Traditional Chinese Medicine includes different methods of treatment: acupuncture, Chinese herbs, manipulative therapy and food remedies base on the Chinese medicine theories. TCM addresses both the physiological and psychological aspects of weight loss.
Some causes of weight gain:
- Stress, anxiety, worry, depression
- Irregular sleeping habits
- Irregular eating habits
- Hormonal imbalances (menopause, PCOS, hypothyroidism, diabetes)
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Life changes
- Side effects of medications
How Does Acupuncture Work For Weight Loss?Auricular acupuncture is an important part for weight loss treatments. Auricular, or ear acupuncture, is based on a micro-system of the body in an inverted fetal position, containing points relating to all major organs and body parts.
Studies done with weight loss and acupuncture have shown that auricular acupuncture combined with body points affect the nervous system, digestive system, and endocrine system by enhancing part of the brain function which regulates many bodily processes.
Acupuncture stimulates the body to release endorphins and increase serotonin levels. Balancing how the body processes promotes better digestion, helps control overeating by reducing and suppressing the appetite and decrease/eliminate cravings. Additional benefits include a regulated metabolism, hormonal and emotional balance, and decreases in stress and anxiety associated with the day to day.
The physical effects of acupuncture helps to energize the body, thereby reducing fatigue and malaise, maximizes the absorption of nutrients so your body functions better overall, and regulates bowel movements and the intestines which reduces gas, bloating and abdominal distention.
Treatments1-2 times a week for an 8-12 week period depending on what your goal weight is.
Each treatment is specific for each individual. How you feel on the day you have acupuncture can change depending on a number of factors. For example, how you’ve been eating, and in particular, any specific cravings you’ve had, your stress levels for that day or week, your energy level, PMS, etc.
Each session includes a combination of auricular/ear points, body points and ear seeds/ear tacks. Acupuncture needles are left in for a period of 20-40 minutes depending on what the body needs.
To help continue the effects of the acupuncture, ear seeds (there are different varieties: gold/silver balls and press tacks) are placed on specific ear and/or body points to leave on in-between treatments. They will generally stay in place for 3-5 days and are gently massaged if stress, anxiety, cravings, and mood imbalances start to affect you in between your acupuncture sessions.
In addition to the acupuncture points, weight loss treatments also include dietary modifications based on traditional Chinese food remedies, Chinese herbs/supplements, abdominal massage, breathing exercises, and lifestyle recommendations based on a Chinese medicine perspective.
Some Examples of Ear Points and What They Do:Shenmen: calming point for the mind and reduces stress due to anxiety, anger, and insecurity
Stomach: bloating, distention, gastritis, belching, insomnia, for people who eat after they’re full, constant nibblers
Hunger: relieves hunger and compulsive eating, general appetite control
Spleen: improves digestion, reduces cravings for sweets
Endocrine: regulates adrenals and pituitary, which balances your metabolism
Adrenals: stimulates adrenals, also regulates weight gain due to menopause or PMS
Mouth: calming point used to overeating, excessive talkers, and for stop smoking therapies
Kidney: water retention, and imbalances of the nervous system and hormones
Thyroid: for slow metabolism (i.e., hypothyroidism)
Some Examples of Body Points and What They Do:LI4/LIV3 (together known as the Four Gates): circulates energy and balance meridians, calms the nervous system, and helps with circulation
Ren 12: strong point to regulate the stomach
Ren 6: builds up the bodies’ energy reserves and helps to maintain overall health and balance
Stomach 25: helps to balance the digestive system and regulate metabolism, decreases bloating, distention, and regulates the intestines
Stomach 36: builds up energy in the body, circulates the oxygen and blood of the body, and specifically the stomach
Kidney 10: regulates waterways for edema, bloating and water retention
The combination of acupuncture and your commitment to “sticking” to a weight loss program or support group, in addition to an exercise routine, will help you maintain your weight loss goals and keep you balanced and feeling motivated.