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Obesity and Acupuncture

What Causes Obesity?

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An increasing number of  American are overweight. There are potential health problems, including an increased risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, heart diseases, and elevated blood cholesterol level and cancers. Obesity occurs when a person consumes more calories than he or she burns. For many people this boils down to eating too much and exercise too little. But there are other factors that also play a role in obesity. These may include:

Age - As you get older, your body's ability to metabolize food slows down and you do not require as many calories to maintain your weight.

Gender - Women tend to be more overweight than men.

Genetics - Obesity (and thinness) tends to run in families.

Lifestyle factors - A person's lifestyle also plays a significant role, such as what a person eats and how active he or she is.

Physical activity - Active individuals require more calories than less active ones to maintain their weight. Additionally, physical activity tends to decrease appetite in obese individuals while increasing the body's ability to preferentially metabolize fat as an energy source.

Psychological factors - Many people eat in response to negative emotions such as boredom, sadness, or anger.

How can acupuncture help loss weight ?

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From a TCM perspective, the acupuncture points, foods and herbs that are chosen to assist with weight loss directly influence the Qi of the spleen, liver and kidney systems to treat the root imbalances that are causing the weight gain. Clinically acupuncture is very effective for excess weight due to over-eating and slow metabolism. A comprehensive therapy for weight issues rooted in TCM decreases in cravings and over-eating, promotes better digestion, smoothes emotions, reduces appetite, improves metabolism.

From a Western perspective, acupuncture and TCM have been shown to have an effect on the function of the nervous system, endocrine system, digestive system, food cravings, and metabolism. All of which can help to energize the body, maximize the absorption of nutrients, regulate elimination, control overeating, suppress the appetite, and reduce anxiety.

How often do I need to have acupuncture treatment ?

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Generally treatments are scheduled once or twice a week for 8 to 12 weeks or until the goal weight has been reached. The treatments include a combination of auricular (ear) and body acupuncture, herbs and supplements, breathing exercises, dietary and lifestyle recommendations.

Useful Links:

Systematic evaluation of therapeutic effect of acupuncture for treatment of simple obesity

Acupuncture for obesity: a systematic review and meta-analysis