• Dr. Ann-Marie Regina, ND

Cupping to Reduce Abdominal Weight Gain

Updated: Mar 28, 2020

Are you finding it challenging to lose that pesky abdominal weight? Do you feel like you've tried everything from changing your diet to exercising but things just feel stuck? Difficulty losing weight in the abdominal region can be a symptom of stagnation. Stagnation or congestion is a term used in Traditional Chinese Medicine when things are "stuck." Stagnation impedes movement and flow of energy, blood, metabolism, bowels, elimination and other digestive functions. Cupping is an effective tool to increase movement and flow. It has the ability to stimulate a shift in the body allowing it to dissipate the stagnation that is proving abdominal weight loss difficult.

Symptoms of Stagnation

The following can aggravate or be caused by stagnation:

Abdominal weight gain

Difficulty losing weight


Diabetes & Insulin Resistance

Persistent Gallstones

Liver Congestion

Acid Reflux

Gas & Bloating


Abdominal Pain 

Menstrual Cramps

Cupping to Reduce Abdominal Weight Gain

Cupping is a treatment used in Traditional Chinese Medicine and other cultures that works by using suction on the skin to promote healing and detoxification. The suction functions to draw stagnated or congested blood, lymph, muscles or fascia to the surface to open up space below the tissue. Once the blockage is removed, adequate blood flow and drainage can occur which allows for proper circulation, delivery of nutrients and energy to corresponding organs. In this case, as the digestive system is experiencing the blockage, cupping allows for the digestive organs to become reinvigorated. Blockages and lack of movement in the digestive system result in feelings of fullness, constipation, slowed metabolism, build up of hormones and metabolites. All of which can result in weight gain.For best results, regular treatments can help restore health and prevent conditions from returning. Cupping is very safe, relaxing and most people experience benefits in the first treatment. Some individuals may experience temporary cupping marks but are generally painless. Cupping marks on the abdomen are a sign of stagnation and indicate that is an area of concern. After regular treatments, the marks should begin to fade quicker and become less prominent in colour. This indicates the treatment is working, along with reduction in symptoms and weight loss.

Other Techniques to Reduce Stagnation in the Abdomen

Cupping is an effective, supportive treatment for abdominal weight gain, but it is also important to address the foundations of health in order to experience all the benefits of the treatment.

1. Breathing & Stress. Stress can result in shortness of breath acutely and chronically. When you are born, your breathing is naturally deep. The belly and diaphragm expand down and out, while the chest moves minimally. Unfortunately as you age and experience life's challenges, the tendency to belly breathe is replaced with short chest breathing. This results in stagnation in the abdomen as there is a lack of constant movement. Further, stress can impact digestion due to the direct connection between emotions and your digestive tract. Stress can trigger abdominal pain, indigestion, gas & bloating, diarrhea & constipation and weight gain. Training your body to belly breathe not just when you are stressed, but on a regular basis, will help to increase flow and decrease tension and stagnation.

2. Posture. Sitting hunched over at a desk during the day not only affects the muscles in your back, it can also impact your digestion. Ever notice lines on your abdomen after sitting for long periods of time? Hunching over compresses the abdomen resulting in stagnation. To reduce this physical cause of stagnation, take time to stretch the abdomen regularly during the day and keep a straight spine while working.

3. Movement. Lack of movement will also contribute to stagnation. Exercise physically pumps blood, energy and lymph. It increases the metabolism, helps to reduce weight by decreasing blood sugar and increase energy usage in the body. When there is a lack of engagement in movement, the body slows too. Taking time to regularly exercise, even if it's just a walk can help to reduce abdominal weight and stagnation.

4. Quality Foods. Eating a whole foods diet is important for weight loss and maintenance of overall health. Research shows that engaging in a low fat diet or a low carb diet will both result in weight loss if the diet is whole foods based. Processed foods result in inflammation which cause weight gain along with a myriad of other symptoms.

5. Remove Damp Forming Foods. Dairy, wheat, sugar and sweet fruits such as banana's are examples of damp forming foods. Dampness causes stagnation in the digestive system as they are difficult to digest and slow down digestion. These foods are also commonly food sensitivities for many people and therefore can trigger the immune system resulting in inflammation in the gut. This inflammation can also contribute to weight gain.When to Seek Support and Treatment Multiple factors are at play when it comes to weight loss. In order to fully determine the underlying causes of your symptoms, it is important to seek support from your naturopathic doctor. Weight loss can be challenging and discouraging at times, but with the right tools and treatment plan individualized to you, success is achievable. Dr. Ann-Marie Regina, ND focuses on optimizing health through food, digestion, movement, sleep and stress management at a pace that works with your lifestyle.If you are interested in learning more about how cupping and the foundations of health can support your weight loss journey, book a complimentary 15 minute "meet and greet."

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