Long before there were low-fat diets, personal trainers, diet pills and weight loss surgeries, acupuncture has been used to support weight loss and muscle tone. Because acupuncture is far more safe than extreme dieting, prescription drugs or surgical procedures, it is an ideal choice for those who are trying to lose weight.
Acupuncture and Weight Loss
A growing body of research supports the use of acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine in weight loss:
- The Journal of Medical Acupuncture published a report in 2003 stating that participants receiving acupuncture lost more than three times more weight than those who did not.
- A 1998 study conducted by the University of Adelaide in Australia found that 95 percent of the participants who received electro-stimulation on acupuncture points reported significant appetite suppression.
- Another research project demonstrated that certain foods and herbs chosen to assist with weight loss directly influence the Qi of the spleen and liver systems to successfully treat root imbalances that cause weight gain.
The combination of acupuncture , acupressure, nutritional counseling and the use of Chinese herbs will support the various body systems that are involved in weight management. These include:
- proper digestion
- hormonal and chemical balance
- raising the metabolic rate (the rate at which your body burns calories)
- reduction of toxicity and congestion in the body
- healthy thyroid and adrenal function
- improved circulation
- reducing stress that causes overeating or stress eating
- regulating blood sugar levels and insulin production
- learning the right diet in accordance to the seasons and your nutritional needs
After an assessment of imbalances and issues that are impeding weight loss goals, a specific plan can be devised that will address each of these specifically. For digestive issues, acupuncture can help to improve the breakdown of food in the stomach, proper metabolization of carbohydrates, protein and fats, efficient assimilation of nutrients, and proper transit time through the intestinal track.
Other treatment approaches may focus on increasing the metabolic rate in the body, reducing food cravings, strengthening the eliminative organs, correcting hormonal imbalances that are causing weight gain and stimulating Qi.
Pressure points in the ears have been found to be particularly effective for weight loss and are a main focus of treatment. This is due to the fact that the ear is a micro map of the body that affects all major organs and systems in the body. Several different points in the ear which will cleanse toxins and help bring full function back to all organs and systems in the body, for example. Ear points for weight loss are stimulated during treatment, then seed-sized beads or magnets are taped to the points in order to enhance the effectiveness of the treatment at home. These beads will typically remain in place for 3 days to a week and can be gently massaged for 10-second intervals if food cravings occur.
Here are some of the more commonly used ear points for weight loss:
- Spirit Gate: Calms the mind and reduces stress
- Sympathetic: Balances the nervous system and helps reduce addictive behavior
- Small Intestine: Strengthens the spleen and promotes digestion
- Large Intestine: Improves absorption of nutrients and proper elimination
- Mouth: A calming point used for smoking, over-eating and addictive behavior
- Hunger Point: Relieves hunger and helps control compulsive eating
- Endocrine Point: Moves liver Qi and stimulates metabolism
Acupuncture alone will not cause you to lose weight. However, using acupuncture as a support system is very effective in enhancing weight loss.
Bobbie Rene Parke, M.Ac.O.M., L.Ac., Dipl.Ac.