Acupuncture & Obesity
abstracted & translated by
Honora Lee Wolfe, Lic. Ac., FNAAOM (USA)
Keywords: Chinese medicine, acupuncture, obesity, weight loss
On page 35 of issue #12, 2004 of Gan Su Zhong Yi (Gansu Chinese Medicine), Sun Li published an article titled, “A Short Discussion of the Acupuncture-moxibustion Treatment of 20 Cases of Simple Obesity.” Because obesity is such a problem in developed countries around the world, a summary of this article is given below.
Of the 20 patients enrolled in this study, only one was a male. The oldest patient was 52 and the youngest was 11 years old. Seven cases were grade I overweight (meaning a BMI equal to or more than 25 but less than 30). Twelve patients were grade II overweight (meaning a BMI equal to or more than 30 and less than 35), and one patient was grade III overweight (meaning a BMI equal to or more than 35 but less than 40). All patients in this study met WHO diagnostic criteria for being overweight. Patients whose obesity was secondary to disease were excluded from this study.
Body acupuncture consisted of the following main points:
Tian Shu (St 25)
Xia Wan (CV 10)
Shi Men (CV 5)
Da Ju (St 27)
Auxiliary points consisted of:
Zu San Li (St 36)
San Yin Jiao (Sp 6)
Feng Long (St 40)
Qu Chi (LI 11)
Nei Guan (Per 6)
He Gu (LI 4)
One and a half inch fine needles were used to needle these points. After obtaining the qi, draining technique was used with strong stimulation. The needles were stimulated every 10 minutes while in place, and they were retained for 30 minutes each treatment. One such treatment was done per day, with 10 treatments equaling one course of therapy. After withdrawing the needles, the abdomen was massaged using several different manipulations for an unspecified period of time.
Ear acupuncture consisted of the following main points:
Auxiliary ear points included:
Depending on the patient’s pattern discrimination and condition, Wang Bu Liu Xing (Semen Vaccariae Segetalis) were taped over several of these points which the patient was instructed to press 40-50 times each day, pressing until the ear became red and hot. These points were alternated from one ear to the other once every three days. It was forbidden to use points on both ears at the same time.
Cure was defined as achievement of a BMI after treatment of less than 25. Marked effect was defined as a weight loss of more than 5kg. Some effect was defined as a weight loss of 2kg or more, and no effect meant that there was no improvement in weight. Based on these criteria, three cases (15%) were judged cured, 11 cases (55%) got a marked effect, and six cases (30%) got some effect. Thus the total effectiveness rate was 100%.
According to Dr. Sun, in Chinese medicine, fat is categorized as a species of “heavy phlegm, turbidity, and dampness.” It is formed due to non-transformation of righteous fluids and humors. These collect and accumulate and produce fat. For instance, if the three burners’ qi transformation does not diffuse due to the lungs, spleen, and/or kidneys’ regulation, movement, conduction, transportation, streaming, and transforming losing their duty, there will be yang vacuity and yin exuberance. Water rheum and phlegm turbidity collect internally, and this leads to the creation of fat. Thus we can see that obesity is closely associated with loss of regulation of the lungs, spleen, kidneys, and three burners, and, of these, it is most closely associated with the spleen. Therefore, within the above protocol, the main points are all located on the foot yang ming stomach channel, the foot tai yin spleen channel, and the conception vessel. These points are able to fortify the spleen and boost the stomach, transform phlegm and eliminate dampness. Massage on the abdominal region can course and free the flow of the spleen-stomach channel and network vessel qi and blood, disperse food and abduct stagnation, and stimulate the metabolism. A large amount of scientific research has made it clear that the combination of body acupuncture and ear acupuncture can increase and strengthen the body’s hypophysal-pituitary-adrenal cortex and sympathetic-adrenal system functions, thus promoting the body’s metabolism of fat as well as controlling appetite. Therefore, Dr. Sun believes that the combination of body and ear acupuncture for the treatment of simple obesity is quite good. In addition, it is without side effects.
Copyright © Blue Poppy Press, 2005. All rights reserved.