Puncturing weight issues

Electro acupuncture plays a role in fighting obesity and is also important in treatment of psychogenic erectile dysfunction.

Published: 11th August 2013 12:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th August 2013 01:23 PM   |  A+A-


More than 50 per cent Americans are overweight, with 20 per cent classified obese. In UK, the overweight and obese population increased by almost 15 per cent between 1990 and ’92.  Further, incidence of obesity is increasing worldwide, especially in developing and newly industrialised nations. Obesity is related to diabetes mellitus, hyperlipidemia and cardiovascular disease. Obesity is becoming a global epidemic and a common health problem. Obesity is definied as BMI>30 kg/m², which necessitates weight control treatment. Acupuncture is an effective alternate way to counter obesity.

A randomised crossover study was conducted in Taiwan to evaluate the difference in percentage reduction in Body Mass Index (BMI) and waist circumference (WC) after electro acupuncture and sit-up exercise. 

A total of 54 simple obese women were enrolled.  Enrolled subjects were between 16 and 65 years old with (WC)>90cm and BMI>30 kg/m². The subjects were randomly divided into groups A and B. Group A received electro acupuncture treatment first while group B received sit-up exercise treatment first. After six weeks of treatment and seven days of washout, group A switched to sit-up exercise treatment and group B received electro acupuncture treatment for another six weeks.

Measurements of body weight (BW), BMI and WC were performed at the beginning, sixth, eighth and 13th week. The data at different time periods were compared and expressed as percentage reductions.

Electro acupuncture showed significant differences in the percentage reductions in BW (P=0.001), BMI (P=0.003) and WC (P=0.005) compared to sit-up exercise. At the end of 13th week, there were no significant difference between groups A (n=24) and B (n=22) in all the measurements. At the end of the study, groups A and B showed significant differences in the percentage reductions in BW (P=0.004; 0.001), BMI (P=0.003; 0.021) and WC (P< or =0.001; 0.001) compared with the initial values, concluding that electro acupuncture treatment is more effective.

Shifting the focus from weight management to other illness, the potentially curative effect of acupuncture in psychogenic erectile dysfunction (pED) has been proved through studies.  A total of 22 patients with pED were randomised into two groups. They were either treated with acupuncture specific against ED (treatment group) or acupuncture specific against headache (placebo group). Non responders of the placebo group were crossed over to the treatment group.

Prior to acupuncture, serum sexual hormone levels, IIEF score, nocturnal penile tumescence testing for three nights (Rigiscan) and the erectile response to 50 mg sildenafil were evaluated. Out of 21 patients, 20 completed the study, including 10 patients after crossover. A satisfactory response was achieved in 68.4 per cent of the treatment group and in 9 per cent of the placebo group (P=0.0017).  The results of the pilot study indicate that acupuncture can be an effective treatment option in more than two-thirds of patients with pED.

Acupuncture as part of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has its origin in ancient China. The basic concepts of TCM are linked to the philosophy of Yin and Yang, two powers that complement one another.  Both drive the ‘Qi’, the body’s very energy. Yin stands for coldness, consolidation, stability and a balanced nature, whereas Yang is associated with heat, activity and expansion.

Energies of the human body and its organs is represented by Qi.  Organ has its own Qi, which in turn governs organ function. According to the theories and doctrines of TCM, the energy of the human body is flowing and can be found along the so-called meridians. Meridians, like strings of pearls, each carry several organ and organ function-specific acupuncture points. Activation of meridians and acupuncture points can redirect and reactivate Qi as well as organ function.



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