**Lose Weight and Keep it Off with Chinese Medicine**Foods for Yin Yang Balance to Keep You Well**Thanks for Tuning In! Book On-line Anytime!
Lose Weight and Keep it Off with Chinese Medicine
Well... Spring is kind of here in beautiful rainy/sunny/sometimes hailing Portland, Oregon. Enough that pollens are flying (covering my car) and that the lilac in the backyard is full of beautiful and fragrant purple delight. That also means that Summer is coming and with it (hopefully) hot bathing suit weather! Now what do you think of when you hear the word "Bathing Suit" and think about putting one on after a long cold winter and variable Spring? Hope? Joy? Fear? For those of us who have packed on a few extra pounds for warmth and comfort, Spring is the time to prepare for Summer by shedding a few of those unwanted hangers on, but losing weight is often a challenge - especially for women entering (or exiting) menopause and those of us with an emotional relationship to food. While acupuncture - like every healthy weight loss option - is not a cure-all, it is a proven method and successful adjunct therapy that, when combined with a healthy diet and exercise, can help you lose weight AND keep it off which is the real kicker. How does this work? Let me give you a little overview:
How does it work?
The exact mechanism of acupuncture's effectiveness on all levels is not well understood from a western perspective, but it is recognized that acupuncture can cause the body to release relaxing and pain relieving endorphins that reduce stress and have a calming effect - this makes it easier to deal with the stress, frustration and anxiety that can often go with weight gain (and loss) and lead to overeating fattening foods. The endorphins released by acupuncture, as well as the energetic effect of moving the body's Qi, can also help re-balance your internal organs and your metabolism, helping to speed up a metabolism that has slowed down for instance, helping you succeed with your short and long term weight loss plans and goals.
The Initial Assessment
Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine always starts with a thorough intake to understand your specific needs, concerns, successes and challenges when it comes to weight gain and weight loss. After a lot of questions and a tongue and pulse assessment your personal energetic needs can be determined and a plan for acupuncture treatment plus additional therapies - such as dietary therapies, lifestyle recommendations and herbal therapies - may also be suggested. Different weight loss goals also determine different frequencies of treatment - in some cases daily treatment can be helpful for a very intense plan, but I generally see patients 1-2x/week through the duration of the weight loss focus. Once specific goals have been reached, treatments are tapered to once every 1-2 weeks and then once a month or even just quarterly for maintenance.
The Acupuncture Treatment
So what is the treatment actually like? Good question, and one with variable answers. Auricular or Ear Acupuncture is always a part of my specific weight loss protocols because in Chinese Medicine, the ear is a microcosm of the body. This means, you can treat the whole body just through the ear alone if you like, but the ear also contains some special points beyond the ones you might expect - in addition to acupuncture points to stimulate specific internal organs, the ear also holds points that solely treat glands like the thyroid and pituitary gland that play important roles in weight gain and loss, as well as specific points for hunger and thirst that can help control cravings. Furthermore, the ears are known to have a particular calming effect, especially when it comes to addiction - so much so that here in Portland, auricular acupuncture is a standard part of treatment in most all the state run detox centers for patients recovering from drug and alcohol addiction. This makes auricular acupuncture one of our first lines of defense in weight loss treatment towards re-balancing the body, boosting the metabolism, controlling cravings and reducing the stress and anxiety that can be impediments to long term weight loss success.
In addition to ear points, body points are then selected depending on your specific needs - is your pulse on the weaker side? Obsessive thinking? Trouble sleeping due to running thoughts? Then we add more tonification points to energetically strengthen the internal organs that are under performing and making it difficult to lose weight and keep it off. Are you boisterously energetic? Quick to frustration and anger? Wake at odd hours of the night for no reason? Then we add more reducing points and moving points to clear stagnation because the stagnation combined with an excess of energy at the blockage is the culprit for you. Different sets of symptoms cue different needs for the individual in their weight loss journey, and determining that personalized pattern and treatment is what creates success.
In addition to acupuncture, diet and lifestyle must also be assessed. If you already have a weight loss plan and have consulted with a personal trainer, a nutritionist or started a weight loss program like Take Shape for Life or Weight Watchers that is great, but if you haven't done this your acupuncturist can look at your general diet and lifestyle and suggest changes that will help you succeed and maintain your results during your course of treatment. Again, acupuncture and Chinese Medicine is not a cure-all, paying attention to lifestyle is a must for both short and long term weight loss success, but acupuncture can help speed your results and help you maintain them. Self acupressure can also help you succeed, as can herbal therapies and breathing exercises such as Qi Gong in some cases. These too are best assessed by a practitioner so that specific recommendations can be made for you.
If you want to learn more about weight loss and the Chinese Medicine connection, click HERE for a list of weight loss related articles on Acufinder.com.
Foods for Yin Yang Balance to Keep You Well
Dietary therapies in Chinese Medicine are a little different than those in the West. Instead of focusing specifically on calories and nutritional values, Chinese Medicine focuses more on the energetic properties of foods, i.e. what foods can help strengthen the energies of specific organs to help them function better? Or what foods can restore Yin Yang balance based on your specific needs to make you feel better and keep you well? While drilling down to diagnose organ imbalances and match food therapies to specific needs requires a licensed acupuncturists training, identifying which side of the general Yin Yang balance (or imbalance as the case may be) you fall to is relatively simple. Below you'll find a simple list of things to look for to get an idea of where you fall as well as some basic food remedies to help restore balance and keep you well. For a more comprehensive article about self diagnosis for food therapies click HERE.
Yin Imbalance - Too Much Cold and Damp!
Yin imbalances occur when there is too much cold and/or dampness in the body energetically. Here are some tell tale signs:
- tendency to feel chilled
- strong dislike of cold and/or damp weather
- aches and pains worse with cold and/or damp weather
- sensation of heaviness in the body
- rarely thirsty
- soft muscles
- quiet and withdrawn
- fluid retention
- often tired
- warm lamb or beef dishes
- dark poultry
- meat based soups and stews
- root vegetables
Yang imbalances occur in the opposite case - when there is too much Heat and/or Dryness in the body. Symptoms can include:
- tendency to feel warm or overheated
- tendency to be talkative
- dry skin
- sweet craving
- easily stressed
- dry throat or eyes
- fatty fish
- free range eggs
- goats milk and cheese
- soups and stews with grass-fed animal protein
- green beans
- napa cabbage
- sea vegetables
As usual thanks again for tuning in! If you are interested in more information about weight loss with the help of acupuncture and Chinese Medicine, please don't hesitate to call me or email me anytime. I also offer free 15 minute consultations in person or over the phone that you can book via email, phone at (503)445-8888 ext. 1 or on-line if you have more specific questions and want time to talk. If you want to eat better for your specific energetic needs, I hope you will take advantage of some of the tips above and see what you think. Here's hoping to see you soon!
Yours in health and wellness,