Obesity Treatment in TCM and Western Medicine

Excessive body fat, sometimes accompanied by physical illnesses related to being overly heavy, including gallstones, high blood pressure, strokes, diabetes, cardiovascular problems, respiratory problems (such as difficulty breathing), hormone imbalances, and even some forms of cancer.

Although overeating does contribute to the development of obesity; recent studies show that the cause of obesity for many people is not too much food but too little fat-burning activity;

Obesity also can be associated with heredity; with hormone imbalances (e.g., due to hypothyroidism); with disorders of the hypothalamus gland, which regulates appetite; and with emotional problems that, for various reasons, prompt one to seek solace, self-gratification, or self-fortification in food. Another contributing factor may be the use of drugs, such as steroids or antidepressant medications.

Chinese medicine offers several explanations of obesity that are comparable to Western ones. Both agree that obesity involves a disturbance in the digestive system. In Chinese terms, food goes to the Stomach, where “ripening and rotting” normally occur (comparable to what Westerners understand as the breakdown of food by enzymes). The Spleen/Pancreas system then does its normal job of transforming food into Nutritive Qi that the body uses as energy. When Stomach Qi is deficient, food breakdown is impaired. When Spleen Qi is deficient, the transformation of food into Nutritive Qi is compromised. As a result of either or both problems, food stagnates and is not properly “used,” which is comparable to the Western notion of cabties/fat not being “burned.”

The Stomach does not function well with dryness, nor the Spleen/Pancreas with dampness. In addition, both organs/energy channels can be adversely affected by coldness and sweetness. As a result, warm soup, for example, helps with digestion, while cold, dry foods impair it. Phlegm-producing, sweet, and greasy/hot (drying) foods also interfere with normal digestive functioning. So can drugs: antibiotics are considered cold to the system, and antidepressants are thought to scatter needed Yang energy. Another impairing factor is a history of recent illnesses with fever, which can dry up fluid in the body as a whole, including the Stomach.

Both Chinese and Western medicine also recognize the significant role in obesity that can be played by mental and emotional turmoil. In Chinese terms, excessive thinking and worrying can lead to a Digestive Qi deficiency. Anger, frustration, and other kinds of emotional distress can cause Qi to stagnate, which also can lead to Digestive Qi problems. In addition, people under stress tend to ignore good diet practices-eating too much, too little, too fast, too irregularly, or too distractedly.

Finally, Chinese experts, like their Western counterparts, recognize the influence that lifestyle and heredity can have on obesity. In Chinese terms, too much work can deplete Qi so that less is available for proper digestion, while too little physical activity can result in sluggish Qi movement in general. Obesity also can represent a problem in Kidney Essence, which is passed down through the generations.

For potential patients who want to learn more about TCM clinic online, This web-based TCM Clinic SANLIDA facility can help people afflicted with chronic ailments and diagnosed without possible cure.