Although many prepare for the beginning of swimsuit season by shedding unwanted pounds, all of those poolside cookouts and sweet summer drinks can pile them right back on. Fortunately, acupuncture offers a solution for people looking for a little boost to their weight-loss regime.
The key word here is “boost.” Acupuncture cannot (and will not) melt away fat on its own. However, many people find that regular acupuncture sessions not only help suppress their appetite, but also increase their energy level, help regulate wayward hormones, and improve digestion. When combined, all of these effects add up to more weight lost.
What points are used for weight loss? The answer varies depending on the patient’s individual condition. Typically, excess weight and/or obesity are a result of Spleen and Liver disharmony. In Chinese Medicine, the Spleen is responsible for smooth digestion and turning food into energy, while the Liver keeps blood and energy flowing freely throughout the body. The Liver is easily affected by stress and, when agitated, can not only lead to food cravings but may also weaken the Spleen. Your acupuncturist will therefore want to tonify, or strengthen, your Spleen Meridian as well as sedate, or calm, your Liver Meridian. In addition, your acupuncturist will look at the function of the rest of your organs to obtain a unique treatment plan. Points on different parts of the body, including the ear, will be combined in a way to address your specific disharmonies. Electrical stimulation may also be used on stomach or ear points to increase the acupuncture’s effects. An average treatment protocol for weight loss includes one to two treatments a week for a total of eight to twelve treatments. Patients can generally expect to lose one to two pounds a week.
In 2009, the International Journal of Obesity published a systematic review of over 30 studies on acupuncture as a weight loss therapy. The results showed that participants who underwent acupuncture treatments lost more weight than participants who partook in sham or placebo therapies.
As with any other weight loss therapy, it is essential that regular acupuncture is combined with a healthy diet and exercise regimen. Some patients may want to begin acupuncture before starting regular exercise so that their energy levels are higher. Your acupuncturist can be a great source of knowledge about healthy nutrition and different forms of exercise that complement your own physical goals and limitations.
If you or a loved one is struggling to lose weight, acupuncture may be the boost you need to decrease cravings, increase metabolism, improve energy and say goodbye to those pesky pounds!