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Weight Control with Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs

Weight loss with TCM

Obesity increases the likelihood of various diseases, such as high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, diabetes, and heart disease.

In TCM, the primary cause of obesity is the accumulation of Phlegm and Dampness. TCM view the Spleen as the root of all Phlegm and Damp production because it controls the transportation and transformation of Body Fluids. If the Spleen is constitutionally weak or becomes damaged by improper diet, lack of physical activity or emotional stress, it will fail to transport and transform waste fluids. These metabolic wastes will gather, collect and transform into Dampness and Phlegm.

Rather than focusing on reducing the number on the scale only, TCM treats the underlying body condition that may have led to the excess weight. Once the body’s balance is restored, the metabolism will process food properly, and excess weight should no longer be a problem as long as maintain proper diet and lifestyle.

Studies have shown that acupuncture can effectively improve body weight, body mass index(BMI), waist and hip circumferences and waist-hip ratio.1,2 In a randomised study of 40 obese women, the group who received a total of 10 acupuncture treatments (2 sessions of 20 minute treatments/week for 5 weeks) achieved a 2.9 kg mean weight loss and 1.43 point decrease in mean BMI, and the laboratory findings showed decreased insulin, leptin, ghrelin, and cholecystokinin(CCK) levels.3

NOTE: The names of organs are capitalized when referring to the entire, functional organ systems in TCM perspective: Liver, Blood, etc. The names of organs are lower-cased when referring to the distinct, biomedical organs: liver, blood, etc.


How Does TCM Help Lose Weight?

Seduce food craving

Acupuncture helps control appetite by stimulating endorphin release and promotes calming and relaxing effect on the body. Naturally releasing endorphins makes it easier to deal with stress, frustration and anxiety which can be triggers for emotional eating, overeating and bingeing on fattening foods. Ear acupuncture is also effective in reducing appetite and food craving.

Regulate metabolism

Long-term history of irregular eating, overeating, and lack of physical activity can lead to slow metabolism. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs can help to increase metabolism by stimulating the thyroid and endocrine glands as the body adjusts to the changes in diet and lifestyle. Affecting the endocrine system also helps to stabilize blood sugar levels and blood pressure.

Improve digestion

Combined with proper nutritional changes, acupuncture and Chinese herbs help harmonize the digestive organs and improve digestion. Proper digestion ensures that the body is getting enough nutrients you need from food so you feel less hungry. TCM can also help with secondary symptoms from poor digestion, such as bloating, gas heartburn, constipation or diarrhea.



A special acupuncture procedure of Acupuncture Wellness Center

Electrolipolysis is a special acupuncture procedure which involves the application of controlled electric current on acupuncture needles inserted directly into the fat tissue layer.

Electrolipolysis helps reduce localized body fat (especially from the thighs, buttocks, hips, and abdomen) and improve the quality and appearance of the skin.

Electrolipolysis increases blood flow to shift the stagnant fat deposits. The fat melted in electrolipolysis procedure will be eliminated through urination.

Electrolipolysis is for people with mild localized cellulite on the specific areas of the body. It is not recommended for severe overweight people or adolescents.

Increase energy level

Stimulating endorphin release by acupuncture not only helps with emotional stress but also relaxes muscle tensions and improves circulation of Qi and Blood. In TCM, stagnation of Qi and Blood is the primary cause of hundreds of diseases. By promoting Qi and Blood circulation, acupuncture and Chinese herbs can reduce body pain from carrying heavy weight and increase energy level, making the patient able to have a more active lifestyle.


Chinese herbs are particularly helpful in eliminating metabolic toxins that have been built up over time from excess weight and adipose tissue.

Reduce the size of specific parts of the body

While acupuncture and Chinese herbs help reduce adipose tissue from the entire body, modern acupuncture technique called electrolipolysis can reduce the size of the specific areas of the body, such as thighs, legs or abdomen, by enhancing metabolism of the local adipose tissue.

Reduce side effects caused by dieting

When people try to lose weight quickly by restricted diet without evaluating their underlying conditions, they often suffer from side effects caused by dieting, such as dizziness, hair loss, and anxiety. Since TCM primarily focuses on treating underlying conditions and harmonizing and balancing the body’s function, it minimizes the side effects from dieting and actually makes patients healthier while losing weight.


How Many Treatments Will I Need?

It is important to understand that acupuncture is not a “quick fix.” By working with your acupuncturist, and committing to long-term goals, you will experience positive changes in your overall health, including a healthy body weight. The frequency and number of acupuncture treatments depends on the patient's goals for losing weight, the speed at which they want to lose, and their commitment to a new, healthier lifestyle. In the beginning, it is important to receive consistent treatments to help get you started.

Once you are feeling comfortable with your new weight loss plan, the frequency and number of treatments will decrease to 1-2 visits a month. When you have reached your weight loss goals, the patient and practitioner will mutually decide when to stop continual acupuncture treatments and just have follow-up visits approximately four times a year (at the change of seasons) to keep your system balanced and healthy.


Does It Rebound Afterwards?

Rebounding is the most common problem in any weight loss programs. Rebounding usually occurs when patients go back to the ex-lifestyle which led them to having weight problems, therefore causes a rebound as well. When there was significant weight loss in a short period, there is a higher chance of rebounding. In a short-term diet program, the fatty cell size setting in the hypothalamus does not change even though the patients lose body weight; therefore, the fatty cells will try to regain the original size after the program is discontinued and cause rebound.

TCM approach to weight loss is to assist patients achieve and enjoy their new and healthy lifestyle while losing weight, rather than enforcing the restricted diet with disciplines. By correcting the underlying disharmony and restoring the body’s natural rhythm, TCM weight loss program can successfully reduce the chance of rebound.


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