Obesity is becoming an epidemic. In the United States about 33 percent of both men and women are obese, or one person in three. If you’re overweight or obese, chances are that this isn’t a newsflash, and chances are that you’ve already tried to do something about it.

There are a number of factors as to why so many Americans struggle with their weight, from how our food is made, to exercise habits, and even to the overuse of antibiotics. As with many health conditions, there are a number of issues at play in causing the problem, and the solution is also multi-faceted. There’s no magic bullet, diet, or miracle food that will solve the world’s weight problem once and for all. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine, however, can be an important piece of the weight loss puzzle for many people.

Some of the ways in which Chinese medicine can support healthy weight loss include:

  1. Understanding a main principle of Chinese medicine that each person is unique. Why you’re struggling with your weight is different from anyone else. This means that the solution, in the form of a treatment strategy, must also be unique and tailored to your specific body constitution, lifestyle, and needs.
  2. The role of your digestion is an important component to good health in Chinese medicine. While frequently overlooked, good digestion can be crucial to losing weight. A common side-effect of compromised digestion is something called dampness, which arises out of your body’s inability to metabolize foods and fluids well. Dampness is heavy, boggy, and moist. Most people who are overweight are damp to some extent, as fat tissue is also full of water and heavy. Dampness can take a long time to resolve, but through acupuncture, Chinese herbs, and dietary changes, it can be effectively treated.
  3. Your emotional health plays a huge role in your physical health, especially as it relates to your weight. Stress, anxiety, and depression impact your appetite, digestion, and emotional eating patterns. The good news is that researchers have found that acupuncture can be an effective treatment for emotional issues. Acupuncture alters your brain chemistry to increase the circulation of mood boosting neurotransmitters. It also helps balance adrenalin, cortisol, and insulin—hormones that are affected by stress that can impact your weight.
  4. Auricular acupuncture (acupuncture in your ear) has been found to be an effective treatment to support appetite control. Originally developed to treat addictions, ear acupuncture can help reduce the frequency and severity of food cravings.
  5. Food therapy is an important healing tool that falls under the umbrella of Chinese medicine. The concept behind food therapy is that each food has specific properties that affect your body in certain ways. By choosing the foods that are best for your specific body type and avoiding those that are damaging, you can enhance your health, maximize your energy, and lose unwanted weight.
  6. Chinese herbs are also an important way to supplement your acupuncture treatments. Like foods, herbs have very specific properties, but are stronger. They can be used to resolve dampness, support your digestion, boost your energy, and enhance your emotional health.

While a few acupuncture treatments won’t make the pounds melt away, acupuncture and Chinese medicine can support your weight loss efforts. It can enhance your physical and mental health, support your digestion, help with appetite control, and point you in the right direction in choosing the foods that are best for your specific needs.