Acupuncture for Weight Loss

Acupuncture for Weight LossIn Chinese medicine there is a saying. “Fat people have phlegm and skinny people have fire”. This ancient saying gives us the strategy and treatment principles how to treat obesity and stimulate weight loss. Phlegm is not just in the lungs in Chinese medical thought, but phlegm can store in the flesh contributing to heaviness and sluggishness of the body. In Western scientific terms, as we age, metabolism slows and thus contributes to decreased nutrient absorption and less ability to eliminate toxins. Ancient Chinese medical texts discussed the importance of the Spleen in promoting healthy assimilation of nutrients which in turn nourished the flesh. If this system was impaired in some way, then phlegm could accumulate which would result in one being over weight. Acupuncture fundamentally increases circulation and when used specifically to target blocked areas of phlegm can assist in weight management. Tai Qi even though being a simple non strenuous exercise actually helps to lose weight because the postures and movements actually promote the circulation of energy in the meridians. This is why Tai Qi is so beneficial for elderly people to stimulate their metabolism and as is the case with elderly people it is often not appropriate to take up jogging or go to the gym to lose weight. In modern China, there are now many weight loss specialist clinics catering for the rising middle class who have in fact become overweight from being able to afford for luxury foods such as western style sweets and deserts which were unheard of 20 years ago.

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About Heiko Lade

Hi, I'm Heiko Lade - qualified acupuncturist at The Acupuncture Clinic in Hastings, New Zealand. If you would like to make an appointment for a consultation and treatment, please contact me.


  1. Heiko I would like to lose weight. I have tried everything including starving myself, but of course this did not work. I put on weight after having my children. Are there are chinese medicines that will increase my metabolism… thanks

    • Heiko Lade says:

      Hi Bella, firstly I need to stress that strict “starvation” type diets will actually hinder progress. If you think about times when you have had a severe flu with lots of sweating, and have not eaten much for a few days, you would have noticed rapid weight loss. You are not actually healthy afterwards and still take some time to get your energy and strength back. We still need the nutrients that food provides to have a healthy stomach and spleen function. A healthy body weight requires good stomach and spleen qi (energy) to bring in the food and digest the food and hence promote metabolism. Crash dieting is damaging the basic system of the body that controls the metabolism. Some women put on weight after child birth and there are a few common causes of this. If you think about the child birth process, firstly there is blood loss and loss of energy because of the pushing and pain and so forth. After child birth, breast feeding also can weaken the body as Chinese medical thought says that breast milk is blood and fluid leaving the body. Depending on the strength and constitution of the woman, it can leave the body in a weak and deficient state. Combine that with late nights, interrupted sleep, additional work load and so forth, the body and the metabolism is in a weakened state. Its possible that you have other blood and fluid deficiency symptoms since having the children. These symptoms can include dizziness, light headed, ringing on the ears especially when tired, pale appearance , thinner and lustreless hair, dry skin and other symptoms associated with what Chinese medicine classifies as blood deficiency. Herbs like dang gui 当 归 (angelica root) cooked with chicken and red dates as a soup could help here. Without seeing you and hence able to do a clear diagnosis according to traditional Chinese medicine principles, I would not be able to suggest specific herbal medical formulae. I would suggest you consult with a professional TCM practitioner.

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