Eu Yan Sang – Weight Management Program Post 7

Weight Loss — A Natural Approach

5 TCM tips for weight loss

PHOTOGRAPH: Marilyn Barbone,

The Western approach to weight management focuses largely on balancing the number of calories you consume with how many you burn. Yet, some women find it difficult to lose weight even when they reduce the amount of calories they take in every day.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) provides an alternative, more holistic understanding of obesity that could explain why you aren’t shedding the extra kilos. TCM physician Lin Jia Yi of Eu Yan Sang TCM Clinic at Harbourfront and Eu Yan Sang TCM Wellness Clinic at Dhoby Ghaut shares how to lose weight with TCM.

Why fat accumulates in the body
Obesity is a symptom of an underlying bodily dysfunction. Jia Yi explains: “The build-up of fat is linked to overall bodily disharmony arising from disruptions in the natural flow of the body’s energies, known as qi, the vital energy or life force fundamental to our body’s processes and wellbeing.” 

Weight gain is usually due to qi deficiency in the spleen and stomach systems. This slows down the metabolism of fat and water, leading to water retention and weight gain – it’s difficult to lose weight even with diet and exercise. You may also suffer from other problems such as fatigue and digestive issues. 

TCM physicians can diagnose the root cause of your qi deficiency and prescribe a customised treatment plan to rebalance the body, ranging from acupuncture, cupping, TCM herbal prescriptions to lifestyle changes. Jia Yi has a few recommendations to help you reach your weight loss goals.

1 Improve your digestion and break down fat
Eat hawthorn berries (shanzha) to stimulate the secretion of digestive fluids and break down fatty substances. Soak eight to 10 hawthorn berries in 400-500ml of hot water and drink it half an hour after meals. This tea is meant to aid digestion, so don’t drink it on an empty stomach. Pregnant woman and people with gastric problems should avoid drinking it.

Read more: RECIPE: Make easy omu rice balls in just 15 minutes

2 Promote bowel movement to get rid of metabolic waste
Regular bowel movements can prevent stagnation and weight problems. Chinese herbs such as cassia seeds (juemingzi) can relax the bowels and ease constipation. To prepare, soak 10g of cassia seeds in 500ml of hot water for five minutes, You can add 6g of hawthorn berries, 6g of dried tangerine peel (chenpi) and two slices of licorice root (gancao) into the tea as well.

3 Get rid of fluid retention in the body 
Feeling bloated, experiencing puffiness and gaining weight can sometimes be caused by fluid retention in the body. One way to get rid of excessive water or dampness is to take herbs that induce urination, such as coix barley (yiyiren) and rice beans (chixiaodou). To prepare, soak 100g of coix barley and 100g of rice beans for two to three hours before bringing it to the boil in a pot of water. Add rock sugar to taste.

Warming up the body helps to resolve water retention and dampness. Herbs with warm or heat energy and a pungent taste can warm the body, increase perspiration and induce urination. These include cinnamon bark (rougui), ginger (jiang), areca peel (dafupi) and unripe orange fruit (zhishi). Add these to your meals as garnishes. 

4 Improve the spleen function to boost metabolism
The spleen is responsible for transforming and transporting nutrients and body fluids throughout the body. Avoid eating excessive sweet, greasy, raw and chilled foods, and drinking chilled beverages. Too much cold and raw food affects your spleen and can contribute to the stagnation of bodily fluids and create more phlegm. Sweet and greasy foods create excessive phlegm and “heat” in the body.

Read more: 10 amazing benefits of argan oil for soft skin and smooth hair

Some Chinese herbs such as codonopsis root (dangshen), licorice root (gancao) and poria (fuling) can boost spleen function and prevent excessive body fluids and metabolic waste from accumulating. Consult a registered TCM physician for accurate diagnosis and treatment with the appropriate herbal prescription.

5 Go for acupuncture 
Acupuncture can combat imbalances that cause weight problems. Five acupoints located in and on the ear have direct links to the organ networks in TCM that are associated with obesity, particularly the spleen and stomach.

Needles are applied to selected acupuncture points to promote digestion, raise the metabolic rate, control the appetite and invigorate the spleen. 

Healthy weight loss with Eu Yan Sang!

One of the greatest woes of getting old(er) is the drop in metabolism.

Gone are those days that I can eat 6 full meals a day and snack non-stop without exercising and not worry about the extra kilos.

