Most of us have those pesky few pounds that just won’t release their grip on us. We might try the latest diet or exercise trend but that weight just won’t come off. Or maybe you have more than just a little weight to lose. Rather than jump on the latest fad diet that sounds too good to be true, have you thought about trying acupuncture to lose weight? It just might be the ticket to not only losing those extra pounds but also to getting your overall health back on track.
There is an abundance of research dedicated to the benefits of acupuncture for a variety of health concerns (pain management, infertility, migraines, allergies, and anxiety to name a few). If you have never tried acupuncture, you can expect your acupuncturist to do a full health history with you before any treatment plans are put in place. Be honest with them about your goals and struggles and any other health challenges you are dealing with. It’s best for them to have a complete picture in order to serve you best.
What to Expect
What may seem unusual to you but is perfectly normal to your acupuncturist, is that for weight loss, you may find them focusing on your ear. The reason for this is that research has shown that stimulating certain acupuncture points on the outer ear (also known as auricular acupuncture) can help to balance hormones that work to reduce cravings and appetite.
Specifically, the two hormones influenced by these acupuncture points are ghrelin (controls appetite) and leptin (regulates fat storage and metabolism). By targeting these two hormones, research shows that acupuncture can help to sideline those cravings, improve digestion, and even boost metabolism.
In improving digestion, your acupuncturist may target acupuncture points along the stomach and kidney channels. Improving digestion function can actually increase the number of nutrients absorbed by the body, which can ultimately help with issues such as constipation, bloating, and other gastrointestinal issues that can contribute to weight gain.
What the Research Says
If you do your homework, you will find that research does support the use of acupuncture for weight loss. For example, a 2017 study found that obese women who received auricular acupuncture lost more weight (approximately 8 pounds more) that women who received acupuncture on other parts of their body.
And, as previously mentioned, acupuncture has been proven to be an effective treatment option for a variety of health conditions that could contribute to obesity. For example, a 2015 study found that acupuncture stimulates the release of endorphins which can create a calming and relaxing effect that can combat stress which can contribute to stress eating, causing weight gain.
Combined with other lifestyle changes like regular exercise and consuming a balanced diet, acupuncture has been proven to be effective for weight loss. Although everyone’s needs are a bit different, you can expect to have several treatments for six to eight weeks and the number of visits could begin to decrease as your acupuncture regimen progresses.
Talk to your acupuncturist if you are looking for a safe weight loss program. In compiling your health history, your acupuncturist may determine that hormonal or other health issues contributing to your weight gain should also be addressed. Be prepared for a multi-faceted approach that will help you to achieve balance in your whole body as well as achieving your weight loss goals.