How to Lose Weight and Keep It Off with Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine (Part One)

Acupuncture is effective in making it easier to lose weight and maintain that loss if the patient is willing to change their lifestyle.  Weight loss is a multi-faceted problem, and a good program involves diet, exercise and stress reduction techniques. Acupuncture, acupressure and digestive aid exercises are useful tools in the battle with weight loss.

We know that acupuncture needles inserted into specific points on the body and in the ear release endorphins which have a calming and relaxing effect that makes it easier to deal with stress, frustration and anxiety that can trigger overeating and bingeing on fattening foods. Also endorphins affect the digestive and hormonal systems so acupuncture can help rebalance the organ systems that are running too fast- or in this case too slow—i.e., the metabolism and the will power.

Acupuncture is an ADJUNCT therapy. It is not a wonder cure in the treatment of weight control.

The Auckland Acupuncture Treatment

On the initial consultation the client’s particular pattern of overeating and any real digestive difficulties are discussed.  The acupuncturist would check your pulse to discern the general state of your energy and measure the health of your stomach energy in particular, and then they would look at your tongue to check for cracks, peeling or puffiness on the stomach area, or a suspicious yellow or thick white coating that might indicate troublesome heat or coldness in the stomach and would provide some clues as to why the person was gaining weight.

The Acupuncture Points

Then, armed with this information, the acupuncturist would devise a treatment protocol using a combination of ear and body points.
Many of the points from ear acupuncture systems that are important for weight loss treatments are:

Mouth – for the impulsive eater who may also smoke a lot and talk a lot

Stomach – for the person who eats even after they’re full or who’s constantly nibbling

Hungry – for general appetite control

Lung – for food addicts, and people who love chocolate, sweets

Shenmen – a calming point, for the psychology overlay for anxiety, anger, frustration, insecurity

Endocrine – for water retention that’s responsible for some of the weight gain

Adrenal and Ovary – if weight gain is due to menopause or P.M.S.

Spleen – for sugar imbalances and hormonal disturbances

Kidney – for water retention, and nervous system and hormonal imbalances

Thyroid – for slow metabolism

The practitioner chooses two or more of these points for each treatment depending upon the patient’s problem and personality profile regarding overeating.

Next, body points would be selected based on the diagnosis.

The acupuncturist may use electro stimulation on some of these acupuncture points to increase the endorphin release and stimulate the metabolism. The needles would be kept in place for around thirty to forty-five minutes depending on how much support was needed for the patient, and after the needles are removed, ear tacs with adhesive on them are often placed in the same spots on the ear to continue the stimulation between treatments. The way it works is this: when the patient feels an urge to eat, s/he applies mild pressure to the point or rubs it back and forth for about 20 seconds. This type of acupressure stimulates the point, causes a mild endorphin release, relaxes the patient and helps them to regain their willpower or resolve about resisting the temptation to eat. The patient removes the tacs at home after three days and throws them away or takes them out sooner if there is any irritation or discomfort. It is a good idea to also remove oneself from the location, person or food that triggers the resistance to the diet or contributes to the breakdown of willpower. For example, one might want to stay away from the kitchen and refrigerator between meals.

The Treatment Plan

The number of acupuncture treatments necessary depends on the patient’s goals for losing weight, the speed at which they want to lose, and their commitment to keeping the weight off. For the average patient who wants to lose between five to ten kgs, one treatment every once or twice a week until they reach their goal is appropriate, and then a booster treatment once every two weeks is optimal. After a few booster treatments, the patient and practitioner will mutually decide when to terminate frequent treatments and then can aim to meet approximately four times a year at the change of seasons when energy levels are unstable and tonification and harmonizing of one’s system is appropriate for everyone.

If you would like to discuss weightloss and the possible treatment options, please contact me at Acupuncture Studio at Pt Chevalier, Auckland city.

Chinese Medicine NZHow to Lose the Weight and Keep It Off with Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine (Part Two)