Secret to weight loss may be in your ears: new research


May 17, 2023 | 1:23 p.m.

Have you had it up to your ears with weight loss tips? You may be on the right track.

According to Japanese researchers, acupuncture on the outer ear has been shown to reduce weight, relieve food cravings and lower body mass index.

But the acupuncture technique used in this study does not require needles. Instead, small metallic beads are attached to the outer ear with surgical tape.

“Because these tiny metal beads are attached to six points in the outer ear that stimulate the nerves and organs that regulate appetite…this type of acupuncture does not require complex knowledge or skill,” said said Dr. Takahiro Fujimoto of Clinic F in Tokyo in a news item. release.

“In Japan, this weight loss aid method has been used for more than 30 years.”

The study, presented at the 2023 European Obesity Congress meeting in Dublin, Ireland, followed 81 overweight or obese men for three months. Along with having acupuncture beads placed on both of their ears (known as auricular acupuncture), the men kept a food diary and were asked to cut their food intake in half.

Auricular (ear) acupuncture uses tiny beads to stimulate nerve endings in the outer ear.

After three months, the men lost an average of 4 inches from their waists and reduced their body fat percentage by 4%. The average BMI of study participants also dropped by almost 3 points. There was no control group, and the researchers noted that the study was limited by the small number of participants and the short duration of the study. Additionally, researchers cannot definitively prove that the weight loss was caused by acupuncture.

“Our results suggest that acupuncture on the ear may help with weight loss when combined with diet and exercise,” Fujimoto said. “Acupuncture is likely to have a positive effect by curbing food cravings and appetite, improving digestion and boosting metabolism.”

Exactly how this method of acupuncture works is not known, but the technique is based on the belief that health is regulated by the flow of energy throughout the body. Ear acupuncture can help balance the endocrine system, reduce food cravings, and moderate the body’s metabolic rate.

People struggling with weight loss could be helped by acupuncture.
Getty Images/iStockphoto

This isn’t the first time auricular acupuncture has been studied for weight loss: A 2015 study published in the journal BMJ Open Gastroenterology with 10 participants found significant weight loss among study participants who received auricular acupuncture.

And in a 2020 study published in the journal OBM Integrative and Complementary Medicine, Fujimoto found weight loss results in women similar to those found in men in the most recent study. In addition, the women’s weight loss was maintained for six months after treatment ended.

Acupuncture has been used for centuries in Asia to treat dozens of health conditions, including digestive diseases, sexual dysfunctions, substance abuse, and pain from arthritis, headaches, and other disorders.

Recent research reveals that acupuncture can also help women with a loss of sexual energy, ease the suffering of people with COVID-19, and even provide a quick wake-up call for drowsy people.

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