Acupuncture for Weight Loss
With all of the different ways to lose weight today, acupuncture is becoming one of the more popular methods, most likely because it's natural, and carries with it no side effects. In addition, acupuncture can help with pain issues, sleep concerns, and much more, so you get multiple benefits whenever you have a treatment!
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), we don't consider 'weight loss' as an issue per se, but rather the preponderance of Dampness as the real concern. According to TCM theory, Dampness is caused by an imbalance in your body fluids, which have to them a thin part and also a thick part. Dampness is essentially too much of the thick part. Symptoms of Dampness in your body include excess weight, as well as headaches, feeling heavy and sluggish, and loose stool, among others.
Not surprisingly, Dampness is usually created from a poor diet and lack of exercise. Your Spleen (capitalized to differentiate from the scientific definition) is in charge of taking in nutrients from your food and the air that you breathe, and then transforming and distributing those nutrients to your body. Harmed by fatty foods, your Spleen will inevitably produce imbalanced body fluids, and not enough energy as a result. The Dampness then goes on to block important meridians (pathways in your body for energy and other nutrients), which can cause various types of pain, digestive issues, and so on.
Dampness is not easy to resolve, but the good news is that acupuncture carries with it a variety of methods of TCM that can help. For example, certain points on your body on your lower legs can help boost your energy, while others can help your body expel the Dampness. Other points that can help exist on your forearms, your abdomen, and your back. Ear seeds are also quite popular with weight loss, as points on your ears have been found to be particularly effective for weight loss. Ear seeds are tiny seeds from the Vaccaria plant, that are affixed to small pieces of bandage-like tape. The seeds are taped to a variety of points on your ear, and your acupuncturist will instruct you on when and how to press on these points over the next few days that they remain stuck there.
There are TCM herbs that can also be prescribed to help with resolving Dampness and helping you to lose weight, but make sure that these are prescribed by an acupuncturist with a proper TCM background. Taking herbs without proper supervision can be dangerous, especially when it comes to herbs that 'remove' as opposed to 'nourish'.
Finally, your acupuncturist can help recommend a proper eating plan, which will likely include bitter foods (such as rapini), which can help strengthen your Spleen and resolve Dampness. Follow their advice about exercise as well, as they can tell you whether you need lighter or more aggressive exercise to help you lose weight.
By Richard Lobbenberg, Acupuncturist and TCM Practitioner
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