Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) supports healthy weight loss by addressing the reasons behind the weight problem. Is the excess weight due to hormonal imbalances and deficiency? Is is due to a weakness in the digestive system due to dampness? Is it due unhealthy eating habits and lifestyle? Is there an emotional component to it? Often the weight problem is a combination of more than one reason. Once the underlying causes for the excess weight is understood, a treatment plan is recommended including acupuncture, herbal medicine, diet recommendations and lifestyle changes.
Here are three causes of obesity according to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
Hormonal Issues–Testosterone and estrogen are an aspect of yin and yang, the underlying principle in TCM. Yin is feminine, moist, soft, cool, nurturing; estrogen is a hormone that regulates the yin functions of the body. Yang is masculine, muscular, hard, hot, protective; testosterone is a hormone that regulates the yang functions of the body. The natural body seeks homeostasis in all things including the balance of yin and yang, estrogen and testosterone. Over time, with stress, with exposure to toxins, the testosterone and estrogen effectiveness becomes weakened creating an under functioning body in general which means all systems are weakened including the digestive system. The solution is not to add chemical estrogen or testosterone to the body. The solution is to support the hormonal function with detoxification; herbal support to build hormonal reserves; and support the signally of the normal digestive processes with acupuncture.
Dampness—In TCM the term dampness refers to the stagnation of moisture combined with fat due to the eating of damp inducing foods including greasy, frozen, sugary, sticky and heavy foods. A diet like this causes “dampness” and decreases the overall functioning of the body because a body that is not nourished properly will not create enough qi, energy, to do its work. A patient with fat accumulation will be diagnosed with Damp Spleen. Herbal medicine, acupuncture and diet modification help to dry up the dampness and build the energy of the digestive system to support weight loss and normal healthy functioning of the digestive system.
Eating habits and lifestyle–Irregular eating habits such as overeating, eating quickly, eating at odd times, under eating, emotional eating, eating non-foods such as overly processed chemically laden foods and consuming cold foods impair the function of the digestive system. Stress also causes weight gain as a body in fight flight pattern does not rest and restore. In other words, a body in stress stores fat and deals with it later. The great news about acupuncture is that no matter what the patient is being treated for, acupuncture induces a feeling of relaxation and offers stress relief for patients.