When it comes to losing weight, changing eating habits and exercising more are the cornerstones to a successful plan. For some of us though, that may not be enough and we need some additional strategies to maximize our weight loss. The ancient Chinese practice of acupuncture has been used for thousands of years to address a variety of health concerns and has been gaining traction in the West as studies are finding it to be effective for treating a number of diseases and conditions. If you are interested in using complementary therapies in your weight loss regimen, this may be one to consider.

Basics of Acupuncture

The tenets of acupuncture may seem strange to many in the West as there really is no equivalent mode of thought and treatment here. The following is a basic overview. Traditional Chinese Medicine posits that there is a life force, or energy, that flows through the whole body through specific channels, or meridians that correspond to different organs and areas of the body. When energy becomes blocked, unbalanced, deficient or excessive in certain pathways, specific health problems are believed to manifest. Acupuncture is meant to stimulate certain points on the body linked to the meridians to unblock this energy and restore health, balance and normal functioning.

Role of Acupuncture in Weight Loss

Acupuncture is not intended to be a primary treatment for losing weight. Rather, it is one part of a regimen that also includes diet, exercise and other lifestyle modifications; many practitioners may also suggest certain Chinese herbal remedies, breathing exercises and other natural treatments. Acupuncture treatments may help make it easier to lose weight and keep it off, but without a commitment to changing your ways, its effectiveness will be limited. It is not a panacea nor is it some sort of miracle treatment that will melt fat with no effort on your part.

Practitioners believe that acupuncture may be able to help restore the proper flow of energy to and from the hypothalamus, the part of the brain that regulates things such as hunger. Research evaluating the effectiveness of acupuncture for weight loss has found treatments appeared to increase the production of the hormone gherlin, which helps control appetite, and reduce the production of the hormone leptin, which can play a role in slowed metabolism and increased fat storage. Because it may affect our bodies at these core levels of functioning, it may be a useful tool in reducing appetite, controlling cravings, speeding up metabolism, facilitating proper digestion, regulating hormones that influence weight and helping the body use nutrients more effectively.

Acupuncture Sessions

The nature of your acupuncture sessions will depend on many individual factors. The acupuncturist will need to ask you many questions to determine the optimal stimulation points. She will assess your eating habits and determine if you have any digestion difficulties. The stomach is of particular interest and the practitioner will check several areas to determine if you have any issues with this part of the body, such as your pulse and tongue. This examination will help him determine what issues are causing your weight problems and how to best address them.

There are many points that correspond to weight and eating issues, and depending on her assessment of why you overeat and what other problems you may have, the practitioner will usually work on at least two points in each session. If you have hormonal balances for example, the acupuncturist might needle points linked to the spleen or kidneys while a slow metabolism may benefit from stimulating points connected to the thyroid. Most of the points used in weight loss issues are located in the ear.

When it comes to the number of sessions, it can vary depending on your individual circumstances, but practitioners generally recommend about 10 over the course of several weeks for the purpose of weight loss.

Closing Thoughts

When it comes to losing weight, you need to adopt a multi-pronged strategy. Research suggests that acupuncture may be an effective tool to have in your arsenal when it comes to dropping those extra pounds, but like it was mentioned earlier, it is not a magic cure. Weight loss is always going to require some degree of effort on your part and if you choose to experiment with acupuncture, it will not relieve you of the need to make healthier choices and take an active role in reaching your weight loss goals. These treatments may make the road a bit easier but it cannot do the work for you.

Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who has a passion for healthy living and is very grateful her writing career allows her to produce helpful information that others can use to better their health and lives. If you are interested in using a commercial weight loss program to aid your efforts, check out this promo coupon offer for Nutrisystem.