This summer, some people may be working on getting in shape.
Of course, diet, exercise, sleep, and stress management are all important factors in weight management.
Recent research shows that acupuncture might also be promising for weight loss.
Evidence for the effectiveness of acupuncture for weight loss is based on research using ear acupuncture therapy, which is based on the theory that the outer ear represents all parts of the body.
Conducted in Korea, the study examined 91 overweight participants who were randomly assigned to one of three groups. In the first group, participants received only one needle, which was placed in the ear’s “hunger point”—the point linked to appetite. In the second group, they received five needles placed in five different key points along the ear. One point was the Shen Men, or “The Gate of Heaven.” Needle insertion on this point is thought to bring celestial energy to the whole body. The remaining four needles were placed on points linked to the stomach, spleen, endocrine, and hunger. Finally, participants in the third group received a placebo treatment. Participants were asked to keep a restricted diet (though not a weight-loss diet, per se) and to not increase their normal amount of exercise.
After four weeks, participants in the first group exhibited 5.7% reduction in BMI; participants in the second group exhibited a 6.1% reduction in BMI; and participants in the placebo group did not exhibit any change in BMI. The five-point treatment was also associated with the largest decrease in weight circumference and body fat, two factors related to obesity.
The results of this study indicate that while both the one-point and five-point treatments may help with weight loss, the five-point treatment shows more promise in treating central obesity.
It is important to note that this study was conducted on Korean participants. Replication of the study with other ethnic groups would help determine whether the results are generalizable.
If you are struggling with weight loss or any other health issues and are interested in acupuncture services in the Boulder area, contact Marchand Orthopedic Acupuncture today.
- Daly, Annie. (2013). Can Acupuncture Help You Lose Weight? Women’s Health.
2. Reinberg, Steven. (2013). Ear Acupuncture May Hold Promise for Weight Loss. WebMD.