Can acupuncture help you lose weight faster?

Acupuncture, weight loss

Most of us know that eating well and exercising are two crucial things to focus on if we want to lose weight, but did you know that acupuncturists can use specific protocols (or treatment points, in this case usually in the ear) that are focused on curbing hunger, minimising cravings and decreasing abdominal fat?

Can acupuncture help you lose weight?

Korean research published online for the Journal of Acupuncture in Medicine in December 2013, showed that when combined with a restrictive diet and exercise, five point auricular (ear) acupuncture and one point acupuncture focused on a point that reduced hunger, resulted in an improvement in weight loss of 6.1 per cent and 5.7 per cent consecutively compared to placebo acupuncture (meaning a procedure using ‘fake’ points known to do nothing).

The much-respected acupuncture textbook, Applied Channel Theory In Chinese Medicine by Wang Ju-Yi and Jason Robertson, talks about Shao yang pathology that “ revolves around the concept that, when regulation is compromised, heat and qi become clumped in the interior”. In layman’s terms, it’s this energy ‘clumping’ that is believed to cause excess weight.

According to acupuncture practitioner Kirsten Lee, who works at the Health Space clinic in Mona Vale, Sydney: “Acupuncture is a holistic modality and it looks at the person as a whole, so when addressing weight loss it is best to identify and treat the barriers to weight loss for best chance of success.”

Some of those ‘barriers’ include not getting enough sleep, cravings for sweet foods that produce ‘dampness’ (an acupuncture term), not eating nutritional foods, juggling emotional issues, injuries that stop you from being active and hormonal issues such as menopause or polycystic ovaries. You acupuncturist can help you with these things too, as well as refer you to other specialist practitioners if needed. 

So the answer to the question can acupuncture help you lose weight faster is YES, but before start googling clinics in your area, it’s really important to remember it’s not a cure-all. You still have to do regular exercise and eat well to get results, but combine those things with acupuncture, and you’ll probably get to where you want to be much quicker.

Image credit: iStock
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Dr Kate Wood
Born and raised in rural Northern NSW, Kate's love for health and the body started when she won her first athletics race at age 8. During her many years of study – a Masters of Chiropractic and post grad training in acupuncture, clinic neurology and advanced injury rehabilitation, amongst other things - Kate also developed a passion for family wellness, in particular pregnancy and paediatric care. In any one day, Kate will perform adjustments, mobilisations, soft tissue techniques, dry needling, kinesiology, diet and lifestyle advice, and even meditation for her clients; and what sets her apart is her commitment to not only addressing the physical ailments of her patients but also the chemical, emotional and spiritual connections they have to the issues and ailments they are facing. Together, she and husband Nick Wood own and run Healthspace Clinics, a series of healthcare clinics across Sydney.