Edited by Arielle Kamps (guest contributor)
An increasing number of people are taking on acupuncture to lose some extra pounds. Acupuncture, a method long practiced in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), has the ability to stimulate the flow of vital energy (‘chi’) around your body. This in turn curbs your desire to eat, boosts your metabolism rate, and reduces your stress. Therefore acupuncture is helpful if you are trying to lose weight.
Most scientists are still unsure if acupuncture is effective in promoting weight loss. However, several studies have shown that acupuncture has led to weight loss. A study by The Journal of Medical Acupuncture in 2003 shows that people who underwent acupuncture lost thrice as much body fat as compared to those who merely followed regular diet plans. Another study in 1998 in Australia showed that acupuncture suppresses food cravings and helped to control appetite, which led to significant weight loss.
How does Acupuncture work?
The needles used in acupuncture will be inserted into several vital points of your body during the treatment session. When inserted into these points, the production of brain chemicals called endorphins will increase. The specific endorphins released during acupuncture calm and relax the body, leading to a reduction of stress and anxiety, a major factor that causes people to overeat.
Many acupuncturists and TCM practitioners advise you to combine acupuncture with other Chinese traditional herbs and supplements for more effective results. Some supplements and herbs that can be easily found in Chinese medical stores include Bao He Wan, Huo Ma Ren (Semen Pruni) and Codonopsis. These supplements and herbs contain ingredients that help in digestion. Consult a doctor and nutritionist before consuming the supplements.
The Acupuncture Treatment
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The number of acupuncture sessions one requires varies among individuals. The factors that determine the number of sessions include the speed one wants to lose weight and your health condition.
According to licensed acupuncturist and herbalist Joey Komada, a person whose overeating problem is serious can start with having treatment daily for five days on the first week and gradually decrease the frequency for treatment in the following weeks. An average person who aims to lose two to five kilograms can undergo treatment every three days or every fortnight until his/her weight loss goal is attained.
The points to be acupunctured will be selected based on the patient’s condition and eating habits. For example, the mouth will usually be selected for people who have impulsive eating and snacking habits. The stomach will be selected for people who have overeating problems and tend to eat even when they are full. Normally, the practitioner will select two or more points to be acupunctured in each session.
Lifestyle habits are important too
Like other weight losing methods, acupuncture should be accompanied by a healthy diet and an active lifestyle for effective weight loss results. This will help avoid falling into the cycle of losing weight and then gaining it again over time.
Activities like Tai Chi and Yoga that help to regulate your breathing are a good place to start. As your stamina improves, you can then move on to more vigorous activities such as aerobic exercises.
Acupuncture is worth a try if you are trying to shed some extra weight. While scientists do not know exactly how acupuncture helps one to lose weight, it has been tried and found effective for weight loss by many people. In general it is a safe and natural treatment with few side effects. Just make sure you get a qualified acupuncturist to carry out acupuncture for you.
In the process of trying to lose weight, it is important to keep yourself relaxed. Be confident about yourself and keep track of the progress you have made thus far in your weight loss journey. A healthy mindset and positive attitude is definitely the best way to a better-looking you.
Have you tried acupuncture? Do you find it effective? Share with us in the comments below about it!
Edited by guest contributor Registered Dietitian Arielle Kamps, M.S., R.D, L.D. Via HealthMatters.sg, a Singapore Health and Fitness blog that aims to help you lose weight, keep fit, and live healthy. Click here to get our free guide “Eat Your Way to Health – Secrets of a Healthy Diet”.