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.

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