Weight problems are a major health concern in the United States. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) conducted from 2001 to 2004, about two-thirds of adults in this country are overweight, with nearly half of those falling into the obese category. Being overweight/obese is a major risk factor for serious health concerns such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, hypertension, certain forms of cancer, and more.
In addition to physical consequences, being overweight can have significant impacts on an individual's mental well-being. It can lead to lowered self-esteem, anxiety, depression, and ultimately, have damaging effects on quality of life. Such negative feelings often lead to emotional eating or eating as a way to cope with negative emotions. Often, those who eat for emotional reasons eat excessive quantities of food and favor foods that are high in calories, fat, salt, and sugar. Needless to say, such eating can sabotage any efforts to lose weight, and the individual often finds him/herself trapped in a vicious cycle of negative emotions and overeating.
Unlike fad diets and pills that often work against the body and only provide temporary weight loss, acupuncture is a natural, safe, and long-term solution to breaking the vicious cycle of being overweight. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), excess weight is due to internal imbalances in the organ systems, such as those of the liver and spleen. Modern living, which often includes chronic stress, poor eating habits, and lack of exercise, can damage these organ systems and results in slow metabolism, fatigue, digestive issues, water retention, and pain problems. The result of this is unhealthy weight gain.
Acupuncture is aimed at getting to the root of the issue by correcting internal imbalances and working with the body to lose weight and restore health. With regular acupuncture treatments, balanced functioning of the organ systems can be restored, resulting in faster metabolism, increased energy, improvement of pain problems, detoxification of the body, and loss of excess water and fat. Also, the insertion of needles in acupuncture points causes the body to release certain biochemicals, such as endorphins, which can have a profound effect on stress levels. By reducing stress levels, acupuncture can help put a stop to emotional eating and give a boost to one's willpower.
That being said, like any healthy weight management system, acupuncture is not a magic bullet for weight loss and results cannot be expected overnight. Losing weight most healthfully and effectively takes dedication and cooperation on the patient's part to commit to getting regular treatments, adopt healthy eating habits, and stick to an exercise program. By following a comprehensive weight loss program that includes acupuncture, patients can not only expect to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, but they can also expect an improvement in overall health and vitality.