While there are many known ways to lose weight, one method that isn’t so well known for weight loss is acupuncture.
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medicinal practice more than 5000 years old.
It is a process whereby very fine needles are inserted into the skin in very specific areas of the body.
This treatment, delivered by acupuncturists, has traditionally been used to treat a variety of medical conditions.
More recently, however, acupuncture is now being embraced by western practitioners to alleviate pain and cure a variety of medical conditions, including to aid weight loss.
How Does it Work?
According to ancient Chinese tradition, each person has an energy or ‘life force’ that flows through five different channels inside their body. The insertion of very fine needles at strategic points on the anatomy is believed to reactivate trapped energy pathways, or ‘Qi’ (pronounced “chee”), within the body. Since trapped Qi, according to traditional beliefs, causes a variety of physical and medical conditions, releasing it can heal a host of ailments, while also allowing the body to start functioning properly again.
The Scientific Perspective
Acupuncture works by targeting hormone receptors that release endorphins, the body’s “feel good” hormones. This produces a calming effect, which offsets the patient’s need for excessive overeating as a coping mechanism for their stress, anxiety or frustration.
Why Use Acupuncture For Weight Loss?
Of the many reasons people gain weight, a poor diet is by far the largest contributing factor.
Acupuncture is an effective strategy to deal with this, as treatments work to restore regular blood-flow to the hypothalamus, the brain’s regulation centre.
The job of the hypothalamus is to maintain “homeostasis”, the stability of the internal environment within the body.
Among other important bodily functions, the hypothalamus regulates hormones and controls hunger and thirst.
Research on the effectiveness of acupuncture has shown that regular treatments decreased the levels of leptin, the hormone that regulates the storage of fat, and increased the levels of ghelin, the hormone that controls apetite.
These studies have shown that acupuncture is effective for weight loss as it helps the patient to control their appetite, stifle their cravings, restore hormonal imbalances, enhance digestion and boost their metabolism.
Areas Targeted for Weight Loss
With a patient who is trying to lose weight, acupuncturists target four key points around the patient’s ear – the Shen Men point, the hunger point, the stomach point, and the endocrine point – to stimulate the body’s hormonal centres and trigger the release of endorphins and other hormones.
How Much Does It Cost?
The price of treatment depends entirely upon your geological location and choice of professional, however typical treatments range between $20 – $50 for a single session, while a course of treatment usually comes at a discounted price.
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Guide to Getting Effective Acupuncture for Weight Loss Treatment
It is important that you receive treatment from a qualified professional in order for your treatment to be safe and effective, so here are a few pointers to ensure you get the best out of your acupuncture experience:
Be sure to go to a trustworthy, qualified professional – In the US, most states require acupuncturists to be licensed and meet strict educational and vocational requirements before they are able to practice. This is usually shown by having L.Ac. (licensed acupuncturist) immediately after the name of the professional in question.
Make sure you complete a full course of treatment – To get the full benefits of acupuncture, be sure to finish a full course of treatment. The number of sessions required for a full course of treatment is usually no more than 10, but the exact number will be given to you by your chosen professional during consultation.
Use acupuncture as an aid, not a solution – While acupuncture is effective in helping you to lose weight, it will not do the job for you. Be sure to pair treatments with a healthy diet plan if you want to see results. Add in a workout routine and that fat will melt right off.
Don’t get confused – Ear stapling is not acupuncture. Although it is based loosely on the same concept, it is much less precise, is not professionally regulated and pierces the ear cartilage with surgical staples, a practice which promotes the spread of bacteria and infection. Not to mention it hurts!