Inches Off with Chinese Medicine
By Dr. Jessica Chen, L.Ac., DAOM
Can acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine help with weight loss?
This is a question often posed by patients, and the answer is, "Yes." The next question is invariably, "how does it work?" The answer to this varies a little from patient to patient depending on what is preventing weight loss.
In order to lose weight, one needs a proper foundation of exercise,
sleeping well and eating right.
First, we must look at what obstacles prevent someone from achieving their goal. For some,
injury or a lack of energy prevents exercise. Some do not sleep well, which lowers their energy and
causes them to hold onto weight. And many do not eat properly, either due to lack of knowledge or will.
Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine have long been known to help people recover from injury,
improve their energy and sleep. The third part of the foundation, eating right, requires proper
guidance on nutrition.
There are many weight loss programs out there and most of them work well to help people
lose weight. However, most who are able to lose weight then struggle trying to keep it off. There
are a couple reasons why these programs fail to keep the weight off. First, they are standardized
and in some cases, have rigid protocols that are difficult to maintain after the program ends.
Second, the goal of most weight loss programs is just that—to lose the weight and fast. Though
this sounds good to most of us who are always looking for that quick fix, in reality, quick fixes
tend not to work in the long term. This is no exception with weight loss as losing weight quickly is not physiologically healthy. Generally, when one loses weight fast, they are losing muscle
mass. As one loses muscle, their metabolic rate slows down. This makes it that much easier
to gain weight. So, several months after the initial victory, the weight slowly creeps back on.
A Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner bases weight loss programs on Chinese nutritional principles. As with acupuncture and herbal medicine, Chinese nutrition is based on balancing each individual’s energetic system and optimizing their overall health. Through food, we are able to balance your body’s physiology and energy so it functions more efficiently. This program differs from western nutritional advice as it does not focus on counting calories or making rigid dietary plans. With Chinese nutrition, the focus is to educate you on the energetic properties of food and how those complement you as an individual. Based on the TCM diagnosis of your specific condition, your nutritional counseling will be tailored to what most appropriately suits your body energetically.
When you ingest foods that suit your energetics, your body will respond better naturally.
This will allow you to feel more energized, and within a short period of time you will notice you are
shedding pounds as well.