According to TCM, the root of excess weight is an imbalance within the
body caused by malfunctioning of the spleen and liver organ systems.
In five-element theory, the spleen is responsible for the proper
functioning of the digestive system, ensuring that the food we eat is
transformed into Qi — the vital substance of life. Disharmony of the
spleen will have symptoms such as fatigue, slow metabolism, water
retention, loose stool, and feeling of heaviness.
The liver’s job is to keep the flow of your body’s Qi and blood (as well
as your emotions) running smoothly. Our modern, fast-paced lifestyle and
chronic stress can negatively impact the liver’s ability to function
properly and smoothly, which, in turn, can cause the spleen and the whole
digestive system to function poorly and decrease your metabolism. Liver
disharmony can also cause some of the “triggers” that lead to cravings and
Counseling and Lifestyle Changes
A good weight loss program includes nutritional
counseling and exercise as well as a commitment to make permanent
lifestyle changes. The acupuncturist can help with nutritional counseling
and can discuss a diet regimen that the patient can live with and maintain
for the long term. A diet that is high in fiber and low in fat, with
moderate amounts of low-density carbohydrates and low-fat protein is
usually the best choice to adopt. With this type of a diet program, the
patient can avoid the pit-falls of yo-yo dieting or the tendency to lose
weight and then regain it.
Other important tools that can aid in weight loss are stress reduction
techniques and a moderate exercise regimen. The acupuncturist can suggest
various stress reduction methods that may include breathing exercises, Tai
Chi, yoga, meditation or biofeedback. And since the goal of a weight
program is not only weight loss but the maintenance of that loss, an
exercise program that the patient likes is the best one to choose. The
patient could try starting a program that includes brisk walking three
times a week for forty minutes. After a few weeks when stamina is
increased, they could try walking five times a week. After that more
aerobic exercise can be added such as the treadmill, stair climber or
aerobics classes, cycling or whatever from of rigorous exercise the person
enjoys and can maintain for the long term. It is a good idea to use free
weights beginning with three pound weights and practicing just two to
three sets of arm curls three times a week. Moderate weight training
builds lean body mass and helps to reduce body fat as well as strengthen
and build bone mass and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
Weight Loss Treatment
From a TCM perspective, the acupuncture points, foods and herbs that are
chosen to assist with weight loss directly influence the Qi of the spleen
and liver systems to treat the root imbalances that are causing the weight
From a Western perspective, acupuncture and TCM have been shown to have an
effect on the function of the nervous system, endocrine system, digestive
system, food cravings, and metabolism. All of which can help to energize
the body, maximize the absorption of nutrients, regulate elimination,
control overeating, suppress the appetite, and reduce anxiety.
for Weight Loss
The beauty of acupuncture is that each treatment is catered to the needs
of the individual patient. Acupuncture points on the body will be chosen
for overall well being with the objective of increasing circulation of the
blood and Qi (stimulating the metabolism) and calming the nervous system.
In addition to treating the root of the imbalance within the body,
different acupuncture points may be chosen for each treatment as different
symptoms arise. For instance, if you are experiencing a desire to overeat
related to premenstrual syndrome (PMS) one week, then that can be
addressed at that week’s appointment.
Generally treatments are scheduled once or twice a week for 8 to 12 weeks
or until the goal weight has been reached. The treatments include a
combination of auricular (ear) and body acupuncture, ear tacks or pellets
to leave on in-between treatments, herbs and supplements, abdominal
massage, breathing exercises, and food and lifestyle recommendations.
A Total Health
Most patients report a marked decline in appetite and cravings with
acupuncture alone but herbs, healing foods, and exercises can definitely
enhance the efficacy of the treatments.
Herbs and Healing Foods: The herbs and foods that are chosen during a
weight loss treatment are for promoting healthy digestion, energizing the
body, augmenting Qi, and improve elimination of water, toxins, and waste
products. Foods that are bitter, sour and acrid to taste are especially
good for weight loss, while sweet, salty and greasy foods should be
Abdominal massage/exercise: Points on the abdomen improve digestion,
absorption of food and peristalsis of the intestines. The abdominal points
can be stimulated with massage or by belly breathing, where the abdomen is
consciously moving in and out with each breath. Deep breathing with
visualization can also strengthen will power and be used as a tool to curb
hunger and cravings.
Acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine are powerful tools for
healthy weight loss, by itself or as a supportive treatment in conjunction
with other weight management programs.
In the struggle to eat less and expend more energy, you may find that
acupuncture is just what was needed to overcome cravings, boost energy,
enhance your metabolism, and increase your willpower to succeed!
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Next a good individualized nutritional supplement program is important
because everyone has a different metabolism and different needs for
nutrients. It will include vitamins, minerals, herbs antioxidants,
phytochemicals and nutraceuticals. These will support the diet program and
balance the blood sugar to help give the body the strength, energy and
defense it needs to maintain the healthy life style that s/he has begun.
While the patient is undergoing the behavior modification program and is
successfully losing weight, it is a good idea to incorporate a set of deep
breathing and abdominal exercises that utilize the acupuncture meridians
or energy lines on the body to stimulate relaxation and digestion. If we
practice deep abdominal breathing while lying down for a few minutes in
the morning before we arise, we will not only take in more oxygen but will
stimulate the stomach, spleen, kidney ,and reproductive energy lines that
are all located on the center of the torso . Digestion will be improved
and all those organs will function more effectively. We will also start
the day with more energy and clarity.
Method of stimulating these same organs in the stomach region is the
abdominal finger pressure massage that follows the direction of the large
intestines. This massage may also be performed in bed in the morning and
evening and will gently stimulate all the points on the central torso and
will not only encourage proper digestion but will foster homeostasis or
the harmonious balancing of the hormone and endocrine systems of the body.
If you think you have
Neck and Shoulder Pain, Please Contact Us.
You can get more
information on how acupuncture can help your symptoms. We can help you
determine the best course of acupuncture treatment.