Acupuncture and Weight Loss

Using The Healing Power of Qi For Weight Loss

Acupuncture and Weight Loss

 Chinese acupuncture is finally getting under the skin of dieters by tapping into the body's many hidden energy meridians. The ancient practice of acupuncture helps to heal a host of ailments, and practitioners of Western medicine now embrace it to quell chronic pain, postoperative pain, nausea and vomiting, high blood pressure, addictions and weight loss. When fine needles are barely inserted into the skin along strategic points on the body it can restore balance to the flow of energy along rivers of Qi (pronounced chee), or life force.

There are many reasons people become overweight - hormone imbalances, slowed metabolism, overeating, poor nutrition and lack of exercise are some of the most common.


Using acupuncture to tackle weight loss is a multi-pronged approach.

Pinning Down the Benefits

The rationale for using acupuncture for weight control is based in the premise that weight gain could be the result of disturbed energy flow to and from the regulating center of the brain, called the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is responsible for maintaining "homeostasis" or functional balance that allows the body to run like a finely tuned instrument. It is the body's dispatch center that regulates hormones and neurochemicals, and helps to control body temperature, circadian rhythm, thirst and hunger.

Of particular interest is the ability of acupuncture to influence obesity hormones. Research measuring the effectiveness of acupuncture for weight loss found treatments increased ghrelin, a hormone that controls meal initiation and decreased leptin, the hormone that regulates fat storage and metabolism.

The guiding principal is that acupuncture can power up any other weight control strategy by curbing appetite, quelling cravings, boosting metabolism, improving digestion, regulating obesity-related hormones and enhancing the way nutrients are used. It also strengthens the function of the liver, the organ that produces many chemicals critical for digestion, processing nutrients and breaking down of fats. Acupuncture may also increase tone in the smooth muscle of the stomach to help people know that they are full.

Earmark of Acupuncture

To pinpoint the Qi for effective weight control, acupuncturists take aim at 4 acupuncture points on the ear - the hunger point, Shen Men point, stomach point, and endocrine point. A few tiny sterilized needles are inserted along these invisible channels to decrease the "heat" generated along these meridians and to stimulate centers that trigger the release of neurochemicals and hormones.

During some courses of treatment, the needles are covered with tape so that they can be left in place for a few days. Patients later remove them at home or during follow-up visits to the acupuncturist. Some practitioners may also use "ear seeds" that patient wear home that can be massaged periodically to help with difficult-to-control urges.

Guidance For Using Acupuncture For Weight Loss

  • Choose a qualified practitioner - Most states require that acupuncturists be licensed to assure that they have completed the necessary education and training standards to practice. You may see L.Ac. (licensed acupuncturist) following his or her name. Acupuncturists may also be medical doctors or other medical professional who have completed a postgraduate program of study.
  • Complete a full course of treatment - Acupuncture for weight loss is best achieved with 10 treatments delivered over a few weeks.
    Follow a comprehensive weight-loss plan - Acupuncture should be used alongside a comprehensive weight-loss plan, like the Dr. Oz Diet that includes healthy food choices coupled with exercise.
  • Don't Confuse Treatments -- Although ear stapling is loosely based on the concept of acupuncture, it is an imprecise method that uses surgical staples that penetrate the cartilage of the ear, which is know to promote infection.

4 Steps to Shedding Your Pandemic Pounds

Forgive yourself, and start walking toward a healthier you.

For those of you who have put on the Pandemic Pounds or added several new COVID Curves, you are not alone. Alarmingly, the American Psychological Association has recently published that almost half of all adults in their survey now have a larger physique. In fact, 42% of people reported gaining roughly 15 pounds (the average published was surprisingly 29 pounds but that included outliers) over the past year. Interestingly, 20% of adults in this survey lost about 12 pounds (I am surely not in this group). Clearly, there is a relationship between stress and weight change. In addition, one in four adults disclosed an increase in alcohol consumption, and 67% of participants distressingly revealed that they have new sleeping patterns.

This past year has brought about what has been called the 'new normal.' Social isolation and inactivity due to quarantining and remote working have sadly contributed to the decline in many people's mental and physical health, as demonstrated by the widespread changes in people's weight, alcohol consumption, and sleeping patterns. Gym closures, frequent ordering of unhealthy takeout, and increased time at home cooking and devouring comfort foods have had a perceptible impact. In addition, many people have delayed routine medical care and screening tests over fear of contracting Covid-19 during these visits. Unfortunately, the 'new normal' has now placed too many people at risk for serious health consequences, including heart attacks and strokes.

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