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Weight Loss and Acupuncture

Weight Loss and Acupuncture

Acupuncture has a way of “getting to the point” with the challenges many individuals face when it comes to losing weight.  For over 5000 years, acupuncture has been used to treat a variety of ailments by tapping into the body’s many energy paths or meridians.  In modern times, many Western (allopathic) practitioners are now embracing it to treat various conditions such as pain, nausea and vomiting, addictions and weight loss.  Acupuncture utilizes specific groups of points on the body to rebalance the flow of energy (also known as Qi or life force) throughout the body.  Sterile, single use needles are inserted at a shallow depth into these strategic points.  Insertion of the needles invokes a release of neurochemicals and hormones throughout the body. These needles are approximately the diameter of a cat whisker so many individuals hardly feel them at all.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to weight loss.  One can gain weight due to multiple issues – stress, hormone imbalance, eating foods that aren’t compatible with one’s composition, slower metabolism, thyroid issues, overeating, poor nutrition and lack of exercise.  For many, it’s a combination of several of the above.  By using acupuncture for weight loss, one receives a custom treatment plan that is tailored to their individual body composition.

When looking to acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine for weight loss, there are several areas that must be tackled.  This modality gets to the root of the cause of the weight gain and works to correct the imbalance within the body.  In addition, food therapy and nutritional counseling is involved to ensure one is taking in the proper nutrients so that the body is functioning efficiently.  You wouldn’t put low octane fuel in a hot-rod supercar would you?  The human body is just as important!

Scientific Rational on Why Acupuncture Works for Weight Loss

The hypothalamus in the brain is responsible for maintaining homeostasis or functional balance that keeps the body running efficiently.  It also helps regulate body temperature, circadian rhythm, thirst, hunger, hormones and neurochemicals,  Weight gain could be a result of disturbed energy flow to and from the hypothalamus, thus the reason acupuncture is effective for weight control.

In addition, research measuring the effectiveness of acupuncture for weight loss found that acupuncture treatments increased ghrelin, a hormone that controls meal initiation and decreased leptin, the hormone that regulates fat storage and metabolism.  Therefore, acupuncture can influence obesity hormones.

The liver plays a key role in metabolism.  It produces substances critical for digestion, assimilation of nutrients and fat breakdown.  This organ can become “sluggish” in its duties and acupuncture can help boost the function of the liver and other organs involved in metabolism.

In summary, acupuncture is effective for weight control by regulating cravings, regulating appetite, boosting metabolism, improving digestion, enhancing nutrient absorption and regulating hormones related to weight gain.  Acupuncture also has a cleansing effect to further ensure the bodily functions are operating at optimal levels.

Guidance For Using Acupuncture For Weight Loss

  • Choose a qualified practitioner – Most states require that acupuncturists be licensed to assure that they have completed the necessary education and training standards to practice. You may see A.P. (acupuncture physician) or L.Ac. (licensed acupuncturist) following his or her name.  Individuals with these designations have typically completed a 4-year course of study.
  • Complete a full course of treatment – Acupuncture for weight loss is best achieved with 10 treatments delivered over a few weeks.
    Follow a comprehensive weight-loss plan – Acupuncture should be used alongside a comprehensive weight-loss plan that includes healthy food choices coupled with exercise.
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