Not Just Diet: Acupoint Stimulation Effective in Treating Obesity, Here's Why – The Epoch Times
Despite our best efforts, some of us still cannot lose weight as efficiently as we would like.
The truth is, this phenomenon isn’t just about the amount of effort we put in; it may also be the result of our body functions not being in good order.
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practitioner Dr. Yu Yawen from Royal Jade Chinese Medicine Clinic, Taiwan, said that losing weight is not only about losing fat but also about removing waste that cannot be metabolized by the body. Using acupuncture to regulate the internal organs and enhance metabolism will make losing weight more efficient.
More and more medical studies have shown that obesity is caused not only by excessive calorie intake but also by endocrine disorders that involve such hormones as thyroxine, adrenaline, and insulin. In particular, blood sugar fluctuations caused by eating refined sugar can stimulate excessive insulin secretion, which in turn can result in fat accumulation.
Dr. Yu said that TCM treats obesity holistically. TCM
defines obesity as tissue in excess of the leanest body weight, also called “phlegm dampness” or “phlegm turbidity.” Phlegm dampness is the excess waste accumulated from the disorders of internal organs. It not only refers to fat cells but also includes high blood lipids, high blood sugar, and other pathological products. Therefore, in treating obesity, TCM starts with nourishing the internal organs so as to expel harmful substances from the body.
Dr. Yu pointed out that weight loss does not have to start with calorie control. It can first identify the body parts that need to be toned using an instrument that measures body composition, followed by taking the appropriate Chinese medicine.
She said, for example, when the instrument detects water accumulated in the body, there are several possible causes for this. One is increased tissue fluid or fluid produced by poor metabolism as a result of an improper diet with excessive eating and drinking. It may also be excessive water retention before and after the female menstrual period. Due to the different factors that cause water retention in the body, different treatment methods are considered.
Dr. Yu compared weakened internal organs to a car covered with dust.
First, the dust (phlegm dampness) must be removed, and then the internal organs can be normalized to metabolize the waste. Fat accumulation is related to the functions of the liver, spleen, and kidneys; and TCM uses different methods to improve the functions of these organs.
Dr. Yu said that adrenaline spikes that raise blood sugar and lead to obesity are, in fact, also common. Stress is the key driver of this phenomenon, as seen in busy office workers, and those prone to nervousness and anxiety.
In TCM, emotions and physical health are intimately connected. This integrated mind-body approach to health and healing operates in a dynamic loop where emotions impact the health of the body and vice versa.
The seven emotions in TCM are: grief, melancholy, fear, fright (sudden and unexpected, unlike fear), anger, joy, worry. They are naturally occurring emotions without pathological consequences in many instances. However, abrupt, severe, or chronic occurrences may cause pathophysiological consequences. This excess leads to disruption of qi and blood, directly affecting the internal organs. For this reason, the seven emotions are major factors in the cause of endogenous illness.
According to TCM, excessive emotions result in specific effects on the internal organs: grief and melancholy injure the lungs; fear and fright injures the kidneys; anger injures the liver; joy injures the heart; worry/pensiveness injures the spleen.
The reverse is also true, an injury to the internal organs may cause an emotional disturbance. For example, a liver disorder may cause anger. Therefore, TCM requires patients to manage their emotions, and this starts with regulating the internal organs.
Studies have indicated that acupuncture can increase the secretion of two neurotransmitters—serotonin and endorphin—so as to suppress appetite and speed up the rate of fat breakdown.
TCM has discovered that there is a “meridian” system in the human body that is responsible for transporting “qi” and “blood” throughout the body. The two substances of qi and blood circulate to maintain balance and stability in various tissues and organs. When the meridian system is blocked, it will affect the transport of substances, allowing “evil qi” or “pathogenic qi” (various factors that cause disease) to invade, and abnormalities to appear in the human body.
The concept of qi in TCM originated from the discovery of the vital phenomena of the human body by the ancient Chinese. They found that qi is a vigorous, fine matter that runs continuously in the human body, and is one of the basic substances that constitute the human body and maintains the body’s life activities. Qi circulates continuously, promoting and regulating metabolism in the human body, and maintaining the life processes. The cessation of the movement of qi means the end of life.
