If you have ever tried losing weight the ”western way” – following the latest ‘fad’ diet or your best friend’s solution, with little or no results, have you stopped to think why it didn’t work? Yes, you may have given in a few times, steered off track with the odd doughnut or plate of fries, used the bad weather as an excuse not to keep to your regimented exercise routine, but overall, you did stick to it and yet still the pounds didn’t come off and stay off? According to Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese principles, what works for one is not necessarily going to work for another. The trouble with western diets and exercise routines is usually that they are designed for the masses and not the individual. In eastern medicine there is a greater emphasis on the whole person with all his/her individual thoughts, emotions, physical stature, environment, current lifestyle and stress.
In Ayurveda, one’s genetic constitution has a big part to play in weight loss and gain. Those who are dominant in Kapha (earth and water elements) are more likely to struggle with obesity than any other constitution. Not only are they born with a larger bone structure, but they also retain water easily. Being laid back and with a slower metabolism tending towards sluggishness, makes it difficult for them to be motivated to exercise or change bad eating habits. A Pitta constitution, however, is naturally athletic physically and enjoys plenty of activity. If they have a problem with weight gain, it is generally easy for them to follow a diet regime or even just eat less, and they will shed those extra pounds quickly. Vata dominant people may always look slim after kapha dominant childhood and will rarely put on excess weight. However, maintaining their weight without becoming too thin can become increasingly more difficult in their senior years.
In TCM, any illness is a result of an imbalance in the interrelated and interconnected energy systems of the body and mind. Weight gain is seen as a symptom of this imbalance. The spleen and stomach are in control of digestion and the kidneys govern water metabolism and strength of vital qi. Weaknesses or deficiencies in these organ systems, along with emotional imbalances relating to the organs, lead to cravings for unhealthy foods, and slowness in digestion of food and elimination of wastes.
The goal of weight loss treatments in eastern medicine is to bring the whole body back into balance so that all organs can function in harmony and maintain health naturally. Traditionally, in both Ayurveda and TCM, herbs are taken to strengthen digestion and qi, and a personalized weight loss program is prescribed. Acupuncture is also very helpful to increase qi circulation. A series of acupuncture treatments will help reduce food cravings and balance the appetite, improve digestion, stimulate the metabolism to burn fats, eliminate toxins and reduce stress.
So if you have a weight problem and are tired of diet plans that don’t work, why not try looking at it from an eastern perspective? If you know that your weight gain is not due to any illness such as diabetes or thyroid dysfunction, then a course of acupuncture may just do the trick.
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