A National Health Review survey done in 2002 stated that 8.2 million Americans actually sought acupuncture treatments.
But what is acupuncture? And will it help me to lose weight?
What is it?
Acupuncture is a technique where fine, filliform needles are manipulated and inserted into specific points on your body to relieve pain, treat allergies or for general therapeutic purposes.
Although widely used in Korea & Japan, China is the authority on this subject. According to Chinese medical theory, these acupuncture points are found on meridians along which your vital energy, or qi, flows.
So how does it work?
If you decide to use acupuncture to lose weight, please check with your doctor first and find a reputable, certified acupuncturist.
Be honest with him or her and give details about things like your eating habits, any digestive problems you may have and your appetite in general.
The acupuncturist will then check your pulse and understand the general state of your body's energy or qi.
As can be seen from this simple exercise, acupuncture treatment is actually catered to the needs of the individual patient. After this evaluation, the acupuncturist will then insert the needles at certain pre-chosen points on your body.
This is done to unblock the meridians in your body as when these meridians are blocked, your qi does not flow freely and will usually result in poor health.
These points are chosen to give you an overall feeling of well being with the objective of increasing the circulation of blood in your body as well as your qi. This stimulates your metabolic rate and calms your nervous system.
Some of these predetermined points will include your mouth, stomach, lungs, spleen, kidney and thyroid.
Usually, treatments are performed once or twice a week for about 8 to 12 weeks, or until you reach your desired target weight.
Is this backed by research?
In 2003, a study that was published by the Journal Of Medical Acupuncture found that participants who received acupuncture actually lost 3 times more weight than the control group.
Also, another study conducted in 1998 by the University of Adelaide in Australia showed that participants using acupuncture demonstrated appetite suppression more than the control group.
So should I just use acupuncture to lose weight then?
Well, even though the above studies have shown that participants have lost more weight using acupuncture, no real conclusions can be derived on its success when used as a single weight loss method. This is because, other than using acupuncture, most of these participants in the studies were also using other traditional methods of weight loss at the same time, for example, dieting and exercise.
Studies that were done using acupuncture as a single method of weight loss involved only a handful of subjects and they were followed only for a few acupuncture sessions and only for another few weeks thereafter.
Therefore, no solid or conclusive evidence can be made in this case.
Losing weight is not an easy task. Even though acupuncture may have given a probable psychological boost to the participants in the above mentioned studies, it is not a miracle treatment where fat will just melt off your body after a few sessions.
The key to losing weight safely, naturally and permanently has always been proven consistently to be a solid & nutritious eating plan in combination with a schedule of high intensity exercises.