Can Acupuncture Promote Weight Loss?
Acupuncture has really grown a lot in popularity over the years. You might have noticed that a lot more facilities that provide this treatment have opened up in your area, or you might have read a lot of headlines about this fascinating type of natural medicine. From pain relief to anxiety reduction, it can be used to treat a variety of ailments. But, can it also help with weight loss?
Can you turn to acupuncture when you are striving to meet your weight loss goals but you are having some trouble? Keep reading to dive into this topic and learn more about it.
What Is Acupuncture, and How Does It Work?
Acupuncture has been used as an ancient Chinese for of medicine for over 2500 years. It has been used to treat a variety of ailments including pain, nausea, anxiety, hunger, and smoking cessation.
Acupuncture works by stimulating acupoints that exist underneath the skin. This stimulation is meant to regulate imbalances in the flow of what the Chinese coin as “qi.” Qi is a form of energy that runs through different rivers in your body known as “meridians.”
Although it has been around over 2000 years, there is little clinical research to provide accreditation to this form of alternative medicine. However, it is used throughout the world to treat a variety of medical conditions including weight loss.
The Research into Acupuncture for Weight Loss
According to U.S. News, the research into acupuncture and weight loss isn’t strong enough to conclude that this treatment will help you slim down. It also isn’t clear when it comes to whether or not acupuncture just causes a placebo effect.
Despite that, if you are using this treatment as part of a strategy to lose weight that also includes dietary changes, modifications to your lifestyle, and the implementation of a strong exercise routine, you might see an improvement in your results. In fact, a review of clinical trials that included more than 2,000 people discovered that acupuncture alone isn’t all that effective when it comes to helping you slim down, but it is more promising when you are also making other changes to your lifestyle. And, it appears to be more helpful to those who are overweight, not obese.
Based on this information, you might want to find a local acupuncturist who is experienced in helping people improve from a wide range of ailments. He or she might be able to provide you with treatments that affect things like your energy, hormones, digestion, cravings, sleep, and stress level, which can all impact your weight, as well as your ability to lose weight.
How It Can Help with Weight Loss
There were originally 365 acupuncture points on the body and they work in systems. The system of points relative to weight loss focus on the:
- Shenmen (a calming point)
When acupuncture is performed on the ear it is believed that endorphins are released. Endorphins, when released send a rush happy feeling through our body. They also tend to make us feel relaxed. This is the key to both stress management and prohibiting emotional eating disorders. It also balances organs associated with the digestive system by speeding underactive organs like the thyroid, and slowing overactive organs conducive to weight gain.
What Should You Expect?
To use acupuncture as a treatment, a specialist will arrange a consultation to discuss your weight gain problems and possibly pin point and deficiencies in your qi. This can be done by analyzing your heart rate along with looking for cracks in your tongue, and checking the appearance of the skin on your stomach. Afterwards, the acupuncture specialist will determine the acupuncture points to start treatment.
Treatment is then administered usually starting out at around 4-5 times per week and decreasing as the weeks go by and you begin losing weight. In some cases, acupuncturists will use electrostimulation and ear tacks to help control cravings. Ear tacks are inserted and can stay in the ear for up to 7 days. They are used by patients when they are feeling cravings. They simply rub the ear back and forth over the ear tack which stimulates the release of endorphins almost manually to suppress their appetite.
Side effects usually include bleeding at insertion points, bruising and some swelling. The risks of using an acupuncturist who is not certified may result in contraction of a blood related disease and even nerve damage.
Don’t Forget About Diet and Exercise!
As part of the treatment plan, the acupuncturist will also serve as a nutritional and fitness counselor. They will advise both diet and exercise plans to be used alongside the acupuncture treatments. They will usually recommend diets high in fiber and lean protein and low in fat.
Recommended exercise includes walking, jogging, swimming along with Tai Chi, yoga and meditation. If you are using or thinking about using acupuncture as a weight loss treatment, be sure to find a certified acupuncturist. The general risks of acupuncture treatment are low for those who used certified acupuncturists.
Should You Try It?
As long as you are taking a well-rounded approach to your weight loss by dieting, exercising, and working closely with your doctor to discuss other options, such as weight loss pills, you can certainly give acupuncture a try to see if it helps you feel better along the way, and to see if it helps to boost the results of your efforts.
If you aren’t sure if acupuncture is right for you, though, consult with your physician first. Be sure to weigh the pros and cons of this treatment before determining if you want to proceed. As with anything else, there could be risks involved, so you want to make the most informed decision.