Excessive Weight Gain According TCM Theory on Imbalance

By Melanie Wee

Excessive Weight Gain According TCM Theory on Imbalance

What is the underlying cause of excessive weight gain?
Excessive weight gain, irregardless of its cause(s), is a sign that indicates a dysfunction of the digestive system. Namely, that there is an imbalance in the energy system of the Spleen and Stomach. Hence, the underlying cause for excessive weight gain is due to such a dysfunction of the Spleen and Stomach's physiological function.

What can lead to the dysfunction of the Spleen and Stomach?
Some of the reasons are:

  • Irregularly food intake (such as not having regular meal times, or eating too late in the night)
  • Consuming inappropriate foods (such as too much ice-cream, raw vegetables, oily food)
  • Consuming too much alcohol
  • Inappropriate dieting
  • Constitutional weakness(i.e., weak genes. Inheriting a weak Spleen and Stomach from one's parents)

The Spleen and Stomach has an Yin and Yang relationship

  1. Spleen is the Yin organ, however, there is a Yin and Yang aspect within the Spleen organ system
  2. Stomach is the Yang organ, however, there is a Yin and Yang aspect within the Stomach organ system

The Imbalance between Yin and Yang

  1. There is perfect harmony when both Yin and Yang are equal, and one is healthy
  2. If there is too much Yin, the Yang will be consumed, like wise, if there is too much Yang, the Yin will be consumed

TCM Organ Theory - The function of the Spleen and Stomach (our digestive system)

The Spleen (according to Traditional Chinese Medicine)

  1. One of the Spleen's function is to transform and transport food nutrients for the whole body. If it is not working properly, then food nutrients will not be properly transformed and transported. In other words, the body will not be able absorbed and utilize the food consumed.
  2. Further, there will be the accumulation of turbidity in the form of fat and nodules under the skin and through out the body, hence resulting in excessive weight gain. There may also be water retention.
  3. In this case, we say there is a deficiency in the Spleen Qi. And people suffering from Spleen Qi deficiency may experience excessive weight gain without even consuming lots of food. That is that they have a low metabolism rate.
  4. Some of the symptoms of Spleen Qi deficiency are: lack of appetite, fatigue, listless, breathlessness, feeling cold, looking pale, and excessive weight gain.

The Stomach (according to Traditional Chinese Medicine)

  1. The function of the Stomach is to store and ferment food.
  2. If the Spleen yin is deficient, there's going to be excess Stomach yang, leading to Stomach fire.
  3. Symptoms of Stomach fire: big appetite (always feeling hungry and needing to eat all the time), red face, bleeding gums, loud voice, if left untreated, may lead to stomach ulcers and some arthritic pain (those with inflammation).

How can acupuncture and moxibustion help?

Achieve balance:

  1. Tonify the deficient: The goal of acupuncture and moxibustion is to increase the level of Spleen Qi. In other words, to increase the metabolism rate and improve the absorption of nutrients. This can lead to having more energy or vitality, better complexion, improved immune system to fight against the colds and flus, reducing the symptoms of allergies and losing weight.
  2. Reduce the excess fire: Acupuncture can be used effectively to reduce the Stomach fire, hence, reducing the desire to eat. This can help prevent excessive weight gain, bleeding gums, irritability, stomach ulcers, and so forth.