Dr Lu Zhang is a specialist doctor in the field of traditional Chinese medicine.
He is the resident consultant at The St Regis Mardavall Mallorca Resort, where he leads the Centre for TCM at the hotels awardwinning Arbella Spa.
In this interview, he discusses the potential benefits of traditional Chinese medicine treatments in weightloss and stress relief.
Guests are able to enjoy a TCM treatment and are then faced with the sumptuous food in the resort’s Michelin-starred restaurant. Do you recommend using nutrition to improve treatment results?Traditional Chinese medicine is intimately connected with food of all kinds, but balance is imperative.
For example, vinegar cleans the liver, so the local citrus fruits you will find in Mallorca, like oranges and lemons, are very healthy.
Salt in moderation helps the liver. Sweetness supports the pancreas function, while spicy foods stimulate the lymph system.
However, everything should always be in moderation. Too many spices are bad for people with asthma, and affect the bronchia.
Too many sweet ingredients in a humid and hot climate create too much work for the pancreas.
Nutrition should also be appropriate to the season.
For example, the combination of lamb and ginger is a common ingredient in Chinese meals in winter, as it provides the body with a tonic.
In spring, the liver should be cleaned, for example with citrus acid.
In summer food should be light, to not place too many demands on the body in the heat.
In general, the superb kitchen at The St. Regis Mardavall Mallorca does follow these guidelines.
„ Balance is imperative...everything should always be eaten in moderation.
Dr Lu Zhang
Weightloss programs are popular among guests - how can this be achieved using the priniciples of traditional Chinese medicine?Traditional Chinese medicine does not tackle the symptoms, but rather the root causes of obesity.
In the first conversation, I try to determine the reasons behind “high fire in the stomach”, as we call the fact of eating too much in Chinese.
A good example is stress and nervousness, which in many people results in an increased feeling of being hungry.
Weight loss via TCM always needs to be in combination with some exercise, in common with every other diet.
Also, while you may lose 5 kilos within a week of staying in Mallorca, it’s no good if you lose weight on holiday but your general lifestyle and nutrition habits remain unchanged.
In Egypt, I did some very successful acupuncture treatments. The typical patient there was quite obese, and with needles I was able to stimulate the metabolism.
Together with a change of life style, the patients did lose weight at a higher pace.
What are the benefits of TCM versus more modern approaches?TCM looks at the interior and the exterior age of the patient, for example the face, the exterior, reflects the interior organs.
I can tell from someones face which organs might be aged more than others, and help those with herbal teas, and other treatments.
The benefit basically is a more holistic approach. While creams and cosmetic treatments or surgery target the exterior beauty and the symptoms of aging, I look at the interior, the underlying reasons for aging and treat those.
The effects are slower, but longer lasting and more holistic in nature. Also, the environment affects the aging process.
People experience wind, cold, fire/summer, dryness, humidity at different times during the year. The body needs to experience all of them but in the correct levels. Extremes are not good.