Around 50% of Brits are overweight or obese, an issue that is rapidly turning our focus to the struggle with weight loss. Weight loss is more complicated than you may think; sometimes it can be as difficult to lose five pounds as it is to lose 50. Poor eating habits, overly sedentary lifestyles, misguided ideas of nutrition and the way the human body works to conserve weight all work against us, leading many people to quit before they even begin.
Being obese means shouldering a number of grim statistics:
Obesity interferes with everyday life by casuing disturbances such as breathlessness, sleep apnea, lower back pain and impaired mobility.
Obesity increases the risks of contracting over 30 serious medical conditions including asthma, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, gallstones, arthritis, impaired fertility and stroke.
Obesity influences several types of cancer including breast, colorectal, endometrial, esophageal and renal cell cancer.
Recent studies have shown that when acupuncture is combined with traditional methods of weight loss, patients lose more weight.
From a Western perspective, acupuncture and TCM have an effect on the function of the nervous system, endocrine system, digestive system and metabolism. All of which can help to energize the body, maximize the absorption of nutrients, regulate elimination, control overeating, suppress the appetite, and reduce anxiety.
Acupuncture helps the body release endorphins which have a calming and relaxing effect that makes it easier to deal with stress, frustration and anxiety that can trigger overeating 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.
Another Chinese acupuncture practice for losing weight is auricular acupuncture. This involves manipulating points on the ear to control food cravings. Auricular acupuncture or ear acupuncture has been used successfully to help cigarette smokers and heroin addicts kick their drug habits. When properly administered by a qualified acupuncturist, ear acupuncture may help some people lose weight. One study, published in Medical Acupuncture, found that ear acupuncture combined with a 2,000 calorie a day diet and 15-minute walk helped reduce weight. The study involved 20 obese women, 22 to 42 years of age. Half of those who received weekly 15-minute sessions of ear acupuncture lost an average of 10 pounds. Those without ear acupuncture averaged only a three-pound loss. Moreover, the women who received the acupuncture treatments reported a decrease in appetite.
The effect of acupuncture on emotions also plays an important role in aiding weight loss. Acupuncture affects the neuroendocrine system by restoring the natural balance of hormones and neurotransmitter levels. The resulting release of endorphins helps to reduce stress, which in turn helps to prevent the urge to overeat.
Generally treatments are scheduled once or twice a week for 4 weeks or until the goal weight has been reached. The treatments include a combination of auricular (ear) and body acupuncture, seeded tapes to leave on ears in-between treatments, herbs and supplements, food and lifestyle recommendations.
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