Esophageal Constrictionaccording to TCM

Symptom family: Esophageal Disorders

What is Esophageal Constriction?

Esophageal constriction refers to an uncomfortable tightening of the esophagus, the tube connecting the throat to the stomach. This condition can cause difficulty in swallowing, a sensation of food being stuck in the chest, and can lead to more serious complications such as esophageal strictures. It may arise from various underlying conditions, including gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), esophagitis, or the presence of foreign bodies or tumors.

How does TCM view Esophageal Constriction?

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) approaches esophageal constriction not as a single disease but as a symptom indicative of an underlying imbalance. TCM theory suggests that such a constriction could result from a disruption of Qi flow within the body, particularly in the chest, or from an accumulation of Phlegm or Heat in the esophagus. Identifying the exact pattern of disharmony is essential in TCM for providing a treatment that addresses the root cause.

Causes of Esophageal Constriction According to TCM

In TCM, esophageal constriction is often attributed to a Stagnation of Qi, where the vital energy is blocked, or the presence of Heat, which can 'scorch' Body Fluids and lead to a sensation of tightness. Qi Stagnation may be due to emotional distress affecting the Liver's smooth flow of energy, impacting the Stomach and Spleen.

Heat can accumulate from dietary habits or chronic stress, leading to inflammation and a 'burning' sensation. Treatment focuses on restoring the harmonious flow of Qi and clearing Heat or Phlegm that may be contributing to the constriction.

TCM Herbal Formulas for Esophageal Constriction

Herbal formulas are tailored to the individual's TCM diagnosis. Ban Xia Hou Pu Tang is a go-to formula for moving Qi and reducing stagnation in cases where Qi blockage is the root cause.

For Heat patterns causing constriction in the chest, Zhi Zi Chi Tang, with its cooling properties, is commonly prescribed. These formulas aim to restore balance and ensure the free flow of energy through the esophagus.

Explore below some TCM herbal formulas used to address esophageal constriction, organized by formula type.

  • By Formula Type
  • Formulas that promote qi movement
  • Formulas that clear qi-level heat

Acupoints for Esophageal Constriction

TCM also utilizes acupuncture to treat esophageal constriction. Gongsun SP-4, located on the Spleen meridian, is a potent point for harmonizing the Spleen and Stomach, essential for addressing digestive issues related to esophageal constriction. By activating these points, acupuncturists aim to relieve the physical tightness and improve the patient's symptoms.

See more details below about Gongsun SP-4, an acupoint used to address esophageal constriction.

  • By Meridian
  • Spleen Channel
Gongsun SP-4

Gongsun SP-4

In the depression distal and inferior to the base of the 1st metatarsal bone, at the border of the red and white skin.

TCM Herbs for Esophageal Constriction

Explore below some TCM herbs used to address esophageal constriction, organized by herb category.

  • By Herb Category
  • Warm herbs that transform phlegm and stop cough
  • Aromatic herbs that transform dampness
  • Herbs that clear heat and purge fire and/or clear summer heat