Weight Loss (TCM)
The TCM Specialist, Philippa Harvey, explains how TCM takes a holistic approach to overweight by focussing on the underlying changes that happen in the body.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) good health is maintained when all the body’s systems work in harmony or we may also say that a person has good QI (Chee) according to their individual constitution. Where body weight is concerned, when all is working well, there should not be any weight problem. The Western view of being overweight, is generally caused by an excessive consumption of food without the right amount of exercise. We understand that the body’s capacity to store carbohydrates is limited; so any excess of calories gets converted into fat and stored around the body.
TCM takes a holistic approach to overweight by focussing on the underlying changes that happen in the body. Normally there is more than one underlying cause. We do not treat overweight as an issue on its own; we deal with the underlying mind or body conditions that may have led to the excess weight. We know that once the body’s balance is restored, food metabolism will run smoothly and a healthy weight can be established, obviously with the right foods and the right quantities. We also understand that obesity can lead to many other metabolic issues, diabetes and heart problems. Plus, often other health problems like headaches, emotional difficulties, anxiety and depression, or allergies suddenly surface after weight gain.
To achieve a healthy weight, we come back to the topic of “QI”. For a physical and mental balance we need an appropriate amount, if there isn’t enough or too much, our organs cannot perform their tasks. The body will not be able to burn off excess fat, or eliminate water retention. Food cravings are usually a signal that an organ is in need of additional QI. In TCM we will ask you your food preferences, to get a clearer picture of how your body is feeling.
We tend to struggle with weight gain because we focus on just calories consumed against those burned. In TCM food is just one of a variety of healing resources used for treatments, we work on an understanding of the energy that different types of food have and what is best suited to a person according to their constitution at any given time. Practitioners of TCM try to find out why you could have a weak QI, and then focus on getting the organs back to working the way they should. TCM treatments will also use acupuncture, and herbs to help balance the body.
So, if you are struggling with maintaining a healthy weight, remember what things may weaken your QI : excessive stress, inadequate sleep (quality and quantity), emotional difficulty and a poor diet. When we have low energy we will increase our food craving. Cold and sugary goodies, caffeine supplements, and lots of raw foods tends to use up our QI. So try and opt for whole grains, vegetables, seasonal fruits and organic options where possible to increase QI. And remember it’s not just about the calories and how much you move, but it’s also about, what and how you eat.
At SHA we have a weight loss programme available that is aimed at reaching a healthy, progressive and balanced weight, respecting what nature offers at all times of the year and in each place, personalising it according to the needs of each person. This, together with the natural therapies, enhances the healing power of our body, so that we can control our own health.