Published on EmpowHER - Women's Health Online (http://www.empowher.com)
Acupuncture Can Increase Weight Loss
By Joanna Karpasea-Jones Created 06/06/2012 - 04:14
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese traditional medicine (TCM) that goes back thousands of years. Traditional acupuncturists believe that illness occurs when the body’s vital energy cannot flow freely.
If one of the energy points (chakras) becomes blocked, this can result in problems.
By using tiny needles and placing them at various different acupuncture points, any blocked energy can be released, restoring the body’s overall physical, mental and emotional balance.
Often, a person who is overweight is blamed for eating too much but this may not be the case.
Being overweight or obese can be caused by underlying illnesses such as thyroid dysfunction, polycystic ovaries or diabetes, to name just a few.
Acupuncture isn’t a magic instant fix where you stick a few needles in and suddenly begin to lose weight, but it can be used to address any underlying health issues that are causing weight gain and thus help to correct the problem.
Is There Scientific Evidence for Acupuncture?
Yes! Acupuncture for weight loss is used widely in China and there are many published scientific papers showing that it can help.
For instance, a study at Nanjing College of TCM found that acupuncture affected the sympathetic adrenal system and the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal system and helped them to function better, resulting in weight loss.
A study in Poland looking at post-menopausal obesity in women who qualified for hormone replacement therapy, found that acupuncture with a low calorie diet was more successful at treating menopausal obesity than the low calorie diet alone.
The authors concluded, "Acupuncture seems to be an additional useful healing method in treatment of menopausal obesity."
A more recent study held at Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Kaohsiung Medical Center in Taiwan in 2010 found that a new method of acupuncture, laser acupuncture, had a therapeutic effect on people with obesity.
Researchers recorded the patient’s body weights and body mass index before treatment and four weeks after treatment, and found that acupuncture resulted in a mean reduction in body weight of 3.17kgs and in a body mass index reduction of 1.22kgs.
The authors concluded, "Acupuncture was found to exert a therapeutic effect on simple obesity by reducing both body weight and body mass index."
Acupuncture Can Suppress Appetite!
Acupuncture has also been shown to help you lose weight by suppressing your appetite and lessening those urges to snack on unhealthy foods.
Researchers from the University of Adelaide in Australia found that if they attached a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation device called an AcuSlim to acupuncture points on the ear and stomach, they could help the patient lose weight.
Sixty overweight patients were put on a slimming diet. One group was then given the AcuSlim stimulation of their ear and stomach acupuncture points, and the other group was given the AcuSlim stimulation on their thumb (where there are no acupuncture points).
Only four of the patients in the thumb group managed to lose any weight, whereas the number of people losing weight in the ear and stomach group was significantly higher and 95 percent of them noticed a reduction in appetite.
The authors concluded, "Frequent stimulation of specific auricular acupuncture points is an effective method of appetite suppression which leads to weight loss."
These are just a few examples of the scientific evidence that is available showing acupuncture assisting in weight loss.
A Word of Warning
If you see any Chinese herbalists advertising weight loss pills in their window or on a website, DON’T take these pills. They are diuretics. They make you lose water.
While this may help you to lose weight initially, it is actually dangerous and may affect your metabolism and actually increase your weight in the long term.
Acupuncture on its own or with a sensible diet is perfectly good enough at treating weight problems and you do not need to take diuretic pills.
1. Acupuncture for Weight Loss, The London Acupuncture Clinic. Web. 6 June 2012.
2. What is Traditional Acupuncture? Acupuncture.org.uk. Web. 6 June 2012.
3. Effect of acupuncture on weight loss evaluated by adrenal function, J Tradit Chin Med. 1993 Sep;13(3):169-73.
4. [The effectiveness of low-calorie diet or diet with acupuncture treatment in obese peri- and postmenopausal women], Ginekol Pol. 2003 Feb;74(2):102-7.
5. Clinical observations on laser acupuncture in simple obesity therapy, Am J Chin Med. 2010;38(5):861-7.
6. Stimulation of auricular acupuncture points in weight loss, Aust Fam Physician. 1998 Jul;27 Suppl 2:S73-7.
Joanna is a freelance health writer for The Mother magazine and Suite 101 with a column on infertility, http://infertility.suite101.com/ She is the mother of five children and practices natural childbirth, delayed cord clamping, full term breastfeeding and organic food diet.
Reviewed June 6, 2012
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith