For anyone who wants to lose weight, this method leaves all ears.
Acupuncture, which uses tiny beads instead of needles, can take up to 10cm off your waistline when applied to the ear, new research suggests.
The root is attached to six points on the outer ear to stimulate the nerves and organs in traditional Chinese medicine beads or ‘seeds’ to regulate appetite, satiety and hunger.
People who used the technique cut their food intake in half for three months and significantly reduced their body weight, body mass index (BMI) and body fat.
The study included 81 Japanese men aged 21 to 78 who were overweight or obese, had an average BMI of 28.4, and had a high prevalence of unhealthy abdominal obesity.
Acupuncture, which uses tiny beads instead of needles, can take up to 10cm off your waistline when used in the ear, new research suggests.
Each was weighed and measured at the beginning and end of treatment, including body weight, body fat percentage, fat mass, lean mass, muscle mass, BMI, and abdominal fat.
Known as acupuncture, it is administered using 1.5mm metal ear beads at six points on the outer ear: esophagus, stomach opening, stomach, lungs and endocrine system.
To ensure that the participants continuously received consistent pressure on each of the six acupuncture points, beads were affixed to these points in both ears, alternating twice weekly during hospital visits.
The participants were asked to halve their total food intake and keep a food diary during the three months of their treatment.
Researchers at Japan’s Clinic F Tokyo found that participants dropped an average of 10.4 cm from their waist circumference, from 98.4 cm to 88 cm.
According to research presented at the European Obesity Congress in Dublin, they lost 4 percent of their total body fat, specifically from 28.2 percent to 24.3 percent.
Unhealthy abdominal fat levels fell and BMI increased by 3 points from 28.4kg/m² to an average of 25.5kg/m².
Dr. Takahiro Fujimoto, who led the study, said: ‘Our findings suggest that ear acupuncture combined with diet and exercise can help reduce weight.
‘Acupuncture can have positive effects by suppressing cravings and appetite, improving digestion and boosting metabolism.’
Researchers acknowledged limitations, including being an observational study in a small group over a short period of time.
They suggested that other elements of the intervention could have resulted in weight loss, such as keeping a food diary to increase people’s awareness of their diet.
Tam Fry, chairman of the National Obesity Forum, did not believe it would work, adding that the treatment is ‘as old as the hills’.
He said: “When it first started in the early 1990s there was some buzz about it, but as a fad diet it failed to do what it said on the tin.
‘Whatever weight was lost was soon regained and was small anyway. Also, if you’re asked to cut your food intake by 50 percent today, chances are you’ll cut back in August.’
Sir David Spiegelhalter, professor of statistics at the University of Cambridge, said: “This study shows that a group of men who were taught how to lose weight and regularly monitored managed to lose weight on average.
It doesn’t show anything about the beads, and so it seems like a waste of time for everyone involved.
‘I can’t imagine why this would happen at a scientific conference, let alone a press conference.’
What should a balanced diet look like?
Meals should be based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, never whole grains, according to the NHS.
• Eat at least 5 servings of different fruits and vegetables every day. All fresh, frozen, dried and canned fruits and vegetables count.
• Foods based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally whole grains
• 30 grams of fiber per day: This is the same as eating all of the following: 5 servings of fruit and vegetables, 2 whole-wheat crackers, 2 slices of wholemeal bread and a large baked potato with skin on.
• Have some milk or dairy alternatives (such as soy drinks) by choosing low-fat and low-sugar options
• Eat beans, grains, fish, eggs, meat, and other proteins (including 2 portions of fish each week, one of which should be fatty).
• Choose unsaturated oils and spreads and eat them in small quantities
• Drink 6-8 cups/glasses of water a day
• Adults should have 6 grams of salt per day and 20 grams of saturated fat for women or 30 grams per day for men.
Source: NHS Eatwell Guide