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The Greatest Health Crisis in America

Posted on February 8, 2013 at 7:37 PM Comments comments ()
Acupuncture Today
March, 2013, Vol. 14, Issue By Bruce H. Robinson, 
The steadily increasing prevalence of those who are overweight or frankly obese is without doubt the greatest health crisis in the United States. This will have a profoundly negative effect on the longevity and health of a vast number of Americans as they enter the middle years of life. When this vast multitude of individuals develops severe medical conditions as a result of their significantly overweight condition they will flood the medical clinics and hospitals of North America, requiring treatment for their problems. Many will die at a young age.The figures that verify this crisis are astounding. In 1985, less than 10 percent of Americans were obese and about the same percentage were significantly overweight, for a total of about 20 percent. Now, in 2013, the combined total of those overweight or obese has reached 74 percent, according to World Health Organization, with about half of these individuals overweight and the half obese. All these individuals are at increased risk for developing diabetes, as well as for acquiring hypertension, heart disease, cancer, and strokes.
Some DefinitionsObesity is defined as greater than 20 percent more body weight than normal, if it is mostly fat. This definition does not apply to those who are very muscular and are overweight as a result. Overweight persons: have 10% - 20% more body weight than normal. Usually it is also mostly fat. Morbid obesity is defined as being 40% or more above ideal weight for age and height.
Ideal Weight Tables
Life insurance companies have developed tables for ideal weight, based on their accumulated statistics of those who live the longest. This information has been compiled over the past 100 years. These tables have determined the ideal weight for males and for females, based on their height, and also their frame size. These were first compiled by the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company of New York in 1954, based on many years of collecting data. They were revised in 1980. Separate charts have been drawn up for younger adults (25 through 59) and older adults (60 and older). It's a good idea to look up these charts online and check one's weight against the tables. Based on our height, they tell us what our weight needs to be to grant us the best chances of living the longest.
Body Mass Index (BMI)The body mass index scale is also used to determine those who are overweight and to estimate their health risks as a result. An adult who has a BMI between 20 and 25 kg/m² is considered to be in the ideal weight range. A BMI between 25-29.9 kg/m² is considered overweight. This designation begins at about 10% over a person's ideal weight. An adult who has a BMI of more than 30 is considered obese. This designation begins at about 20% over ideal weight.
Determination of BMI:
Body mass index: weight (kgs.)/ height (meters)²Example: My weight: 182lbs/2.2 = 83 kg. My height: 75 inches x 2.54 centimeters per inch = 190 centimeters, which equals 1.90 meters. 1.9² = 3.6. 83/3.6 = 23 BMI. Again, the BMI is generally a good way for determining the influence of a person's weight on their health risks. It may be thrown off by a heavily muscled individual, suggesting a higher risk than the person actually has.

BMI rating and health risk:

  • Less than 16.5 (severely underweight): high risk
  • 16.5-20: (underweight): moderate risk
  • 20-25: most healthy weight
  • 25-26: slight additional health risk
  • 27-29: moderate additional risk
  • 30-34: high additional risk
  • 35-39: very high risk
  • 40+: extremely high risk

Bioelectrical impedance analysis:
This measures the impedance, or resistance to electrical flow, through body tissues from one point to another. A caliper-like device is usually placed on the forearm and a low-grade current is turned on. Fatty tissue creates a higher resistance to flow than water or muscle, and this can be measured to determine the percentage of fat in the tissue. Higher impedance means the person has more fat. This is a popular test in gyms and fitness spas to document levels of adipose tissue in those who sign up, with a follow-up comparison after the person works out for several months.Body volume indexThe Body Volume Index (BVI) was introduced in February 2000 as a new computer-based measurement for measuring obesity; an alternative to the Body Mass Index (BMI). BMI is based on height and weight only, but the new BVI system automatically measures BMI, plus waist circumference and waist-hip ratio. In addition there is a sophisticated volumetric and body composition analysis of a 3-D computer total body scan. It can determine the amount of truncal (abdominal) obesity, which correlates with the greatest health risk. It is projected that the scientific and technical development of BVI may take a similar period to BMI, so 2020 is the current projected date for adoption and delivery on a national scale.Causes of dramatic weight increaseThere are many factors working together that account for the dramatic increase in weight of Americans. Restaurant meals serve larger portions than they did in the past. Many if not most people are eating more of their meals in fast food restaurants, which feature rich foods, loaded with fats and carbohydrates, with larger servings than before. McDonalds increased the French fries portion from 200 calories per meal in the 1980s to 600 calories per meal at present to make their meals.Much of our food intake now comes from boxed heavily processed meals, often with MSG, with large amounts of refined sugar or high fructose syrup. We must also add to this the consumption of sodas containing high levels of fructose, and the popularity of tea and coffee specialty drinks, high in calories.Calories in popular drinks (this may surprise you):

