Traditional Chinese Medicine and Weight Control
Many of us eat for emotional reasons. When you feel sad or depressed, you might eat in an attempt to make yourself feel good. Inactivity and the availability of copious amounts of “fast” and sugar-loaded food also contribute to the high number of overweight people in the world
“There is no magical cure for weight loss!” Acupuncture and Chinese herbs are complementary therapies. An overweight or obese person must be willing to make a deep, long-term commitment to controlling their weight. Any therapy for weight control must be combined with a proper diet and exercise.
Acupuncture for weight loss works on different levels. Acupuncture can stimulate the body’s production of serotonin and endorphins. Thereby relaxing the person so they can avoid stress eating. Acupuncture has also been shown to improve the muscle tone of the gut to decrease hunger. Furthermore, acupuncture affects the hypothalamus which among many other things, plays a large role in the mechanisms of hunger.
Some people are anxiety eaters. TCM is particularly helpful in these cases because of its centering, calming and balancing function. Once stress is relieved, the desire to eat for comfort is lessened. For another look at how stress can affect the body, visit our page on stress relief.
Traditional Chinese Medicine makes the following dietary recommendations:
- Eat small meals
- Eat warmed, fresh cooked food
- Avoid cold drinks and frozen food
- Avoid fried foods
- Avoid alcohol
- Avoid caffeine
- Avoid anything with added sugar
- Avoid fast food and junk food
Ear acupuncture, or auricular acupuncture, is very effective for weight control. Acupuncture stimulates the auricular branch of the vagal nerve and raises serotonin levels. Both of these actions increase the smooth muscle tone of the stomach, thereby suppressing appetite.
TCM also recommends daily brisk walking and swimming as gentle forms of exercise for effective weight control.