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Gastritis, Peptic Ulcers, and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD): Acupuncture Treatment


Acute and chronic gastritis (including superficial and atrophic gastritis), peptic ulcers, and GERD are all conditions for which acupuncture can be an effective treatment. In clinical practice, many patients seek acupuncture for chronic stomach pain, whether associated with excessive or insufficient stomach acid production, acupuncture has shown considerable effectiveness in these cases.


There are four primary areas for stomach reflex points in the body: the anterior chest and upper abdomen, the back, the palmar side of the forearm and hand, and the anterior and medial side of the lower leg and foot. Among these, Zusanli (ST36) is the most renowned point. Besides numerous clinical reports on its effectiveness, there are also many studies linking it to the nerves controlling the stomach. Effective needling of Zusanli typically requires the needle sensation to reach the dorsum of the foot. However, if techniques are used to propagate the needle sensation upwards, the effect can be enhanced. Another important point in the stomach reflex area is Neiguan (PC6).


The mechanism of acupuncture in treating gastritis, peptic ulcers, or GERD is largely related to its regulatory effect on gastric acid secretion and gastrointestinal function. When needling Zhongwan (CV12), Neiguan (PC6), and Zusanli (ST36), a significant reduction in the number and gastrin intensity of G cells in the duodenal mucosa of ulcer patients has been observed, while an increase in G cell count was noted in patients with atrophic gastritis.

Specific tender points for duodenal ulcers are often located on the right side at points like Liangmen, Huamei, Pishu, Weishu, and Dachangshu . The tenderness of Xiaohuang point indicates the almost certain presence of ulcers in the esophagus, stomach, or duodenum. Pressing this point can elicit a response that extends to the lower limbs, with the degree of tenderness correlating with the healing process.


Liangqiu (ST34) is used to stop bleeding from peptic ulcers, and the most effective points for treating stomach spasms are Liangqiu, Weishu, and Pixie. Special reflex points for excessive stomach acid are located 5 fen lateral to the Du Channel at the level of Geshu and Zhiyang. Liangqiu, being the Xi-cleft point of the Stomach meridian, is a primary point for treating stomach pain. It has been found that needling points on the Stomach and Spleen meridians can more effectively inhibit gastric acid than points on other meridians.

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