People often ask if acupuncture can help with weight loss. Here’s what we’ve learned.
Acupuncture and Weight Management
Acupuncture can be a great tool for PAIN management. When you have less pain, you’re more able to be physically active (and you’re more likely to enjoy it). Regular, moderate physical activity can be a huge help in pain management. Another great benefit of physical activity is its well-documented anti-anxiety and anti-depression effect. Which leads us to…
Acupuncture is wonderful for STRESS management. Being more able to manage stress is something that almost all of our regular patients report. Hormone changes associated with high stress have been associated with weight gain. Stress can also be exhausting, which leads us to….
Acupuncture helps many people improve their DIGESTION. It’s frequently used to manage food cravings, reduce abdominal bloating, and regulate bowel function. Regular bowel moments and extracting nutrients from the foods we eat is important for our overall health and energy.
Acupuncture often helps improve your sleep and boost your ENERGY. Sufficient, quality rest is also helpful for weight management, and acupuncture often helps with this—in fact, better sleep is one of the most common “side effects” of acupuncture!
It can help you tune in to what YOUR BODY needs. People often report, after a little while of getting acupuncture on a regular basis, that they are much more aware of how food tastes to them, when they are full and when they are really hungry when they need to exercise, etc.
Healthy at Every Size
We want to help you feel better in the body you currently have – physically and emotionally. In our experience, size has nothing to do with health. We won’t judge you for your size, whether it’s larger or smaller than the current beauty standard. Nor will we give you unsolicited advice about what to eat, how much to exercise, etc. There is plenty of advice out there in the world about how to “improve” yourself (maybe too much advice). All of which works for somebody — but none of it works for everybody.
Advice aside, acupuncture is a therapy that can help you get in touch with your appetite, hunger, your response to specific foods, and the kinds of movement that really work for your body.
Many factors impact body size: food choices, exercise, sleep patterns, genetics, hormone conditions, diet history, stress, family history, medications, and more. It’s not a short list! One of the most important things in changing our body size is to assess what our barriers are to feeling good. Often times poor sleep, fatigue, stress, and anxiety prevent us from exercising in the ways our body wants. Also, chronic stress impacts our hormones. Persistent stress elevates cortisol and adrenalin levels which tell our bodies to hold on to fat, especially at our bellies. It becomes a vicious cycle. Many people use acupuncture to reduce their stress responses which then lowers their stress hormones which then helps their bodies’ metabolism.
Rest & Sleep
Getting good sleep has been shown to be one of the most important things a person can do to manage their metabolism and boost their immune system. Acupuncture is a great treatment for improving the length and quality of your sleep, and for reducing stress.
Quality rest is important for weight management. And so is stress management. There is a chemistry to stress that resonates throughout our bodies, affecting organ function and our mental states. Chronic stress impacts our neuroendocrine system (our “hormones”), especially the HPA axis which regulates essential body processes, including digestion, the immune system, mood and emotions, sexuality, and energy storage and use.
Acupuncture has been shown to significantly impact the HPA axis and corticosteroids and hormones produced in stress response. But its affect is indirect optimizing your health and sense of well being.
What… No Magic Points?
In our experience, most people who come in for treatments already know what they need to do (or stop doing) to feel better. They just need a little energy boost – or a little pain relief – to put that knowledge into practice. Acupuncture can often provide that boost and/or relief. But, it’s not magic.
Metabolism is impacted by sleep patterns, stress, anxiety, exercise, a host of physiological responses triggered by our environment, and genetics. Some we can control, others not so much.
While acupuncture isn’t magic, the inner wisdom inside each person, that knowing about what we need and how to connect with others is. Acupuncture can help you change many of the things that negatively impact your metabolism. And with community acupuncture, many people realize they were feeling disconnected from themselves and the world around them. With regular care this isolation often shifts.
What every body deserves
We want acupuncture to be available as a tool for people to feel their best. This means eating when you are hungry, resting when you are tired, and allowing yourself to enjoy some physical activity: these are all pretty radical forms of self-care in our society, and we all deserve these basic things!
What is self-care? Self-care is defined as any activities and practices we do on a regular basis to maintain and enhance our well-being. It aims to help us:
– Take care of physical and psychological health
– Manage stress
– Honor emotional and spiritual needs
– Foster and sustain relationships
– Achieve an equilibrium across our personal, school, and work lives
We’re Here to Support You
Acupuncture helps many people shift the subjective experience of being in their bodies: that experience is impacted by pain, depression, anxiety, addiction, stress, hormonal balance, sleep, appetite, & digestion. A shift in any of these things can have can change someone’s weight. Or not. Part of what acupuncture provides can be a change in perspective, allowing us to not be so hard on ourselves.
A heavier body does not necessarily mean worse health. Fat ≠ unhealthy. Thin ≠ healthy. We can help you focus on healthy self-care.
POCA & the Weight Loss Industry
One reason why community acupuncture works is that we pay attention to context; we don’t reduce everything down to what individuals do or don’t do. In talking about weight loss, it’s worth looking hard at the larger context that we all live in— and that context is a culture that allows businesses to make huge profits from fatphobia. If we market acupuncture as a tool for weight loss, we join that attempt to profit from body shaming while feeding into it. Even if that wasn’t what we consciously set out to do!
POCA clinics have developed a clear ethos about how community acupuncture works. It’s about breaking down isolation, relaxing into yourself, recognizing your body’s own wisdom. When weight loss is a shame-fueled project, it is the polar opposite of that.
The weight loss industry is an example of the healthcare industry at its worst: profiting from people’s pain. POCA clinics stand in opposition to this.We’re here for you, plain and simple.
About pain, stress, weight management, and acupuncture