Can You Use Acupuncture for Weight Loss?
Fortunately there is a technique for weight loss that has been tested for centuries: acupuncture.
It is safe, sound and reliable. And, even more exciting, using acupuncture for weight loss helps you lose weight in several different ways.
Is there proof that acupuncture helps with weight loss?
Yes. In one study by Professor Sabina Lim, at the East-West Medical Research Institute at Kyung Hee University in Seoul, South Korea, researchers found that auricular acupuncture (which uses the ear points) resulted in about a 6% reduction in body mass index (BMI) over 8 weeks.
This is especially interesting because they found this same result with two different protocols, one with four needles and one with only one needle. Both techniques resulted in lower BMI.
Researchers continue to study the effectiveness of acupuncture and the results look promising.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the belief is that excessive fat is caused mainly by an imbalance in the body due to a malfunction of the spleen and liver organ systems. Skilled practitioners will zero in on specific body areas to effect weight loss. Among these are the endocrine system and kidneys, which are addressed to treat water retention and to stimulate nerve and hormonal rebalance. The spleen and thyroid gland are also targeted to effect sugar and hormonal rebalancing. Finally, the adrenal and ovary glands are included to treat fat gains because of menopause or Premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Some people notice the effects of acupuncture fairly quickly and only require treatments every other week.
How does acupuncture help with weight loss?
First of all, It helps balance hormones. It increases endorphins, which reduces cravings and generally makes you feel more positive. This can help reduce binge eating.
It also decreases the hormones that contribute to weight gain. Dr. Burak Bahar and his team at the Ankara Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Training and Research Hospital in Ankara, Turkey found that both leptin and insulin levels dropped with acupuncture.
Leptin regulates fat storage and metabolism and stimulates the feeling of being full. Insulin regulates carbohydrate and fat metabolism and the absorption of glucose from the blood. This finding suggests that acupuncture may actually reduce the hormones that lead to overeating.
But if leptin stimulates the feeling of being full, why is it good to have reduced levels? Like insulin-resistance, cells can become immune to the effects of leptin when the levels are too high. Many obese people have excessively high levels of leptin.
When your leptin level is high, you can no longer tell when to stop eating. Restoring balance to leptin levels may help to reduce leptin-resistance, making it easier to stop eating before you overeat.
The third way that acupuncture helps reduce fat is by reducing stress. Cortisol, the stress hormone, can affect our BMI in several ways. It disrupts digestion, contributes to depression and escalates your “fight or flight” response. If you feel overwhelmed, you are more likely to binge for emotional reasons and to assume you have no time to prepare healthy meals.
And finally, acupuncture can aid digestion. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the spleen is responsible for digestion. Disharmony and imbalance in the spleen can lead to fatigue, slow metabolism, water retention, loose stools, and a feeling of heaviness. The liver is responsible for the flow of Qi, blood and emotions. Disharmony in your liver can lead to cravings and compulsive eating.
By balancing your organ system, you can become healthy both physically and psychologically.