Acupuncture, practiced for several thousand years in China, is increasingly used worldwide in the treatment of many disorders. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), life force or ‘Qi’ (‘chee’) is thought to circulate within energy pathways or ‘meridians’ longitudinally throughout the body. There are 14 major meridians. Acupuncture points are specific locations on the body connected to these energy meridians. During illness Qi is thought to be out of balance, and stimulation of acupuncture points corrects this imbalance. Theoretically, an excess or deficiency of Qi can be rectified stimulation specific points. Obesity or excess appetite is considered ‘heat’ in the stomach and intestines, a deficiency of Qi in the spleen and stomach, or a deficiency of primary Qi. Based on these beliefs about the causes of obesity, a variety of acupoints are targeted in the treatment of obesity. Says a report titled ‘Acupuncture for the treatment of obesity: a review of the evidence’ in the International Journal of Obesity ((2003) 27, 419–427 & 2003 Nature Publishing Group) “We believe acupuncture is a potentially useful adjunct in weight management that deserves more careful study.”
At the session, a skilled acupuncture practitioner will zero in on specific body areas to effect weight loss. Among these are the endocrine system and kidneys, which are addressed to treat water retention and to stimulate nerve and hormonal rebalance. The spleen and thyroid gland are also targeted to effect sugar and hormonal rebalancing. Finally, the adrenal and ovary glands are included to treat weight gain due to menopause or Premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
Some patients report feeling dizzy after a session. Your acupuncturist may then ask you to rest for a while. If you experience unusual symptoms after the treatment, consult your practitioner immediately. Some people notice the effects of acupuncture fairly quickly and only require treatments every other week.
Of course, if you use acupuncture to lose weight you’re most likely to get the best results if you pair the treatment with healthy lifestyle changes like a calorie-controlled, nutritious diet and a program of regular physical activity with a better sleep pattern and dealing better with stress. All healing modalities can help initiate the change, but can’t replace your personal involvement in the process of weight loss and healing.