If you are struggling to lose weight and maintain this weight loss, regular acupuncture treatments – in conjunction with dietary and lifestyle changes – may be able to help. According to a recent study published in Acupuncture in Medicine, continuous stimulation of five acupuncture points may aid in the reduction of abdominal fat.
Despite the study’s small size, researchers found a significant difference between individuals receiving five-point acupuncture therapy, those with one-point acupuncture therapy, and those in the placebo treatment group. After just four weeks, the five-point treatment group showed a 6.1% reduction in BMI and the one-point group showed a 5.7% reduction, while the placebo treatment group had no reduction in BMI. The study’s authors concluded that not only does acupuncture support abdominal fat weight loss, but that the five-point approach may be even more efficient for tackling weight loss.
While the exact science behind acupuncture and weight loss is not fully understood, researchers believe that acupuncture treatments help to balance hormone levels and suppress food cravings. Many points along the ear acupuncture system are linked to the mouth, stomach, adrenal gland, thyroid, spleen, kidney and endocrine system. Stimulating these points may benefit appetite control, reduce water retention, balance sugar, and speed the metabolism.
When patients feel the urge to eat between regular mealtimes, they apply mild pressure to the acupressure points on the ear. This stimulates a mild endorphin release that relaxes the patient and helps them regain the willpower to avoid food temptations.
The number of acupuncture treatments necessary for weight loss depends on a patient’s weight loss goals, including speed at which they wish to lose weight and the final goal weight. For example, if a patient wishes to lose between five and 10 pounds, then an acupuncturist may recommend twice-weekly treatments until the patient reaches his or her goal week. After this goal weight is achieved, monthly follow-up treatments can help maintain weight loss.
If you are considering acupuncture to assist with weight loss, it is important to keep in mind that acupuncture is an adjunct therapy that will make it easier to control food cravings and aid the digestive process. Acupuncture is not, however, a weight loss panacea. In order to lose weight, you will still need to adopt a healthy lifestyle that includes whole foods, reduced caloric intake and increased physical exercise. Some wellness centers may offer natural weight loss programs that integrate acupuncture with nutritional counseling and other holistic therapies.
Yeo, Sujung Yeo; Kim, Kang Sik; Lim, Sabina. "Randomised clinical trial of five ear acupuncture points for the treatment of overweight people." Acupuncture in Medicine. 16 December 2013.