Does Acupuncture For Weight Loss Really Work?

Facts On Acupuncture For Weight LossHas obesity become a concern for you?

If so, it will be worth reading this article on how to use acupuncture for weight loss.

The traditional Chinese treatment method called acupuncture deals with readjusting and harnessing the hidden energy meridians of the body in order to achieve healing from within.[1]

It is all about restoring the natural balance of energy flow in the body.[2]

The allopathic treatments of the modern times do not have complete solution to many of the common ailments like chronic pains, high blood pressure, obesity, joint pains and few other common ailments.

But the acupuncture treatments do have solutions to all ailments arising out of energy flow imbalance in the body.

This eastern traditions therapy works on the basic principle of balancing energy flow in the body. In other words, pain and diseases are caused when the flow of energy in the body is destabilized or not in sync with the bodily system.[3]  

Just by inserting fine needles into the skin along strategic points in the body, it is possible to restore balanced flow of energy along the rivers of Qi (pronounced as ‘chee’) or life force.[4,5]

Like the other ailments, the obesity too happens when energy flow in the body is disturbed.

Now let us take a look at how weight loss is possible through acupuncture treatment.

How Does Acupuncture Weight Loss Work? 

There are very large numbers of weight loss products and diets being sold all over, but very few of them are effective in reducing body weight.

As many weight loss enthusiasts are dissatisfied with the weight loss supplements, these days more and more people are taking up alternative medicines like acupuncture for weight loss.

This weight loss treatment involves only the insertion of fine sterile needles at specific energy pathways of the body.[6]

The needles inserted into the specific energy pathways is expected to increase the release of endorphins hormones. This hormone makes the person feel relaxed and happy.[7]

Normally the relaxed and stress-free person tends to eat much less, and the happy mood of the person also promotes healthy metabolism.

One of the ways the acupuncture helps in shedding weight is by elevating a happy and relaxed mood in the patient.  

There are several proven studies that support the possibility of satisfactory weight loss with the help of increased release of endorphins hormones, especially with the acupuncture treatment for the achieving the same.[8,9]

There are also several methods of weight loss possibilities with acupuncture.

Stimulating and regulating the energy pathways related to hunger point, stomach point, shen-men point, etc., have a direct effect on metabolism and fat storage.Mehtod of Losing Weight With Acupuncture

Multiple Methods Of Acupuncture For Weight Loss

We just discussed the most popular method weight loss via acupuncture, i.e. weight loss through increased release of endorphins hormones.

Another method for weight loss with acupuncture is by restoring and improving the optimum energy flow into the hypothalamus gland in the brain.

The hypothalamus gland is responsible for a great many tasks, a task of major importance is hunger and appetite control.

The hypothalamus has an arcuate nucleus as a sensory device that detects the glucose and fat levels in the body with the help of the hormones leptin, insulin, peptide YY and ghrelin.[10]

The hypothalamus coordinates the metabolisms within the liver, intestine, kidneys and fat tissue based on the information gathered by the arcuate nucleus.[11,12]

The acupuncture treatment has the ability to influence the hormones associated with weight loss.

One of the reasons for weight gain, from the acupuncture treatment perspective, is the imbalanced energy flow in the body caused by the malfunctioning of spleen and liver.[13]

A knowledgeable acupuncture practitioner can rectify the malfunctioning of the liver and spleen by balancing the energy flows to these organs.

Weight gain arising out of the malfunctioning and disorders of other organs and glands like thyroid, spleen, kidney, adrenal glands, ovary glands, etc. can also be treated by balancing the specific flow of energy to each of them. 

On the whole, the acupuncture treatments can produce multiple effects on bodily functions like curbing appetite, boosting metabolism, quelling craving and hormone regulations to achieve weight loss.

This treatment can also improve the functioning of liver, hypothalamus, leptin hormone, insulin hormone that assist in the digestive and metabolic activities in the body.

Weight Loss With Auricular Acupuncture

weight loss with ear acupunctureEar stapling or auricular acupuncture is one of the most popular weight loss remedy practiced under acupuncture treatment.

There are a few energy centers on the ears that essentially control all types of craving; which include craving for food, alcoholic drinks, smoking and drug abuse.[14]

In fact, auricular acupuncture is also widely used for treating drug addicts and smokers to quit the abuse.

