Weight loss program is referred to as "Weight Management and Control" since we are concerned not only with the initial loss, but also the MAINTENANCE of the lost weight.
This is a multi-faceted problem and our team addresses it from three different angles involving:
• Nutritional counseling and diet,
• Exercise and stress reduction techniques.
The Acupuncture Treatment
Acupuncture is effective in aiding the process and very important for maintenance if the patient is willing to change their lifestyle. Acupuncture needles, inserted into specific points on the body and in the ear, will balance the release of hormones and the entire endocrine system. TheThyroid gland is most specifically targeted, although it is not the only gland which is affected by this treatment. Endorphins are also released simultaneously, which have a calming and relaxing effect that makes it easier to deal with stress, frustration and anxiety that can trigger overeating and bingeing on comfort foods. Also, endorphins affect the digestive and hormonal systems so acupuncture can help balance hormones like Cortisol and stimulate metabolism. In order for the acupuncturist to choose the correct points for you, you must first come in for a consultation to discuss your particular source of weight gain, and let the practitioner know, in your intake form, if there are any real digestive difficulties or glandular problems. Then, the acupuncturist would check your pulse to discern the general state of your energy, measuring the health of your stomach energy in particular, and they would look at your tongue to check for cracks, peeling or puffiness on the stomach area. They would also check for a suspicious yellow or thick white coating that might indicate troublesome heat or coldness in the stomach and would provide some clues as to why the person was gaining or having a hard time losing weight.
The Acupuncture Points
The acupuncturist would then start a treatment protocol using a combination of ear and body points. Although the Chinese developed the system of auricular (ear) acupuncture a long time ago, as one of the various Microsystems of the body containing all the points relating to the major organs and body parts, a Frenchman by the name of Nogier, discovered many more acupuncture points on the ear that pertain to Western medicine such as points called "Adrenal," "Pituitary," "FSH," "Ovary," "Thyroid," etc. Many of the points from both ear acupuncture systems that are important for weight loss treatments are:
Impulsive eating, smokers, talkative
Eats after being full or who's constantly nibbling
General appetite control
A calming point for anxiety, frustration, insecurity, and other psychological aspects of over-eating
Adrenal and Ovary
If weight gain is related to menopause or P.M.S.
Sugar imbalances taste addiction, chocolate, sweets
Water metabolism, electrolyte imbalance, hormonal imbalance
For slow metabolism, hormonal imbalance
The practitioner chooses two or more of these points for each treatment depending upon the patient's problem and personality profile regarding their weight problem.
Next, body points would be selected.
Our acupuncturist may use electro stimulation on some of these acupuncture points to increase the endorphin release and stimulate the metabolism. The needles would be kept in place for around thirty to forty-five minutes, depending on how much support was needed for the patient, and, after the needles are removed, ear tacks with adhesive on them are often placed in the same spots on the ear to continue the stimulation between treatments. The way it works is this: when the patient feels an urge to eat, she/he applies mild pressure to the point or rubs it back and forth for about 20 seconds. This type of acupressurestimulates the point, causes a mild endorphin release, relaxes the patient and helps them to regain their willpower or resolve to resist the temptation to eat. The patient removes the tacks at home after three days and throws them away or takes them out sooner if there is any irritation or discomfort. It is a good idea to also remove oneself from the location, person or food that triggers the resistance to the diet or contributes to the breakdown of willpower. For example, one might want to stay away from the kitchen and refrigerator between meals.
The Treatment Plan
The number of acupuncture treatments necessary depends on the patient's goals for losing weight, the speed at which they want to lose, and their commitment to keeping the weight off. If the overeating is severe, a treatment every day for the first five days is appropriate and can then taper it off the second week to every other day and the third week to every three days. For the average patient who wants to lose between five to ten pounds, one treatment every three days or twice a week until they reach their goal is appropriate, and then a booster treatment once every two weeks is optimal. After a few booster treatments, the patient and practitioner will mutually decide when to terminate frequent treatments and then can aim to meet approximately four times a year at the change of seasons when energy levels are unstable and tonification and harmonizing of one's system is appropriate for everyone.
Nutritional Counseling and Lifestyle Changes
As was mentioned earlier, a good weight loss program includes nutritional counseling and exercise as well as a commitment to make permanent lifestyle changes. At 2bwell we help our patients with nutritional counseling and can discuss a diet regimen that the patient can live with and maintain for the long term. We offer simple recipes that are high in fiber and low in fat, with moderate amounts of low-density carbohydrates and low-fat protein to aid with your diet. With this type of a diet program, the patient can avoid the pit-falls of yo-yo dieting or the tendency to lose weight and then regain it. Other important tools that can aid in weight loss are stress reduction techniques and a moderate exercise regimen. We teach our patients various stress reduction techniques that may include breathing exercises,Tai Qi, Qi Gong, Meditation or biofeedback, and Guided visualization. Since the goal of a weight management program is not only weight loss but the maintenance of that loss, an exercise program is also a key factor in the success of the program. We work in cooperation with two different personal trainers to aid our patients achieve their set goals. However, you don't have to use a trainer and can instead start with a program that includes brisk walking three times a week for forty minutes. After a few weeks, when stamina is increased, you could try walking five times a week. After that more aerobic exercise can be added such as the treadmill, stair climber or aerobics classes, cycling or whatever form of rigorous exercise the person enjoys and can maintain for the long term. It is a good idea to use free weights, beginning with three pound weights and practicing just two to three sets of arm curls three times a week. Moderate weight training builds lean body mass and helps to reduce body fat as well as strengthen and build bone mass and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
Next, a good individualized nutritional supplement program is design and ordered based on your needs since everyone has a different metabolism and different needs for nutrients. It will include vitamins, minerals, herbs, antioxidants, phytochemicals and nutraceuticals. These will support the diet program and balance the blood sugar to help give the body the strength, energy and defense it needs to maintain the healthy life style that she/he has begun.
Breathing and Abdominal Exercises
While the patient is undergoing the behavior modification program and is successfully losing weight, it is a good idea to incorporate a set of deep breathing and abdominal exercises that utilize the acupuncture meridians or energy lines on the body to stimulate relaxation and digestion. If we practice deep abdominal breathing while lying down for a few minutes in the morning before we arise, we will not only take in more oxygen but will stimulate the stomach, spleen, kidney, and reproductive energy lines that are all located on the center of the torso. Digestion will be improved and all those organs will function more effectively. We will also start the day with more energy and clarity.