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The system I’m referring to is the only kind of weight loss program worth mentioning: the sort that offers long term, even permanent weight loss. Yes, it sounds like the Holy Grail that most people ‘hunger for’ (sorry)—and therefore too good to be true. And yet…we all know how good it feels when we’re the right weight.  Our clothing fits wonderfully, people look at us in a different way. And we feel good about ourselves. It’s part of the package of being in shape and—unless there’s a hormonal problem—all very doable. I’ll address the program I use for weight loss through its three intertwined filters:  acupuncture, behavior modification, and nutritional therapy.


At the outset I want to state bad news first.  Which is to say it’s ‘bad news’ for those who, like me, want the easy way out. The truth is that you’ll have a hard time reaching your ideal weight using acupuncture alone. And if it does do it, you probably won’t maintain it. How’s that for a quick buzz kill?

That’s right. Acupuncture alone is no miracle cure. To lose weight effectively and then (here’s the toughest part) to keep it off permanently requires healthy eating habits, behavioral modification, and exercise. That having been said, acupuncture is simply the best adjunctive modality out there.

And here’s the good news: the motivated client who will take the time to practice most of the things I’ll outline for you will most likely lose weight within a reasonable amount of time. I’ll return to that magical word ‘motivated’, shortly. For now, a Case Study:

***In a recent study, 20 women between the ages of 22 and 42, all with BMI (Body Mass Index) higher than 27, were divided into 2 groups. The group of women who followed a regimen of a 2,000 calorie-per-day diet, regular exercise and weekly ear acupuncture treatments lost on average more than twice as much weight as those who only dieted and exercised, even when they did not comply exactly with the treatment plan.***

Clearly, acupuncture has a positive effect for weight loss.

How Does Acupuncture Help With Weight Loss?

Since eating, or not eating, can easily turn into an obsessive pursuit, acupuncture attacks the issue from both the physiological standpoint and the emotional.

On the physiological side, these are some of the ways in which acupuncture helps:

–By Regulating Metabolism: A history of irregular eating, overeating—even thyroid dysfunction—can all contribute to a slow metabolism. Acupuncture can help increase metabolism by stimulating the thyroid and endocrine glands to help stabilize blood sugar levels.

–Acupuncture stimulates the auricular branch of the vagal nerve and raises serotonin levels, both of which have been shown to increase tone in the smooth muscle of the stomach, thus suppressing appetite.

–Acupuncture Benefits Digestion: Over time, crash diets, irregular eating habits and excessive greasy or fattening foods all take their toll on the digestive system. Chronic symptoms such as bloating, gas, heartburn, constipation or diarrhea are all signs that the digestive system is out of balance. Acupuncture can help regulate the digestive organs so that you are symptom-free. Proper digestion helps you get the nutrients you need from your food so you feel less hungry.

Emotional Effects of Acupuncture:

–Acupuncture has been shown to reduce stress levels—thus curbing ‘nervous eating’.  Acupuncture is thought to release chemicals called endorphins. Runners routinely experience the release of this chemical after a long run, creating a sense of well-being. This somewhat ‘buzzy’  sensation is also what many acupuncture clients experience both during the session, and for several days after treatment.  The consequence–reduced anxiety and nervousness–is good news for those go toward food when depressed, bored, angry, lonely or tired. And if acupuncture can’t cure the lonely or the bored part, we can often help with depression, anger and exhaustion. 

Stay on the lookout for Part II (I think it’ll be a 4 parter):  Behavior Modification. That’s right, this is the Brainwashing section:)

Cheers, Daniel at Blue Phoenix Wellness


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