There are a many Qi acupuncture points on the ear which are directly related to the different functional areas of the body that is connected to weight gain or weight loss.[15]

The commonly used acupuncture points for weight loss on both the ears are as follows:

  • Mouth – for the impulsive eater who may also smoke a lot and talk a lot
  • Stomach – for the person who eats even after they’re full or who’s constantly nibbling
  • Hungry – for general appetite control
  • Lung – for food addicts, and people who love chocolate, sweets
  • Shen-men – a calming point, for the psychology overlay for anxiety, anger, frustration, insecurity
  • Endocrine – for water retention that’s responsible for some of the weight gain
  • Adrenal and Ovary – if weight gain is due to menopause or P.M.S.
  • Spleen – for sugar imbalances and hormonal disturbances
  • Kidney – for water retention, and nervous system and hormonal imbalances
  • Thyroid – for slow metabolism

Among these, the important 5 points related to common weight loss issues are the shen-men point, hunger point, endocrine point, stomach point and spleen point.

The acupuncture practitioner may choose 2 to 5 points for needle piercing depending on your specific obesity conditions.

The ear acupuncture combined with calories controlled diet and physical exercises are proved to be an excellent solution for fast weight loss.[16]

One weight loss study results published in Medical Acupuncture Journal showed that when the participants (10 obese women, 22 to 42 years of age) who underwent auricular acupuncture combined with 15 minutes of brisk walk and calories consumption below 2,000 daily were able to lose up to 10 pounds in 4 weeks. The other half of the participants (10 obese women, 22 to 42 years of age) who did not undergo the weekly ear acupuncture were able to lose only up to 3 pounds of weight in the same period.

The study result also reported a decrease in appetite experienced by those women underwent ear acupuncture. 

Ear acupuncture is an effective weight loss remedy that works great in combination with controlled diet and exercises.

The sterilized tiny needles are inserted into specific points on the ear, and this leads to the stimulation and release of neurochemicals and hormones that help in weight loss.  

The needle piercing also helps in decreasing the “heat” generated along these meridians.

At certain stages of the treatment, the needles pierced into the Qi points in the ear are covered with tape so that they can be left fixed on to the ear for a few days.

Instead of the tiny needles, some acupuncture practitioners like to use “ear seeds” that are to be worn by the patients. The patients only need to gently massage the “ear seeds” regularly for few minutes control any strong craving.

A complete course of acupuncture therapy for weight loss will cost you about $100 to $250 depending on the facility fees and expertise fees charged by the practitioner. 

Study Results On Acupuncture Weight Loss

A couple of studies have come in support of the weight loss effectiveness of acupuncture treatments.

This traditional Chinese treatment is found to have the ability increase the production and enhance the function of ghrelin hormone that regulates the fat storage and metabolism.[17]

Sabina Lim, a leading researcher on meridian and acupuncture in a South Korean university, has very positive opinions on the hunger acupuncture point stimulation as a good solution for suppressing the appetite.

In one of the latest study by Lim and her colleagues came out with clear evidence on substantial weight loss results achievable with ear acupuncture treatment.

They randomly assigned 91 overweight people to five-point acupuncture, one-point acupuncture (hunger) or sham (placebo) treatment.   

During the eight weeks period of the study, all participants followed a restrictive diet with no increase in exercises. 

Those who received five-point acupuncture had needles placed 2 millimeters deep in one outer ear taped in place and kept there for a week and in the following week, same will be shifted to the other ear.

The rest of the participants continued with one needle pierced (only on hunger point), and it was sham acupuncture therapy in which the needle is removed few minutes after the piercing.

After eight weeks, the groups that underwent five-point acupuncture lost 6.1 percent weight and 5.7 percent weight reduction among those treated with one needle.

The participant who completed five-point acupuncture also showed a greater reduction in waist size compared to those participants completed one needle sham acupuncture therapy for eight weeks.

Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center, however, do not feel acupuncture as a reliable solution for weight reduction. The placebo effects appear to be strong with the needle piercing, but they fall short of substantial proof.

Few other studies conducted by the U.S. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine came out with the conclusion that the results from acupuncture and weight loss are mixed and varied.

Tips On Using Acupuncture For Weight Loss

If you are looking to achieve good results with acupuncture weight loss therapy, then it is important to ensure the following four conditions are taken care of:

  • The acupuncture practitioner should be sufficiently qualified and well experienced in weight loss acupuncture therapy.
  • If the practitioner is a regular medical doctor, it is important the doctor has completed a two years’ postgraduate program and training in acupuncture
  • Complete the full course of the treatment. Usually, the weight loss acupuncture treatment should be of about 8-week duration.
  • For best results, acupuncture for weight loss must be combined with calorie restricted diets and at least 45 minutes of intense cardio exercises daily.
  • If you are opting for the auricular acupuncture, make sure to undergo the full-fledged ear acupuncture with proper and precise needles stapling.

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3 Comments

  1. Lisa Pacheco March 5, 2016
  2. Jessica King October 25, 2015
  3. Ron Brucki October 24, 2015

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