  • SoBe Green Tea: I bottle: 240 calories, 61 gms sugar. = 4 slices Sara Lee Cherry Pie
  • Rockstar Energy Drink: 280 Calories, 62 gms sugar = 6 crispy cream glazed doughnuts
  • Starbucks Vanilla Frapuccino: I bottle: 290 calories, 4.5 gms fat, 45 gms sugar
  • Starbucks peppermint white chocolate mocha with whipped cream: 660 calories, 22 grams fat, 95 grams sugar. This is the equivalent of eating 8.5 scoops of Edy's Rich 'n Creamy coffee ice cream
  • Worst drink of all in the U.S. : Coldstone Peanut Butter and Chocolate Shake, Gotta have it size (24 oz). It contains 2010 calories, 131 gms fat (equal to 68 strips of bacon) and 153 gms sugar (equal to 30 Chewy Chips Ahoy chocolate chip cookies).

Our Sedentary SocietyAmericans are more sedentary these days than they were in the past. They are viewing more television and videos than before. Large flat screen TVs are fun to watch, and observing professional and college sports on them are especially inviting. Jobs are also more sedentary: there is less farming, less mining and factory work, and more online jobs and data processing. Many people now shop online rather than in stores.Metabolic syndromeOver half of overweight people suffer from Syndrome X, also referred to as the metabolic syndrome. This syndrome is extremely common in the industrialized world today, far more so than ever before, due to the epidemic of obesity.The characteristics of the metabolic syndrome include: truncal obesity (excess weight in the abdomen and hips, rather than in the thighs and buttocks), fatty infiltration of the liver, hypertension, or pre-hypertension, high cholesterol, with increased LDL (bad cholesterol) and high triglycerides, insulin resistance, with glucose levels above 100 mg/dL and high serum insulin levels. Such insulin resistance is a common precursor to actual diabetes. It means that the body has become less responsive to insulin's effect of driving glucose into the cells, where it fuels metabolism. Thus following a meal the insulin rises to high levels as it attempts to force glucose into the cells, because it has become less efficient than normal in doing so. The excess insulin causes fat deposition, especially in the trunk of the body and in the liver, and causes the build-up of high cholesterol and triglyceride levels.People with insulin resistance have a difficult time losing weight and tend to continue to gain it instead. Actual diabetes is likely to follow. Last year, for the first time, the life expectancy of children born in the United States was predicted to be shorter than their parents. This is mostly due to the increased incidence of diabetes

.Diabetes and its effects on healthPerhaps no other disease has such widespread damaging effects throughout the body as diabetes. We love and support our diabetics, but this is a disease you do not want to get. Here is what can happen:

  • Visual problems leading to blindness
  • Kidney disease leading to kidney failure
  • Vascular insufficiency leading to gangrene of hands and feet
  • Damaged nerves leading to severe neuropathy
  • Increased susceptibility to dangerous infections
  • Potential wide swings of glucose levels which may lead to loss of consciousness if it is too low or too high
  • Many more problems that shorten life.

Other dangers of obesity and an unhealthy diet:Our American diet which is high in animal fats and refined starches, plus lack of adequate exercise leads to estrogen levels at least twice as high in the US and other industrialized countries as in women in agrarian third-world countries. The natural balance of estrogens and progesterone is lost. This is why women in industrialized countries have so many menopausal problems, plus the highest incidence of breast cancer in the world (the United States leads all other countries in incidence of breast cancer).There is also more exposure to xenoestrogens, many of which come from phenols and other organic compounds in plastic bottles and packaging materials in processed foods. “Xeno" means foreign; these unwanted chemical we are exposed to attach to estrogen receptors in the body and create undesirable estrogenic effects.Xenoestrogens and estrogen disruptors in the environment:

  • Insecticides, such as lindane, heptachlor
  • Weed killers, such as atrazine
  • Sunscreen lotions such as parabens with 4MBC (methylbenzalidine camphor)
  • Bisphenol A, found in plastic water bottles and the lining in many canned food containers
  • Pthalates, widely found in plastics as a softener
  • There is also increased estrogen intake from consuming fish, poultry, or livestock that have been fed estrogen or growth hormone enriched feed.

