Many of our clients seek acupuncture for weight loss. There are a lot of weight loss techniques, diets, and supplements out there. Some are fads, some are useful. Can acupuncture magically melt away fat? No, nothing can, but your acupuncturist can help you in many ways with your weight loss journey.
Before we discuss how acupuncture and herbal medicine can help you with weight loss, we want to distinguish that we do not buy into the mainstream views around weight. Millions of dollars in marketing is spent each year to make people feel bad about the way they look. The beauty of Chinese Medicine is that we honor the fact that each body is completely different from others. We want to help you lose weight for your overall health. If you feel perfectly healthy and happy and have extra weight, this article is not for you.
Acupuncture is not like a medication that will help your body with one specific thing. We take a holistic view as to what will help you with weight loss. Below are some of the ways we can help.
Reduce cravings for weight loss
Sugar causes physical and psychological dependence. In fact, if you completely cut sugar out of your diet, you will feel withdrawal symptoms. Like many recreational drugs, sugar causes a surge of dopamine and other “feel good” chemicals in your brain. Studies have shown that sugar can be as addictive as heroin and cocaine.
Neurosurgeon H.L Wen created an acupuncture protocol developed in 1970 at Lincoln Detox called the National Acupuncture Detoxification (NADA) Protocol, a series of points used in the ear. The NADA protocol is widely used in drug and alcohol treatment centers around the world. We use this protocol with our clients who are battling sugar and nicotine cravings during their treatments.
Balance hormones for weight loss
Many hormonal issues are related to weight gain. Menopausal women experience weight gain without changing their diet or exercise routine. PMS, PCOS, endometriosis, fibroids, and cysts can be signs that your hormones are off. Hypothyroid disorders will also cause difficulty in losing weight.
Hormone imbalance can cause weight gain, fatigue, infertility, depression, digestive problems, hair loss, feeling too hot or cold, and other ailments. After about a month of weekly acupuncture, you will notice less of the hormonal roller coaster, no matter what age you are. Even the World Health Organization recognizes acupuncture as an effective treatment for menopause.
Healthy digestion for weight loss
Acupuncturists place a lot of importance on your digestion and bowel movements as signs of good health. Acupuncturists would like to see you have a number four on the Bristol Stool Scale each day. Having healthy digestion is the foundation of creating resiliency, low stress, more energy, and better immune function. All are necessary for weight loss.
Manage stress for weight loss
Stress eating means that your emotions– not your body– dictates when and how much you eat. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just reach for a celery stick when we feel stressed? But it’s really the fatty ranch dressing to dip it in that feels so satisfying. Acupuncture taps into your parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for your relaxation process. Read more about stress on our blog.
4 Ways to support your weight loss journey
Get regular acupuncture
We can help you with all of the above and also offer ideas and support every week. Just having a caring and knowledgeable person in your court can help so much.
Spend time preparing healthy meals. Keeping yourself satiated with healthy foods will improve your digestion and reduce cravings when your blood sugar becomes low. Remove all fatty and sugary foods from your home.
Be gentle with yourself
Overcoming habits is not going to happen overnight. Don’t expect yourself to immediately sit in full lotus position while meditating until the craving has passed. Instead, direct your attention to something else, even if it is just a few deep breaths. A small effort each time will alter the pathways in your brain.
Try to fit as much exercise into your day as possible. Ideally, spending half an hour a day getting your heart rate up will help your mental health and burn calories. Get 8 hours of sleep a day. Drink plenty of water. Take time to pamper yourself. Your acupuncturist can offer many other suggestions and help you with a plan.
A personal note from acupuncturist Dawn about weight loss
This time last year, I was running three miles, biking ten miles, and swimming one mile per day. I wasn’t eating any sugar, and my mental health was great!
Fast forward to now, things have been rough. I’m not exactly a fan of running a clinic in a pandemic. I had to evacuate my home and my clinic due to riots. My brain is spinning about how I can be a better person in the world of white supremacy. I stopped exercising. I order takeout way more than I’d like, and I eat a ton of sugar, including delicious doughnuts for breakfast.
I don’t tell you this to have anyone’s sympathy. I tell you this to commiserate. We are all in this together, and we each have our stories of difficulty. I know how lucky I am compared to some. I’m writing this to talk about how an extreme amount of stress has affected my health. Last year I had all the energy and positivity I could ask for. This year I find myself with low motivation and fatigue. Sleep is fickle. My mental health has taken a dive. I’ve gained about 10 pounds, and it just doesn’t feel good to have on my body.
This past week I had a talk with myself, and it’s time to get back on track. I’m fortunate to have worked over many years to know how to get my body to a healthy place. For me, it takes physical and emotional work. I’m back to running, cooking for myself, journaling, and I hate to say it, but I have to give up my beloved sugar.
If you ever find yourself needing a full health rehab, we can help you with that. If you ever need help just getting by, we can help you with that. The acupuncturists at Merriam Park Acupuncture each have their own story of stress and healing. Rest assured, we can each meet you exactly where you are. We just want to help get you through this in whatever way you need. Always know that we are here for you.