Ear acupuncture could help win battle of bulge

Washington, Dec. 17: Researchers have said that a 5 point stimulation of outer ear can help shed the pounds.

According to the small study, using continuous stimulation of five acupuncture points may be better at reducing abdominal fat (the midriff bulge) than single point stimulation.

Auricular acupuncture therapy is based on the understanding that the outer ear represents all parts of the body.

The Korean researchers compared acupuncture of five points on the outer ear – shen-men (divine gate); spleen, stomach, hunger, and endocrine – and one point (hunger) – with sham treatment on 91 overweight adults (BMI of 23 or more).

Participants were asked to follow a restrictive (although not weight loss) diet and not to take any extra exercise during the eight week period of their treatment.

Thirty one people were randomly assigned to the five point treatment, which involved the insertion of acupuncture needles 2mm deep into the outer ear. These were kept in place with surgical tape for a week, after which the same treatment was applied to the other ear, with the process repeated over eight weeks.

Another 30 people were assigned to the same treatment process, but at just the one hunger point. And a further 30 were given sham treatment – with the same process and timescales, but with the removal of the needles immediately after insertion.

All participants were weighed and measured at the start and end of treatment, and four weeks in, to include BMI, waist circumference, body fat mass, percentage body fat, and blood pressure to see what impact acupuncture might have.

Among those who kept going for the entire period, significant differences were apparent after four weeks, with the active treatment groups showing a 6.1 per cent (5-point treatment) and 5.7 per cent (1-point treatment) reduction, respectively, in BMI compared with the sham treatment group among whom there was no reduction in BMI.

The study has been published online in Acupuncture in Medicine. (ANI)