Uncovers the difficulties in weight loss and how to ease it.


Obesity is bad news for both body and mind. Not only can it make someone feel tired and uncomfortable, carrying extra weight puts added stress on the body, especially the bones and joints of the legs. People who are overweight are more likely to develop diabetes and other health problems.

Knowing that obesity is an important issue, OCTAVE Institute, a mindful learning and holistic wellness platform from China, launched a new wellbeing column OCTAVE TIPS. In each issue, experts from SANGHA Retreat by OCTAVE Institute will share top lifestyle tips in an easy and accessible way, advising on six key living habits: diet, breathing, sleep, exercise, mindfulness, and healing, helping to foster a happy, healthy, and comfortable attitude to life and way of living.

In the first chapter, traditional Chinese medicine doctor David Wei uncovers the deeper reasons behind the difficulties involved in weight loss to ease summertime body anxiety.

Obesity from a TCM perspective

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According to the theory of traditional Chinese medicine, the main pathogenesis of obesity is the yang-qi deficiency, namely an abundance of phlegm and a lack of qi, which is mainly related to the function of the spleen and kidney. When the spleen's qi is weak, it loses the ability to function properly. The essences of water and grain are losing in transit and turning into creamy fat and water dampness and staying in the body, resulting in obesity. A yang deficiency in the kidney can cause weak blood agitation and abnormal gasification of water in the body, leading to slower blood flow, water dampness and, ultimately, obesity. Therefore, some overweight people have a solid constitution (solid obesity), while others have a virtual constitution (virtual obesity).

Types of obesity and tips to battle against

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There are many differences in constitution between people, and the types and manifestations of obesity are also different. The most common types are qi deficiency and dampness stagnation, gastrointestinal damp-heat, and liver qi stagnation.

Qi deficiency and dampness stagnation

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People with this constitution are usually loose and inflated, with a smaller appetite, accompanied by fatigue, limb sleepiness, abdominal distension, loose stools, limb swelling, and other symptoms. The principle of conditioning is to remove the dampness, improve the spleen's ability to transport nutrients, and redress the balance in the kidneys.

An ideal diet to address these deficiencies should include dry foods, such as adzuki beans, Job's tears, white lentils, lotus leaves, Poria cocos, yams, chestnuts, Euryale Ferox seeds, wolfberries, mulberries, black sesame, sea cucumbers, tremella, and more. Key acupoints to target to eliminate dampness and excess phlegm include taibai, fenglong, weishu, yanglingquan, pishu and shenshu.

Gastrointestinal damp heat

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People who have this constitution tend to be fat and solid, with a hearty appetite, constipation, a dry mouth, and a dislike of the heat and sweating. To address this, they must clear their stomach of its heat.

The diet should be light and comprise many cooling ingredients, such as mung beans, balsam pears, cucumbers, bitter cabbages, Luffa, lotus root, lettuces, radishes, grapefruit and so on. Pressure points to focus on during an acupoint massage include the inner court, tianshu, shangjuxu, xiajuxu, spleen shu, and large intestine shu, which can inhibit gastrointestinal peristalsis and gastric acid secretion, thus reducing hunger and helping to achieve weight loss.

Liver qi stagnation

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People with stagnation of their liver qi are often irritable and experience a fullness of their chest, while women can have irregular menstruation and amenorrhea. Conditioning should be based on the principle of clearing the liver and purging its fire.

Cooling foods that clear heat and calm the liver should be this person's go to, such as celery, spinach, shepherd's purse, purslane, mushrooms, roses, chrysanthemum, cassia seeds and wormwood. Points to pay attention to during an acupoint massage are ganshu, danshu, sanyinjiao, taichong, zhaohai, taixi, yanglingquan, to help soothe the liver and regulate qi.




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