Acupuncture and Weight Loss

Acupuncture is used to treat a multitude of conditions, ranging from arthritis, chronic pain, as well as weight loss. Acupuncture has received some high-profile attention recently from the likes WebMD as well Dr. Oz. Acupuncture helps facilitate weight loss by aiding in positive energy flow and function of the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is a critical brain center that helps organize and affect metabolic activity throughout the body.

Around the ear there are critical points that are thought to represent nerves that control appetite and are responsible for secreting hormones such as ghrelin. Ghrelin and other related chemicals are responsible for causing sensations of being hungry.

A study published in Acupuncture for Medicine reported that obese patients who underwent five-point ear acupuncture lost more weight than patients who received one-point or a placebo acupuncture treatment.

However, another article published in Eating and Weight Disorders showed that acupuncture was more useful in treating patients’ mental health (which led to weight loss) than it was in stimulating weight loss by itself. These studies show that it is a combination of the mental aspect of weight loss as well as the chemical output of your body that results in effective weight loss, and acupuncture targets both of these.

How Acupuncture for Weight Loss Works

Acupuncturists target Qi for effective weight control, and they take aim at 4 critical acupuncture points on the ear:

  1. the hunger point,
  2. the Shen Men point,
  3. the stomach point,
  4. and the endocrine point.

First, they place small, sterilized needles along these channels to decrease the heat generated along these meridians and to stimulate centers that trigger the release of neurochemicals and hormones.

During the treatment, the needles are covered with tape so that they can be left in place for a few days.

Patients later remove them at home or during follow-up visits. Some practitioners may also use “ear seeds” that the patient wears home. These can be massaged periodically to help with difficult-to-control urges such as late night cravings or a sweet tooth.

Find The Right Acupuncture Treatment

There are 4 main guidelines we recommend following when looking for acupuncture treatment:
1. Complete a full course of treatment – Acupuncture for weight loss is best achieved with a median of 10 treatments delivered over the course of a few weeks.
2. Follow a comprehensive weight-loss plan – Acupuncture should be used alongside a comprehensive weight-loss plan, as a poor diet will not facilitate results.
3. Don’t Confuse Treatments — Although ear stapling is loosely based on the concept of acupuncture, it is an imprecise method that uses surgical staples that penetrate the cartilage of the ear, which is known to promote infection and be moderately painful.

Choose a Qualified Practitioner

The most important item on this list for good reason, finding a qualified practitioner is the difference between successful and placebo treatments. Most states require that acupuncturists be licensed to assure that they have completed the necessary education and training standards to practice. You may see L.Ac. (licensed acupuncturist) following the doctors title. Acupuncturists may also be medical doctors or other medical professional who have completed a postgraduate program of study in this specialty.

If you are struggling to lose weight and are becoming disheartened from a lack of results, then acupuncture may be able to help you feel more positive and make you feel hungry less often.

Contact us today to begin your path to healthy eating habits.