Obesity is one of the most common problems faced by adults as well as children these days. Primary causes of obesity are excess intake of junk food, lack of exercise, and a sedentary lifestyle. Obesity not only affects your appearance, but it gives rise to plenty of health related problems. That’s why, it is advised by the doctors to keep body weight under control. Nowadays, many people have become cautious about their health and they are adopting various ways to lose excess body weight. Lately, acupuncture has gained a lot of popularity as an effective tool for weight loss. As it is a natural therapy, it involves no harmful side effects on your health, when performed by an experienced professional.
How Acupuncture helps in Weight Reduction
The rationale behind using acupuncture to aid weight loss lies in the philosophy of unblocking the flow of qi (life force) in the body. The needles are inserted along specific energy routes in such a way as to regulate the production of certain hormones that play a primary role in metabolism, appetite regulation, and nutrition absorption. However, one must remember that acupuncture alone will not help you shed all those extra pounds. It is a supplemental therapy that must accompany proper diet control and a regular exercise routine. Acupuncture does not work any magic; it merely enhancing your existing weight-loss efforts by manipulating certain hormones and physiological processes to achieve the desired internal balance that optimizes the process of weight-loss.
Mechanism of Action
Managing Stress: In this therapy, long, thin, sterilized needles are inserted into the body, which stimulate release of endorphin offering relaxing and calming effect. It can control binging, which may originate from stress. Excessive eating results from excess stress, anxiety and frustration, which may be a major cause of obesity. Acupuncture can control stress and anxiety and keep you relaxed so that your tendency of overeating is reduced.
Managing the ‘Hunger’ Hormones: The hormone ghrelin is responsible for inducing the feelings of hunger and leptin is responsible for inhibiting appetite and inducing a feeling of satiety in an individual. Acupuncture manipulates the levels of these hormones in such a way as to induce a feeling of fullness and decrease unnecessary hunger pangs.
Correcting Pituitary Output: The secretions of the pituitary gland affect the rate of metabolism and stimulate the thyroid gland. Acupuncture invigorates the hypothalamus, stimulating the pituitary gland which, in turn, activates a sluggish thyroid gland and speeds up metabolism. This automatically causes the body to use up its idle, stored fats and, thereby, helps the body shed excess weight.
What the Acupuncturist Does
An acupuncturist selects treatment points depending upon a patient’s diagnosis. Acupuncture needles are inserted into these points and kept for about 30-45 minutes per session. The treatment focuses on modification of lifestyle for developing a weight loss program. It helps manage metabolic conditions that may be responsible for unexplained weight gain. Stimulation of acupuncture points helps in reducing food cravings, speeding up metabolism, and improving overall circulation. This therapy also leads to a decrease in cholesterol levels. Points are selected to improve overall health keeping the objective of improving blood circulation and relaxing the nervous system. Different acupuncture points are selected for different treatment courses. Generally, treatment is scheduled once or twice a week and continued for 8-12 weeks until the desired weight is reached. The therapy schedule also involves a combination of body and auricular (ear) acupuncture, herbs and supplements, breathing exercises, abdominal massage as well as food and lifestyle recommendations.
Ear acupuncture is especially found to very effective for weight reduction. Auricular acupuncture points are stimulated using small tacks and then seed-sized beads or magnets are taped to these points in order to enhance the effectiveness. Some most commonly used auricular points are shen men, small intestine, hunger point, mouth and endocrine point. When the patient gets food cravings in between meals, mild pressure is applied to these points or ear staples are rubbed. It stimulates the release of endorphins that induces a feeling of relaxation and contentment as a way of distracting the patient from food cravings.
Acupuncture is definitely a powerful and effective tool for weight management. However, one must make sure that the acupuncturist is skilled and experienced and insist upon the use of sterilized needles. Also, you must consult your physician to make sure you do not have any medical condition that may be worsened if you undergo acupuncture therapy.