Acupuncture: A Solution for Weight Loss

Acupuncture: A Solution for Weight Loss

Authored by DesiMD Doctor on 13 May 2016 - 12:37


Made several efforts to fight obesity but did not succeed? Obesity is for sure tough to get over it, but not impossible to fight it. It is one of the most common conditions that can trigger many disorders.  A BMI greater than 30 kg/m2  is like hitting a panic button, to instantly pause and correct your lifestyle, before it can out of control. Taking rigorous corrective measures in terms of diet, fitness and lifestyle can over time, put you back on track.

Obesity is a risk factor for several health disorders like hypertension, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, sleep apnea and dyslipidemia. According to the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, obesity is caused by slow metabolism, emotional stress, hormonal imbalance, physical inactivity, bingeing on junk food, overeating, sedentary lifestyle, depression, genetic factors.

The United States National Institutes of Health and the WHO (World Health Organization) endorsed Acupuncture to shed the excess weight. Acupuncture is a science that can address almost all the factors connected with obesity. Acupuncture not only melts the body fat but is known to address health problems that are associated with obesity.

Study: A Russian study showed that regular acupuncture sessions resulted in increased physical activity, normalization of blood and serum levels and decrease of overall body mass and fatty tissue content.  Yet another study shows that needling of auricular (ear) points helped to suppress the appetite, increase satiety with less food and also lower insulin and lipid levels.  

A study was conducted to examine the effect of acupuncture for weight loss. Auricular (ear) acupuncture is one of the most frequently methods used for the treatment of obesity. Common auricular points used in the treatment of obesity include 'hunger' and 'stomach' points (for satiety and fullness) and 'Shenmen' (for sedation and analgesia). Lower appetite and cravings from patients wearing auricular acupuncture devices (press needles, staples, or beads) were observed

How does Acupuncture work?

According to the International Journal of Obesity, by elevating the release of neurotransmitters, acupuncture may help improve mood, and regulated food intake. The positive effects of standard acupuncture and electro acupuncture on mood have been noticed in treating clinical depression. Medications seem to alter serotonin levels and improve mood and weight loss by elevating serotonin levels.

 Acupoint stimulation: Several methods are used to induce acupoints, including:

  • Traditional acupuncture or needling uses stainless-steel needles to insert through the skin and is kept in that place for varying lengths of time or further stimulated electrically (electroacupuncture).
  • Acupressure : Beads are pressed or massaged with fingers at particular pressure points on the body

Staplepuncture or press needles: Short acupuncture needles are taped for prolonged periods with pressure being applied on a regular basis.

  • Moxibustion: involves the heat therapy, by burning small grain-sized pellets of combustible material on or near the acupoints.
  • Cupping is a treatment in which evacuated cups are applied to the skin to draw blood through the surface
  • TENS (Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) involves applying electrode pads to the skin surface that transmit a mild current into the acupoint.

Comparison of Acupuncture and Sit-up exercise on Obese women: Study

Dr Raman Kapur, head of department of acupuncture at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi, led a study to compare the effects of weight control on simple obese women between electroacupuncture and sit -up exercise.  The study demonstrated that the former is more effective than sit-up exercises in reducing BW, BMI and WC, making it an alternative treatment option for obese people.

Top 6 advantages of acupuncture on obesity:

  • Suppress appetite and enhances energy: Dr Amrapali Patil, an obesity consultant says that acupuncture can help shed those kilos by different mechanisms like reducing craving for food, bringing about 'homoeostasis' in the body, thus adjusting the 'milieu interieur' of the body to normality. The doctor explains, "When the blood sugar level is normal, there is no unhealthy increase in appetite. Acupuncture achieves this by enabling one to eat less by reducing requirement of food while enhancing the body's ability to effectively utilize the energy obtained from food consumed. This means that though appetite and food requirement decrease, one feels highly energetic and refreshed at all times."
  • Effective digestion: Acupuncture enables the digestive system to process food effectively.
  • Boost Metabolism: The BMR (basal metabolic rate) of the body can be increased with the help of acupuncture. Dr Patil says, "While appetite decreases, energy is replenished and the body's metabolism actually increases. This creates a negative caloric balance and the weight gets yanked down.”
  • Hormone problems: Acupuncture modifies these two hormones-leptin and ghrelin which are linked with overweight and obesity.
  • Aids liver function: Dr Patil states, "A regulated liver function means a proper metabolic rate and health at its best. This aids enormously in weight loss."
  • Works as Stress-buster: Stress is another factor associated with overweight or obesity. Acupuncture releases 'happiness hormones' (endorphins) present in the body, resulting in a calming, tranquilizing effect that brings about a feeling of positive mood elevation.




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