The Porcupine Diet – Acupuncture For Weight Loss

If you have tried all the fad diets with little success, why not try something that has worked for a couple of thousand years, acupuncture for weight loss.

You might disagree, but hear me out on this; if the same old stuff isn’t working, why not try something new that pushes the envelope a bit. Acupuncture for weight loss? Lose weight…yes, get stuck with needles, I didn’t think so…until I did some research. (I made up the name porcupine diet when I was being a wiseguy and showing my contempt before investigation).

With origins from China, acupuncture is one of the oldest and most commonly used medical procedures in the world. If you are looking for an alternative weight loss solution, you might want to try acupuncture.

Acupuncture for weight loss became popular is 2003 when CNN reported on successful acupuncture weight loss clinics in China. An increase in obesity in China led to the practice of acupuncture for weight loss because Chinese medicinal theory says that overweight people have imbalanced digestive systems.

Acupuncture can help you lose weight by strengthening your digestive system. Doing this helps control your appetite and therefore weight loss is achieved. Some theories suggest that acupuncture improves metabolism causing you to burn calories at a faster rate.

Acupuncture for weight loss involves poking the skin with thin stainless steel needles that are moved by hand or by electric stimulation. Sometimes the needles are combined with lasers. The needles are left in place for about 30 minutes.

You can expect to feel heat, tingling and perhaps numbness. In addition to the weight loss that can be achieved with acupuncture, you can also regulate your menstrual cycle, alleviate mood swings, and eliminate fatigue.

Here is how it works:

1. A doctor gives you an herbal prescription that is to be taken weekly.

2. You visit the doctor for a series of treatments. After the fourth treatment the electric stimulation is increased. The doctor may revise your prescription.

3. After a few treatments, you should begin to feel full more quickly than you used to.

4. After the 10th treatment you should take a two-week break to focus on your diet and exercise plan.

It takes time for the body to adjust to acupuncture for weight loss. But patients have reported that with patience, food cravings and overeating do disappear. According to the Chinese Acupuncture Points, acupuncture specialists have defined these points for weight loss with acupuncture:

Mouth – for the impulsive eater who may also smoke a lot and talk a lot.

Stomach – for the person who eats even after they’re full or who’s constantly nibbling.

Lung – for food addicts, and people who love chocolate, sweets.

Endocrine – for water retention that’s responsible for some of the weight gain.

Adrenal and Ovary – if weight gain is due to menopause or P.M.S.

Spleen – for sugar imbalances and hormonal disturbances.

Kidney – for water retention, and nervous system and hormonal imbalances.

Thyroid – for slow metabolism.

Be warned though, some doctors do not believe that acupuncture for weight loss alone is enough to have weight loss. Medical studies show that daily exercise, diet choices and dealing with food issues are an important part of the process.

It is also advised that you find a doctor who is certified by the National Certification Commission For Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) for acupuncture for weight loss.

The cost for weight loss acupuncture treatment varies. Your first visit can cost between $50-$125. Subsequent visits range from $30-$80. Physicians charge more than general practitioner and not all insurance companies cover treatment. Common side effects from acupuncture weight for loss include dizziness, headaches and nausea.

Acupuncture Weight Loss? Plus 5 Step Weight Loss Plan

I remember back in my senior year of high school – my best friend since 5th grade was living in France. He wrote that they didn’t like Americans much. “They think we’re all fat,” he said. With his own skinny frame, of course, he confounded their belief.

But, he added a funny, or perhaps ironic capstone to the issue. “I went to a store, and they were selling statues of these fat people, and, at the base of each one was written, ‘American.'”

Obesity is not only an American problem. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), it’s a global problem. They call it globesity. Parodoxically, their understanding of this problem began with their original mission to eliminate hunger and malnutrition. We live in a world where many have nothing to eat, and many eat too much. From 1995 to 2000, the number of obese adults worldwide mushroomed from 200 million to 300 million. That’s a 50% increase in just 5 years!

What is Obesity, and What is Overweight?

