There are many reasons that a person may become overweight. Hormonal imbalances, overeating, lack of exercise, slowed metabolism, poor nutrition and even depression are some of the more common causes for obesity.
One of the key factors in tackling weight loss effectively is of course to change and improve the diet, not only about what one is eating and how much, but also the timing of the meals also plays a part in how a person will store and retain excess fat from their meals.
The second key part is taking regular exercise. However, it is important to undertake the right kind of exercise to maximise the amount of weight a person is able to lose over time.
That being said, there are also several supplementary approaches that a person can also take to tackle their weight loss.
Acupuncture has grown in popularity for a number of conditions, including obesity. With recent press coverage and various celebrities attesting to the helpfulness of acupuncture for weight loss, it’s no wonder so many people are also wanting to try this method for themselves. Acupuncture is not a panacea for obesity, but rather it is most effectively used as an add-on therapy in conjunction with diet moderation and exercise. That being said, acupuncture can be effective in assisting the weight loss process and also help to maintain the weight that has been lost, so long as the patient is willing to change their lifestyle.
An area where acupuncture for obesity can really come into play is when the person is either addicted to food or if they are suffering from depression and as a result, they are indulging in comfort eating.
How acupuncture actually works is still not known and continues to defy medical science however, millions of people the world over report on the effectiveness of the treatment for a wide variety of conditions.
This also holds true for the use of acupuncture in tackling obesity. For this condition, acupuncture needles inserted at specific acu points in the ear and the body to help stimulate a multitude of responses. One such response is the release of endorphins, which have a relaxing and calming effect and make it easier for a person to deal with stress, anxiety and frustrations that can trigger overeating, depression and bingeing on comfort foods that are generally not good for us. Also, the release of endorphins effect the hormonal and digestive systems.
The basis for using acupuncture for weight control is founded on the idea that weight gain could be the result of anxious energy flow to and from the hypothalamus. Acupuncture has the ability to influence these important bodily systems and encourage regulation and efficient functionality.
In principal, acupuncture can assist with weight control by suppressing cravings, improving digestion, helping to decrease the appetite, regulate hormones related to obesity and improve the overall functioning of the liver.
In the use of acupuncture for assisted weight loss, acupuncturists primarily use a selection of specially tested points that have shown to bring about desirable results for obesity. Many of these points are located in the ear however, the acupuncturist may also select points on the body to accompany the auricular points. These points are known to Chinese medicine practitioners as; stomach point, hunger point, endocrine point and Shen Men point. Tiny sterilised and disposable needles are inserted into these points to stimulate certain chemical reactions in the body to help curb cravings and calm the body and mind.
Recently, scientists have been testing the effectiveness of acupuncture for eating disorders and have found that acupuncture may be able to stimulate a hormone called leptin. Leptin plays an important part in female reproductive health, and is a hormone that particularly decreases in anorexia.
Guide on how to use acupuncture for weight loss
Choose a qualified acupuncture practitioner
Make sure you select an acupuncturist that is fully qualified and has completed thorough and comprehensive training and holds a recognised and esteemed qualification such as a Degree or similar.
Some medical doctors, physiotherapists and osteopaths also use acupuncture however, the training they have undertaken is often only a short over-view course that covers a small selection of points for certain conditions. This type of acupuncture is known as ‘dry needling‘ and is a symptomatic approach. While it can be affective for several conditions, it usually does not get to the route of the problem.
Acupuncture has shown itself over the centuries to be able to provide many health benefits. However, in untrained or inexperienced hands, acupuncture can be detrimental. Therefore, it is advised that you choose an acupuncturist who has completed the required training for competence. To find a good acupuncturist we recommend going to the British Acupuncture Council website and using their find a practitioner function for a qualified and vetted practitioner in your area.
Another good safety check is to ensure that your practitioner is registered and fully licensed to practice. To check this, you can search for the regulatory governing bodies for acupuncture in your country. If you are in the US then you can find a certified practitioner at the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM). In the UK the primary regulating body for acupuncture is the British Acupuncture Council (BAcC), where you can also locate a qualified practitioner.
Complete the full course of treatment
Each person will require a slightly different treatment strategy based on their symptoms, lifestyle and other individual circumstances. As such, it is important to listen to your practitioner and complete the course of treatment that they recommend for you in order to get maximum benefits.
A good supplement to your acupuncture treatment is to also follow a good, healthy and proven diet, such as the Palio diet. We have written a review about the PalioHacks Cookbook here.
Stick with it and apply the advice from your practitioner
During your course of treatment, your practitioner may recommend you take various courses of action yourself, such as incorporating various food groups into your diet and eliminating others. An acupuncturist will typically recommend dietary changes based on the Eastern model of nutrition, which takes into consideration the energetics of the food. For example, they may ask you to reduce your sugar and dairy intake as these foods can produce excess damp and phlegm in the body.
As mentioned earlier, auricular acupuncture therapy is often used as a treatment method when addressing obesity. Therefore, at the end of the treatment the practitioner may apply ear seeds or tiny magnets to specific points in your ear.
These magnets look like tiny pellets or sends and are held in place with a plaster. Don’t worry, they are barely visible and often go unnoticed by others. That being said, you will be aware of their presence as they continue to apply a continuous but low and very safe stimulation on the point to help sustain and build upon the effects the acupuncturist is trying to achieve.
Typically, these ear seeds stay in for around 5 days and can later be removed by the patient simply by removing the plaster. Do as your practitioner advises and apply extra stimulation with your finger at the times your practitioner advises and remove at the time they suggest.