The current epidemic of obesity also leads to production of excess estradiol (much more potent than estriol in its toxic effects). Precursers to estradiol are converted to estrogen hormones (estradiol and estrone) in fat cells. Annovulatory cycles: (where no ovulation occurred) are more common during the perimenopause in obese women (ages 40 to 50) and they happen sooner in those going through actual menopause. Anovulatory cycles deprive the woman of her progesterone, which normally balances her estrogen, and minimizes its harmful effects. This helps set the stage for estrogen dominance.All these factors taken together: unhealthy diet, lack of adequate exercise (30 minutes of fast walking every day or most days is considered adequate), increased incidence of obesity, plus the presence of multiple xenoestrogens in the environment when taken together cause severe estrogen dominance in women in the industrialized countries of North America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and, to some extent, Japan.Well-documented health risks of obesity: (U.S. National Cancer Institute Report, Jan 2012)

  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Atherosclerosis, with heart attacks, strokes, gangrene of the legs and feet
  • Gallbladder disease (gallstones with obstruction, inflammation)
  • GERD: gastro-esophageal reflux disease
  • Arthritis
  • Cancer: especially prostate, colon, breast, rectum
  • Increased risks of pregnancy and childbirth
  • Increased anesthesia risks

Obesity is also associated with increased risks of the following cancer types, and possibly others as well: esophagus, pancreas, colon and rectum, breast , endometrium (lining of the uterus), kidney, thyroid, gallbladderThe treatment for obesity includes:

  • Healthy diets
  • Exercise
  • Behavior Modification: individual and group therapy
  • Acupuncture and herbal therapy
  • Journaling
  • Diet Drugs
  • Homeopathic remedies (e.g. HCG drops)
  • Weight reduction Surgery

Healthy Diet
A healthy diet includes about 1,500 calories a day, or less if the person is not active. Most people will lose weight if they consume a 1,500 calorie balanced diet that limits the amount of sugar to 10-15 teaspoons per day. They will lose more reliably and faster if they consume a lower calorie diet: as low as 750 calories during the weight loss period, if the diet is well balanced and the person can manage his/her hunger.Being aware of your carbohydrate intake:To figure out the amount of sugar in foods, look up the grams of carbohydrates in processed foods, usually given per serving. Subtract the grams of fiber in the serving and divide the remainder by five to get the teaspoons of sugar. For example if there are 28 grams of carbs per serving, and this includes 3 grams of fiber, you get 25 grams of sugar carbohydrates. Divided by five this gives 5 teaspoons of sugar.Many people who do this figuring are amazed how much sugar they consume. You can get a small booklet at a drugstore that has this information for all common foods. A cup of pasta, without any sauce on it, has 8 teaspoons of sugar! Eat complex carbohydrates rather than simple carbohydrates such as sucrose and fructose. Complex carbs are found in fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. A good concept to remember is to seek foods with nutritional density: foods that have not only calories but fiber, vitamins, phytochemicals, protein, minerals and other nutritious substances. Eat foods with a low glycemic index whenever possible.Glycemic index (GI):The GI is a measure of the effects of carbohydrates in food on blood sugar levels. It estimates how much each gram of available carbohydrate (total carbohydrate minus fiber) in a food raises a person's blood glucose level following consumption of the food, relative to consumption of glucose. Glucose has a glycemic index of 100, by definition, and other foods have a lower glycemic index. Glycemic index is defined for each type of food, independent of the amount of food consumed, relative to the glycemic index of glucose. Foods with a lower glycemic index are metabolized slower in the gut, cause less insulin secretion, and often favor metabolism into glycogen and other cross metabolic pathways that favor healthy body processes.Research has shown that individuals who followed a low-glycemic index diet over many years were at a significantly lower risk for developing both type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, strokes, and age-related macular degeneration. A study from the University of Sydney suggests that having a breakfast of white bread and sugar-rich cereals every day, over time, may make a person susceptible to diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer.Glycemic index: list of carbohydrate foods:

