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Kuan-Chung Chou, LAc
Weight Control with Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine
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Weight Control with Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine

During the past 10 years, overweight and obesity rates have risen significantly in the United States. The National Center for Health Statistics reports that 30 percent of U.S. adults are obese. Sixteen percent of children aged 619 years are considered overweight.
Being overweight increases the risk of many diseases and health conditions, including hypertension, high total cholesterol, high levels of triglycerides, type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, respiratory problems, endometrial cancers, breast cancers, colon cancers and osteoarthritis. Obesity is more than an individual clinical condition; it is increasingly viewed as a serious public health problem.
There are medical acupuncture study findings which indicate that auricular (ear) acupuncture at designated points, in conjunction with a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity, can be effective in treating obesity. Further, according to an Australian medical periodical, stimulation of specific auricular acupuncture points can be an effective method of appetite suppression, which leads to weight loss.
Studies which compared the effect of dieting alone with patients who also received acupuncture treatments showed that the acupuncture group lost considerably more weight, according to reports in the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 1993. Acupuncture stimulates the auricular branch of the vagal nerve and raises serotonin levels, both of which have been shown to suppress appetite.
Research indicates that ear acupuncture at designated points, in conjunction with a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity, is effective in treating obesity. In addition, electro-acupuncture may be an effective therapy for the psychological signs and symptoms of obesity in women. In one study, 165 volunteer women participated in the study. They were divided into three groups placebo, electroacupuncture(EA), and diet restriction. There was a 4.8% reduction in weight of patients with EA application, whereas patients with a diet restriction and placebo EA had a 2.5% and 2.7% weight reduction, respectively. There were significant decreases in phobia, anger, anxiety, obsession, paranoid symptoms and depression in the electroacupuncture groups compared to those of the placebo and diet groups.
It has been observed that acupuncture excites the part of the hypothalamus related to satiation, which may explain its effect on appetite. Also, stimulation of acupoints causes an endorphin release, which can relax the patient, help them regain their willpower and build their resistance to the temptation to eat. From a Chinese medical perspective, acupuncture and herbs can help reduce appetite, improve metabolism and reduce stress, by balancing a patients metabolism and making it more efficient. Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine are effective, not dangerous and have fewer side effects than surgery and some medication. If you have a weight problem, a combination of acupuncture and Chinese medicine may be helpful in helping you lose weight and keep it off.
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