Oh well :(

TCM can be a good option if you’re looking at losing weight healthily and effectively.

Eu Yan Sang’s TCM approach mainly uses acupuncture (which increases our metabolic rate!), coupled with prescribed herbal medication, cupping and ear acupressure.

Personally, I don’t believe in fad diets or starvation for weight loss because once you stop (you cannot possibly be fasting forever right?), the weight just piles back on.

Your weight loss journey should be a marathon and not a sprint.

It is about adopting a holistic healthy approach with small but effective lifestyle changes that Eu Yan Sang actively promotes.

Their proprietary Weight Management Program also has a stabilisation period that helps prevent weight rebound!

Interested to find out more about Eu Yan Sang’s TCM Weight Management Program?

Sign up for this FREE WORKSHOP happening on 05 May 2015 at the Eu Yan Sang Premier TCM Centre @ Paragon by filing up this form here.

There will also be a token of appreciation for all successful attendees.

See you there!

This post is brought to you by Eu Yan Sang TCM Wellness Clinics.

A Hong Kong Hospital Authority-commissioned study[1] shows that traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is as effective and can even alleviate the side-effects of mainstream weight-loss medications. A study in 2012 conducted by the Chinese University of Hong Kong[2] used herbal treatments and acupressure to mitigate the prevalence of type-2 diabetes, frequently associated with obesity. The result of this study were “encouraging,” declares Professor Juliana Chan, the lead researcher. After four months, subjects using herbs and acupressure lost 5.8kg and 4.1kg respectively.


  • Drink some water before a meal to quell your hunger pangs
  • Go dutch — share a meal with a dining partner, especially that sweet dessert
  • Use a smaller plate to trick your mind into thinking you’re eating as much as before
  • Occupy yourself with activities that don’t revolve around food


TCM believes that fat tissue is caused by phlegm and dampness. The spleen is the root of all phlegm production, and it is where phlegm transforms into body fluids. Consuming too much sweet foods or getting too little exercise may damage the spleen, causing metabolic wastes to gather and transform into dampness. Only when balance is restored can you metabolise process food properly, and thus shed excess weight.

“In TCM, when there is a deficiency of qi, blood, yin, yang, or blockage in the specific meridians, qi and blood circulation is hampered, and this leads to accumulation of qi-blood stasis, phlegm-dampness, or heat-dampness, which serves as underlying causes for fat deposited at specific locations,” explains Physician Lin Xiao Yan from Eu Yan Sang, which has been providing TCM products and services in Asia for more than a century.

Once your body constitution has been assessed and the cause of your obesity is determined, a course of treatment using acupuncture and herbal remedies can be prescribed [see sidebar].


Cause of Obesity Acupoints Herbs
dampness accumulation Shui Fen, Shui Dao, Qi Hai Astragalus Root, Black Atractylodes Rhizome, Poria
heat dampness Qu Chi, Shang Ju Xu, Nei Ting Job’s Tears Seed, Water Plantain Rhizome,Folium Nelumbinis
qi-blood stagnation Zhi Gou, He Gu, Tai Chong Nut Grass Rhizome, Tangerine Peel, Hawthorn Fruit
yang deficiency Qi Hai, Guan Yuan, Shen Shu Cinnamon Twig, Fresh Ginger Rhizome, Dodder Seed


Fatty Body Part

Acupoints to Stimulate


Tian Shu, Da Heng, Xia Wan, etc


Zhi Bian, Huan Tiao, Cheng Fu, etc


Nao Hui, Xiao Luo, Jian Zhen, etc


Most men have fats deposited mainly at the belly and the waist; women often store them at the abdomen, pelvis and thighs, likely for gestation and lactation purposes. However, TCM treats the body as a whole. “TCM adopts syndrome differentiation in disease diagnosis, thus treatment rendered for each individual is unique and customised,” says Physician Lin. “Different herbal prescriptions and acupoints are applied to suit each individual’s body constitution. We believe that each part of the body is closely related and, by regulating the body as a whole, we can achieve weight reduction at localised areas.”

As certain acupoints correspond to certain parts of the body, it is possible for a physician to take a more targeted approach [see sidebar]. “For instance,” reveals Physician Lin, “big thighs are closely associated to the gallbladder meridian blockage, flabby arms are attributed to dysfunction of the small intestine meridians, while blockage of the bladder meridian is correlated to fats deposited at the back and hip areas.” Administering acupuncture on acupoints in the ears associated with the spleen and stomach have also given good results.

