In the West, we are obsessed with dieting, as evidenced by the sheer number of diets, dietary supplements, weight loss and physical fitness programs and exercise equipment.
Although the desire to be thin often stems from societal pressure to look good, there is a more important reason why we should worry about being overweight, particularly if we have a big waistline and lots of belly fat - obesity and being overweight is linked to many chronic, debilitating and even life-threatening diseases and medical conditions.
Yet, it is thought that various diseases and chronic illnesses (as well as certain "modern" medications) actually cause weight gain and/or impede weight loss.
Hence, in the West, an overweight or obese person who also suffers from certain illness or chronic medical condition is sometimes trapped in a vicious cycle. This may be because Western medicine often seeks to treat only the symptoms of each condition separately with a prescription for drugs for that particular condition. When the drugs stop working, or complications due to drug interaction or other reasons arise, the next step is often invasive surgery.
In contract, Eastern medicine (such as Ayurveda) seeks to address and treat the underlying causes of the illness or medical condition, taking into consideration each individual's unique physical, mental and emotional constitution. By treating the cause (rather than just the symptoms), the symptoms resolve once the cause is discovered and treated.
Eastern medicine also typically relies on only natural courses of both internal and topical treatments, such as proper nutrition, herbal preparations, acupuncture, acupressure and massage, meditation and yoga, detoxification, lifestyle modification and other holistic remedies.
This Infographic entitled "East vs. West Medicine" illustrates some of the key differences between the two approaches, including the history, basic theory, examination and diagnosis, and the duration of treatment for certain ailments and conditions.
Insofar as obesity and being overweight is concerned, most functional medicine physicians and holistic health practitioners agree that any weight loss effort must first begin with a healthy physical, mental and emotional constitution.
The idea is that with a proper diet, program of physical activity, lifestyle changes and natural treatments specific to the individual person, the underlying causes of the illness will be address and weight loss will occur naturally and more easily.
Luckily, in the West, we now live in an age and time when we have access to both systems of medicine. If we are doing something that is not working, we can become informed and educate ourselves concerning all of our available options.*** A good place to start is by reading some of the books suggested below.
***Nothing in this post should be interpreted as medical advice or a suggestion to stop using currently prescribed medication or other courses of treatment without the supervision and oversight of a qualified medical professional.
Infographic Source: HealthExecNews.com