Acupuncture is the traditional Chinese medical practice of stimulating specific points on the body, primarily with the insertion of very thin needles through the skin. Acupuncture has been the focus of many studies on its ability to manage pain — especially for headache and neck, back, knee, and osteoarthritis pain. There have not, however, been as many studies on how acupuncture can help with other health issues such as weight loss. Advocates of acupuncture for weight loss believe that acupuncture can stimulate the body’s energy flow (chi) to impact factors that can reverse obesity such as increasing metabolism, reducing appetite, lowering stress, and affecting the part of the brain that feels hunger.
Weight gain, according to traditional Chinese medicine, is caused by body imbalance. That imbalance, according to ancient teachings, can be caused by a malfunctioning liver, spleen, kidney, thyroid gland and endocrine system. So, for weight loss, acupuncture treatments commonly target these areas of the body.
The ear is another area that acupuncture practitioners target for weight loss. It’s believed that food cravings can be controlled by manipulating points on the ear. This is a similar treatment to that used by acupuncture practitioners to help smokers and drug users end their addictions.
Although different acupuncture practitioners recommend different levels and lengths of treatment, if you plan on losing 10 to 15 pounds, having several treatments a week for six to eight weeks is a common program. The number of visits each week might taper off as the program progresses. The number of visits recommended will also vary from one acupuncture practitioner to another.
If you believe that your acupuncture treatments are beneficial, your positive attitude may help you lose weight. Next a good individualized nutritional supplement program is important because everyone has a different metabolism and different needs for nutrients. It will include vitamins, minerals, herbs antioxidants, phytochemicals and nutraceuticals. These will support the diet program and balance the blood sugar to help give the body the strength, energy and defense it needs to maintain the healthy life style that s/he has begun. For example, if you feel that acupuncture treatments are improving your quality of life, you might be motivated by that feeling to make good diet and exercise choices. And those choices can result in further weight loss.
The safety and side effects of acupuncture depend on the training and experience of the practitioner and on the cleanliness of the needles. Make sure your acupuncturist is trained and licensed in your state. Otherwise, you could suffer serious side effects including infections, punctured organs, collapsed lungs, and injury to the central nervous system.