Want to lose weight? Try ear acupuncture

Want to lose weight? Try ear acupuncture

Japanese research suggests ear acupuncture can help lose weight. Researchers suggested the approach could stimulate nerves and organs that govern appetite, fullness, and hunger, reducing food cravings. 81 obese Japanese men aged 21–78 received ear acupuncture with small metal beads on six outer ear sites.

During hospital visits, all were advised to keep a diet diary and cut their food intake in half for three months. On average, individuals lost 4in (10.4%) and 4% body fat, while BMI dropped by almost three points.

'Reduces cravings' “Our findings suggest that acupuncture on the ear may aid weight loss when paired with diet and exercise,” stated Tokyo Clinic F researcher Dr. Takahiro Fujimoto. “Acupuncture may reduce appetite, improve digestion, and boost metabolism.”

Other obesity experts questioned whether the findings indicated the impact of acupuncture, noting that physician recommendations to reduce weight, food diaries, and hospital surveillance may have been the main motivators.

The authors noted the study's shortcomings, particularly its short monitoring duration. The Dublin European Congress on Obesity will present the findings. Beads were utilized to stimulate acupuncture instead of intradermal needles, which need professional acupuncturists.

Dr. Fujimoto explained, “Since these tiny metal beads are attached to six points on the outer ear that stimulate nerves and organs that regulate appetite, satiety, and hunger, this type of acupuncture does not require complex knowledge or skill.

“Japan has used this weight loss method for over 30 years.” Acupuncture is founded on the belief that health depends on qi (energy) flow. The body's meridians, including the ears, are supposed to carry this energy. 

Thus, qi blockages can harm physical and mental health. Thus, thin needles or beads are placed on sites, usually along meridian lines, to unblock qi. Ear acupuncture may affect the endocrine system, metabolism, digestion, and oxidative stress through an unknown mechanism.

This study expands on prior research in overweight or obese Japanese women. Ear acupuncture with beads caused considerable weight loss that was maintained for six months following therapy. "There is no control group here receiving everything but the acupuncture," stated European Association for the Study of Obesity president Prof. Jason Halford. Thus, keeping a meal diary may raise diet awareness. 

“Randomized controlled trials are next.” "This weight-loss treatment is almost as old as the hills," said Tam Fry of the National Obesity Forum. 

It was hyped in the early 1990s, but like fad diets, it failed. Weight loss was minor and quickly regained. “Also consider this: if you were asked today to cut your food intake by 50%, you'll likely be slimmer by August.”

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