Auricular Therapy and Acupuncture for Weight Loss
Obesity is an epidemic abroad and here at home in the United States. In 2009 two in every three adults was considered to be overweight or obese, according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. More than one in twenty adults was considered to have extreme obesity.
Many of us struggle to manage or lose weight, even though we know the dangers and medical implications of being overweight. For some, weight gain is the result of a medical condition or low metabolic rate, for others it’s genetics or emotional issues.
If you are struggling to reach your goals using traditional or conventional methods you might want to consider auricular therapy and acupuncture for weight loss.
Auricular Therapy and Acupuncture Defined
Acupuncture is a form of Traditional Chinese Medicine. The ancient practice of acupuncture addresses a host of ailments, and is beginning to earn acceptance in western medicine. Conventional medical practitioners are now using acupuncture to address everything from chronic pain to high blood pressure and weight loss. Acupuncture is the practice of inserting extremely thin needles into the dermis at specific points of the body in order to balance the flow of energy or life force known as the Chi.
Practitioners believe that by inserting needles into specific points along these meridians your energy flow will rebalance providing balance throughout the body and relieving pain and discomfort.
Auricular Therapy is a form of acupuncture specifically targeting the ear. It is a form of alternative medicine based on the idea that the ear is a microsystem reflecting the entire body. Auricular Therapy addresses conditions which affect the physical, mental or emotional health of the patient. This is why it is applied to patients facing weight gain.
There are many reasons why people become overweight including: hormone imbalances, slowed metabolism, poor nutrition, lack of exercise and overeating. Auricular Acupuncture Therapy is used to address weight loss because it:
· Increases Metabolism – Pituitary gland secretions effect metabolic rate and stimulate the thyroid gland. Acupuncture can stimulate the hypothalamus and pituitary glands to turn a sluggish thyroid and metabolism into a speedy one.
· Suppresses Appetite – Ghrelin hormone is responsible for feelings of hunger and leptin is responsible for inhibiting the appetite. Acupuncture can manipulate these hormone levels in order to provide a feeling of fullness and decrease unnecessary hunger.
· Reduces BMI – By speeding up the metabolism and fat burning power of the body, acupuncture can help reduce BMI and keep you in the healthy zone.
Research has shown that acupuncture treatments increase ghrelin, a hormone that controls hunger or meal initiation. Studies also show that acupuncture therapy decreases leptin, a hormone that regulates fat storage and metabolism. Acupuncture has been found to curb appetite, quiet cravings, boost metabolism, improve digestion, regulate obesity-related hormones and enhance the way nutrients are utilized by the body.
BMI stand for Body Mass Index. BMI measures the level or ratio of fat in the body. It is used by doctors to screen for weight categories that may lead to health problems. To calculate BMI you divide weight in kilograms by the square of a person’s height in meters. A 2015 study showed that manual acupuncture and massage had a positive effect on BMI, reducing patient’s body mass index by a significant amount.
Auricular Acupuncture Therapy is typically provided once or twice a week for 9 – 12 weeks, or until desired weight is reached. Each patient is different, and your therapist will provide a treatment schedule that best fits your needs based on your evaluation.
Nature of Treatment & Origin
Acupuncture has been practiced for thousands of years. It is believed that acupuncture originated in China, first mentioned in documents that date back hundreds of years. Ear acupuncture is based on the theory that the outermost area of the ear represents parts of the body.
A report published by the journal Acupuncture in Medicine found an interesting trend in acupuncture and weight loss, “If the trend we found is supported by other studies, the hunger acupuncture point is a good choice in terms of convenience. However, for patients suffering from central obesity, continuous stimulation of five acupuncture points should be used,” according to lead researcher Sabina Lim, from the department of meridian and acupuncture in the Graduate College of Basic Korean medical Science at Kyung Hee University in Seoul, South Korea.
In order to pinpoint the Qi (Chi) effectively, acupuncturists will focus on 4 acupuncture points on the ear. These points are known as: the hunger point, Shen Men point, stomach point and endocrine point. Tiny sterilized needles are inserted at these points in order to stimulate centers that trigger the release of neurochemicals and hormones. Certain seeds and magnets are also used for the same purpose.
In some cases needles may be taped and left in place for a few days. The needles may then be removed at patients at home or by the practitioner during a follow up visit. For those with difficult to control urges, “ear seeds” may be used and worn at home.
The effect of acupuncture on weight loss is high, according to a recent clinical trial published by the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. At Dayton Dandes Medical Auricular Therapy is used to maximize effect and improve weight loss results.
Effectiveness & What to Expect
Several studies show a correlation between Acupuncture treatment and Auricular Therapy and weight loss. Acupuncture and Auricular Therapy are natural therapies which produce little side effects. Both therapies are relatively painless, and patients can return to work immediately.
Risks & Side Effects
The risks and side effects of acupuncture are very few if you seek a certified acupuncture practitioner. Possible side effects and complications include: soreness, organ injury and/or infection of the insertion site. Acupuncture may cause minor bleeding or bruising at needle sites. Organ injury is extremely rare, but can occur if an unlicensed or untrained practitioner places needles to deep within the skin. Licensed acupuncturists are required to use sterile, disposable needles. A reused needle could expose you to infections or diseases like hepatitis.
Not everyone is a good candidate for acupuncture therapy. If you suffer from bleeding disorders, have a pacemaker or are pregnant you should avoid acupuncture therapy.