  • Low: 55 or less: most fruits and vegetables, legumes/pulses, some whole, intact grains, nuts, kidney beans, beets, chick peas
  • Medium: 56-69: whole wheat products, basmati rice, sweet potato, sucrose, baked potatoes, many pastas
  • High: 70 and above: white bread, most white rices, corn flakes, other breakfast cereals, glucose, maltose (some drinks; candy in Asia) maltodextrins (found in sodas and candy in the US).

Being aware of your overall fat intake is also important. A balanced diet should be less than 30% fat. Calculate the percentage of fat calories in processed food, as most labels only include fat grams. To determine the percentage of calories from fat grams in any given food, first calculate the number of fat calories by multiplying fat grams by nine. Divide that number by the total number of calories in your dietary intake to get the ratio of fat to your overall diet for that day. Multiply by 100 for your final percentage. Watch out for the amount of fat you consume, as well as the type of fat. Avoid trans fats when possible: they promote atherosclerosis and inflammation. Saturated fats, in spite of 50 years of bad press, can actually be good for you in moderation.Our modern Western diet has too high a ratio of omega-6 to omega-3s. Try to reduce your intake of omega-6 fatty acids (most fats in our diet) and increase your intake of omega-3 fatty acids (cold water fish or fish oil supplements)Protein in your diet: take your ideal weight in pounds and divide by two to get the grams of protein you should consume in a day. For example, 140 lbs/ 2 = 70 grams of protein a day. In kilograms it is roughly 1 Kg per gram of protein. 70 grams of protein is a piece of steak or a pork chop about the size of a deck of cards. Those who are vegetarians know about the protein sources they should eat.Being passionate about eating a healthy diet will prolong your healthy life. Then enhance your likelihood of this taking place by getting enough exercise on a daily basis (or on most days!). Get enough sleep every night (7 to 8 hours is best for most people), manage your stress, reach out to close relationships in your life… and enjoy what you do!

