Most of us grew up being told that eating too much sugar is not good for you. Fast forward a few decades and we are now faced with a toxic addiction and desperately seeking ways to quit. Could acupuncture for sugar addiction be the answer?
While it’s something that we all “know”, most of us don’t do enough to try to avoid this nasty little substance (okay, we all know it doesn’t TASTE nasty). In fact, with the average western diet, you can expect to be eating about seventeen times as much sugar as our great grandparents were only 200 years ago.
Who can blame us for having so much trouble kicking the habit when it’s nearly shoved down our throats on a daily basis? From advertisements on television to the row of chocolate bars and sweets when you’re checking out at the supermarket, the consumer market does everything it can to satisfy your sweet tooth. After existing in such an environment and eating such a diet for so long, sugar can become addictive just like any drug.
Luckily, addiction to sugar is not something that cannot be helped.
There are many methods, tricks and treatment for sugar addiction out there to help you change your brain and give up your incessant sweet tooth forever. You see, in many ways, the brain works like a muscle. When you “work it out” by resisting sweet temptations, you can build up new habits that will stick and replace the old ones.
One of these such methods which has been found to work to using acupuncture for sugar cravings. You may not know a whole lot about this Chinese medical practice, but it’s been found to be hugely effective in both weight loss and dampening an addiction to sugar.
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is an ancient art in Chinese medicine which maintains the idea that for the body to be at optimum health, it must be balanced. Acupuncture utilises needles and things like tiny seeds to free up energy channels known as meridians in the body in order to maintain balance.
The typical approach of this ancient therapy technique is to prick thin needles into the skin at these meridians in order to affect the flow of energy in the body. In addition, mild electrical shocks, heat and pressure may be used. While needles are not something many people get excited about, there are non-needle techniques which can have many of the same great effects as acupuncture does normally.
A specialist of acupuncture will do an overall survey of your health in order to decide what the best approach to treating you will be. Each of the meridians on your body are associated with different illnesses and ailments, and the appropriate points will be tapped based on what health issue you are dealing with.
Don’t worry – you won’t have to sit there getting poked by needles for hours on end.
A typical acupuncture session will only last for about fifteen minutes to maybe an hour at most. Multiple visits are considered necessary for the treatment to be functional, and some people even continue to visit for the long term.
Acupuncture doesn’t hurt most people.
People report feeling numb, itchy or a little sore after an acupuncture treatment, but it’s nothing very brutal. It may feel a little funny the first time you have acupuncture done, but if the treatment works and you keep going, soon you’ll find yourself getting used to it.
Remember, a central part of acupuncture is rooted in important Eastern philosophies. The ancient Chinese believed in the concept of Chi, an energy which flows throughout the body. It is that energy which the Chinese believed was imbalanced when an illness or ailment emerged, and acupuncture is the method used to put that chi back into balance.
To anyone who has grown up with the Western medicine model, you may feel a bit skeptical about this practice. Keep in mind that Eastern medicine tends to use much more holistic methods of treatment, a concept that is now gaining popularity in the West as well.
Your Brain on Sugar (Why You’re Addicted)
Before we get into specifically how acupuncture can help your sugar addiction, let’s take a closer look at what’s actually going on inside of your brain when you have a sugar addiction. It’s important to be able to understand an ailment before you can begin to understand how certain treatments may work to alleviate it.
There’s absolutely no doubt that sugaris addictive. This could come as a surprise to you, because when you hear the word “addict”, you think of things like alcohol and hard drugs. Surely something as innocent as a chocolate cake couldn’t turn you into an addict, could it?
Think again: Enough of it sure can. Don’t blame yourself too much: there’s a very clear evolutionary reason that humans are susceptible to becoming addicted to sugar. In paleolithic times, tasting something sweet probably meant that it was ripe, high-calorie and packed full of important nutrients to keep you alive. The body and the brain run on sugar as their energy source, so it’s hard-wired to look for and crave that taste.
There’s a problem, though. You see, there are many healthy foods which will naturally be converted by the body into sugar to take care of the need for sugar. So, in other words, no I was not giving you permission to eat that piece of candy by telling you our boys require sugar to live.
In today’s world, sugar – that substance with the sweet taste – has been refined and isolated from the nutrient complexes it belongs to. Sugar in the form that we know it today is not the healthy sugars that our body needs to live. It’s a sugar that has been extracted nature’s food and turned into a substance that we still want to eat, but really shouldn’t.
So our brains are already pre-programmed to crave the taste of sugar.
When we intake it, those pleasure receptors are hit and we feel on top of the world. In the same way that substances such as marijuana can skyrocket your dopamine, sugar will leave you feeling a high that you can’t get from natural, healthy foods.
