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Acupuncture for Weight Loss

Acupuncture for Weight Loss

Acupuncture for Weight Loss

A new study released on 6/29/10, shows obesity rising in 28 states in the past year.  Over two-thirds of states have adult obesity rates over 25%.  According to the most recent National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), 66% of American over age 20 are overweight and 33% are considered obese based on their BMI measurements.  Obesity is at epidemic levels and the numbers are only getting worse.    

The current approach to combat obesity is based on behavioral modifications- i.e., eat less and exercise more.  We’ve been told this for thirty years, yet the obesity numbers are continuing to explode.  Why?  Maybe there is more to it than just behavior.

A growing field of research into obesity is showing the cause may primarily be a hormonal problem.  Studies have shown that long term weight loss is difficult to achieve just through diet and exercise.  Hormonal regulation is the key to getting your body in peak condition to lose weight.  As it turns out, one of the mechanisms behind acupuncture’s success in treating a wide variety of health conditions is its ability to regulate many of the body’s hormones.  Some of the effects of acupuncture that are critical to weight loss are:

•    Influences the hypothalamus, the control center in the brain for hormones and neurotransmitters, helping return the body to a state of balance (homeostasis).

•    Early studies have pointed towards acupuncture regulating the ‘obesity hormones’ Grehlin and Leptin, which control hunger and satiety.

•    Acupuncture moderates the stress response which helps to prevent the release of cortisol (the stress hormone).  When cortisol is released, insulin soon follows, which triggers more fat storage.

•    Auricular (outer ear) acupuncture points are used to help control food cravings and assist in appetite regulation.

•    Acupuncture is well known for its ability to strengthen digestive function.

•    Acupuncture influences serotonin which assists in the treatment of insomnia.  Getting a good night’s rest is essential to all of your body’s functions, including your ability to lose weight.

All of these benefits can help you achieve your weight loss goals.  In addition to acupuncture, proper diet and supplementation, exercise and lifestyle adjustments are necessary to lose weight and maintain long term weight loss.   When combined together, these components can form a rock solid program that can help even the most stubborn case.

Sources:

Amanda Gardner, HealthDay Reporter

Prevalence and Trends in Obesity Among US Adults, 1999-2008 Katherine M. Flegal, PhD; Margaret D. Carroll, MSPH; Cynthia L. Ogden, PhD; Lester R. Curtin, PhD JAMA. 2010;303(3):235-241. Published online January 13, 2010 (doi:10.1001/jama.2009.2014).

Author
Adam Learner, L Ac. Adam Learner, LAc, provides functional medicine and acupuncture for the residents of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, at Family Acupuncture & Wellness. In his practice, he uses a holistic approach to medicine and emphasizes addressing causes, not symptoms.

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