Acupuncture Weight Loss Treatments
I remember first time I took Chinese herbs. One of my patients told me “You look really tired – Here take these herbs” and handed me a bagful of different colored packages. It hurt to have it put so bluntly, but it was true, I was building a business, working long hours and feeling a bit drained, so I listened and took them home to use that night. One was a peach green tea that tasted like Snapple I had been drinking earlier that day, one was an “interesting tasting” dark green liquid which I took with an OJ chaser and third was a powder that I mixed up with OJ, water and soy milk to make a citrus smoothie. Not bad I thought, for Chinese herbs… And then something amazing happened. I felt full! Little did I know at that time I had been given key to my natural weight loss that I still maintain 15 years later.
I loved it! I had never felt full before in my life. I had been struggling with being thin since childhood. I had learned when to stop eating in order to not gain weight; I knew all kinds of tricks like drinking water before a meal and getting up and walking away from table. I looked at each new “diet trend” and I had eliminated all those “bad carbohydrates” from my diet and lived at gym – and I ended up thin and tired all time. I even tried dexatrim (I may be dating myself – does any body else out there remember that?) and ended up a yo-yo dieter. It was like I was in a constant battle with my body and my weight.
In this process of trying everything I had never before felt this feeling of being satisfied. I loved it! So I used herbs for a few weeks and then I proceeded to talk myself out of taking herbs – too expensive, etc… and promptly got tired and sick, went back on them – stopped and got sick and tired again, repeated it a third time and then I got message that these herbs were doing something really good for my body.
Then to my surprise, six months later I dropped 20 pounds without changing anything else in my life. I even began to eat more without gaining weight like I used to. I had a lifetime of experience struggling with my weight and I was amazed at how these “little packages of herbs” were changing my life. I would never have expected that these nutritional herbs would help me lose weight. I was so intrigued that I ended up going to Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine School to learn more. That was my door into world of Chinese Medicine and acupuncture weight loss and I’ve never looked back.
Weight Loss is quite a difficult complex problem for some of us, and not even an issue for others. Just recently “Language has been removed from Medicare Coverage Issues Manual stating that obesity is not an illness…. The medical science will now determine whether we provide coverage for treatments that reduce complications and improve quality of life for millions of Medicare beneficiaries with obesity.(1)” Being overweight is now officially a disease. “And as a first step, we expect to convene our Medicare Coverage Advisory Committee in fall to evaluate evidence on various surgical procedures used in treating obesity.(2)” There has to be other alternatives besides surgery.
Acupuncture for Weight Loss hit press in 2003 when Reuters, CNN and others reported of successful acupuncture weight loss clinics in China. Chinese Medicine theory, traditionally hold that overweight people have imbalanced digestive systems. By stimulating digestive system through acupuncture and herbs, it becomes more balanced and efficient, thus nutrition is more bio-available and person feels fuller. This is what happened to me when my metabolism came into a better balance. Other theories are that acupuncture mainly helps reduce appetite and improve metabolism.(3)
A slow increase in Obesity in China had lead to this new specialty – acupuncture weight loss. A professor at a Traditional Chinese Medicine College in China states that treatments for weight reduction have been practiced, studied and refined over past 5 years(4). While an exact comparison between US and China is difficult, in China numbers may be close to 10-13% overweight adults, as compared to 64% for US, but with their lifestyles and economic changes this number is beginning to rise (5) . In Beijing, capital, students eagerly enjoy down their Kentucky Fried Chicken, McDonalds, Coca-Cola, Pepsi and pop tarts. These foods have slowly replaced previous hot spots with traditional Chinese snacks found in places like Grandma’s Dumpling House (6) . The obesity rate among primary and middle school students has risen to 18 %, from 10% in 1991, state Xinhua news agency said recently, citing a survey from Beijing Center for Disease Control and Prevention.(7)
So what kind of acupuncture weight loss treatments do they offer in these clinics in China? Acupuncture, on body and/or ear, herbal supplements and exercise that’s not overly taxing (8). These are primary treatment modalities that are used, but Acupuncture is pillar of their weight loss strategy. How successful are they in losing weight? Currently there are no published research studies in peer – reviewed journals, only success stories emanating from clinics. One source states “On this modest program – patients are said to lose between 22 and 33 pounds per month(9).” Huge weight losses of up to 242 pounds are boasted. In China, they say that 4 of 5 patients lose weight.(10)