According to The Merck Manual, the obesity rate in America has risen from 25 ti 33 percent over the past ten years. Weight loss methods rooted in Eastern medicine and, in particular, Chinese medicine, have become increasingly popular. Though rapid weight loss is rarely permanent and can be unsafe, recent studies have shown that treatments based on Chinese medicine that focus on keeping digestion and the maintenance of qi—the body's life force and energy, related to the liver and spleen—running smoothly, can lead to steady, substantial weight loss.
According to Chinese medicine, proper nutrition for an unhealthy liver or spleen (which controls the production and flow of a person's qi) should consist of warm foods that, while not over-cooked, should be sauteed or steamed to aid in speedy digestion. Vegetables, proteins, and rice are recommended, while foods high in fats, sugar and oil are advised against.
Chinese herbalists can recommend herbal combinations that may help to increase weight loss when combined with a proper diet and exercise. Chinese medicine claims that herbal supplements can work in three ways: by speeding up a person's metabolism and energy level, helping a person to burn fat more quickly or decreasing acids in the body that may lead a person to crave salty, fatty and sweet foods. Herbs commonly used in Chinese medicine to aid in weight loss include magnolia bark, ginseng, Chinese rhubarb, coptis and scute.
Acupuncture has long been recommended in Chinese medicine to aid in weight loss. When done in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise, acupuncturists can help to pinpoint parts of the body that may be triggering slower metabolism or unhealthy food cravings that can sabotage weight loss efforts. The Journal of Medical Acupuncture has reported that participants in a 2003 study who received acupuncture treatments lost over three times as much weight as those who did not receive the acupuncture treatments.
What To Avoid
Over-the-counter Chinese weight loss aids are usually quick-fix supplements that are made with Western drugs and billed as traditional Eastern remedies in order to heighten their appeal to Western consumers. However, traditional Chinese medicine does not recommend diet pills, but instead advises weight loss based on treatment of a person's qi with the right foods, herbal combinations, exercise and acupuncture treatments.