An ulcer is an area of raw tissue, rather like the tissue found under the scab of a healing cut. Ulcers can occur in the stomach and are usually found either in the stomach proper (gastric ulcers), or in the part of the intestine that drains food from the stomach (duodenal ulcers). Stomach ulcers are a common problem but their exact cause is unknown.
In China acupuncture is the treatment of choice for stomach ulcers, and ulcers certainly do heal after acupuncture. Fortunately both types of stomach ulcer heal spontaneously and this creates a great deal of difficulty in assessing the curative effects of acupuncture as compared to natural remission; furthermore, there are now available some highly effective and relatively non-toxic drugs to cure ulcers.
Duodenal ulcers are associated with a high acid level in the stomach. It is unclear exactly how much this factor affects the development of duodenal ulcers, but it is fair to say that high acid levels are a factor in ulcer development. Research work by Chinese physiologists has shown, quite clearly, that acupuncture can reduce the acidity of the stomach and this may be one of the mechanisms by which acupuncture heals stomach ulcers and other digestive diseases.