Where Acupuncture and Weight loss meet

Posted on March 30, 2012 at 4:08 PM Comments comments ()
By Sara Calabro, LAc
The tail end of 2010 was big for weight-loss news. Just after Thanksgiving, Weight Watchers announced a revamp of its famous Points system, which now accounts for quality of foods rather than just caloric value. In early December, an FDA advisory committee voted to expand the indication for the Lap-Band device so that people with body mass indices between 30 and 35 can be eligible. And just a few days later, another advisory committee recommended approval of a new prescription diet pill, Contrave.
It's no surprise this news also comes on the heels of highly publicized alarming statistics - an estimated two-thirds of Americans are currently overweight, and one third of those are "obese" by carrying excess body fat to the extent where it has an adverse effect on overall health and life expectancy.
From diets to medical devices to drugs, weight-loss solutions abound--and yet consistently leave something to be desired.
For every Weight Watchers success story there's a case of backfire, in which Points counting becomes so tedious and joyless that it only increases cravings for off-the-charts foods. Similarly, the same Lap-Band that improves portion control in one person may be nothing but an ineffective and unnecessary surgical procedure for another. And Contrave, that new diet pill, was shown in a small trial to increase blood pressure and pulse rate, calling into question its safety--an issue that has plagued almost every diet drug to come before the FDA.
Different weight-loss methods produce unpredictable outcomes because we all gain weight, and struggle to lose it, for different reasons. Acupuncture by nature is multi-pronged in its approach--it simultaneously addresses physiological and emotional imbalances--making it an especially suitable therapy for complex conditions that are difficult to isolate.
And so, the $64,000 question, the one acupuncturists field on a near-daily basis: can acupuncture really help with weight loss?
All the Right Points
Ear points--usually some combination involving shen men, sympathetic, endocrine, hunger and stomach--are the best-known acupuncture approach to weight loss. The ear in acupuncture is a microcosm of the whole body, so ear points can be effective at treating conditions that involve multiple systems. The above-mentioned points, for example, address common issues in patients who are struggling to lose weight: shen men and sympathetic reduce anxiety and calm the nervous system; endocrine addresses potential hormone imbalances and affects metabolism; the hunger point curbs food cravings; and the stomach point targets one of the primary organs involved in digestion.
The story of acupuncture and weight loss, however, does not end at the ear.
Going back to some recent announcements: It's not surprising that Lap-Band surgery doesn't work for everyone. You can reduce someone's stomach capacity to the size of an acorn but that does nothing to affect his/her desire to eat. In the same way, Weight Watchers' Points system and support groups go a long way in addressing the emotional aspect of weight loss. But if a hormone imbalance is affecting appetite and metabolism, or a digestive disturbance is making it difficult to excrete waste, weight is unlikely to come off.
Acupuncture differs in that it considers the whole picture. However, not everyone's picture looks the same, which is why ear weight-loss protocols don't always work. There is usually an anxiety-related component to overeating, and often an addictive quality to that behavior. Depression leading to lethargy and lack of motivation to exercise may be involved as well. But why is the anxiety happening? Where is the depression or the hormone imbalance coming from? Although effective a large percentage of the time, ear points for weight loss are not always enough to get at the root of the problem. Fortunately, acupuncturists have additional tools at their disposal.
Tips and Resources
One example of a non-ear approach to weight loss is found in "Applied Channel Theory in Chinese Medicine," a fascinating and highly readable book by Wang Ju-Yi and Jason Robertson. The authors discuss body weight in relation to the Shao Yang system, which encompasses the Triple Burner and gallbladder organs and channels. They say, "Shao yang pathology revolves around the concept that, when regulation is compromised, heat and qi become clumped in the interior." This "clumping" can manifest as excess weight.
As it relates to the topic of weight loss, the Triple Burner traditionally refers to three parts of the abdomen that regulate the environment surrounding the organs. (Those interested in a more detailed discussion of the Triple Burner should read Wang and Robertson's book.) With that in mind, the Applied Channel authors make the following clinical observation:
"The fact that the greater omentum (a part of the peritoneal lining that surrounds the organs) actually drapes over the lower abdomen and often has large deposits of fatty tissue provides insight into why the shao yang channel is important in the treatment of obesity."
The Triple Burner's role as a regulator and transformer means it also is important for metabolism, affecting the process of waste removal from the cells. Similarly, its paired organ and channel, the gallbladder, affects removal of waste through digestion. It "makes decisions" about what the body holds onto and what it excretes. Applied Channel discusses this in relation to Liver Qi stagnation, an extremely common pattern seen in acupuncture clinics:
"Many cases of liver qi stasis are actually related to a kind of yang deficiency. In these more deficient cases, there is often a corresponding gallbladder qi deficiency....The net result is a compromise of the decision-making function of the gallbladder in the digestive system....[causing] inefficient digestion. This may involve...over-absorption of foods, leading to ever-increasing weight gain."
This Shao Yang pathology is just one of many that can cause weight retention. But it exemplifies how acupuncture--in contrast to many more popular weight-loss options, for which outcomes are often temporary or altogether unsuccessful--addresses the underlying reasons for why someone may be having trouble losing weight.
Acupuncture can help with weight loss, but accurate diagnosis is critical, particularly in complicated cases for which ear protocols prove inadequate.

