Acupuncture Weight Loss: Fact or Fiction?

Acupuncture Weight Loss: Fantasy, or Fact? acupuncture and weight loss

Fantasy or Fact? As a well-trained and fairly conservative Chinese medicine practitioner, I had assumed that acupuncture for weight loss was a marketing fad and a patient fantasy.

Evidence: But while researching my upcoming book Chinese Medicine: A Practical Guide to Optimal Healing, I found some surprisingly positive information that changed my mind.

Chinese Medicine's Collective Clinical Data on Acupuncture Weight Loss

Chinese Medicine has thousands of years of clinical experience. This collective data not as convincing as randomized controlled trials are, but it does contain truth - it's imperfect but still valid and important.

A U.S. government study in the 80's concluded that 85% of western medicine is based on clinical experience, not on research. (Office of Technology Assessment of the Congress of the United States, The Impact of Randomized Controlled Trials on Health Policy and Medical Practice, Background Paper OTA-BP-H-22. Also see Michael Millenson's book, Demanding Medical Excellence)

There is good Chinese Medicine research in Taiwan, Australia, and Europe that gets ignored by American scientists and media. Much research in Chinese has not even been translated into English.

Seven Studies of Acupuncture for Weight Loss

How it works: By enhancing the function of two neuroendocrine pathways that regulate many bodily processes, including metabolism.

What it does:

Ephedra misuse and mislegislation

Ephedra is a Chinese herb for colds and coughs. It has been misused to increase metabolism, and this misuse has caused numerous deaths. As a result, the FDA is considering a total ban on ephedra products. We can blame two major things:

  1. Supplement companies that care more about your money than your health (no, not all of them are that way, but some of them are, especially the ones that market weight loss formulations).
  2. The idea that you can medicate yourself safely with herbs - self-medication of any kind is risky. Self-medication with herbs is off the radar, and people generally think they can do it safely. The ephedra debacle is an example of how dangerous it can be.

Traditionally, Chinese herbs are given in formulas (not singly), which is safer and more personalized. They're prescribed by a Chinese medicine practitioner who diagnoses your specific imbalances first. Ephedra would never be given for weight loss, but only for certain kinds of colds and coughs, and only to people whose body's can handle it.

Food Cravings

5 Things to Do Right Now To Lose 10 Pounds Within 2 Months And Keep Them Off:

  1. Avoid heavily marketed supplements - instead, see a professional trained herbalist (acupuncturist) - it's safer and more effective - my preference would be a Chinese medicine practitioner, but some very well-educated western herbalists are good too.
  2. Acupuncture Weight Loss: See an acupuncturist/Chinese herbalist - Get acupuncture (once to three times per week) to SAFELY regulate your metabolism and hunger-satisfaction. Your acupuncturist can also get you the herbs that will balance your digestion and cravings - and based on your Chinese pattern diagnosis, they can also give you personalized diet advice. Herbs and enzymes (specific formulations from the enzyme company, Transformations) can eliminate your food cravings.
  3. Develop a plan and goals with your acupuncturist and aerobics instructor- make it realistic, and stick to it. If you mess up, don't beat yourself up, just get back on track as soon as you can. Any progress is better than none at all.
  4. Eat less, exercise more - Eat a low fat diet, and don't miss breakfast! Weigh yourself regularly, and exercise an hour a day. Start by walking a few minutes each day, or take the stairs at work. Don't overdo it! Remember the rubber band. In fact, you may want to wear a rubber band on your wrist to remind yourself to make changes slowly. Get some aerobic exercise help- a public class, or private aerobic counseling.
  5. Join a support group like Weight Watchers or Overeaters Anonymous. There's nothing like positive friends to encourage you and keep you on track. OA members say that this spiritual program of action has changed the way they relate to food.
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