Acupuncture and Weight Management What’s Qi Got to Do with it?

What causes weight gain? 

According to Chinese Medicine, Spleen and Liver energetics are two of the major players contributing to excess weight gain.

Spleen Earth in Chinese Medicine

The Spleen energy is responsible for the transformation of food into energy, or Qi. Spleen Qi helps to nourish the brain for mental efficiency and focus, clarity of perception and emotions, and nourishes the muscles for physical energy. A person can use up a lot of Spleen Qi from excessive mental work (worrying too much or studying, for example), from excessive physical exertion (like overtraining for a sport), a poor diet, or eating excessive cold/raw foods. When Spleen Qi becomes depleted from being overworked or from malnourishment, one may notice heaviness in the limbs, foggy thinking, retention of water, bloating, loose stools, and a slowed metabolism. 

Another cause of slow metabolism and food cravings is disharmony of the Liver Qi. The Liver is responsible for the free, smooth and unobstructed flow of the body’s Qi, and this is vitally important to overall health and emotional wellbeing. The Liver’s ability to function properly can be constrained or overwhelmed by chronic stress and a hectic lifestyle. One may notice moodiness, irritability, an increased tendency to depression, or being uptight. This overall tension in the body can strain the digestive system, reducing the effectiveness of the Spleen. Symptoms common to Liver Qi involvement with depleted Spleen Qi are Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), acid reflux, or a poor/overactive appetite induced by stress. 

What can be done?

Acupuncture, customized Chinese herbal formulas, and conscious food choices can directly affect Spleen and Liver imbalances. Treatment can include nutritional and lifestyle advice that supports 

Liver Wood In Chinese Medicine

permanent weight loss and developing lifelong good eating habits. Addressing these imbalances not only improves digestion and metabolic functions, but increases energy, mental clarity, and balanced emotions and creates a sense of overall health and well-being.

Restoring good Qi helps energize the body, regulates elimination, controls overeating, controls the appetite, reduces cravings, maximizes the absorption of essential nutrients, and reduces overall anxiety. All of these play a part in losing weight and keeping it off.

Acupuncture and Digestive Health: What You Need to Know

Millions of people are currently suffering from digestive diseases in the US, at last report about 95 million. That’s a lot of people! Most of them think that digestive disorders are incurable and can only be treated with medication, or even worse, yet, simply suffered through. The good news is that is not the case; most digestive problems can be treated and sometimes even cured by acupuncture and often without medications.

Digestive DiscomfortCommon digestive disorders include IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), Chron’s Disease, GERD (severe heartburn or acid reflux), Ulcerative Colitis, or dietary sensitivities (i.e. food allergies and gluten or dairy intolerance). Some of the symptoms these digestive disorders present with are obvious: upper or lower abdominal pain or cramping, nausea or vomiting, bloating or intestinal gas, chronic diarrhea or constipation, blood in the stool, acid reflux. Other issues, such as fatigue, systemic inflammation, joint pain, anemia, allergies, skin problems, and frequent colds and flus may not be so easily linked to digestive health, but are signs of systemic imbalances caused by the same digestive orders. 

Where does acupuncture come in? 

Digestive disorders are an indication of an overall health imbalance. Long term high stress and poor dietary habits develop into digestive orders over time. By the time you’re showing signs of digestive problems, there’s most likely intestinal inflammation and possibly some amount of “leaky gut syndrome,” which means that large food particles leak through the intestinal lining and your body must mount an immune reaction. This leads to even more inflammation and to food sensitivities. The end result is nearly always a reduction in digestive efficiency.

Irritation in your gut reduces your small intestine’s ability to break down food effectively, which means your body can’t properly absorb and utilize nutrients. Eventually, this leads to some amount of malnutrition. Nutrition taken into the body, via the food you eat, is critical for supporting your overall health and maintaining your body’s strength, defenses, repair, and maintenance. If you’re not feeding your body properly or your body is unable to absorb nutrients due to a digestive disorder, then the resulting malnutrition, inflammation, and overstressed immune system lead to system wide problems.

This is where Acupuncture comes in.

AcupunctureKey acupuncture points on your body are known to reduce abdominal pain, bloating, intestinal inflammation, and chronic diarrhea. They also increase gastrointestinal strength, increase bowel movements (in cases of chronic constipation), and regulate stomach acid secretion. Acupuncture regulates your overall digestive function, restoring good health, and it does it without side effects! 

Your acupuncturist should also be knowledgable about supplemental support, such as healing herbs, that may be helpful in your treatment plan. They should also be able to guide you toward making appropriate dietary and lifestyle changes that are critical components in your lasting good health and well being. Over time, your acupuncture treatments combined with your body’s increased digestive function will help your system rebalance itself and repair the damage to your gut.

The WHO (World Health Organization) and the NIH (National Institute of Health) have both recognized acupuncture as effectively treating over 56 common health complaints! They also recognized that, “One of the advantages of Acupuncture is that the incidence of adverse effects is substantially lower than that of many drugs or other accepted medical procedures used for the same conditions… such as anti-inflammatory medications and steroid injections, and the evidence supporting these conventional therapies is no better than that for Acupuncture.”

Acupuncture is highly effective in treating many digestive disorders including: IBS, Chron’s Disease, food allergies and sensitivities, chronic constipation or diarrhea, ulcers, heartburn, GERD, lactose intolerance and more. Overall, Acupuncture provides an extremely effective, safe, and completely natural approach to regaining and maintaining optimum digestive health and restoring strength and harmony to your body.

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