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 the table. I looked at each new “diet trend” and I had eliminated all those “bad carbohydrates” from my diet and lived at the gym – and I ended up thin and tired all the 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 the herbs for a few weeks and then I proceeded to talk myself out of taking the 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 the 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 the 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 the Medicare Coverage Issues Manual stating that obesity is not an illness…. The medical science will now determine whether we provide coverage for the treatments that reduce complications and improve quality of life for the 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 the fall to evaluate the evidence on the various surgical procedures used in treating obesity.(2)” There has to be other alternatives besides surgery.
Acupuncture for Weight Loss hit the 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 the digestive system through acupuncture and herbs, it becomes more balanced and efficient, thus nutrition is more bio-available and the 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 the past 5 years(4). While an exact comparison between the US and China is difficult, in China the numbers may be close to 10-13% overweight adults, as compared to 64% for the US, but with their lifestyles and economic changes this number is beginning to rise (5) . In Beijing, the capital, students eagerly enjoy down their Kentucky Fried Chicken, McDonalds, Coca-Cola, Pepsi and pop tarts. These foods have slowly replaced the 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, the state Xinhua news agency said recently, citing a survey from the 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 the body and/or the ear, herbal supplements and exercise that’s not overly taxing (8). These are the primary treatment modalities that are used, but Acupuncture is the 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 the 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)
I was fortunate to have been trained by a colleague that studied in China learning these acupuncture weight loss treatments. We are now proud and excited to offer the Chinese nutritional herbal program that I used as well as these acupuncture treatments and other supporting treatments for weight loss at our Oriental Medicine spa-clinic in Los Angeles. I continue to further my study and am exploring working with researchers at a major university to evaluate the efficacy of these protocols. Imagine finding solid evidence that there is a treatment for obesity that has relatively few side effects. It is exciting to see where this can go.
The unique acupuncture weight loss program we are offering here in Los Angeles at the Oriental Med Spa is a synergy based on the treatment protocol currently used in China(11), Chinese Dietary therapy including nutrient packed supplements and nutrition for weight loss taught to physicians (12). It is a gradual reduction method and includes Oriental Medicine Diagnosis, a series of eight Acupuncture for Weight Loss Treatments, Auricular acupuncture (ear seeds) and herbal pharmaceutical grade Chinese nutrition supplements. Acupuncture and nutritional herbs are used primarily to strengthen the digestive system so it becomes more efficient. The food you eat is better assimilated and you feel full more quickly with less cravings. We hear “I noticed that my cravings were much less” on a regular basis from patients.
Breathing exercises are also a vital part of our program. For additional support we also provide Chinese Nutrition diet analysis, Eating plans, Lifestyle Changes Support, RejuvaQi Qi Gong Exercises, Slim & Toned IR BodyWrap and AromaWraps for weight loss. Treatments range from active to pampering. Each program is tailored and individualized for the patient’s unique situation. In China they say that 4 of 5 patients lose weight. Only time will tell here in the West (13).
Searches of medical literature show that all of the following are important, lifestyle choices such as daily exercise, smart diet choices, dealing with your “inner eating demons”. Others are important but haven’t gotten quite as much press – proper breathing, body balance & flexibility, and constitution. Let’s face it we all come in as a unique individual with our own DNA, personality profile and favorite foods. First is the decision to lose weight, next is the right support.
This is where I believe Chinese Medicine and acupuncture for weight loss are powerful supporting tools, to help us find our own individual paths to healthy living. It is a slow gradual reduction method. The program can stand alone or be a supportive treatment for other weight loss or weight management programs. It takes time as the body rebalances. It worked well for me, it has worked for others and if you are seriously looking for support for your weight loss, come in for a treatment. We’d love to share it with you.