Overweight means an excess of body weight. This excess weight may be muscle, bone, fat, and/or body water. Obesity refers specifically to an abnormally high proportion of body fat. You can be overweight without being obese – for example, a bodybuilder or other highly-muscled athlete. But many people who are overweight are also obese.The main way to determine whether you are overweight or obese is with the body mass index (BMI). It doesn’t directly measure body fat, and it’s not gender specific, but it does give you a pretty reliable estimation.

To find your BMI, divide your weight (in kilograms) by your height in meters squared. Yep, for the math-challenged, that’s complex, so I’ll give you a website that will figure it out for you, the National Institute’s of Health BMI calculator (http://www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi/). This will very quickly tell you if you are normal, overweight, or obese, and it does all the calculating and metric conversions for you!

Overweight is defined as a BMI above 25 (including those above 30 BMI, too), and obese is a BMI above 30. So, all obese people are overweight, but not all overweight people are obese.

The Obesity Epidemic

Obesity isn’t just about not feeling good or having trouble getting dates…

* It leads to more than 300,000 premature deaths each year in the United States. 90,000 are preventable cancer deaths. (CDC)

* Severely obese men die 13 years sooner than men of normal weight (JAMA).

* As a killer in America, obesity is second only to tobacco. (CDC)

The Weight Loss Industry

* Spending: Americans spend between $40-50 billion per year to lose weight.

* Results: I haven’t seen any recent news that Americans are getting any thinner – have you?

* Conclusion: What people are doing isn’t working. If we want different results, we have to try a different solution.

Acupuncture Weight Loss: Fantasy, or Fact?

* Fantasy or Fact? As a well-trained and fairly conservative Chinese medicine practitioner, I had assumed that acupuncture for weight loss was a marketing fad and a patient fantasy.

* Evidence: But while researching my upcoming book Chinese Medicine: A Practical Guide to Optimal Healing, I found some surprisingly positive information that changed my mind.

Chinese Medicine’s Collective Clinical Data on Acupuncture Weight Loss

Chinese Medicine has thousands of years of clinical experience. This collective data not as convincing as randomized controlled trials are, but it does contain truth – it’s imperfect but still valid and important.

A U.S. government study in the 80’s concluded that 85% of western medicine is based on clinical experience, not on research. (Office of Technology Assessment of the Congress of the United States, The Impact of Randomized Controlled Trials on Health Policy and Medical Practice, Background Paper OTA-BP-H-22. Also see Michael Millenson’s book, Demanding Medical Excellence)

There is good Chinese Medicine research in Taiwan, Australia, and Europe that gets ignored by American scientists and media. Much research in Chinese has not even been translated into English.

Seven Studies of Acupuncture for Weight Loss

How it works: By enhancing the function of two neuroendocrine pathways that regulate many bodily processes, including metabolism.

What it does:

* Lowers body weight, body fat, insulin levels, and lipid levels in the blood

* Decreases excessive appetite and makes it easier to satisfy your hunger with less food.

* Decreases menopausal weight gain

* In one study, acupuncture took off 10 pounds in 2 months – that translates to 60 lbs in a year!

* Combined with diet control, and aerobic counseling it not only takes off the pounds and body fat, but keeps them off, especially if you’re diligent with their exercise.

(See references at end of article for the research)

Ephedra misuse and mislegislation

Ephedra is a Chinese herb for colds and coughs. It has been misused to increase metabolism, and this misuse has caused numerous deaths. As a result, the FDA is considering a total ban on ephedra products. We can blame two major things:

1. Supplement companies that care more about your money than your health (no, not all of them are that way, but some of them are, especially the ones that market weight loss formulations).

2. The idea that you can medicate yourself safely with herbs – self-medication of any kind is risky. Self-medication with herbs is off the radar, and people generally think they can do it safely. The ephedra debacle is an example of how dangerous it can be.

Traditionally, Chinese herbs are given in formulas (not singly), which is safer and more personalized. They’re prescribed by a Chinese medicine practitioner who diagnoses your specific imbalances first. Ephedra would never be given for weight loss, but only for certain kinds of colds and coughs, and only to people whose body’s can handle it.

No traditional Chinese herbs should be outlawed without allowing Chinese medical practitioners to continue to use them traditionally.

