Acupressure is a alternative treatment which is derived from and less well-known than acupuncture. It has the same goal of an acupuncture, which is to help relieve any tension or pain that the individual may be experiencing. But does acupressure do more than that? Can acupressure even assist in weight loss?
What is Acupressure?
The treatment differs from acupuncture in that there are no needles involved. In fact, acupressure is actually a type of massage that incorporates application of pressure from a therapist to specific points on the body.
It is well documented that massage is a very useful tool for improving circulation, increasing relaxation, reducing stress, pain and inflammation and improving posture. Therefore, we can safely say this procedure does have benefits associated with it.
There is also a specific form of acupressure which involves magnets to replicate the pressure applied by a therapist and cause muscle relaxation. It is a perfectly safe treatment and involves placing magnets on the skin, specifically on either side of a pressure point which will squeeze the skin together and apply a pressure to the desired area. Once again, the goal is to try and reduce any tension around the structure and promote circulation to the area.
It has been suggested that magnetic weight loss may be possible through this procedure. It has been suggested that the magnets may interfere with metabolism and circulation. You can now even purchase ear magnets for weight loss!
Okay, so now we have had a decent overview of both procedures, let’s consider whether these treatments can actually facilitate weight loss.
Acupressure for weight loss
I would be very skeptical of any practice who believe they can use ear acupressure for weight loss, target specific pressure points on feet or use any acupressure treatment for weight loss. Unfortunately, the same goes for magnet therapy for weight loss as there appears to be very little evidence linking it with fat reduction.
The issue with using treatments like this for fat loss is that they are totally unrelated to weight loss. There may be certain benefits to the treatment however, they are to do with the nervous system and are unrelated to body composition.
It is your energy balance that will dictate whether or not you make significant progress towards improving your body composition. A negative energy balance is where you expend more calories per day than your body requires. This causes your body to begin breaking down fat stores in order to continually supply the body with energy. A positive energy balance is what cause weight gain and is simply where your intake of calories is higher than your output, causing your body to store fat.
Acupressure points for weight loss
Although it’s clear it will not directly affect your body fat, acupressure can certainly serve as a useful tool for assisting in the weight loss process as it can help reduce tension, improve movement, reduce pain and lessen fatigue.
During a typical treatment, the therapist will target a specific area of the body known as trigger points (or sometimes pressure points). Trigger points are points on the body which trigger a nervous response – typically pain or discomfort. They also are normally very sensitive to movement or pressure. Typically, an individual will have many trigger points throughout the body which may have formed due to their activities, previous injury and movement. The intentions of the therapist is not to select acupressure points for belly fat reduction (as now we know, that’s not possible) but to select points that will bring pain relief and promote circulation to the area.
Some trigger points may take a long time to improve, however, with regular bouts of this treatment you’d expect a reduction in pain and sensitivity around each trigger point.. As a result, you may find that you can move more freely and more efficiently which can have a positive impact on any training, expending energy and creating a negative energy balance.
Acupressure is a very useful treatment however, do remember that it will not have a direct impact on your fat stores. Only a negative energy balance can bring about the change you seek in body compostion.