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Acupuncture and Chinese Dietary Therapy for Weight Loss

By: Elizabeth H. Trattner, A.P., D.O.M

Before there were fad diets, nutritionist or television shows that featured people going through grueling challenges to lose weight there was Chinese dietary therapy. Chinese dietary therapy is seen as a sub-group of Chinese herbal medicine, where the traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practitioner gives dietary guidance on a wide range of foods to support the health recovery process. This therapy has a history of over 3000 years and a very rich content, which has been recorded in classical Chinese medical literature, as well as being handed down from generation to generation.  According to TCM, foods have individual therapeutic properties which can not only be used to maintain health, but also to contribute to the treatment of illnesses. In more modern times western science has been able to shed some light on the ancient secrets of Chinese dietary therapy and we can now explain why this treatment approach has been so powerfully effective throughout the millennia. The latest scientific research in the US now suggests that over 70% of cancers are preventable by diet alone.

An important aspect of Chinese dietary therapy is that the “one diet fits all” approach doesn’t apply to the principles of Chinese medicine. Literally one man’s meat can be another man’s poison and the dietary advice should always take into consideration the physical condition of the individual, environmental adaptations as well as the seasonal context within which that person is living. In South Florida, we face the challenge of living in a hot damp environment with cold air conditioning. Typical diet foods that one may consider to work in shedding pounds may actually be counterproductive in Chinese dietary therapy. So many of my patients who  make simple changes to  their diet  are surprised how quickly they feel better and lose pounds that they were not able to do by traditional dieting alone. Dietary therapy in conjunction with acupuncture, and herbs have a profound effect on patients well-being and the ability to lose and keep weight off.

Acupuncture is aimed at getting to the root of the issue by correcting internal imbalances and working with the body to lose weight and restore health. With regular acupuncture treatments, balanced functioning of the organ systems can be restored, resulting in faster metabolism, increased energy, improvement of pain problems, detoxification of the body, and loss of excess water and fat. In addition, the insertion of needles in acupuncture points causes the body to release certain biochemicals, such as endorphins, which can have a profound effect on stress levels. By reducing stress levels, acupuncture can help put a stop to emotional eating and give a boost to one's willpower.

Like any healthy weight management system, acupuncture is not a magic bullet for weight loss and results cannot be expected overnight. Losing weight in the most healthful and effective way takes dedication and cooperation on the patient's part to commit to getting regular treatments, adopt healthy eating habits, and stick to an exercise program. By following a comprehensive weight loss program that includes acupuncture, patients can not only expect to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, but they can also expect an improvement in overall health and vitality.

Twenty years ago I began working with Andrew Weil M.D. and he sent his patients to me for assistance with learning now to shop in stores for high quality food and how to correctly stock their pantries. Several years later under his advisement, I attended and received my chef’s certificate from the Natural Gourmet Institute for Health & Culinary Arts in NYC. It was important for me to be able to practice nutrition and other modalities of medicine in a legal and organized fashion. Or perhaps Oriental medicine is a fully inclusive type of medicine that I could legally practice nutrition and other forms of treatment.  Most of my continuing education is in nutrition and my practice encompasses many forms of nutritional medicine. I also have a certification in Chinese Dietetics.

In Florida it is legally within the scope of our practice to practice Chinese dietary therapy and nutrition.

It is always important to check licensure of any healthcare provider.


Contact a practitioner near you to learn more!

Learn more about how acupuncture and  Oriental medicine can assist with weight loss!

About the Author:  Elizabeth H. Trattner, A.P., D.O.M. is a Florida and National Board Certified Doctor of Oriental Medicine and Acupuncture and holds a certificate from the Annemarie Colbin Natural Gourmet Cookery School in New York City.  Elizabeth specializes in women’s health, weight management, allergies, autoimmune diseases and environmental illnesses.  For the past  fifteen years she has been advancing the concepts of Integrative Medicine, combining her expertise in acupuncture and oriental medicine with nutritional counseling and women’s health. By drawing on the principles of traditional Chinese medicine, 17 years of training under Andrew Weil, MD and other natural modalities, she helps patients improve and take control of their health and optimal weight. In the spring of 2008, she was invited to attend and participate in a prestigious medical rotation at the University of Arizona’s Center of Integrative Medicine founded by Dr. Weil. She is the only acupuncture physician in the country with this designation.   Elizabeth is a contributing author for several publications and websites on Alternative Medicine including:    Cosmetic Dermatology: Principles and Practice by Dr. Leslie Baumann; Ask Dr. Weil at www.drweil.com; and CSSAssociation.org.

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