrated in this study, seems to be an effective means of reducing the symptoms and improving the quality of life.”  The study also concludes that acupuncture care for heartburn “can reduce the need for medication.” Heartburn symptoms decreased significantly for 75% of pregnant women receiving acupuncture in this randomized, controlled study compared with 31% in the control group. Acupunct Med 2009;27:50-53

The professors running the research project suggest that reducing the need for medication is a distinct advantage to the use of acupuncture care for pregnant women. The study also notes that there were no important adverse effects of acupuncture care and further concludes that acupuncture improved the quality of life for the pregnant women.

The study maintained the use of predetermined acupuncture point selection to allow for control in the study.  Normally, an acupuncturist customizes acupuncture point selection according to the patient’s signs and symptoms. Acupuncture points preselected in the study included P6 (located on the forearm) and SP4 (located on the foot). The combination of acupuncture points P6 and Sp4, termed Neiguan and Gongsun in Chinese respectively, has been employed for over 1,000 years for the treatment of heart, chest, and stomach disorders.

This point combination is selected from what is known in Chinese medicine as the Eight Confluent Points. These eight acupuncture points have been marked as especially effective in numerous texts, studies, and case histories throughout the history of Chinese medicine. Each of the acupuncture points individually have the function to address medical issues yet combined create special functions to address whole systems of internal medicine disorders. Other Confluent Points include SI3 paired with BL62. Combined, these points treat disorders of the neck, shoulder, back, and inner canthus of the eye. Points TB5 with GB41 address retroauricle (ear), cheek, and outer canthus of the eye disorders. The final pair of Confluent Points, LU7 and KI6, address throat, chest, and stomach disorders.

Many studies have focused on the application of an individual point on the health of the patient.  In practice, however, acupuncturists combine points to enhance the efficacy of acupuncture treatments . Of significance is that this study followed both the general guidelines of individual acupuncture point selection for the treatment of heartburn and the Chinese medicine principles of point combination selection.

About the Author: Adam White, L.Ac., Dipl.Ac. is an Acupuncture & Nursing Continuing Education provider with the Healthcare Medicine Institute (HealthCMI).