TCM And Weight Management

Posted on March 30, 2012 at 4:00 PM Comments comments ()
By Tyehao Lu, LAC, MAOM
According to the World Health Organization there are 1 billion people globally that are overweight and 300 million that are clinically obese. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination survey from 1999 to 2002, 65 percent of the U.S. population is obese or overweight and 30 percent are considered clinically obese. There continues to be an increase number of people that are becoming overweight or obese. The National Health Statistics reported that the body mass index (BMI) increased 30 percent in 1999-2000. What can we do to help with obesity and weight management? In a study that looked at the use of CAM for weight loss, 372  of 11,211 respondents used CAM for weight management within the past 12 months. Only 3 percent of the respondents in the study used some form of CAM therapy for weight loss and management.
Western View
Obesity is excess fat within the body and tissues. There could be many reasons that lead to obesity and overweight, which may include genetics and environment. Researchers have found that certain genes may causes individuals to become more susceptible in becoming obese. Studies have shown the possibilities of hereditary factors being responsible for about 50-70% of the changes in weight. Genes can also contribute to where fat is stored and differences in metabolism.
The environment has also been another major cause leading obesity and overweight. Researchers have found that environmental changes such as moving to a new country or city can lead to different eating habits which in turn have lead to weight gain. Eating habits have changed and there has been an increase of calorie intake and not enough exercise to burn the calories. The imbalance between energy input and output leads to excess accumulation of fat in the body.
The environment can include many other factors that can lead to weight gain such as work, stress, and other lifestyle habits. Research have shown that job related stress can contribute to obesity and overweight. Another factor that the environment influences is the state of mind. Each individual person may have different problems in life that may also lead to psychological problems. When an individual has depression or other types of emotional disorders there may be a tendency to eat more that may lead to obesity. Research has shown that the main conclusion for the reason of obesity is the imbalance of consumption and expenditure of calories.
Cardiovascular disease is one of the major diseases associated with obesity. The excess fat in the body can put excess stress on the heart. The heart has to pump more blood causing it to become enlarged resulting in heart failure. Obesity can also affect the lung causing obstruction and difficulties in breathing leading to pulmonary complications. Diabetes is another major complication. Overweight people have a three times greater risk of becoming diabetic. The increase in fat will change endocrine function. It causes an increase in glucose and a resistance to insulin resulting in type 2 diabetes. Diseases such as gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, prostate problems, and respiratory difficulties.
Treatments. Weight loss programs can range from individual tailored exercises and diet plans to medical interventions such as surgery and weight loss medications. Whatever weight loss program individuals participate in researchers have concluded some key principles for weight management. In order to be successful in managing weight and obesity lifestyle change is in the heart of the matter. Behavioral changes and physical exercise have been the major contributing factors in treating obesity and overweight.
Besides behavioral changes, physical exercise is also a key factor for weight loss. In order to expend energy there has to be exercise. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that adults expend 300 to 500 kcal per exercise session or 1,000 to 2,000 k cal per week. A weight loss program should start with losing 10 percent of weight from baseline within six months.
The main goal for western treatment for obesity is eating fewer calories and having physical exercise. In extreme cases there could be surgery and also weight loss medications. Besides western intervention, complementary and alternative medicine is becoming more popular to help control weight and many individuals are looking for different interventions in losing weight.
Chinese Medicine View
Obesity was first mentioned in Chinese medicine in the Yellow Emperor's Internal Classic of Medicine: "When treating exhaustion syndromes, sudden syncope, hemiplegia, atrophy, or rapid respiration conditions that occur in obese patients, recognize that these are usually due to overindulgence in rich foods."
The etiology and pathogenesis of obesity in Chinese medicine has four main factors. They include "righteous qi deficiency, improper diet, lack of physical exercise, and constitutional factors." Deficiency of righteous qi has many reasons. The result however is damage to the spleen. The spleen is in charge of transportation and transformation. When there is a dysfunction of the spleen there will be an accumulation of dampness and phlegm causing weight gain. Improper diet can also injure the spleen and stomach. When an individual eats too much greasy and rich foods overtime it will injure the spleen and stomach. The result of eating too much greasy foods will be an accumulation of damp-heat and phlegm. Lack of physical exercise can cause poor circulation within the body. Qi and blood are not able to flow in the body causing stagnation. The stagnation of fluids in the body can result into dampness and fat. Constitutional factors were noted in the Internal Classics. The physical appearance of being overweight can be inherited from parents and past generations.
