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Traditional Chinese Medicine, the theory behind the practice of acupuncture, holds that disease and poor health are most frequently the result of imbalances in a person's body and its systems. Once Qi flow is regulated, the patient's own body returns itself to a state of balance and well-being.
This same approach is used in the treatment of obesity, and to assist patients who wish to return to their normal, healthy body weight. The standard weight-loss program consists of four treatments, one week apart. Needles are inserted in the ears and body for the first part of the treatment at the clinic. Needle location depends upon whether the patient has larger limbs, stomach, or hips. Then “seeds,” small pellets held in place by adhesive medical tape, are used in the ears, and are inserted in the points controlling nerves, digestion, appetite, and the endocrine system. Each set is retained for the period between treatments, and helps to maintain and direct the influence of the stronger office procedure.
Individual needs vary, however, and patients with a lot of weight to lose are advised to revisit twice a month for maintenance or further treatment, as necessary. Press needles must be replaced periodically, and the ears cleaned to avoid irritation and discomfort. Individuals on this program may expect to lose 2 – 3½ pounds or more a week.
Acupuncture produces results by subtly altering and enhancing physiological functions, i.e. soothing and calming the nerves while simultaneously curbing the appetite, and raising the metabolic rate while increasing energy and eliminating excess fluid. Thus, acupuncture presents a more balanced gentle alternative to harsh, one-sided obesity control techniques more commonly available.
Better results are obtained when acupuncture is complemented by Chinese herbal medicines. These formulas, usually taken as a tea, are combinations of herbal ingredients formulated to be mutually-reinforcing and balanced. They are non-toxic and free of the dangerous side-effects usually associated with weight-loss preparations. A commonly used formula to assist with weight loss is Liu Wei Di Huang Wang. In Chinese herbology, this formula is a "kidney tonic," meaning that it acts upon the deep-energizing systems of the body to improve water metabolism and to balance endocrine production, notably by the thyroid and adrenal glands. "Kidney tonics" also aid nervous system regulation, so they typically produce a calming effect, even as they increase the patient’s sense of strength and energy. They are an ideal assist to the weight loss process.
No weight-loss technique is effective if poor dietary habits are continued. Acupuncture requires no specific diet choice, but must be used in conjunction with dietary control, subject to individual needs. Your acupuncturist can assist you in the selection of foods suitable to assist you in your weight-loss efforts. In general, a diet rich in whole grain foods, fiber, and green vegetables is recommended. Herein lies another virtue of the acupuncture approach. By limiting appetite and nervous overeating, acupuncture provides valuable assistance in the struggle to regain conscientious eating habits. Once an individual has achieved control of these habits, proper weight is usually maintained with little effort or external support.