Monday, December 28, 2015

Acupuncture and Weight Loss - A Personal Experience.

It's been almost 5 months since I started this blog to encourage myself (and others) to make sounder food choices, try healthier recipes and overall improve our health.

I hadn't a lot of weight to lose, but after losing almost 45 pounds two years years ago, I was noticing the weight creep back on and wanted to "nip it in the bud  as Barney Fife would say, when I noticed I'd put back on 15 pounds.

I've stopped the weight gain in its tracks with just some small changes, and it's slowly dropping back where I should be at my original weight within three months.  I'll continue to post as eating healthy and being fit is a life long journey.

Today's post is something I'd never had tried if not for the recommendation of a colleague who is incredibly fit and trim post menopause.

Acupuncture.

Yes, Acupuncture.

I HATE needles though I donate blood regularly, being one of those "O" types the blood banks like to see.  Still - I hate it and despite reading on all the health related benefits of this ancient Chinese medical practice, I refused to try it.

But I was told by someone I know well and trust that it does NOT hurt in the slightest and the effects are amazing, both on stress, overall health AND weight loss as it greatly aids in the reduction of stress hormones - beneficial for stress, aging and weight loss! So I was willing to give it a try and am SO glad I did.

Acupuncture improves the body’s functions and promotes the natural self-healing process by stimulating specific anatomic sites--commonly referred to as acupuncture points, or acupoints. The most common method used to stimulate acupoints is the insertion of fine, sterile needles into the skin. Pressure, heat, or electrical stimulation may further enhance the effects.

Traditional Chinese Medicine is based on an ancient philosophy that describes the universe, and the body, in terms of two opposing forces: yin and yang. When these forces are in balance, the body is healthy. Energy, called "qi" (pronounced "chee") flows along specific pathways, called meridians, throughout the body. This constant flow of energy keeps the yin and yang forces balanced. However, if the flow of energy gets blocked, like water getting stuck behind a dam, the disruption can lead to pain, lack of function, or illness. Acupuncture therapy can release blocked qi in the body and stimulate function, evoking the body’s natural healing response through various physiological systems. Modern research has demonstrated acupuncture’s effects on the nervous system, endocrine and immune systems, cardiovascular system, and digestive system. By stimulating the body’s various systems, acupuncture can help to resolve pain, and improve sleep, digestive function, and sense of well-being.

I started treatment before the holidays - going in once a week to a local practitioner who has been part of our Village's business community of good standing for over 12 years, with a Masters of Science in the subject. Acupuncturists go through rigorous schooling similar to a medical doctor before qualifying to sit for the Board Exam.  Sterile needs are used only once and then disposed in a bio hazard container.

After an extremely detailed analysis of my health history and concerns what followed was 30 minutes of relaxing on a warm table after the "needles" had been inserted in specific points based on my overall health goals. I walked out of there as relaxed as if I'd had an hour long full body massage.  But unlike massage, a general feeling of well being and calm lasted for several days, a reduction in stress that was noticeable after just my first treatment.

Why try acupuncture?

It does NOT hurt as you are not being poked with a hypodermic needle but an  acupuncture needle that is fine like a hair, with no hole in the middle.  You feel a gentle prick against the skin in some locations, that's not at ALL painful (and  other locations you don't even feel it.) When acupuncture needles are inserted, it causes the nervous system to calm down and the body to release endorphins. Endorphins have been shown to reduce pain, stress, and feelings of frustration and irritability, regulate the production of growth and sex hormones, and control cravings for chocolate and other substances.  They say that when endorphins are released, the feelings can be described as: peaceful, blissful, euphoric, optimistic, and joyful.  I have to agree,

It's enjoyable.  It's like a spa treatment (but one with medical benefits that my insurance does cover). The treatment rooms are typically private and warm, with beautiful art on the walls and soothing music.
Reduction in cravings.  I LOVE carbs and sugar and they are my downfall when trying to lose or maintain weight.  I noticed by week two, that my sugar cravings were less, wherein with afternoon "teatime" I used to eat a handful of biscuits (cookies), now I was happy with just one, and didn't feel the need for a big glass of sweet wine with dinner - happy with a half a glass of dry red wine, and not every evening.

THAT alone resulted in a one pound weight loss in two weeks without doing anything else AND eating big mashed potato filled meals during  Christmas that normally causes me to gain 2-3 pounds during the two weeks around Christmas.

Reduction in Stress: Stress? Let's see, two moves, new marriage, promotion at work in a very male dominated profession, two wonderful but rambunctious grand-kids under the age of 6, care for an elderly widowed parent, two Amazon #1 best sellers and all the book tours and signings that go with that, AND a mostly meniscus free knee that hurts all the time, and a 100 year old house we're restoring ourselves.  All in 2 years.  And dog hair - don't forget dog hair. Yup - I'm stressed and we all know that's "desserts" spelled backwards. My practitioner said it may sometimes take a few visits to get a noticeable reduction in stress for the occasional person, but I had that with just one treatment and felt better than I had in years and slept like a baby that first night.

Many insurance plans do cover it and. you may wonder, as I did, WHY I didn't do this 20 years ago?

8 comments:

  1. Hmm might have to try that, if insurance covers it...

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  2. Hari Om
    Yup, it's one of many traditional medicinal practices which work wonderfully on the whole being. So delighted you found it!!!
    Eyes-on... YAM xx

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  3. That would be interesting to try. We'll look forward to your final results!

    C

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  4. Very interesting. I've been curious. My chiropractor offers it as one of the many services.

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    1. Jennifer - my therapist is co-located with a chiropractor and my colleague that suggested it says her chiropractor is ALSO the acupuncture therapist so I think that's quite common. Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment.

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    2. Jennifer - my therapist is co-located with a chiropractor and my colleague that suggested it says her chiropractor is ALSO the acupuncture therapist so I think that's quite common. Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment.

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  5. I had always heard a lot of about acupuncture, but never heard anything about it being helpful in losing weight. That might give me some extra incentive to give it a try. I have had two kids and I am struggling to get rid of the extra 10 pounds that likes to sit around my middle. Since diet and exercise havn't had much of an impact, I might have to give this a try.

    Hannah Holland @ Berkeley Community ACU

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    1. Thanks for stopping Hannah. The therapist explained that in my case it's helping with the weight loss as it gently balances hormones (I went into menopause early) and the reduction in stress means less eating when I'm not at all hungry.

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Thanks for visiting. Having been fortunate enough not to have to diet as a young woman - hitting middle age to find my Metabolism moved to Aruba and didn't even send a postcard was a rude awakening. Thanks for sharing the fun and the pain of getting back in shape. Note: If you are a stranger and include a link in your comment - it will not be posted, to ensure no SPAM or viruses are shared. Any link I post is tested first.