The main factors that cause obesity in Chinese medicine is phlegm and dampness. Bob Flaws noted that fat in Chinese medicine is phlegm and dampness.16 Because phlegm and dampness is the major contributor to fat in Chinese medicine, the spleen is the major organ because of the spleen's physiological function. However, there is also another factor that may cause obesity is qi and blood stagnation.
Pattern Differentiation. Obesity and overweight in Chinese medicine is based on differentiation of syndromes. Although the main cause of obesity is phlegm and dampness there will be accompanying symptoms that will help differentiate obesity according to each individual's constitution. The main differentiation of syndromes for obesity are spleen deficiency with dampness accumulation, hyperactive stomach with hypoactive spleen, phlegm-dampness obstruction in the middle burner, qi stagnation and blood stasis, and spleen and kidney yang deficiency.
Obesity due to spleen deficiency with dampness occurs because the spleen is not able to transport and transform resulting in accumulation of dampness which will cause obesity. The accompanying symptoms include obesity or overweight with edema, heaviness of extremities, fatigue, abdominal distention, poor appetite, loose stool, pale and swollen tongue with soft thready or slippery pulse.
Hyperactive stomach and hypoactive spleen is when there is too much heat in the stomach which will injure the spleen. The spleen becomes injured and not able to transport and transform dampness. The result will be an accumulation of dampness causing overweight. Some of the symptoms include excessive hunger, thirst, fever, constipation, abdominal pain, red tongue yellow coating, and rapid and slippery pulse.
Phlegm dampness obstruction in the middle jiao is a pattern that is related to the constitution of the individual. The main symptoms include improper diet eating rich and greasy foods, heaviness and numbness in limbs, dizziness, distention in the head. There is a greasy or yellow greasy tongue, wiry and slippery pulse.
Qi stagnation and blood stasis will cause accumulation. Accompanying symptoms will include stabbing pain in the chest or hypochondria, irregular menstruation or amenorrhea, dark or purple tongue, and wiry or choppy pulse.
Spleen and kidney yang deficiency is obesity with edema on the lower limbs. Some of the accompanying signs are fatigue, loose stool, cold hands and feet, sore knees and low back, pale tongue with white slippery coating, deep and thready pulse.
Herbal Treatment. The plan for treatment will be based upon each individual's constitution and differentiation of syndromes. The main focus for all treatment is to transform dampness and phlegm, tonify spleen, and facilitate the free flow of qi and blood.
The following herbal formulas are suggested to use with the appropriate diagnosis. Sheng Ling Bai Zhu San is for spleen qi deficiency with dampness accumulation. A modified Zhi Shi Dao Zhi Wan is used for a hyperactive and hypoactive stomach and spleen. Er Chen Tang and Ze Xie Tang together are used for phlegm dampness obstructing the middle jiao. Chai Hu Shu Gan San is used for qi staganation and blood stasis. Zhen Wu Tang is used for spleen and kidney yang deficiency. There is also a suggested empirical Chinese formula for weight loss: da huang, bing lang, shan zha, yi yi ren, ze xie, chuan xiong, qing pi, ju hua, yin chen and e zhu.
Acupuncture Treatment. The acupuncture points are relatively similar for all of the different types of differentiation. The main points that are used are ST 34, SP4, ST 40, and ST 36. The supplement points for spleen and kidney yang deficiency used are Ren 4, KD 3, qi stagnation and blood stasis SJ 4, SP 10, and phlegm heat SJ 6, LI 11. The auricular points used are stomach, endocrine, spleen and shen men. The suggested empirical Chinese acupuncture point prescription is St 25, Sp 15, St 23, St 27, Gb 25, Ren 12, Ren 10, St 36, Sp 6, St 40, and Li 11. All of the points on the abdomen are connected to electrical stimulation.
As acupuncture and Chinese medicine has become more popular, there have been studies done on the effectiveness of acupuncture. There have been some studies performed looking at the treatment of obesity with acupuncture. One study demonstrated the effectiveness of electro-acupuncture for weight loss. There were 54 patients separated into two groups; one doing sit-ups and the other doing electro-acupuncture. The study lasted 13 weeks. The acupuncture points used were Ren 6, Ren 9, St 28, KD 14, St 26, St 40, and SP 6. The electrical stimulator was connected on the points on the abdomen. The results of the study showed that acupuncture was more effective than doing sit up exercise. Another study used auricular acupuncture for weight loss. The study was done using bilateral auricular acupuncture points with electrical stimulation. There were 55 patients studied and 63.6 percent showed a decrease of body weight.
There continues to be many different studies that have shown the efficacy of acupuncture and Chinese medicine for the use of weight loss. Although there are many studies, there still is a need for more research on obesity in the United States using acupuncture and Chinese medicine. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine provide an alternative treatment to help control weight problems. Besides acupuncture and herbal medicine, individuals must also exercise and practice correct dietary guidelines. Acupuncture and herbal medicine combined with exercise and food therapy can greatly enhance the treatment of obesity and help individuals mange their weight. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine is an effective treatment for overweight and obesity.
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