Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese treatment used for therapeutic and preventative reasons. It is a treatment which sparks controversy but it is practiced widely by many health professionals and health companies. It is considered to be a form of alternative medicine and has been used for centuries but, does acupuncture help with weight loss?
Acupuncture involves inserting very fine needles into the skin in order to stimulate nerves of the skin and of the muscle. This process will cause the body to release endorphins which are feel-good hormones and this may result in a decrease in any feelings of pain and relief of any tension.
The needles can be used to target any part of the body. Once inserted under the skin, the needles may be left there for just a few minutes or for up to 30 minutes before being removed. There are specific points on the body where the needles are to be inserted, this is to target specific nerves and specific muscles.
It is claimed that the treatment can be used to treat a multitude of disorders, diseases and conditions such as:
- Inflammation related conditions (bursitis, arthritis, tendonitis)
- Pain conditions (headaches, chronic pains, joint pains, fatigue)
- Health conditions (respiratory disorders, digestive disorders, skin conditions)
Many will vouch for the benefits that this treatment can bring however, there does appears to be conflicting scientific evidence to back up any potential claims. That’s not to say that the treatment is ineffective, only that more research is required in order to confirm or deny this. With that being said, it has been well documented that acupuncture can help relieve migraines and tension headaches.
Can acupuncture help with weight loss?
In a world where people are looking to find the “magic” pill for weight loss, acupuncture has been touted as a potential candidate. Sadly, there doesn’t appear to be any direct link between acupuncture and weight loss. With that being said, the benefits of the treatment may work to facilitate fat loss as it may serve as a useful and effective training aid.
Needle therapy for weight loss
As mentioned, needle therapy will not directly reduce ones body fat. So, I’d stay clear of any practitioner who advertises acupuncture points for weight loss, for belly fat reduction or anything along those lines. This is because the only cause of fat reduction is a negative energy balance, also known as a calorie deficit. This is where calories out is greater than calories in. This deficit can be created through a combination of both an improved diet and regular exercise.
Acupuncture benefits for weight loss
So, whilst acupuncture and weight loss aren’t directly linked, it’s not to say that the treatment can’t assist in the process of fat loss. The main benefit of of this treatment is pain relief and relaxation. For an example, let’s imagine we have an individual who is looking to reduce their fat reduction but suffers from back pain. This pain hampers their ability to exercise and therefore they decide to begin a bout of acupuncture. After a few treatments, the feelings of pain have reduced significantly which then allows the individual to train harder which will help them burn more calories. Additionally, it has been suggested that acupuncture may bes effective at reducing cravings which, if true, will serve to have a positive impact on one’s diet and continue to add toward a negative energy balance.
Is acupuncture safe for weight loss?
You must ensure that you are seeing a practitioner from a reputable company or practice as all needles need to be thoroughly sterilised prior to any treatment. Most acupuncturists will have had to do a training course to ensure they are competent in performing this procedure and therefore it is perfectly safe and you have little to be concerned about.
Also, a common misconception is that the treatment is painful when in actuality, the needles do not get inserted deep enough into the skin to trigger pain receptors. You may feel a slight tingle and a little sharpness (specifically with tender areas) however, it is not extremely painful.
So in conclusion, can acupuncture help you lose weight? Yes, but only indirectly. It may help reduce pain, allow you to train more effectively and burn more calories. It will not directly cause weight loss but is a useful tool nonetheless.