Nutritional Counselling and Lifestyle Changes
As was mentioned in Part One, a good weight loss program includes nutritional counselling and exercise as well as a commitment to make permanent lifestyle changes.
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 or meditation. 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.
Chinese Herbal Medicine and Supplements
Next a good individualized nutritional supplement program is important because everyone has a different metabolism and different needs for nutrients. It may include vitamins, minerals and herbs. These will support the diet program and balance the blood sugar to help give the body the strength, energy and defence it needs to maintain the healthy life style that s/he has begun.
Chinese Herbal Medicine will be prescribed depending on the underlying pattern. A commonly prescribed herb is: Bo He Wan. This is a very effective and safe ancient Chinese herbaL formula for digestion. The ingredients are:
- Shan Zha (Fructus Crataegi) –promotes digestion of meat and fats; dissolves food accumulation
- Shen Qu (Medicated Leaven) — digests alcohol, rice and vinegar and dissolves food accumulation
- Lai Fu Zi (Semen Raphani) — digests starch (wheat and breads)
- Ban Xia (Pinellia), Chen Pi (Tangerine Peel), and Fu Ling (Poria Cocos), — resolve dampness and food accumulations
- Lian Qiao (Fructus Forsythiae) — clears stomach heat that may result from accumulated food that dries up the digestive liquid
An important concept of Chinese medicine is to diagnose properly and treat the patient with the correct herbs so as not to consume body fluids or disturb electrolyte balance.
Breathing and Abdominal Exercises
While the patient is undergoing the behaviour 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 centre 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.
Another 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.
Last but not least, three pressure points on the body may be stimulated daily for two minutes each that will promote the general health as well as aid digestion, elimination and relaxation. These points are: Large Intestines 4 (HEGU); Pericardium 6 (Neiguan); and Stomach 36 (Zusanli). The points should be pressed with strong continuous pressure for approximately two minutes each and may be said to comprise a self-healing treatment.
While no guarantee may be given for acupuncture treatments for weight loss, the self-motivated patient who will take the time to practice most of the things outlined here will most likely be pleased with the results that she finds within a reasonable amount of time.
If you would like to discuss weightloss and the possible treatment options, please contact me at Acupuncture Studio at Pt Chevalier, Auckland city.