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Home > Newsletters > June 2005 >

Ask the Doctor

Q: Iím 5í4Ē and about 150lbs. Iím not obese but Iím not within my BMI range. I exercise everyday but still no weight loss. However, there is no weight gain either. Do you think acupuncture would be a good move for me to help boost the weight loss process?

A: Yes, acupuncture is very beneficial in the treatment of weight loss. Clinically, the universally accepted measure of obesity and overweight is by Body Mass Index (BMI) which is your weight in kg divided by the square of your height in meters. In 1997, the World Health Organization (WHO) made the following classifications:

if your BMI 25, you are overweight
if your BMI 30, you are mildly obese
if your BMI > 40, you are morbidly obese.

Research has shown that acupuncture has an effect on the function of the nervous system, endocrine system, digestion and energy metabolism. All of which can help to control the sensation of fullness, to suppress appetite to avoid binge eating and excessive snacking and to reduce Anxiety.

For weight control, auricular (ear) acupuncture is a very common and effective therapy especially when combined with regular body acupuncture. The auricular acupoints have more emphasis on the neurological function of the body associated with appetite and digestion. For example, auricular acupuncture stimulates the auricular branch of the vagal nerve, which functions to:

1) increase the tone in the smooth muscles of the stomach which promotes the sensation of fullness;
2) raise serotonin levels which suppresses appetite and over-consumption of food.

The body acupoints are chosen based on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) differentiation. From the TCM perspective, the main organ systems involved in the etiology of overweight/obesity are spleen and stomach. The spleen controls the muscles and functions to transform and transport food and water. The function of the stomach is to receive and breakdown food. When there is a disharmony or imbalance in these organ systems, it will impede on the function of the spleen and stomach from proper digestion and metabolism and even cause excessive hunger. The etiology of overweight/obesity in TCM is divided into 2 different patterns:

1) Excess Pattern (phlegm-dampness or phlegm-heat);
2) Deficiency Pattern (Spleen/Stomach Qi Deficiency or Primary Qi Deficiency).

Each of these patterns manifest with very different signs and symptoms which is differentiated by the practitioner by taking into consideration your age, diet, emotions, digestion, lifestyle, family medical history and accompanying signs and symptoms. Once a syndrome is determined, the practitioner will select a treatment plan appropriate for the individual. One course of treatment may take about 2 months of 2-3 sessions per week, in conjunction with a regular regimen of exercise and a healthy diet to reach your ideal BMI range.

Ellice Yang

Q: I am a 26yr old who was diagnosed with premature ovarian failure 10 years ago-cause unknown (although I have tested positive for thyroid antibodies and the levels were high). I have been given no hope form the doctors. My only option is a donor egg and my fiancť is against this. I am so desperate to have a baby. The last doctor I went to said my ovaries were dead and I can never have a baby. My FSH is 70. I am so desperate. I will try anything to lower my FSH.

A:  We feel your agony. From our experience with premature ovarian failure, some women do respond well to Chinese herbs and acupuncture in lowering their FSH. In cases of patients with a high FSH, it may take months of herbal and acupuncture treatments to notice any changes. Please attempt to find a practitioner of Chinese medicine. A TCM practitioner needs to do a proper diagnosis before he/she can select the herbs that may help improve your condition. As long as they are practicing traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), I think they will be able to help your condition. Everyone is unique and we do hope you will respond well to the Chinese herbal treatments and acupuncture.
--- From the Tao of Wellness staff

About our Doctors

Ellice Yang is a licensed acupuncturist in Toronto, ON. She graduated from the University of Toronto with an Honours Bachelor of Science degree in Human Biology. She pursued her interest in Traditional Chinese Medicine at The Michener Institute for Applied Health Sciences and completed her four-year degree program in Acupuncture.

Ellice's clinical experience includes the Wasser Pain Management Centre at the Mount Sinai Hospital, St. John's Rehabilitation Hospital and The Toronto Centre for Acupuncture which specializes in pain management, burn and trauma rehabilitation. Ellice is currently practicing Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine with her two colleagues, Jasmine Sufi and Fay-Meling von Moltke Pao in a private practice at the Yonge Eglinton Medical Centre located at:

2401 Yonge St.
Suite #214
Toronto, ON M4P 3H1
(416) 486-5222

This Month's Articles

June, 2005
Volume 3, Number 6

Pregnancy Care With Chinese Medicine

Avoiding Environmental Toxins

Understanding Chinese Herbs

Recent Research

Ask The Doctor


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