Today I’d like to focus on a complementary treatment that not many people might associate with hormonal balancing and weight loss: Acupuncture. Sometimes I need to recommend other treatments than just nutrition to get the desired results, and I have already covered exercise in another blog, but today, I’d like to focus on an ancient healing method, which in the last few years has become more and more recognised.
1. Benefits of acupuncture for hormonal balancing
As I always try to point out, the menopause or peri-menopause is a natural phase of a woman’s life and is a normal part of life. Most symptoms that we women experience are due to the changing hormones, especially the loss of oestrogen. These hormones, however, can be balanced to a certain degree through the right foods on the one hand, but also by making sure the elimination pathways work properly on the other hand. This can happen through introducing foods that contain the right nutrients to help the liver function properly, but also by avoiding those foods and toxins that put too much burden on the liver.
Adding acupuncture can also help work on the endocrine system and support the whole process.
Here is how acupuncturist Mark Goulding describes how it works:
“However many of the symptoms which can arise at this time certainly don’t feel very normal and can be quite upsetting. Many women find acupuncture can help ease them through the more unpleasant parts of the menopause (e.g. hot flushes, vaginal dryness, mood effects, anxiety etc.) and there is some good research available to support its use.
Acupuncture (sometimes combined with herbal medicine) offers a gentle but effective way to address the symptoms that can appear around the time of the menopause. Chinese herbs and acupuncture have also demonstrated in studies that they can have a marked effect on the endocrine system, and can help with some of the menopause symptoms that can otherwise make life pretty miserable. While acupuncture does not work every time, for every woman, it is usually well worth trying and many women find it to be a vital part of their plan help them cope.”
2. Benefits of acupuncture for weight loss
I always point out that anybody who carries extra pounds has a different root cause. It is generally a combination of many issues, which can range from blood sugar imbalance, hormonal imbalance, gut imbalance (too many bad vs not enough good gut bacteria), but also habit, gratification through food and comfort eating.
And it is very rarely just a case of eating too much and not exercising enough!
Depending on the client, some need more coaching and others need more nutrition advice to get started. However, I always get to a point where we need to address gut health. I can do this through food, by increasing vegetables and probiotics or removing certain foods that don’t agree. Sometimes, a more elaborate test is required to point me in the right direction. For example, removing a candida overgrowth can in many people reduce their sugar cravings!
I have seen many people lose the weight, and where the pounds were literally falling off after we addressed the gut issue –and best of all, most of them were actually eating more than before when they were on “diets”.
I understand that Traditional Chinese medicine has always understood the importance of elimination and therefore acupuncture can be another supportive means to help you lose weight.
Here is how acupuncturist Mark Goulding explains it:
“Losing weight can be made more difficult if the digestive system is operating a bit more sluggishly that it could be. An acupuncturist will do an in depth diagnosis of the main organs in the body paying special attention to the Spleen/Stomach/Liver and Kidneys, according to TCM (Traditional Chinese medicine), which play a vital part in an efficient digestive system. These deficiencies or excesses can then be treated according to TCM. While acupuncture won’t work on its own without a proper nutritional plan, it can help maximise the effects of a person’s efforts to control their weight by ensuring that foods are being processed and excreted as efficiently as possible. Acupuncture works in several ways and research is now validating what the Chinese have known for a long time! As an example, an acupuncture point on the leg just below the knee (St36) has been shown in modern research to speed up peristalsis of the intestines i.e. the movement of food through the intestines, i.e. help speed up digestion.”