Unfortunately that high is linked to a huge list of medical conditions and issues, so it’s very important that we do what we can to avoid that dietary pitfall.
Read on to find out how acupuncture may be able to help you reverse that nasty addiction.
What Can Acupuncture Do to Help My Sugar Addiction?
In Chinese medicine, the “sweet” flavour is associated with the Spleen and Stomach meridians energetically. That means that when someone is craving sweet things, the Spleen is likely out of balance and requires adjustment. While herbs that are sweet in nature are often used to strengthen the spleen, as per order of the Chinese dedication to moderation, too many sweets can be damaging to the body overall.
When you finally decide to kick the habit of sugar, you’re probably going to go through a very difficult period in which the sugar cravings are intense. This is where acupuncture can come in. It can easily take up to 8 weeks for your body to adjust to your addiction and your new choices in food.
Those first two weeks are the worst, but being treated with acupuncture during that two week period can mean the difference between falling off the wagon and persevering through it.
In the same way that acupuncture can be used to deal with the effects of smoking addition, it can also be used to treat the withdrawals of moving towards a low sugar diet. Acupuncture for sugar addiction two times a week for two weeks could possibly be instrumental in giving your body the motivation and strength it needs to get through this transition without any slip ups.
Why Does Acupunture Work in Quitting Sugar?
It can be a little hard to wrap your head around how exactly something like acupuncture could really work to relieve your sugar addition.
If you have grown up with Western medicinal practices, you probably find it hard to believe that anything that doesn’t come in a bottle or capsule can do anything at all to help your medical condition.
Before trying to figure out how exactly acupuncture works, keep in mind that it comes from a completely different culture with completely different philosophies on how health and the body works. Keep an open mind and realize that, as well as Western medicine works, there are likely some fundamental concepts that we’ve missed in our own medical system.
Practitioners of acupuncture and believers in its effectiveness would say that acupuncture is effective because it can reliably affect the energy flow of the body. Our bodies run on energy which is built up through our diet and exercising habits, and that energy does have to be transmuted throughout the body (by means of cells using ATP) in order for it to function properly.
When some sort of ailment or issue in the body occurs, an acupuncture practitioner would say that this is in part due to the fact that the energy in your body is now flowing in balance. By pricking the meridians, or pressure points on the body through which energy flows, that energy can be redi-rected in a balanced way, reversing whatever medical condition you are dealing with.
Acupuncture experts have associated the sweet flavour with the Spleen and the Stomach and their respective meridians.
In order to reverse your sugar addiction, these pressure points will be pricked, opening the natural energy flow of the body and reducing your addictive symptoms. When your withdrawals are reduced, you can have an easier time staying away from the sweet stuff.
Is There Proof That Acupuncture Works in Quitting Sugar?
Perhaps the best proof that acupuncture is a legitimate medical practice is the fact that it has been used for literally centuries by the Chinese people with great success. If something just isn’t working, you might expect it to be ditched after a few years! On the contrary, though, this powerful ancient practice is actually now more popular than ever in the West.
Beyond this, however, many studies have been conducted which show acupuncture to be useful in treating ailments like back pain, asthma and drug addiction. Studies have been limited, but suggest that acupuncture may be useful in reducing the effect of withdrawals and to prevent a relapse. Many of these studies have been conducted on addiction to more stereotypical drugs like opiates, but it’s likely they would be beneficial in treating any other kind of addiction as well.
Above all, you should try acupuncture for yourself and see if it works for you. In any medical practice, certain treatments work for certain people while not working for others. Give it a try and de-cide for yourself.
Where Should I Get Acupuncture Done?
The first thing you should do when deciding to get treatment with acupuncture is find out if your state licenses practitioners. If they do, ensure that the treatment you receive is performed by someone who is licensed. If not, look for someone who has bee certified by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. This is a reputable non-profit organisation which is dedicated to providing standards for acupuncture and other Chinese/Eastern medical practices.
In Britain, you can check the British Acupuncutre Council website.
You may also want to try asking your doctor or friends who receive treatment who the best practitioners in your area are.
Look for someone who:
1) Will develop a treatment plan that involved you, your doctor and other health professionals you deal with on a regular basis
2) Can clearly explain treatment to you before, during and after your session
3) Will be transparent about how much treatment you require and what the cost will be.
What is the Price?
The cost of your acupuncture treatment will depend entirely on the area in which you live, the person you are receiving treatment from and exactly how much treatment you need or want. In general, however, the cost can range from £50-£70, with ordinary appointments of between half an hour and an hour between £35-£50.