Acupoints are a unique term in Chinese culture and TCM, and they are places with many nerve endings and blood vessels. TCM has found that acupoints are located in the viscera and meridian circulation routes distributed on the surface of the human body. They are specific locations where qi and blood gather, transfer, and enter and exit, and are also regarded as energy gathering points of the human body.
TCM can treat diseases by stimulating corresponding meridian acupoints through tuina, tapping, acupuncture and moxibustion.
Tuina is a therapeutic form of massage and has been used in China for more than 5,000 years. Practitioners use various techniques, including kneading, pressing, rolling, and stretching. By applying pressure to meridians, acupoints, and groups of muscles and nerves, tuina removes blockages of the meridians and aims to balance the flow of qi through a person.
Moxibustion is a form of heat therapy in which dried plant materials called “moxa” are burned on or very near the surface of the skin. The intention is to warm and invigorate the flow of qi in the body and dispel certain pathogenic influences.
Therapy can be a combination of acupuncture and moxibustion. In TCM, acupuncture and moxibustion are used singly or together to treat diseases.
According to TCM theory, the flow of qi in the meridians can be improved by stimulating acupoints. When needles are inserted into the acupoints of the human body, they strengthen the circulation of qi and blood, overcome the blockage of the meridians, restore the meridian system to normalcy, and thus cure the disease.
A study by the School of Chinese Medicine at Hong Kong Baptist University has shown that the stimulation of acupoints is effective for weight loss. Seventy-two participants with a height and body mass index (BMI) over 25 were divided into two groups. One group received acupuncture and auricular therapy (with ear seeds) to stimulate auricular points twice a week for eight weeks, and the other group did not receive any treatment. All subjects were advised to eat regular meals every day, not to eat any snacks, and not to do any exercise other than what was required for daily work.
After eight weeks, the participants who received acupuncture and auricular point therapy lost an average of 5.4 pounds in weight, and the participant who lost the most weight dropped from 265 pounds to 249 pounds. Participants in the group that did not receive acupuncture and auricular point therapy lost an average of 1.2 pounds.
According to the researchers, the acupuncture points used in the experiment include Celestial Pivot (ST25), Great Horizontal (SP15), Grinding Vessel (GB26), Sea of qi (CV06), Central Venter (CV12), Leg Three Miles (ST36), Bountiful Bulge (ST40), and Three Yin Intersection (SP06), a total of eight points. These acupoints mainly function to dredge the intestines and stomach, remove dampness, nourish the spleen and kidney, and harmonize qi and blood. The study demonstrated that acupuncture could not only stimulate the nerves but also regulate the body to reduce the weight of obese people.
Dr. Yu described a method that can stimulate acupuncture points for a longer period of time, known as Acupoint Catgut Embedding (ACE), which can strengthen the body’s metabolism. ACE is an alternative treatment that continuously stimulates acupoints by implanting an absorbable catgut suture at acupoints.
For example, according to the meridian flow of the human body, to stimulate the body to reduce water due to edema in the feet, it is necessary to bury threads in the acupuncture points of Leg Three Miles ((ST36) and the kidney meridian.
For waist, abdomen, buttocks, and legs, thread embedding at the intersection of multiple meridians achieves partial fat reduction and body shaping. In addition, you can also take herbal medicine or fat-reducing teas to help with weight loss.
Dr. Yu believes that if you want to lose weight, you also need to exercise more, which can enhance your physical and mental stress resistance. Exercises also help you sleep better, and the leptin (a hormone that regulates appetite) produced by quality sleep can also help weight loss.
Although fat has almost become synonymous with obesity and being unhealthy, fitness trainer Henry Tong reminds us that fat is one of the three elements to activate human energy.
The energy needed by the human body can only be provided through the breakdown of fat and carbohydrates in the presence of oxygen. Therefore, aerobic exercise is a good way to burn fat.
Tong said that the formula used to calculate maximum heart rate while doing aerobic exercise is 220 − age. The figure obtained is the heartbeats per minute that an individual needs to maintain for over 25 minutes to achieve fat loss.
Tong said it is important to warm up before doing aerobic exercise and recommends the following “Sweating Warm-up Exercises” to help the joints and muscles become flexible and reduce injuries.
This exercise engages the abdominal muscles.
Swap foot positions so the right foot is in front and the left is behind the body. Repeat the movements.
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