The International Journal of Obesity just published a review of 31 studies on the efficacy of acupuncture in the treatment of obesity. The systematic review was comprised of 3013 individual cases where acupuncture was used to reduce body weight. 

(PressZoom) – Acupuncture is an effective weight loss tool, according to a recent study.  With more and more people adding acupuncture to their weight loss came the need for a critical assessment of the studies that have been performed.

The International Journal of Obesity just published a review of 31 studies on the efficacy of acupuncture in the treatment of obesity.  The systematic review was comprised of 3013 individual cases where acupuncture was used to reduce body weight. 

The aim of this review was to critically assess evidence for reduction of body weight and to evaluate adverse events of acupuncture therapy based on the results of randomized controlled trials ( RCTs ) that evaluate the effect of various types of acupuncture therapies.

The results of this review showed that compared to control of lifestyle, acupuncture was associated with a significant reduction of average body weight ( 95% confidence interval, CI ) of 1.72 kg ( 0.50–2.93 kg ) and was associated with an improvement in obesity ( relative risk=2.57; 95% CI, 1.98–3.34 ). Acupuncture significantly reduced a body weight of 1.56 kg ( 0.74–2.38 kg ), on average, compared to placebo or sham treatments. Acupuncture also showed more improved outcomes for body weight ( mean difference=1.90 kg; 1.66–2.13 kg ), as well as for obesity ( relative risk=1.13; 1.04–1.22 ), than conventional medication.

While this review did show that acupuncture is an effective treatment for obesity, the researchers expressed that they would like to see more well-planned, long-term studies to address the effectiveness of acupuncture for treating obesity and weight loss.

Weight loss according to Traditional Chinese Medicine

According to Diane Joswick, L.Ac., from http://www.Acufinder.com, the root of excess weight is often an imbalance within the body caused by malfunctioning of the spleen and liver organ systems.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine ( TCM ) theory, the spleen is responsible for the proper functioning of the digestive system, ensuring that the food we eat is transformed into Qi — the vital substance of life. Disharmony of the spleen will have symptoms such as fatigue, slow metabolism, water retention, loose stool, and feeling of heaviness.

The liver’s job is to keep the flow of your body’s Qi and blood ( as well as your emotions ) running smoothly. Our modern, fast-paced lifestyle and chronic stress can negatively impact the liver’s ability to function properly and smoothly, which, in turn, can cause the spleen and the whole digestive system to function poorly and decrease your metabolism. Liver disharmony can also cause some of the “triggers” that lead to cravings and compulsive eating.

From a Western perspective, acupuncture and TCM have been shown to have an effect on the function of the nervous system, endocrine system, digestive system, food cravings, and metabolism. All of which can help to energize the body, maximize the absorption of nutrients, regulate elimination, control overeating, suppress the appetite, and reduce anxiety.

Acupuncture Points for Weight Loss

The beauty of acupuncture is that each treatment is catered to the needs of the individual patient. Acupuncture points on the body will be chosen for overall well being with the objective of increasing circulation of the blood and Qi ( stimulating the metabolism ) and calming the nervous system.

In addition to treating the root of the imbalance within the body, different acupuncture points may be chosen for each treatment as different symptoms arise. For instance, if you are experiencing a desire to overeat related to premenstrual syndrome ( PMS ) one week, then that can be addressed at that week’s appointment.

Generally treatments are scheduled once or twice a week for 8 to 12 weeks or until the goal weight has been reached. The treatments include a combination of auricular ( ear ) and body acupuncture, ear tacks or pellets to leave on in-between treatments, herbs and supplements, abdominal massage, breathing exercises, and food and lifestyle recommendations.
The best way to find an acupuncturist is to visit http://www.Acufinder.com.  The website has a comprehensive directory of acupuncture and Oriental medicine practitioners across the United States and Canada.

Source: International Journal of Obesity, January 2009; Acupuncture for obesity: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

 

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