Can Acupuncture Help You Lose Weight?

Acupuncture is an ancient form of alternative medicine in which needles are inserted and manipulated at certain points of the body. This may sound like a freaky way to lose weight at first, but think about other ways people have tried to lose weight “ stapled stomachs, gastric bypasses, jaws wired shuts, and drugs that might even kill you. When looked at in the light of some other extreme and dangerous weight loss techniques, a few needles don’t sound so bad, do they?  Acupuncture is used to treat everything from infertility and disease to chronic pain and the common cold, and weight loss can also be a result. Think that acupuncture might be something you would be willing to try for weight loss? Read on.

What it can do for you. Acupuncture is believed to promote weight loss in two ways. First, it helps you deal with the stress, anxiety, and other factors that can lead to emotional overeating. The treatment is thought to release endorphins, which will help you feel calm and relaxed and avoid bingeing and other stress eating. Second, it is also thought that these same endorphins will help regulate your digestive and hormonal systems, and help rebalance your metabolism. So, if you think lowering your stress and rebalancing your metabolism will help you lose weight, acupuncture may be for you. 

Find a reputable practitioner. The best way to find a reputable acupuncture practitioner is through referrals “ talk to friends, relatives, co-workers, and your primary care physician. Your health care plan may have a list of recommended practitioners as well. Be sure and look for someone whose specialties include weight loss, as practitioners’ areas of expertise can vary. Once you have found a practitioner you’d like to use, find out about his or her training, how long they have been practicing, and what aspects of acupuncture they employ.

What to expect. An acupuncture practitioner will examine you in many of the ways your doctor would, with questions about habits, diet, exercise, etc., as well as medical history. Expect your pulse to be taken, your blood pressure measured, your heart and lungs to be listened to. Laboratory tests and even X-rays might be ordered. But you can also expect some unusual tests “ your complexion will be examined, as will your tongue and the outside of your ears. After the exam, the practitioner will design a plan of treatment for weight loss.

Understand the risks. The side effects from acupuncture for weight loss can range from mild “ soreness, redness and bleeding around the needle site “ to severe, including internal organ injury from needles pushed too deeply, or infectious diseases such as Hepatitis C. Be sure your practitioner uses sterilized, single use needles. If you have any type of blood disorder, or are taking blood thinners, you are not a good candidate for acupuncture for weight loss. Pregnant women should not undergo acupuncture, either, although hopefully you are not pregnant and concerned about weight loss.

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