What is Obesity?

In terms of the health standards obesity is defined as having a Body Mass Index (BMI) of thirty percent higher. To calculate you BMI take your weight in pounds, multiply it by 703, then divide it twice by your height in inches. A healthy or average BMI falls in the range of 20-24%, anything below that is considered underweight, and anything about is regarded as overweight.

Obesity has no singular cause. Genetic, age, lifestyle, constitution, emotion, and diet are all factors that contribute to obesity.

Treating Obesity with Acupuncture

Losing weight is easier said than done. Being obese is an much a struggle physically and socially as it is emotionally and mentally.

Diet and exercise are helpful in any program of weight reduction. Most people who come for acupuncture treatments, however, have been given diets and exercise regimens before. They may have good knowledge of what they should and shouldn’t eat but they feel depressed or irritable when they try to stay on a diet.

Acupuncture should relieve such problems and improve will power along with aiding in weight loss. Inserting acupuncture needles superficially into various parts of the body can facilitate weight loss by giving the person a feeling of well-being which can suppress the desire for excess food.

Acupuncture also can stimulate metabolism and thereby enable the body to utilize food efficiently instead of storing it as fat.

A balance system which can be set by acupuncture treatment also provides more circulation of blood and nutrients to the muscles, bones, and tissues so that an individual can exercise longer thus burning more stored fat without becoming tired or light headed which can be discouraged factors when beginning an exercise program.

The specific treatment plan used for each patient depends on many individual factors. The licensed acupuncturist determines which points should be used with regard to the patient’s individual syndrome of disease ( what kind of imbalance of energy in the patient’s body ).

The actual weight loss to be expected is about two to four pounds a week. Six to ten acupuncture treatments are usually sufficient, and these can be given once or twice a week.

Weight loss should continue after the treatments are completed until normal weight is achieved. The effects of acupuncture usually last at least six months and sometimes a year or more. If the desire to eat excessively returns at any time in the future, a few more acupuncture treatments should relieve it.

Research for Acupuncture and Obesity

In a Russian study of obese children, it was found that regular acupuncture treatments resulted in the normalization of blood and serum levels, decrease of overall body mass and fatty tissue content, and increased exercise performance abilities.

In other studies conclusive evidence was offered to show needling of auricular points helped to lower the appetite, increase satiety with less food, as well as lower insulin and lipid levels.

In the recent May 2012 publication of Obesity Reviews, a team of researchers performed a detailed systematic review of clinical studies looking at acupuncture and obesity. When compared to no treatment and pharmaceutical medications, the acupuncture studies showed greater weight loss, decreased BMI and decreased weight circumference.

In addition to acupuncture’s efficacy on weight loss, scientists have provided explanations on how acupuncture promotes weight loss:

  • Increases metabolism: Auricular (ear) acupuncture has been shown to temporarily increase basal metabolic rate and suppresses appetite via effects on the autonomic nervous system.
  • Improves insulin resistance: There is some data supporting acupuncture’s effectiveness on addressing a condition called insulin resistance, which is associated with metabolic syndrome. This is done by altering activity of the sympathetic nervous system and possibly correcting the insulin signal defect.
  • Decreases abdominal fat: An MRI study demonstrated a decrease in abdominal fat storage after acupuncture treatments.
  • Appetite suppression: In the rat model, electro-acupuncture influenced the hypothalamus and obesity-related hormones to promote appetite suppression.

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Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine in DC Metro Area- jo.sjcui@gmail.com