Another TCM method that can target problematic areas such as the abdomen and thighs is cupping. This treatment, used by some athletes at the Rio Olympics, involves creating a vacuum in cups that have been placed on the skin. The idea is to stimulate the flow of blood and qi.

Coupled with a healthy diet and regular exercise, these TCM approaches can complement conventional treatments and even reduce reliance on anti-obesity drugs, which can induce high blood pressure or emotional problems.

Go back to Part 1 to understand what diseases you’d be susceptible to if you were obese.





In tradition Chinese medicine (TCM), there are five types of body constitution associated with obesity. For each type, this article lists the symptoms and the recommended foods that can help to reduce weight and burn fat (please consult a TCM physician for a proper diagnosis first before embarking on any health regimen).

1. Dampness stagnation due to spleen deficiency


  • swelling
  • fatigue
  • lack of strength
  • reduced urine volume
  • poor appetite
  • bloated stomach
  • breathlessness after minor exertion
  • pale tongue with greasy coating
  • thin and weak pulse

Suggested foods:

  • pearl barley
  • gorgon fruit
  • Chinese yam
  • Hyacinth beans
  • adzuki beans
  • fungus

2. Dampness and heat in stomach and spleen


  • nausea
  • limbs feel heavy
  • bad breath
  • constant thirst that can’t be quenched
  • constipation or diarrhoea
  • reddish tongue with thin, yellowish coating
  • taut and rapid pulse

Suggested foods:

  • cucumber
  • green beans
  • bean curd
  • celery
  • water chestnut
  • daylily
  • bitter gourd
  • winter melon
  • asparagus
  • lettuce

3. Deficiency of yin with endogenous heat


  • rapid digestion
  • constant thirst that can’t be quenched
  • yellowish-red urine
  • constipation
  • reddish tongue
  • weak and rapid pulse
  • night sweats
  • fatigue (in the elderly)

Suggested foods:

  • bitter gourd
  • kelp
  • seaweed
  • spinach
  • pumpkin
  • white fungus
  • sealwort
  • fragrant Solomon seal rhizome
  • Chinese yam

4. Stagnation of liver qi


  • feeling of fullness in the chest and below the ribcage
  • bloated feeling in the upper abdomen
  • irregular menstrual cycles (in women)
  • insomnia
  • depression or easily irritated
  • constipation
  • reddish or pale tongue with white, greasy coating
  • weak pulse

Suggested foods:

  • lime
  • bamboo shoot
  • lotus root
  • lily bulb
  • carrot
  • hawthorn
  • rose

5. Deficiency of yang in the spleen and stomach


  • obesity
  • feeling of coldness in stomach and limbs
  • fatigue and lack of strength
  • soreness and weakness in the waist and knees
  • swelling of the face
  • bloated stomach and diarrhoea
  • pale tongue with white, greasy coating
  • thin and weak pulse

Suggested foods:

  • Chinese yam
  • pearl barley
  • leeks
  • pine seeds
  • walnuts
  • desert broomrape
  • mutton

This is an adaptation of an article, “Chewing the Fat”, which first appeared in Issue 11 of Natura magazine

Acupuncture Slimming

The effects of acupuncture slimming are visible with minimal adverse outcomes. It helps to promote healthy digestion. It suppresses appetite, which reduces the amount of energy that we take in. At the same time, acupuncture has an effect on stimulating the metabolism.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has recognised acupuncture as an effective treatment for various health conditions.

Acupuncture slimming helps to promote healthy digestion. It suppresses the appetite, and stimulates metabolism, helping to maximise the absorption of nutrients into the body. The combined effect is healthy weight loss with minimal side effects.

Chinese Herbal Medication

Based on the individual’s unique condition and body constitution, our physician may prescribe customized Chinese herbal medication. This medication consists of several herbs combined together to enhance the herbs’ effectiveness and minimizes possible side effects.

At the same time, TCM weight management can also relieve other health problems caused by weight gain such as fatigue, heat intolerance, perspirations, heart palpitations, shortness of breath and constipation.

In the process of TCM weight management, body functions are also regulated and returned to their balanced, healthy state. So a healthier weight not only means being in shape, it also means a healthier you!

To enquire on our TCM Weight Management services, please call 1800 2251887.

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