Imagine getting stung several times on the outer parts of your ear and being told that you can drop a trouser size. Wacky? In fact, the technique is called auricular acupuncture, and a recent study found that such a practice has significant benefits for losing weight around the waist.
Auricular acupuncture is based on the theory that the auricle, the outer part of the ear, represents the entire brain mapped externally. Like the therapy’s full body form, auricular acupuncture targets certain behaviors or body parts through tiny needle punctures on the corresponding regions of the ear. To conduct their study, researchers from Kyung Hee University in South Korea targeted five specific points on the outer ears of 91 overweight subjects: the spleen, stomach, hunger, endocrine system and shen-men. . (Otherwise known as the “divine gate” or “main point,” the shen-men is believed to relieve almost all ailments. It is the negative O of ear acupuncture.)
The researchers found that at the end of the eight-week trial, all 58 subjects in the experimental group (five points and one point) had significant decreases (6.1 vs. 5.7%) in their body mass index (BMI). Meanwhile, subjects in the sham group showed no measurable difference. Those who have seen success have enjoyed slimmer waists and reduced belly fat. The researchers attribute their success to the practice’s known benefits for speeding up metabolism.
“Increased metabolic function promotes fat metabolism and results in weight loss,” the researchers explained. “Through this mechanism, our results suggest that Treatment I is more useful than Treatment II for metabolizing abdominal fat.”
The authors point out several limitations to their study, namely the small sample size and the inability to control the blinding of the placebo group. As the researchers concede, “Participants in this group may have examined the adhesive bandages in their ears and found no needles.” In addition, the dropout rate was quite high at 36%, limiting the balance – therefore the differences – between the two groups.
As a general practice, however, auricular acupuncture has become a celebrity sensation. International soccer stars to models to actresses have fallen in love with ancient Chinese medicine. Kate Moss used it to get rid of a cocaine addiction. Roman Abramovich of the Chelsea Football Club used it, in agreement with the present study, to lose weight.
“It may be the latest celebrity fad,” said Nick Dalton-Brewer, an ear acupuncturist at the Hale Clinic in London. Daily mail“But auricular acupuncture has actually been used for thousands of years in traditional Chinese medicine and is extremely useful for treating all sorts of issues, from addictions to insomnia, joint pain and fertility.”
Source: Yeo S, Kim K, Lim S. Randomized clinical trial of five ear acupuncture points for the treatment of overweight people. Acupuncture medicine. 2013.