Chinese Medicine For Weight Loss | 5 Ways To Lose Weight


If you’ve gained a few kilos recently, and are tired of following unsustainable diets, you may be thinking of trying Chinese medicine for weight loss. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is one of the world’s oldest medical systems, having begun around 2,200 years ago. This ancient art includes techniques that have proven to help with weight loss, including acupuncture, Tai Chi, and key diet changes.

In this article, we explore the various TCM techniques that can help you to lose weight, including specific advice on what to do.

Chinese medicine for weight loss

In TCM, weight gain is caused by a Qi deficiency in the spleen, which leads to too much moisture being trapped inside the body, known as “dampness.” When this happens, your digestive system is weakened, which makes it harder for your body to absorb and transport food. This Qi deficiency can be created for a variety of reasons, including a poor diet, irregular eating, overexertion, and emotional imbalances like anxiety, which has been shown to affect how you metabolise your food and lead to poor nutrient absorption. As a result, you may feel hungrier and reach for bad foods with sugar and lots of salt—a no-no in both contemporary nutrition and TCM. A Qi deficiency in the spleen can result in the following signs and symptoms:

Weight gain may also be caused by imbalances in the liver, kidneys, thyroid gland, and endocrine system, which TCM can restore to harmony, and encourage weight loss. It achieves this with the following:

Acupuncture helps with weight loss by boosting your metabolism, reducing your appetite, lowering your stress, and reducing food cravings. One particularly popular method for weight loss is auricular acupuncture (also known as ear stapling), which targets points of the ear that control food cravings. This also harmonises the flow of energy in the stomach and intestines, which improves digestion and aids weight loss.

When completing acupuncture for weight loss, a practitioner may also target the following areas:

To lose between 5 to 7 kilos with acupuncture, a treatment plan of three times a week for six to eight weeks is common.

Tai Chi

Tai Chi is another effective Chinese medicine technique that has shown to promote weight loss. A study in May 2021 showed that people who did Tai Chi for three months reduced their belly fat by 1.69 inches after six months1. This ancient exercise is packed with other benefits too, including:

Herbal remedies

Some Chinese herbal remedies are thought to help with weight loss, including ginseng, He Ye (lotus leaf), Fu Ling, and Huang Qi. Of course, there’s plenty of non-Chinese herbs that have been shown to fight food cravings and boost fat burning, including fenugreek, ginger, oregano, cinnamon, and cumin.

There are also some herbal remedies that help you get a better night’s sleep, which can lead to weight loss. Chrysanthemum tea is great for calming your nerves and helping you to rest, and jujube seeds calm your mind and improve your blood circulation.

Some herbal remedies have also been shown to be highly effective against insomnia, which can have a drastic impact on your weight3.


As with Tai Chi, Chinese massage is great for relieving stress and promoting relaxation, which helps you to lose weight in two ways: more restful sleep, and reduced cortisol (the stress hormone) in your system, which increase your cravings for sweet, fatty, and salty foods.

One practitioner—Zhao Jizhong—claims that patients can lose between 3 to 5 kilos after a 12-massage course, as a result of reduced stress, suppressed hunger, and reduced insulin5.

Chinese medicine weight loss diet

Diet is obviously another huge factor in weight loss, and for TCM, it’s not just about eating healthy foods, but also keeping your spleen and stomach’s Qi properly balanced. Sweet flavours are related to these crucial areas of your body, and when your Qi is imbalanced, you’ll naturally crave them, which can quickly lead to weight gain.

TCM practitioners recommend staying away from sweet, salty, and fatty foods (aligned with modern nutritional advice), and trying to eat more bitter, sour, and pungent foods, to promote your digestive system. These are some recommended foods to eat to tackle a Qi deficiency in your system, and promote weight loss:

And these are some foods that you should consider avoiding:

You may also want to try to consume more spicy herb-infused drinks, such as those with ginger, fennel, or cinnamon. This is another technique for improving your digestion.

When it comes to the process of eating itself, TCM practitioners recommend eating slowly and mindfully, paying attention to the flavours of the food and the people you’re eating with, rather than watching TV or staring at your phone. This not only makes eating more enjoyable but also helps you to lose weight because your stomach and brain have more time to register being full. A study in 2017 showed that people who eat their food slowly tend to weigh less and that slowly their eating speed helped them to lose weight, so this is great advice6.

It’s always best to consume your heaviest, protein-rich meals before midday when your digestive system is at its strongest. Conversely, Chinese medicine practitioners recommend avoiding food between 7 pm and 11 pm, when your digestive system is at its weakest.

Chinese medicine weight loss pills

There’s a number of Chinese medicine weight loss pills that may help you to lose weight, including:

Chinese medicine menopause weight gain

The major hormonal changes that occur with menopause make you more likely to gain weight around your stomach, hips, and thighs, which some women struggle with. Thankfully, many of the Chinese medicine techniques discussed can help with this issue, including:


  1. Emily Shiffer, 2021, Tai Chi Beginner Exercises: How to Use Tai Chi for Weight Loss, Parade
  2. Tai chi: A gentle way to fight stress, Mayo Clinic
  3. Hongshi Zhang, MS, Peng Liu, MS, Xingquan Wu, MD, Yan Zhang, MS, and Deyu Cong, BSb, 2019, Effectiveness of Chinese herbal medicine for patients with primary insomnia, Medicine Baltimore
  4. Rachael Link, 2018, 13 Herbs That Can Help You Lose Weight, Healthline
  5. Jimmy Jian, Ben Blanchard, 2009, Chinese embrace massage to knead away the pounds, Reuters
  6. Yumi Hurst, Haruhisa Fukuda, Effects of changes in eating speed on obesity in patients with diabetes: a secondary analysis of longitudinal health check-up data, BMJ Open
  7. Kamma Sundgaard Lund, Volkert Siersma, John Brodersen, Frans Boch Waldorff, Efficacy of a standardised acupuncture approach for women with bothersome menopausal symptoms: a pragmatic randomised study in primary care (the ACOM study), BMJ Open