As an acupuncturist, people ask me all the time if there is acupuncture for weight loss. My answer is Yes, but not in the way you think.
Unfortunately, there are no “lose-50-pounds” acupuncture points, where a person can lay there, get acupuncture and make no lifestyle changes, and magically return to their high school weight. You will still need to change what you’re eating and get more exercise.
What acupuncture CAN do, however, is help curb your appetite and cravings, boost energy and therefore willpower, and help heal your body’s weak digestion and metabolism. It helps you feel strong and alert, so that you are more able to face making those tough lifestyle changes. I find acupuncture to be an excellent resource for helping people reach their weight loss goals.
At our first appointment, we go over a thorough health history that asks about all your habits. How are you sleeping, what are you eating, what’s your digestion like, how sedentary or active is your lifestyle, how stressed out are you and why, etc. Usually for people who feel like they are inexplicably gaining weight, or can’t lose it no matter how hard they try, I suspect some factors going on behind the scenes, such as food sensitivities (mildly toxic responses to specific foods) or candida overgrowth (systemic yeast infection). There are tests we can do to figure those things out, as they can be major players in digestion and metabolism.
In selecting which acupuncture points to use, I first target getting the bowels performing properly. If the patient has chronic constipation or diarrhea, or a combination of both, the patient will not be able to lose weight until the situation is corrected. Chronic constipation implies the intestines are endlessly inflamed. This blocks nutrient absorption through the intestinal walls, and leads to fatigue and fuzzy-mindedness. Toxins that should have been removed from the body as waste are allowed instead to remain in the intestines and be reabsorbed into the bloodstream, leading to achy joints and headaches. Very loose stools imply weakness in the intestines and kidneys, where the intestines are too wet and again blocking their ability to absorb vitamins and minerals. As long as the body is under duress in this way, it will not be focused on releasing excess weight.
Additionally I select points and prescribe holistic formulas which boost energy. This is really essential for helping a person stick to a more restrictive diet. When people feel run down and tired, they are less inclined to cook for themselves and will turn to quick and easy options like fast food and junk food. They don’t feel up to a workout early in the morning or after a long day at work. By improving metabolism and boosting adrenal function, acupuncture is able to give the patient that lift they need to stick with the new program.
In Chinese medicine, we address adrenal function by strengthening the power of the kidneys. The kidneys, in turn, control willpower. As kidney performance improves, the patient experiences both a boost in energy and in willpower, thereby allowing them to exhibit more self-control and better attend to their needs.
Interestingly, the kinds of foods a person craves is a clue to which organ systems in the body are weak. For example, cravings for sweet foods indicate an underperforming spleen. Cravings for salt imply a deficiency in the kidneys. Cravings for sour foods reveal an imbalance in the liver. As acupuncture targets these organ systems and heals them, the cravings decrease.
So while acupuncture is not a magic bullet for weight loss, it can be a key factor in helping you get there. By reducing cravings, improving bowel function, boosting energy, and strengthening metabolism, it is enormously helpful in getting you feeling and looking your best. With acupuncture, you have all the help you could need in reaching your 2015 health and wellness goals!
Call today to inquire if your healthcare plan covers acupuncture! (520) 318-5560.
Candice Thomas is a licensed acupuncturist in Tucson, specializing in chronic pain, stress relief, and prostate health. Visit her at www.LightWorksAcupuncture.com.