Can Acupuncture Help You Lose Weight?
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.
Guidance For Using Acupuncture For Weight Loss
- Choose a qualified practitioner – Make sure your acupuncturist has completed the necessary education and training standards to practice. The Clinic you visit should be accredited by the local authority (ACC accredited in New Zealand), to assure that the facility meets health and safety standard and that the team are trained medical professionals.
- Complete a full course of treatment – Acupuncture for weight loss is best achieved with at least 10 treatments delivered over a few weeks.
- Follow a comprehensive weight-loss plan – Acupuncture should be used alongside a comprehensive weight-loss plan, including herbal prescriptions, dietary plan, exercise plan, etc, which your practitioner should discuss with you about during your treatment.