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As with every health goal, Chinese medicine takes a holistic approach to losing weight. Weight gain is not simply seen as an issue to resolve, but a pattern of ongoing disharmony and balance that needs to be corrected. Chinese medicine looks at the function of the digestive system, the patient’s natural constitution, other illnesses or imbalances present, and lifestyle factors that contribute to excess weight gain.
Dampness is a Chinese medical term that is applied to any fluid or substance in the body that causes health issues. When considering weight gain, dampness is seen as the excess fat, water retention, and mucus in the body. Chinese medicine works to reduce this dampness to help aid weight loss efforts.
A lack of “qi” is often involved in weight loss struggles. Qi is our body’s energy and activating force. With too little qi, our metabolism plummets, we lack the energy for exercise, we feel tired, lethargic, and sluggish. Therefore, most weight loss formulas improve the body’s qi and boost energy.
Stagnation is often a problem with stubborn weight gain and can make exercising, eating right, and even sleeping difficult. Unfortunately, stagnation is seen as the root of disease in Chinese medicine and can be a major culprit in the weight loss struggle. Chinese medicine focuses on encouraging healthy movement and reducing stagnation to help you lose weight.
Improving diet is a main concern of Chinese medicine practitioners. Without proper diet, not only do we gain weight, but we also prevent our body from enjoying the nutrients it needs to function properly. Specific dietary advice is often given on an individualized basis, but general tips like avoiding sugar, dairy, and processed foods is recommended for most people.
The Spleen and Stomach systems control appetite, nourishment, and qi production. To lose weight, we must keep these systems in check and support a healthy metabolism.
Many people suffer from poor weight loss results due to imbalances in the Liver system. The Liver system is easily affected by stress, a common problem for many who struggle with their weight. This stress leads to hormone imbalances, sleep issues, and digestive problems – all of which can cause weight gain.
The Kidney system is responsible for the body’s core yin and yang balance. When the Kidney system is weak, yin and yang fall out of balance and issues like fatigue, low metabolism, thyroid issues, swelling and edema, and weight gain can easily develop.
Weight gain is considered a secondary symptom of deeper patterns of illness in Chinese medicine. While your goal may be to lose weight, the goal of Chinese medicine treatment (through herbs or other therapies) is to help the body maintain a healthy balance. As a result, excess weight will come off naturally as the body returns to a healthy state.
Acupuncture is a popular way to help improve the body’s balance, restore digestive function, and reduce cravings. Acupuncture is also helpful in reducing the underlying stress that either leads to stress eating or hormone imbalances (often due to cortisol) that prevent weight loss. Nutrition and diet changes are recommended to help each person eat a healthy diet that supports both his or her weight loss goals and their unique needs. Exercises like tai chi or walking can help to improve energy and burn excess “dampness.”
Many herbal supplements focus on treating both the symptoms and the cause of weight gain. Herbs are used to increase energy, vitality, and even burn fat. Other herbs are focused reducing dampness and water weight, eliminating cravings, and lowering appetite. To support the root of the weight gain problem, herbal formulas also work to re-establish a healthy balance of yin and yang.
The following are important herbs used in our popular formulas for weight loss.
Bai zhu/ Atractylodes rhizome: Bai zhu is greatly improves digestive function. This herb has the power to strengthen the Spleen and Stomach, reduce dampness, and restore healthy digestion.
Huang qi/ Astragalus: Huang qi is an energy tonic that is similar to the more popular ginseng. The added benefit of huang qi is its ability to lift and support, making it a choice herb in weight loss formulas.
Chen pi/ Citrus reticulatae: Chen pi, also known as tangerine peel, is found in many Chinese herbal formulas for weight loss. This is due to its strong effect on clearing away dampness, improving digestion, and boosting energy.
Weight loss can be difficult and frustrating, but you don’t have to go it alone. Thankfully, Chinese herbal medicine is a handy sidekick in your weight loss journey. Shop our collection of herbal supplements that make losing weight easier, faster, and more natural.