At Acupuncture in the Park, we are frequently asked whether acupuncture is good for weight loss. This is a tricky question with many variables. The quick answer is yes, acupuncture can help people who are trying to lose weight, but there are some things you need to know about how Chinese medicine views obesity and weight loss. Among them:
- There is no magic bullet. Many people want to take a pill or supplement, or have an acupuncture treatment and have the weight magically disappear. That just doesn’t happen. Weight loss–the kind that lasts–takes commitment and time. Chinese medicine can be incredibly supportive in your weight loss efforts, but there is no miracle weight loss acupuncture point.
- In Chinese medicine, your excess weight is considered dampness, which is the result of your body’s inability to digest well and metabolize fluids. When you eat the wrong foods, your digestion gets bogged down, and you begin to gain weight. Think about it; that fat you’re trying to lose weighs so much because it’s full of water.
- Besides eating too much, there are actually foods that create dampness or make it worse. They include greasy rich foods, saturated fats, dairy foods, and sweeteners of any kind.
- Movement should be a part of your strategy. In Chinese medicine, moving your body, creates flow. When you get sick or have health symptoms, it’s generally because something in your body isn’t moving as it should, so it accumulates and clogs up the works (most notably, dampness). It’s about more than exercising to burn calories. Movement creates a smooth flow of everything including your digestion, your periods, and your mood.
- For best results, eat foods that are based on your specific needs. Every person has a unique physical makeup; you may run hot where other people run cold. You may have digestive problems, aches and pains, or hormonal issues. In Chinese medicine, acupuncture, herbal formulas and food therapy are prescribed based on your individual needs. Your acupuncturist can help determine any imbalances and needs you may have and prescribe the right herbal formula or foods to help you accomplish your goals.
- Emotional issues impact your body in a number of ways. It is very common for people who suffer from depression to also have insatiable cravings for sugar. People who have a history of eating disorders tend to have some kind of damage to their digestion. In general, stress, anxiety, depression, and strong emotions of any kind can derail the process of turning your food into the energy and nutrients that you need to function well. If your mental health is playing a a negative role in your weight issues, make it a first step to get some professional help.
- Practitioners of Chinese medicine can help you lose weight in the following ways: they can help you choose the right foods for your body type, help alleviate food cravings, improve your digestion, prescribe an herbal formula based on your needs, help relieve the stress that causes you to choose the wrong foods.
So can acupuncture help with weight loss? The answer is that when coupled with commitment and time, yes! acupuncture can help.