The organ of summer is the heart, and many people suffer from heartburn. Caused by acidic stomach contents which irritate the unprotected lining of the esophagus, heartburn is a burning sensation that radiates from the mid to upper chest. In healthy people, the lower end of the esophagus normally stays closed, which prevents acidic fluid and food in the stomach from backing up into the esophagus every time the stomach contracts. The lower esophageal sphincter is not a distinct muscular valve but an area of high pressure which keeps the esophagus closed off from the stomach. When the esophagus fails to function properly, the stomach acid backs up and heartburn occurs.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the liver, gallbladder, spleen and pancreas work together to help the stomach’s digestion. If these organs function improperly, excessive stomach acid travels up to the esophagus and causes heartburn. The following conditions can also contribute to heartburn: improper diet including consumption of fatty and spicy foods, caffeine, chocolate, tomatoes and peppermint; eating late and overeating; pregnancy; stressful lifestyle; being overweight; and smoking.
Traditional Chinese Medicine has been treating heartburn effectively for thousands of years. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs help to reduce the symptoms of heartburn and aid in recovery from its cause by adjusting esophageal pressure, lowering gastric acid and balancing the functions of the digestive organs.