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Exp Biol Med (Maywood). 2003 Nov;228(10):1201-7.

Effects of bilateral auricular acupuncture stimulation on body weight in healthy volunteers and mildly obese patients.

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  • 1Department of Neurophysiology, Division of Human Structure and Function, The Tokai University School of Medicine, Isehara 259-1193, Japan.


We investigated the effects of auricular acupuncture stimulation on non-obese healthy volunteers and mildly obese patients. Subjects (n = 55 and 5, respectively) averaged 34.5 years old, and BMI was 24.3 and less than 27.5 kg/m2, respectively. We also studied the effects of single-blind sham treatment in approximately 500 age-, sex-, and BMI-matched subjects. Small (0.15 x 2.0 mm) auricular needles were placed intracutaneously into the bilateral cavum conchae identified by having a resistance of less than 100 kOmega/cm2. In the 2-week pretreatment the period, in which body weight was measured without auricular acupuncture stimulation, 57.1% of the subjects showed a reduction in body weight. This indicates that charting one's own body weight might itself be a useful method of weight control. In the auricular acupuncture treatment period, 35 healthy subjects of 55 (63.6%) showed a decreased body weight, 11 (20%) showed an increased body weight, and 9 (16.4%) showed no change in body weight. The obese patients showed individual variation, but all achieved weight reduction, with a highly significant correlation between body weight and fat volume. The CT/MRI cross-sectional pictures supported these findings. Sham treatment had no statistically significant effect on body weight. These results suggest that success in achieving weight reduction can be partly attributed to the act of charting of one's own weight pattern. Bilateral auricular acupuncture stimulation can help reduce body weight both in mildly obese patients and in healthy non-obese subjects. In conclusion, this is in accord with the bilateral auricular acupuncture stimulation that it may be useful in the treatment of the obesity. We propose a possible mechanism for the weight-reducing effects of bilateral auricular acupuncture stimulation.

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