Some people swear by acupuncture to lose weight. Does this TCM method really work? How effective is it?
Acupuncture is an age-old traditional Chinese medicine technique has been used for all kinds of ailments from pain and allergies to PMS and addictions. For weight loss, scientists are still on the fence about it, but a recent study published in The Scientific World Journal found that the majority of 196 obese patients who received acupuncture and restricted their diet lost weight over six weeks.
How it works: “Acupuncture works to manage imbalances in the body that cause weight problems,” says physician Anita Pee of Eu Yan Sang TCM Clinic. Depending on the body constitution and health condition of the patient, hair-thin needles are applied to selected acupuncture points that can promote digestion, improve metabolic rate, control the appetite and strengthen spleen functions to reduce water retention, she adds.
Some other studies have found that acupuncture can reduce stress – particularly useful for emotional eaters. The technique doesn’t melt fat off the body directly, but helps promote better health in general and may lead you to make better food and lifestyle choices.
What to expect: Just like how you can’t slim down after just an hour at the gym, the same can be said for acupuncture. You will need to go for twice-weekly sessions, and then slowly taper off when you reach your desired weight. “The ideal is to lose 0.25 to 0.5kg each week,” says Anita who has seen a diligent patient drop over 10kg in under three months. You physician may also recommend cupping to complement acupuncture and prescribe herbs to help improve your spleen functions, stimulate regular bowel movements and reduce bloatedness from water retention.
(Also read: Here’s How to Cure Your Flu With TCM)
Should you try it: Acupuncture is a safe complementary therapy to get to a healthy weight, as long as you receive treatment from a licensed physician. For best results, you should get a sensible diet and exercise routine in place.
(Also read: 9 Ways to Lose Weight, According to TCM)