Red Bank Acunpuncturist Helps in the Fight Against Obesity

Obesity is one of the leading causes of preventable death in the United States. It is responsible for many major health concerns, including heart disease, type two diabetes, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, and certain types of cancer. Body mass index (BMI) is a number calculated from a person’s height and weight. A person is classified as obese if their BMI is over thirty. Overweight people generally have a BMI between 25 and 29.9 (overweight is the lesser classification of obesity, and is generally considered a predictive factor for obesity).

For those suffering with obesity or overweight, the struggle to lose excess body fat can be long and frustrating. Most obese and overweight people are wisely counseled to reduce caloric intake and increase physical exercise. Other treatments for obesity include anti-obesity drugs or surgery.

These measures—surgery and drugs—are drastic and dangerous methods of combating obesity. When such a seemingly simple treatment exists (restricting caloric intake and exercise), why do obese patients require such extreme options?

When done properly, weight loss is an extremely slow process that necessitates patience and the ability to sustain willpower over a long period of time. The emotional issues behind obesity and weight loss cannot be underestimated. Many people with excess weight have become accustomed to using food as method of dealing with depression, anxiety, or other psychological concerns. For some, eating is an addiction similar to smoking or other drugs, and just as difficult to overcome.

For obese patients, acupuncture is a safe and effective method of dealing with some of the physical and emotional symptoms that can devastate weight loss attempts.

Why not Surgery?

Bariatric surgery, or weight loss surgery, usually involves a reduction in the size of the stomach with an implanted medical device (gastric banding) or by removing a portion of the stomach. Other procedures re-sect and re-route the small intestines to a small stomach pouch (gastric bypass).

There are a number of complications associated with these surgeries, including a one percent chance of death— one out of every one hundred people will die as a result of surgery. Another 20% will require additional surgery to fix complications while 30% ultimately develop nutritional deficiencies such as anemia or osteoporosis. In the end, 25% of bariatric surgery patients fail to reach target weight goals, or are unable to maintain the strict diet necessary for weight loss.

Weight loss drugs fall into one of three categories: appetite suppressants; drugs that increase the body’s metabolism; or medications meant to block the body’s ability to absorb specific nutrients in food. Anti-obesity medications are known for having severe side effects which are generally related to the individual medication’s mechanism of action. For example, stimulants can cause glaucoma, high blood pressure, insomnia, and agitation. Drugs that block the absorption of dietary fats often lead to stomach pain and frequent and oily bowel movements.

Chinese Medicine & Acupuncture

Chinese medicine is based on the idea that an energy force known as Qi (pronounced ‘chee’) runs throughout the body on meridians, or channels. Qi consists of all the essential activities to life, including the spiritual, emotional, and physical aspects of existence. If the flow of Qi is unbalanced or insufficient, the symptoms of illness can occur.

It is important to understand the concept of Yin and Yang in a discussion of acupuncture treatment. Qi is composed of Yin and Yang, which are opposite forces that must be balanced in order for the body to work harmoniously. Yin is related to female attributes and is thought of as dark, cold, or moist, while Yang is masculine and associated with light, active, warm, and dry characteristics.

Obesity is thought to be related to an excess of Yin (excessive dampness or phlegm), which leads to imbalance in the Yin/Yang relationship and a deficiency in Qi. Acupuncture restores the balance of Qi in the body.

Treating Obesity with Acupuncture at Monmouth Pain and Rehabilitation

Acupuncture can help individuals struggling with weight loss issues and obesity. It must be used as an adjunct therapy alongside proper diet and exercise. Acupuncture is extremely helpful for those struggling with obesity because the treatment releases endorphins that have a calming effect, making it easier for weight loss patients to handle the stress, frustration, and anxiety that may derail dieting attempts or lead to overeating and bingeing. Endorphins also have an effect on the digestive and hormonal systems, and can rebalance systems that are running too slowly (such as metabolism).

Monmouth Pain and Rehabilitation provides experienced New Jersey Certified Acupuncturists. If you have been attempting to lose weight the healthy way (through diet and exercise), and haven’t been experiencing the success you desire, the acupuncturists at Monmouth Pain and Rehabilitation can help. Please contact our facility for a consultation to discuss acupuncture’s role in your weight loss goals.