If you struggle to lose weight with diet and exercise alone, acupuncture may be a treatment worth considering. How can acupuncture help you lose weight? Susan Kim, DC, FIAMA, CCN, CSCS, describes how she uses ear acupuncture to help her patients reach weight loss goals:
Losing weight is the top New Year’s resolution, and it’s not surprising because over a quarter of our population is obese. Although most people understand their obesity is a very serious health issue, many struggle trying to lose with just diet and exercise. While there is no substitution for a healthy diet and adequate exercise, acupuncture can be a safe and effective method to complement your weight loss efforts.
How is acupuncture used for weight loss?
Ear acupuncture has been used successfully for weight loss for many decades. It is based on the theory that the ear is a microsystem of the body and represents all parts of the body. When part of the body has pain, is diseased or is in imbalance, there is a reflex to the corresponding ear point and the ear point becomes active.
A study published in the Journal of Acupuncture Medicine found that ear acupuncture helped with weight loss and lowered body mass index. In the study, needles were placed in those points of the ear which were linked to hunger, appetite and cravings.
To enhance the effect, electro-stimulation can be added to the ear needles to release extra endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers. Endorphins have an overall calming effect which may also help to decrease stress and thus suppress appetite.
How many treatments are suggested?
Each individual is unique. Typically, treatments are 1 to 3 times a week for 8 to 12 weeks.
Acupuncture has many benefits in addition to helping patients lose weight. Treatments strengthen the immune system, decrease symptoms of stress, relieve pain, increase circulation and help recovery from injury or surgery.