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Acupuncture Shows Potential for Weight Loss in Japanese Men, Study Finds


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A recent study conducted in Japan has discovered that acupuncture, specifically targeting the ear, may have the potential to assist with weight loss. The research, involving over 80 obese Japanese men ranging in age from 21 to 78, examined the effects of a specific type of acupuncture on the outer ear to assess its neurological impact.

The findings indicate that this form of acupuncture had a positive influence on stimulating the nerves and organs responsible for regulating appetite and hunger, thus suggesting its potential in controlling food cravings.

The study also incorporated nutritional advice and diet diaries as additional components. Over the course of the research period, the participants experienced an average reduction in body fat of four percent and a decrease in BMI of nearly three points.

Dr. Takahiro Fujimoto, a researcher from Tokyo’s Clinic F, stated, “Our findings suggest that acupuncture on the ear may aid weight loss when paired with diet and exercise. It’s likely that acupuncture has a positive effect by curbing cravings and appetite, improving digestion, and boosting metabolism.”

The specific acupuncture technique employed in this study involved attaching small metal beads to six points on the outer ear to stimulate the nerves. This method has been utilized in Japanese culture for weight loss purposes for more than three decades.

While traditional Chinese medicine considers acupuncture to be based on the concept of qi (energy) flow in the body, skeptics argue that the results may not be solely attributable to acupuncture alone. Prof Jason Halford, president of the European Association for the Study of Obesity, raised the point that the lack of a control group receiving other aspects of the intervention makes it difficult to attribute the findings exclusively to acupuncture.

Tam Fry from the National Obesity Forum also expressed reservations, stating that previous attempts at using acupuncture for weight loss were short-lived and did not yield significant or sustainable results.

The researchers themselves acknowledge certain limitations of the study, such as its observational nature. They emphasize the need for further controlled trials to confirm and validate the results.

The study provides promising evidence that acupuncture, particularly targeting the ear, may contribute to weight loss efforts when combined with a balanced diet and regular exercise. However, more rigorous research is necessary to establish the full extent of acupuncture’s efficacy in this context and to address potential confounding factors.

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