When embarking on a weight-loss program, the focus is -- quite rightly -- on diet and exercise. However, weight-loss efforts can be boosted by means of recognized and effective alternative therapies. To find the right technique, it can be helpful to consider what factors may have led to weight gain, such as stress, emotions, menopause, quitting smoking, shift work, health problems, medications, a sedentary lifestyle, etc. Here's a look at some of the alternative techniques and manual therapies that can have beneficial effects on mind and body.

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Acupuncture

Acupuncture hails from traditional Chinese medicine. The technique in itself won't lead to weight loss, but acupuncture can accompany dieters as a long-term means of rebalancing body and mind. For patients focusing on weight loss, the practitioner generally targets organs associated with digestion and elimination (liver, kidneys, intestines) by inserting needles into the skin in specific places. Targeting these special acupuncture points can also help curb feelings of hunger and sugar cravings (plus, it is comparable to facials).

 

Hypnotherapy

Hypnosis works by discreetly planting suggestions in the subconscious mind. This can help overcome behavioral problems and encourage weight loss. The technique can help dieters control compulsive impulses and manage food-related behavior through techniques based on autosuggestion and relaxation. The aim is to effectively reprogram the brain, deprogramming certain impulses and temptations by planting ideas in the subconscious. Hypnotherapists use verbal, physical and visual cues. After entering a state of deep relaxation, patients could, for example, be asked to visualize their stomach shrinking.

 

Mindfulness meditation

Regular relaxation or meditation can be beneficial to weight loss. In fact, a study from France's NutriNet-Santé public health program in December found that regular meditation halved the risk of obesity. When embarking on a weight-loss program, the main targets are diet and exercise. The emotional aspect of eating is often overlooked. However, learning to breathe, refocus, be conscious of the body, and resist comfort eating in response to emotional problems, can help regulate weight in the long term. The benefits of meditation on weight management have been highlighted in a wealth of recent scientific research

 

Manual therapy techniques

Physiotherapist or machine-based lymphatic drainage massages can make areas of stiff fibrosis surrounding fatty tissue more supple, while encouraging the lymphatic system to eliminate metabolic waste products, excess fluid and bacteria. Plus, it can improve blood circulation locally. The massaging water jets found in some swimming pools and hydrotherapy pools can also boost the breakdown of lipids in specific areas. When combined with exercise and a healthy diet, these techniques offer a safe way of accelerating the process that dislodges fats in the body.

 

Cryolipolysis

Cryolipolysis is a "fat freezing" technique developed in the USA. It reduces fat deposits by destroying fat cells with low temperatures (here are some of our recommended treatments). According to specialists in the field, cryolipolysis can be useful for targeting small, very localized areas of fat, such as "love handles." Be sure to choose a reputable practitioner using an accredited machine. 

 

Slimming creams

One way of targeting cellulite in certain persistent zones -- such as thighs and buttocks -- is with a caffeine-based cream. When applied in a massaging action, these creams can encourage the elimination of small amounts of fat by stimulating circulation (if you need a recommendation, here's our favourite). This can also help reduce the "orange peel effect." Note that the most expensive options aren't always the most effective. Some creams use combinations of organic essential oils associated with weight loss.

 

This story first appeared on AFP Relax News on 18th April 2016.