Korean Medicine with Self-monitoring for Weight Control and Factors Associated with Weight Loss: a Retrospective Observational Study

Article information

J Korean Med. 2022;43(1):87-98
Publication date (electronic) : 2022 March 1
doi : https://doi.org/10.13048/jkm.22008
1Department of Clinical Korean Medicine, Graduate School, Kyung Hee University
2Acro Korean Medicine Clinic
3Korean Medicine Clinical Trial Center, Korean Medicine Hospital, Kyung Hee University
Correspondence to Tae-Hun Kim, Korean Medicine Clinical Trial Center, Korean Medicine Hospital, Kyung Hee University, Tel: +82-2-958-9088, e-mail: rockandmineral@gmail.com
Received 2022 February 11; Revised 2022 February 18; Accepted 2022 February 18.



The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of weight loss in Korean Medicine (KM) obesity treatment combined with self-monitoring and to identify the relevant factors which are related to successful weight loss. In addition to this, adverse events reported by the patients were analyzed to assess the safety of KM treatments for obesity


This was a retrospective observational study that analyzed the medical records of the patients that participated in the 10-week of KM treatment. All patients took herbal medicine for weight loss and were instructed to reduce calorie intake and adhere to self-monitoring. Clinical data including body weight were collected for evaluating the effect of the treatments. Behavior factors affecting weight loss were collected. The correlation between each factor and weight loss was analyzed. Adverse events (AEs) were collected at each time to evaluate the safety of the intervention.


One hundred eighteen patients’ records were included in this study. The average weight loss was 7.64kg(74.59kg to 66.95kg). 94.9% of patients lost 5% or more of their initial weight. The degree of weight loss was identified to be related to self-assessment of diet control and self-assessment of appetite control. The average self-weighing frequency significantly increased(2.45 times/week before treatment and 4.70 times/weeks during treatment). Constipation, insomnia, and dizziness were found to be the most frequent AEs, and except for one case, most AEs were mild cases.


From this study, we found that KM obesity treatment combined with self-monitoring showed significant weight loss without serious AE.

Fig. 1

Flow diagram for the selection process of study cases

Baseline Characteristics

Changes in Body Weight and Body Mass Index

Adverse Events According to the System Organ Classes

Simple Correlation Analysis


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Article information Continued

Fig. 1

Flow diagram for the selection process of study cases

Table 1

Baseline Characteristics

Number (Female/Male) 118 (106/12)
Age (years) 38.01±10.22
Height (cm) 162.75±6.95
Weight (kg) 74.59±14.85
BMI (kg/m2) 28.02±4.32
PHQ-9 5.26±4.14
Sleeping time (hours) 6.78±1.03
Self-weighing frequency (times/week) 2.45±2.61
History of taking medications for weight loss (n)
 Herbal medicine only 39
 Chemical drug only 11
 Both 19
 Absence 49

Table 2

Changes in Body Weight and Body Mass Index

Baseline After 10 weeks Change t p
Weight (kg) 74.59±14.86 66.95±13.24 −7.64±3.16 26.241 <0.001*
BMI (kg/m2) 28.02±4.32 25.15±3.84 −2.87±1.11 28.117 <0.001*

Paired t-test was used to analyze the differences between baseline and endpoint measurements.

Abbreviations: BMI, body mass index (calculated the weight in kilograms divided by the square of the height in meters)

The values are presented means±standard deviation.



Table 3

Adverse Events According to the System Organ Classes

System-organ classes Symptom After 2 weeks After 6 weeks After 10 weeks

n (%) n (%) n (%)
Cardiac disorders Palpitation 15 (11.8) 6 (7.4) 5 (6.8)

Gastrointestinal disorders Constipation 31 (24.4) 31 (38.3) 27 (37.0)
Dry mouth 2 (1.6) 1 (1.2) 0 (0.0)
Dyspepsia 10 (7.9) 7 (8.6) 1 (1.4)
Vomiting 0 (0.0) 0 (0.0) 1 (1.4)

General disorders Fatigue 2 (1.6) 0 (0.0) 0 (0.0)

Musculoskeletal disorders Muscle cramp 0 (0.0) 1 (1.2) 1 (1.4)
Myalgia 0 (0.0) 0 (0.0) 1 (1.4)

Nervous system disorders Dizziness 21 (16.5) 10 (12.3) 9 (12.3)
Headache 11 (8.7) 6 (7.4) 6 (8.2)
Paresthesia 5 (3.9) 0 (0.0) 0 (0.0)
Tremor 3 (2.4) 1 (1.2) 1 (1.4)

Psychiatric disorders Agitation 1 (0.8) 0 (0.0) 0 (0.0)
Insomnia 24 (18.9) 18 (22.2) 18 (24.7)

Reproductive system disorders Irregular menstruation 0 (0.0) 0 (0.0) 1 (1.4)

Renal and urinary disorders Urinary tract pain 0 (0.0) 0 (0.0) 1 (1.4)

Skin and subcutaneous tissue Disorders Hyperhidrosis 1 (0.8) 0 (0.0) 1 (1.4)
Pruritus 1 (0.8) 0 (0.0) 0 (0.0)

Total 127 (100.0) 81 (100.0) 73 (100.0)

Table 4

Simple Correlation Analysis

Pearson correlation coefficient (r) p
Self-monitoring factors
 Self-weighing frequency 0.126 0.173
 Self-assessment of diet control 0.412 <0.001*
 Self-assessment of satiety 0.125 0.178
 Self-assessment of appetite control 0.207 0.025*

Other factors
 Dose of Ephedrae herba −0.151 0.104
 PHQ-9 0.142 0.124
 Sleeping time −0.082 0.377
 Gender 0.078 0.402
 Age −0.025 0.791

Percent weight change was used as a dependent variable and each score was used as an independent variable for simple correlation analysis.

Percent weight change means (baseline weight-endpoint weight) / (baseline weight) ×100(%).

Abbreviations: PHQ-9, Patient Health Questionnaire-9.