Digestive Health

Acupuncture is widely recognized as an effective treatment for many digestive ailments:

  • weight management

  • eating disorders

  • GI disorders: Crohn's, IBS

  • chronic constipation and/or diarrhea

  • acid reflux

  • ulcers

  • hemmorrhoids

  • diabetes

  • Hyper and Hypothyroid disorders

Does Acupuncture Help You Lose Weight?

At Source Empowered Wellness, we often get asked if acupuncture can help one lose weight. The answer is yes and it’s a holistic method that harmonizes your whole body.  Any all-natural method requires your personal commitment to lifestyle changes and a positive attitude.  And the side effects are all positive too:  increased energy and enhanced mood, better circulation, decreased cravings, better sleep – the list goes on!  Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), of which acupuncture is a part, believes lifestyle is a huge part of our health because the spirit (shen), or presence, connects the mind and body.  This is why we say “Follow Your Heart” because intuitively we can feel what is right for us.

How Do These Tiny, Painless Needles Make A Change?

One reason acupuncture is effective for weight control is based on the premise that excess weight can be caused by disturbed energy flow to and from the hypothalamus located in your brain. The hypothalamus regulates your hormones and other chemicals that work to regulate thirst and hunger.  The needles also stimulate the adrenal glands to balance our stress hormones and give us more energy and “digestive fire” which leads to a higher metabolism.  With more naturally available energy, a person can slowly wean themselves off the sugar and caffeine highs that eventually leave one drained and addicted to those substances for energy.  Often there is also an emotional component desiring to be healed with more mindfulness.  There are specific acupuncture points that harmonize our emotions and calm the spirit that are very helpful in addressing the cravings and “emotional eating”.  Acupuncture stimulates the release of endorphins, or the “feel-good” chemicals that are proven to curb cravings.

Many overweight people start healthy diets but have difficulty in suppressing their appetite. Acupuncture stimulates the auricular branch of the vagal nerve and raises serotonin levels, both of which have been shown to increase tone in the smooth muscle of the stomach, thus suppressing appetite.  Certain points can be hooked up to an electrical stimulation machine which runs a small painless current through the needles to tone the stomach muscle.  Overeating stretches the stomach over time, requiring a person to eat more to feel full. Regular treatments have been shown to help tone and shrink the stomach muscle naturally so one feels full faster.

The Treatment Plan

For optimal treatment, acupuncture for weight loss should be scheduled once or twice a week for 8 to 12 weeks or until you reach your desired weight. Treatment sessions are 30 minutes to an hour depending on the individual’s needs and preferences.  The treatments may include a combination of auricular (ear) and body acupuncture, ear tacks or beads to leave on in-between treatments, herbs and supplements, moxibustion, abdominal massage, as well as food and lifestyle recommendations.  How much weight and how fast one loses it is dependent on the individual’s commitment to adjunctively add healthy lifestyle choices.  Lifestyle choices include optimizing a healthy diet, appropriate exercise, and herbal medicine.  We often recommend some type of method to address the spirit and emotional aspect of the weight gain such as meditation, hypnosis, yoga and breathing exercises.  An important benefit of acupuncture is that there are no harmful side effects and no possibility for addiction. Like most natural medicines, it is a completely safe and beneficial way to support a person’s journey of change.