Can ear acupuncture help you lose weight?
Acupuncture that targets points in the ear might help individuals lose weight, according to a small study published in Acupuncture in Medicine.
Acupuncture focused on ear points, called auricular acupuncture, is based on the idea that all parts of the body are linked to certain pressure points on the ears. This technique was first used in 1956 by Dr. Paul Nogier, a French physician who found that a patient's back pain was cured after she burned a part of her ear.
The new study recruited 91 overweight adults who were given acupuncture on five points of the outer ear that corresponded to the spleen, stomach and endocrine system.
Participants were asked to follow a more restrictive diet, although it was not focused on weight loss. The subjects' BMI, waist circumference, body fat mass, percentage of body fat and blood pressure measurements were taken at the beginning and end of the study to determine how acupuncture might effect these numbers.
Among those patients who finished the study, "significant differences" were apparent after four weeks, the authors noted. Individuals who received five-point acupuncture treatment saw a 6.1 percent decrease in BMI, while waist circumference and body fat also fell after eight weeks. No significant differences in blood pressure were seen.
The researchers concluded that ear acupuncture can help treat overweight patients, and that the five-point approach may be helpful in addressing abdominal fat.
Source: British Medical Journal
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