Before I tell my whole backstory, I want you to know, I have found a way to manage my GERD and it can definitely work for other people, too. Two years ago, I found this treatment, and my GERD symptoms went away completely (I could drink coffee, alcohol, eat spicy food again). I’m back to having bad acid reflux symptoms– but that’s only because I was supposed to take the stuff on an “as needed” basis, and instead, I ignored whenever I felt slight symptoms again. So it’s my fault. When I was 18, I started feeling scary pain in my chest on a daily basis, and went to a doctor. After getting an upper GI, I was diagnosed with a hiatal hernia, gastritis, and GERD. At that time, I was put on Protonix, and I took that for an entire year. After I felt like my symptoms weren’t coming back, I stopped taking it one day and felt fine. A couple years later (when I was 22), I had a major toothache that required a root canal– and I was taking the maximum amount of ibuprofen for a couple weeks. This aggravated my esophagus and my GERD symptoms came back full force (pain in the chest, bloating, rawness and a lump sensation in my throat, regurgitating food…). I went to a doctor, and since my insurance wasn’t great, I was told to take 2 Prilosec a day for as long as I had symptoms. I followed through with this for 2 months and had absolutely no relief. One day, I went in to a licensed acupuncturist who practices chinese medicine, for something unrelated (allergies). I was nervous about it and it was my first time every trying alternative medicine. During my consultation, he asked me a lot of questions and found out I had acid reflux. He told me, “I can get rid of that. If you want, I’ll put you on some herbs and you’ll get better.” I was really skeptical, but since the pills I had been taking had no effect, I thought it wouldn’t hurt to try, especially when he was making such a strong claim regarding its effectiveness. He gave me this GROSS powdered mixture of herbs, which I had to take twice a day dissolved in tea. It made my blood pressure go up, so he also put me on a liquid herb mixture to counteract that, which worked. After just a week and a half of taking the stuff (which is all natural– herbs, and ground cuttlefish bone), I stopped getting hearburn and the other related symptoms. Over the next couple months, I was gradually weaned off the strong gross powdered mixture (I took a couple other less intense herb mixtures, ending with one in a capsule form), and one day, the Chinese doctor told me I could stop taking anything. I was totally better. I could exercise with no symptoms, eat whatever I wanted… it was amazing. However, he did tell me I should take the capsule form herbal mixture whenever I started to feel symptoms again (which is a reality, having a hiatal hernia). Unfortunately, I ignored that piece of advice. Now, a couple years later (I’m 25) after having symptoms once in a while only during stressful times in my life, I let the acid reflux get REALLY bad again– back to where it was before. So finally, I went back to the same Chinese medicine doctor a week ago and started taking the gross powdered stuff again. I’m supposed to take it for another week before I go in to see him again. But, I can tell you that I’m already feeling relief again! So much so that a couple days ago I started drinking coffee again and eating fried foods, and quickly realized it’s still too early to do that… my esophagus needs to heal first. I just wanted to share all of this, because I never thought I would be the “kind of person” who takes herbal stuff to treat a chronic illness like this. But it worked better for me than anything else I’ve ever tried, and actually cured my heartburn for a couple years, during which I didn’t need to take anything. And I fully believe it will work again, once I’ve finished the cycle of treatment again.