As you know if you’ve been following my blog, I am all about body positivity and self-acceptance as-is and without qualifiers. That said, we all want to look and feel our best, don’t we? Whatever that means to you is just fine, really. And so… if feeling a little freaked out about swimsuit season is where you’re at, I’ve got answers for you. Cellulite, belly fat, and stage fright over summer fashion are all issues we can address with traditional Chinese medicine for aesthetics and health.
~~~Cellulite and belly fat~~~
Cellulite is a structural issue. You can be relatively thin but still have dimples or you could be larger and have none. It depends on the fibrous tethers that are interspersed through the fat in combination with other factors such as fluid accumulation and relative collagen strength. Fat can bulge through the net that these tethers create, thus leaving you with dimpled skin on butt, thighs, and upper arms. Belly fat can be due to internal (visceral) accumulation, hormones, stress, genetic tendencies (some people are apples and others are pears; where you tend to hold fat may just be that: your body type), and more. One thing that can really make a difference in both cellulite and belly fat? Improved circulation.
Cupping therapy relies on just what it sounds like–cups, either of plastic, glass, or bamboo–that are placed on the skin to create suction. This causes the superficial layers of the muscle and the skin itself to be drawn upward, an action that relaxes and stimulates the skin. This also increases local circulation, which is very important for the task at hand. Cups can be moved across stubborn fat and left in place for ten or so minutes to unblock stasis or lack of circulation. In the case of belly bloat due to poor digestion, cupping across the abdomen by a properly-trained practitioner can help to soothe and strengthen the digestive system.
Have you ever heard of the ancient and widely-used technique known as gua sha? It is commonly used in Asian cultures for a wide variety of healing practices and I wrote about it at length in the above-linked article (if you don’t feel like scrolling up: here). With this technique, your practitioner oils the skin and then lightly or moderately scrapes across the surface of it. This action produces marks (“sha”) and promotes breakage of surface adhesions, better circulation, and improved tone. The gua sha treatment can potentially affect the fibrous tethers that bind your fat along the lines of what happens when you try to improve your cellulite via foam rolling or deep tissue massage. However, I think that gua sha is more effective and it has the benefit (if your practitioner has the right experience) of being able to improve the appearance of scars and stretch marks too, as I discuss in the linked article.
Depending on your goals, bodywork may be sufficient. You may want to include acupuncture into the program (I am always glad to discuss the benefits of acupuncture for weight loss, and you can check my blog post on the subject here). Otherwise, you might want to look into ways to adjust your lifestyle and health nurturance practices outside of session. Either before or after your treatment, we can also talk about whether or not a package that includes some health coaching could be useful to you. We can consider ear seeds to help with food cravings or acupuncture treatment to help your metabolism, too.
For bodywork, though? All traditional Chinese medicine appointments start with a detailed intake session. We want to determine whether or not these are appropriate treatments for you and we want to know how to best serve you, an individual with unique needs and history. We also want to make sure that the expectations are realistic and in line with what you can accomplish during a session. Once the root of the issue is identified, a plan takes shape. Generally, you can expect to:
- Start with tui na (Chinese-style massage) to loosen muscles and so that I can get a feel for where you accumulate blockages. This is also your time to really start to relax.
- Enjoy the experience of cupping therapy; this, for its part, will stimulate the flow of lymph and blood.
- Gua sha comes next, to refine and treat any details not addressed by cupping.
- Acupressure is next and, based on theories related to those directing an acupuncture treatment, it can rectify your particular imbalances.
- Conclude with a final round of tui na (either relaxing or invigorating) appropriate to you and your needs.
Though each treatment plan will vary according to the individual, this is pretty much what an appointment will look like. Sounds great, doesn’t it?
As anyone who follows my blog knows, I am a huge proponent of holistic treatment combined with knowledge and client independence. Got questions? I’m always glad to answer them before or after treatment. Want to be empowered to keep your shape in line outside of the treatment room? Let’s make it happen! Short or longer term health coaching as an add-on to bodywork treatment can also be a worthy investment that will provide lasting benefits for both this upcoming summer and the subsequent ones. Invest in your health today so that tomorrow is the best it can be, wellness-wise? Yes! I’m always happy to help people to succeed and will be glad to make a program that is designed just for you.
Are you ready for a marvelous summer? Well, let’s get started, then!
Paula Bruno, Ph.D., L.Ac., is a licensed acupuncturist and herbalist, an AOBTA-CP traditional Chinese bodywork therapist, and a wellness educator. She maintains an active and growing practice at her Austin, TX offices. Dr. Bruno is also available for distance appointments for wellness consultation or coaching.
In her first career, she was a Spanish professor.
Dr. Bruno’s specialties as a traditional Chinese medicine practitioner focus on: • Joint and mobility health, including Ehlers Danlos and hypermobility syndromes, sports injury, and acute or chronic pain; • Wellness protocols for musicians and other performing artists; • Gut health, weight control, and healthy body image support; • Aesthetic acupuncture, including scar revision; • Men’s health; • General preventative care, stress relief, and immune system support for all persons.
When you are ready to discover what traditional medicine plus a vibrant and engaged approach to holistic health can do for you, either contact Dr. Bruno or book an appointment online.
Note: Material on this web site is not intended to replace your treatment or care provided by an MD. It is for educational/entertainment purposes only. A TCM practitioner in Texas identifies syndrome patterns but does not diagnose illness. Always consult your primary care doctor for health concerns.