Ear Acupuncture is an Effective Way to Naturally Suppress the Appetite
(Originally posted on acupuncture-treatment.com on September 26, 1998)
There are two brain areas closely connected to our eating habits. The first area, which is called the feeding center (lateral hypothalamus), is responsible for the feeling of hunger. The other area is called the satiety center (hypothalamic ventromedial nucleus) and is responsible for the feeling of fullness. Both the feeding and satiety centers are vital sensory systems that are necessary for human survival. However, the systems sometimes become oversensitive or inactive which then causes problems. For example, if the feeding center is overactive, you may always feel hungry; conversely, if the satiety center is under active, you may not feel full so easily.
Theoretically then, if we could possibly change the parameters of these two vital sensory systems in a similar way we adjust the thermostat of a refrigerator, we would not feel overly hungry, would feel full very easily and would be on our way to weight reduction. There is no existing surgical or pharmaceutical intervention that is not accompanied by serious risks or side effects; however, we can stimulate these sensory systems in the brain with acupuncture. The most frequently utilized points are located on the ear. Reported effects of ear acupuncture include a decrease in appetite, feeling satiated sooner after eating, reduction of cravings (for sweets, fat, alcohol etc.), and decreased irritability. The needles are not applied directly into these brain areas but rather corresponding to points on the ears. There are over 200 such reflex acupuncture points on the ear, each corresponding with a different part of the body.
Japanese studies conducted on animals indicated that stimulation of certain points on the animal’s inner auricular region, corresponding to the human pylorus, lung, trachea, stomach, esophagus, endocrine, and heart, resulted in evoked electric potentials in the brain’s feeding centre (hypothalamic ventromedial nucleus). Needle insertion into any of these points reduced body weight significantly within 14 days .
Asamoto, S., Takeshige, C., Activation of the satiety center by auricular acupuncture point stimulation, Brain, Res Bull, 29 (2), 157-164, 1992.
There are more than 200 points in the ear.