What is Obesity?

Obesity is a medical disorder that excess body fat has accumulated to the extent which may give rise to adverse effects on health. Not only would obesity affect the patients' physical appearance, but it would lead to reduced life expectancy or increased health problems as well. Obesity, this very common clinical condition, if left untreated or omitted, would lead to various diseases, particularly cardiovascular diseases, diabetes mellitus type 2, obstructive sleep apnea, certain types of cancer, and osteoarthritis.

In order to describe and diagnose obesity more accurately and precisely, the World Health Organization (WHO) has established a numerical and scientific conception—body mass index (BMI). BMI is calculated by dividing the subject's mass by the square of his or her height (BMI=kilograms/meters^2). According to this definition, a person will be visualized as overweight (pre-obese) if his or her BMI is between 25 and 30 kg/m, and as obese when it is greater than 30 kg/m. BMI is closely associated with body fat [2].

What causes obesity?

The specific etiology of obesity is not yet clear, and several factors should be thought over. Generally considered and accepted, obesity is mainly thought to be caused by excessive energy intake, insufficient physical exercise, and genetic susceptibility [3]. Some other factors including endocrine disorders, medications or psychiatric illness also contribute to the formation and development of obesity.

What's the typical way to treat obesity?

In western medicine, several methods have been applied to treat obesity, such as dieting, physical exercise, drugs or even operation. Usually, diet and exercise programs are combined to lose weight. Though, sometimes works well over short terms, it is upset and difficult to maintain the weight loss by taking excessive exercise as well as keeping a lower food energy diet permanently. This success rates with life-style changes are low ranging from 2—20%. Medication is another frequently used method that needs to be taken for a very long term or even the whole life of the patient. Despite of this, long time use of these drugs, orlistat for example, would definitely increase the rates of gastrointestinal side effects. Taking the above facts into consideration, many obese patients turn to bariatric surgery. However, the high cost and the risk of complications finally turn them back.

These fails, coupled with the early facts showing that obesity could lead to some serious disease and reduced life expectation, let obese patients and medical personnel to seek a more nature, safe, simple but effective treatment.

Why acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine are effective in treating obesity?

Fortunately, the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and acupuncture enlighten the path of many suffering patients. The theory and efficiency of acupuncture have embodied itself in some medical books of TCM and have been proved by many modern clinic experiments.

The basic theory and fundamental mechanism of acupuncture can be illuminated as the following several aspects.

Firstly, acupuncture treatment is good at regulate the metabolism. As is known to all, obesity is the results of excessive accumulation of body fat, and this metabolic disorder relates to the block of the meridians and collaterals which, in turn, leads to the imbalance of qi and blood. Acupuncture, a treatment which adjusts qi and blood by eliminating the blocks and stimulating the energy of the meridians and collaterals, accelerates the metabolic progress of body fat and thus achieves the goal of losing weight.

Secondly, acupuncture treatment can correct the exceeding appetite. After taking an acupuncture treatment each time, you'll get a strong sense of fullness. The sense of fullness is mainly gained by regulating the nervous system, inhibiting the secretion of gastric acid and decelerating the gastric emptying.

Thirdly, acupuncture treatment helps patients cope with endocrine disorders. Many obese patients have gotten hormone disorders, such as the imbalance of insulin, growth hormone, adrenal cortical hormone, and leptin [6].For these patients, obesity is not so closely associated with excessive energy intake, which is why some patients still gain weight while not take much food every day. Based on this fact, acupuncture is a unique and primary treatment for it regulates and maintains the endocrine conditions.

Considering the above three aspects, acupuncture can effectively curb and harness obesity. Indeed, in some clinic observations and explorations [7],it has cured a large percentage of patients. Besides, characterized by safe, simple and convenient, acupuncture is universally supported and favored throughout the world because it is both effective and free from adverse effects.

In recent years, doctors also use ear acupuncture to treat obesity because it is much more convenient. The stimulation on the ear acupuncture points may lead to a change in the hunger center, and may affect the nutritional state in order to control the appetite, reduce the food absorption and reduce fat.

In brief, by working with your acupuncturists and carrying out a regular treatment, you'll soon regain a slender figure, and most importantly, restore and maintain your health and live a happy life. Remember, acupuncture is your first choice to treat your obesity.

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