Food Cravings

* Problem #1 (Enzyme Deficiency): The foods you crave depending on your personal imbalances. Modern digestive science explains that when your body can’t digest a food, you crave more of it – you’re not getting what you need from it. This lead to a cycle of craving and overeating the exact food you can’t digest.

* Problem #2 (Low Blood Sugar): Another vicious cycle happens when you can’t digest complex carbs, so your blood sugar is low, so you eat simple carbs that raise your blood sugar which raises insulin, which lowers your blood sugar again, and your stuck eating donuts and feeling horrible.

* Solution: Enzymes (I recommend various enzyme formulations from a company called Transformations) and Chinese herbal formulas can help you digest your food and break both of these cycles

Weight can be lost safely if done slowly and naturally.

You can lose up to 2 lbs per week without gaining it back. That means you could lose 104 lbs this year and keep it off!

Positive change is like stretching a rubber band- if you stretch too far too fast, it breaks or snaps back on you.

So avoid the temptation to take an easy solution like ephedra or citrus aurantium (both misused Chinese herbs), because you’ll gain the weight back, and you’re risking heart problems and stroke.

5 Things to Do Right Now

To Lose 10 Pounds Within 2 Months

And Keep Them Off:

1. Avoid heavily marketed supplements – instead, see a professional trained herbalist (acupuncturist) – it’s safer and more effective – my preference would be a Chinese medicine practitioner, but some very well-educated western herbalists are good too.

2. Acupuncture Weight Loss: See an acupuncturist/chinese herbalist – Get acupuncture (once to three times per week) to SAFELY regulate your metabolism and hunger-satisfaction. Your acupuncturist can also get you the herbs that will balance your digestion and cravings – and based on your Chinese pattern diagnosis, they can also give you personalized diet advice. Herbs and enzymes (specific formulations from the enzyme company, Transformations) can eliminate your food cravings.

3. Develop a plan and goals with your acupuncturist and aerobics instructor- make it realistic, and stick to it. If you mess up, don’t beat yourself up, just get back on track as soon as you can. Any progress is better than none at all.

4. Eat less, exercise more – Eat a low fat diet, and don’t miss breakfast! Weigh yourself regularly, and exercise an hour a day. Start by walking a few minutes each day, or take the stairs at work. Don’t overdo it! Remember the rubber band. In fact, you may want to wear a rubber band on your wrist to remind yourself to make changes slowly. Get some aerobic exercise help- a public class, or private aerobic counseling.

5. Join a support group like Weight Watchers or Overeaters Anonymous. There’s nothing like positive friends to encourage you and keep you on track. OA members say that this spiritual program of action has changed the way they relate to food.

References and Resources

1. Office of Technology Assessment of the Congress of the United States, The Impact of Randomized Controlled Trials on Health Policy and Medical Practice, Background Paper OTA-BP-H-22.

2. Michael Millenson’s book, Demanding Medical Excellence

3. Effect of acupuncture on weight loss evaluated by adrenal function. Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 1993 Sep, 13(3):169-73.

4. Wozniak, P., Oszukowski, P., Stachowiak, G., and Szyllo, K. [The effectiveness of low-calorie diet or diet with acupuncture treatment in obese peri- and postmenopausal women] (in Polish). Ginekol.Pol. Vol.74 Issue 2 pp. 102-107. 2003

5. Acupuncture on Spleen, Stomach, and Ren Mai Channel Points for the Treatment of Stomach & Intestinal Replete Heat Pattern Simple Obesity. Abstracted & translated by Bob Flaws, Dipl. Ac. & C.H, Lic. Ac., FNAAOM, FRCHM

6. Richards D, Marley J. Stimulation of auricular acupuncture points in weight loss. Aust Fam Physician. 1998 Jul;27 Suppl 2:S73-7.

7. Zhao, M., Liu, Z., and Su, J. The time-effect relationship of central action in acupuncture treatment for weight reduction. J Tradit Chin Med Vol.20 Issue 1 pp. 26-29. 2000

8. Liu, Z. Mechanisms underlying the effects of acupuncture moxibustion on simple obesity complicated by hypertension. Inter J Clin Acup 371-378, 1995.

9. Studies of the Weight Loss Industry

10. Obesity prevalence and effect

11. Overeaters Anonymous