Successful weight loss depends on a number of factors, ranging from mental strength and physical constitution to, most of all, the right understanding about how to get from A to B.
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and acupuncture, including herbal and food therapy, can help with certain aspects that are important to weight loss. But, even with the aid of Chinese medicine and acupuncture, there is no magic pill that can miraculously melt off fat.
Even acupuncture will not magically dissolve your fat, and will have little to no effect if other factors, like stress and diet, are not sufficiently addressed.
Any acupuncturist or anyone else, for that matter, who says you can eat fast food and lose weight is misleading you or is very misinformed themselves.
The four types of overweight people
If you put the main types of weight loss patients side by side, you would in most cases have four types of weight loss patients.
- Group one is the stress eaters — they eat reasonably well, but then binge too often in response to stress.
- group two are the people who have a poor diet.
- Among the third group are people who either have hormonal imbalances or neurological disorders, which make it difficult, if not impossible, to lose weight even if the diet is very good. We can also include people with a weak stomach constitution and/or spleen function (in relation to TCM) weakness in group three.
- Group four would be a combination of the first three groups.
If you are a stress eater, then acupuncture can help reduce stress and help reduce the craving to eat when stressed. In this case, the focus of the treatment is not explicitly directed at weight loss, but rather at helping change the brain and the body chemistry to prevent the automatic response of craving food due to stress.
If judging by the experience of TCM practitioners in clinical settings, cravings can be reduced pretty quickly and ultimately be eliminated altogether in most cases. The patient’s role in the process cannot be emphasized enough. The more disciplined the patient is from the beginning, the quicker he or she will be able to change their behavior, and the quicker their cravings will become less frequent or less intense.
For people whose diets are poor, who just don’t eat healthily, there is no pill or acupuncture treatment protocol that can make your body think a muffin is a vegetable. Without making dietary changes, the natural process of weight loss will be impossible to achieve.
Acupuncture alone can’t super boost your metabolism or drastically improve your body’s capability to melt down fats, carbs, or sugars.
Acupuncture, however, can help improve your digestive function and bowel movements, and help elevate any other digestive-related syndrome. It can supplement and lay a foundation for the body’s natural ability to lose weight. In this case, a TCM practitioner will explain to the patient the importance of making the right dietary choices according to the patient’s physical needs. Once the patient changes their nutrition program and is consistent in following through with it, he or she will mostly be able to eliminate the effects of a nutritionally poor diet.
For this type of patient, weight loss itself is not really the focus. The focus rather is using acupuncture to help balance and restore the body’s hormones and biochemistry. This in return can help the body reinstate its natural mechanisms, allowing it to lose weight again.
While even in this group the choice of food is still important, it might not show much of an impact until the body’s hormone system and biochemical metabolism is balanced again.
The majority of people fall into the fourth category — a combination of poor diet, a weakened digestive system, and the inability of the body to lose weight effectively. The type of treatment applied by the TCM practitioner must be tailored to the patient according to the individual needs of each patient.
The magic pill
There are no magic Chinese herbs, formulas, or pills for that matter that can burn off fat. Chinese herbal therapy can assist the body to supplement and restore balance so that various underlying causes of weight gain can be addressed by the body’s own natural mechanisms.
Some formulas help strengthen the function of the spleen/stomach with the goal reducing the amount of dampness in the body. Other formulas might strengthen the function of the liver to help metabolize fats more effectively. Some formulas can be helpful if water retention is part of the problem, and might bring balance to aspects of the kidney system. Last, but not least, there are also herbal formulas that help reduce stress and anxiety, which in turn helps reduce stress eating. However, regardless of how capable any one formula might be, none of them by themselves will actually make the body lose weight and burn off fat.
While exercise has no real effect on weight loss itself, as shown in studies, it is still beneficial to establish a healthy routine of light to moderate exercise, as exercise can have a positive effect on the cardiovascular system of the body.
Traditional Chinese medicine can be very powerful in aiding people to achieve weight loss results. Most people, however, will also need to bring a willingness to change their mental and nutritional habits as well if they really seek to benefit from TCM treatments.