Traditional Chinese Medicine For Weight Loss;
What Have You Got To Lose? Part 1
Recent statistics show that more people in Ireland are overweight, with some meeting the criteria for obesity. And the numbers are steadily rising. Most alarming are the statistics for children.
From all the magazine articles and commercials on TV that barrage you with ways to lose weight, you’d think it would be a piece of cake to stop this “epidemic” in its tracks. Consumers have countless choices. There are low-carbohydrate diets and raw food regimens; nutritional supplements and exhaustive exercise workouts; diuretics and diet pills; and perhaps most dramatic of all, stomach stapling. So why are people constantly struggling with their weight? And why aren’t their dieting efforts more successful? Perhaps we’ve been looking for weight loss in the wrong places. Take a chance on traditional Chinese medicine’s unique point of view. Here are some thoughts on how Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture can help. What have you got to lose? Acupuncture for weight loss involves the insertion of tiny needles to help improve the digestion. Traditional Chinese Medicine for weight loss would be the use of herbal medicine to improve the digestion.
Losing weight…OR…Gaining health?
One of the biggest differences between Western weight loss programs and the traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) approach is that Western methods focus on external issues. It’s all about the food and the amount of it. Instead, TCM addresses the root cause of being overweight. From the TCM perspective, it’s necessary to find and treat the root cause of any condition. TCM aims to make the digestive organs work more efficiently. If the digestive organs are not working to transform the food we eat in to usable energy, we can get overweight. Excess weight is considered just one symptom of an underlying health problem. The end result of a series of internal events in your body that usually begin with a Qi (pronounced CHEE) or energy deficiency or imbalance. Unless the root cause is addressed, the weight loss won’t be permanent. As if to prove the point, some medical statistics show that nearly 95% of dieters who use conventional weight-loss methods regain some or all of the weight they lose.
When your digestive organs fall out of balance, your organs can’t perform their tasks, for example, promoting healthy metabolism and ridding your body of excess water and fat.
Have you ever experienced problems like headaches, emotional difficulties, depression and allergies before a weight gain? These are all signals that your body is having functional difficulties. Frequently, the problem is an imbalance in the relationship between the digestive organs – crucial to proper digestion. TCM believes that when your body is in balance, you don’t have weight problems. When your Qi is strong and balanced, weight will be lost naturally and normal weight will be maintained.
An apple a day
The majority of diet plans require you to eat – or stop eating – specific foods. TCM’s view is that a healthy body will simply “ask for” what it needs. When your Qi is strong and balanced, you won’t experience extraordinary food cravings or have an uncontrollable appetite. Cravings indicate that your body requires a certain type of Qi or energy. For example, craving sweets or a sweet taste, that’s your Spleen telling you it’s out of balance. Crave salt or salty foods like crisps? That’s your Kidney looking for help. These are not necessarily bad things, we always seek to keep in balance. Women craving chocolate at certain times of the month may need magnesium, which chocolate contains. Each food, according to TCM, carries a specific essence that resonates energetically with one or more of your organs. Cravings are viewed as signals that an organ may be imbalanced and requires treatment.
It’s common for a TCM practitioner to “prescribe” certain foods to a patient – food is just one of a variety of healing resources used in TCM treatment. Food recommendations are selected with an eye to healing the root cause of your specific health problem and without side effects. Used in this way, food is a means of healing one or more organs to restore your health as a whole.
When you make intelligent choices and keep an eye on high quality, food becomes a resource that can be used every day for healing. TCM has a unique understanding of the effects of different foods and methods of cooking on your body because it recognises the impact they have on your body’s energy system. For overall well-being and to maintain a healthy weight, TCM advises a varied diet of vegetables, fruits, some grains, legumes and nuts. Seafood, especially shellfish, has many healing benefits. Meat, if it is included in your diet, should be eaten in small quantities because it puts a burden on your digestive system and requires extra Qi/energy to process. Approximately, 30% meat, 30% vegetables and 40 % carbohydrates is beneficial. Fried and barbecued foods should also be eaten in moderation because they tend to create too much internal heat, particularly in the stomach. Raw or uncooked foods are not recommended. They have a cold essence that impairs Stomach function. Raw food may have a little more nutrition, but it requires more Qi in the digestive process, offsetting any benefits.
Some weight loss diets ask you to eat very small portions or skip meals altogether. TCM believes that this practice actually undermines dieting efforts. According to TCM, there are two main sources of energy in the body. One, called “Inborn Qi,” is inherited at birth and stored in your Kidney. The other, called “Acquired Qi” or the energy derived from food, is continuously made each day from what you eat and drink. It is processed by the Spleen/Stomach organ pair, and stored there, on hand to support the function of all the organs, supply their energy needs, and help maintain your body’s capacity to regulate and heal itself.
Not eating enough food or skipping meals can lead to a Stomach function disorder. Eventually your Stomach won’t be able to extract the nourishment you need from the food you eat. This can result in bloating, allergies and even weight gain! When there is not enough Acquired Qi available, your body is forced to draw the energy it needs from the constitutional strength stores of energy.
About that bottle of water
Frequent urination, irregular heartbeat, an increase in cholesterol levels, weakness, and impotence are a high price to pay if you want to lose a few pounds. But that’s what you can expect if you use diuretic pills as a routine to lose weight.
Eliminating water from your body will result in lower numbers on the scale, but at what cost? Excess water is a sign that one or more organs has an imbalance.
TCM sees diuretics, which stimulate the kidneys to remove sodium and water, as an attempt to force the kidneys and bladder to work overtime. Diuretics will rid the body of water, at first, yet will create different health problems later on when the organs exhaust themselves.
Some weight loss regimens encourage you to drink more water to create a “full” feeling and to rid your body of toxins. From the TCM point of view, drinking large amounts of water is not a healthy practice. It forces your body to drain its Qi by keeping the Kidney/ Bladder organ system in a constant state of production – even during the night when these organs should be resting and conserving energy. And this expends precious energy that that your body needs to heal the internal conditions that caused your weight problem in the first place.
Do you want quick weight loss results at the expense of your long- term health? Or do you want lasting weight loss that brings the benefits of harmony and balance? Traditional Chinese Medicine, with its age-old specialities of prevention and lifestyle modification, is a safe and truly healing weight loss resource just waiting to be discovered.
If you would like to speak to me about weight loss or improving your digestion, contact me at:
Acupuncture Cork David Hankey, phone 087 2744735
or email email@example.com