It can certainly be an attractive proposition to use acupuncture for weight loss – inserting needles at certain specific points in the body and the weight falling away as a result – an attractive proposition indeed, requiring no real effort or difficult diet control!
However, to some of us, acupuncture for weight loss can sound rather too good to be true, leading to the question – does acupuncture really work? Can acupuncture really cause weight loss?
In theory, acupuncture for weight loss works by inserting needles into indicated points in the body for certain lengths of time.
This is thought to improve blood circulation, stimulate the peripheral nervous system and free certain energies and also impact production of certain hormones in the body, thus resulting in weight loss. Acupuncture is thought to speed up the metabolism as well.
Another way in which acupuncture for weight loss is thought to work is, by helping reduce stress, anxiety and depression and enhancing wellbeing. By helping a person reduce stress and relax, acupuncture may also be said to control binge eating and other nervous habits, thereby causing weight loss.
The NHS website lists a number of conditions including weight loss where acupuncture has been deemed effective – it is stated that there is evidence to suggest that acupuncture for weight loss can work and that it is also effective treatment for other conditions such as certain kinds of chronic pain, nausea, headaches, osteoarthritis.
Additionally there is also evidence to suggest that acupuncture can help those who are trying to quit smoking and those who have rheumatoid arthritis.
So does this mean that acupuncture for weight loss will work for everyone? The answer to that question is not an unequivocal yes – the fact is that acupuncture can work very well as a weight loss aid for some people and is seen to be less effective or completely ineffective for others.
This is because different people respond to acupuncture differently. Also acupuncture is an inexact science and different practitioners may function using different methods. So acupuncture for weight loss may be an effective solution for some, yet not for others.
With the question of the efficacy of acupuncture for weight loss, comes another question – is acupuncture safe? Here most experts agree that one can ensure safety by going to a trained acupuncturist who has stringent hygiene standards. For the first three to four weeks of treatment this is a safe procedure beyond which adequate evidence of safety is not available.