There are countless ways to lose weight. Sometimes traditional methods work and sometimes non-traditional methods can boost your weight loss program, as well. That’s why many people turn to acupuncture for weight loss. Recent studies have evaluated the relationship between acupuncture and weight loss. Their findings support the use of the traditional practice, especially if you have already tried other methods to slim down. In one research review, scientists compared the use of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine to several prescription obesity drugs that are used widely in the United States. They found that the alternative methods were just as effective at treating obesity but had fewer side effects than the medications.
Any acupuncture treatment would be more effective when the patient changes his/her eating habits and lifestyle habits, like exercise, sleep patterns and exposure to stress. So, what is the best way to begin your program? The first step may be to meet with your healthcare provider to make sure you are healthy enough to start a diet and exercise regime.
Acupuncture is a needle-based alternative therapy sometimes used for weight loss. Long practiced in traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture is thought to stimulate the body’s flow of vital energy (or “chi”) and, in turn, improve several factors known to contribute to obesity. Although scientists aren’t sure what the mechanism might be, it’s thought that undergoing acupuncture may suppress appetite, boost metabolism, and reduce stress. However, these theories have yet to be extensively tested in scientific studies.
Acupuncture should only be administered by a qualified healthcare professional who is licensed to practice acupuncture. While the risks are generally considered low if done by a competent licensed practitioner, side effects may include soreness, bleeding, bruising, infection, and injury or organ puncture due to improper needling depth. Sterile, disposable (single-use) needles should only be used during acupuncture.
If you have a bleeding disorder, weakened immune system, pacemaker, or are taking blood-thinning medication or supplements (such as warfarin or garlic), you may not be a good candidate for acupuncture. If you are pregnant, you should speak with your physician before getting acupuncture.
If you are concerned about maintaining healthy blood sugar levels, it’s important to be aware of these unexpected factors that can spike your normal blood sugar. Research suggests a special type of acupuncture can help as well: When women who were overweight or obese and unable to exercise received electroacupuncture – acupuncture plus an electric current – they showed improvements in blood sugar levels, according to a study in The FASEB Journal. “When your blood sugar is balanced, it keeps your appetite regulated and you are not as hungry so you eat less,” explains Boston-based nutritionist Dana Greene, RD.
Inflammation is linked to weight gain, obesity, and diabetes—and if weight is your concern, you’ll definitely want to look for healthy foods that fight inflammation.
Acupuncture has also been shown to stimulate the release of “feel good” endorphins—the kind involved in “runner’s high”—and this counteracts excessive eating brought about by increased stress, frustration or anxiety. The acupuncture points are:
- The stomach: The relationship of this point is mainly with an obese person, who always seek to eat even when full.
- Endocrine point: The needles are placed at this point, when obesity is caused by fluid retention in the body.
- The spleen: This is a point that associated with hormonal imbalances such as sugar levels.
- The thyroid: This point relates to a fairly slow metabolism.
- Shenmen, acupuncture to control anxiety levels: Point that is directly related to psychological drives like anxiety, loneliness and frustration.