Acupressure for Weight Loss

How does acupressure work?

Often described as acupuncture without the needles, acupressure uses fingers, elbows, or devices to channel energy meridians containing “life force” called qi (pronounced ‘chi’).

Acupressure’s theory holds that 12 major meridians unite specific organs or networks of organs, creating a structured system of communication throughout an individual’s body. According to the acupressure principle, when a meridian is blocked or out of balance, the body’s health can suffer.  The acupressure techniques are designed to unblock the meridians.

How can I use acupressure to lose weight?

Research into the health benefits of acupressure is still tentative, particularly as a potential weight loss aid. In the past several years, a number of new acupressure weight loss products have emerged, with claims that they can curb users appetites and food cravings. Acupressure products include pressure point wristbands, earrings, and acupressure books and dvds that provide instruction on exactly where and how to manipulate the correct pressure points to reduce hunger.

How do acupressure products work?

Some acupressure experts claim that there are hunger control pressure points which can be manipulated to stimulate the regions of the brain that control appetite, thereby reducing hunger.

What is Meridian Tapping?

Many books, DVDs and even computer programs teach “Meridian Tapping,” a controversial new age healing method that combines acupressure and elements of psychology.  The goal of Meridian Tapping is to change undesired negative feelings and emotions.

If you’re the kind of person who enjoys meditation or yoga, this might be right up your ally. Because this technique incorporates the emotional component of weight loss, the positive affirmations may be particularly beneficial to those prone to negative thinking.

Dieters interested in a more in-depth look at Meridian Tapping should consider the books Energy Medicine: Balancing Your Body’s Energies for Optimal Health, Joy, and Vitality and Five Simple Steps to Emotional Healing: The Last Self-Help Book You Will Ever Need.

The claims of Meridian Tapping aren’t backed by empirical research, so there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to tap your way svelte. But its growing list of devotees is notable, making it an intriguing option for those who haven’t had success with traditional weight loss methods.

What are some other examples of acupressure products?

PressPoint is a product that uses small patches placed on the ears, that can be pressed whenever one feels a craving for food (or nicotine).  The company insists that users notice a reduction in their cravings, as well as a reduction in stress almost immediately.  The patches must be replaced weekly.  A three month supply costs about $50.

The creator of PressPoint, Dr. Kokubo, is a licensed Japanese acupuncturist who counts Geena Davis and K.D. Lang as clients. While his website features a myriad of celebrity endorsements, none of the high-profile testimonials are for weight loss. Dr. Kokubo says that he verified the effectiveness of PressPoint by conducting experiments on 45 volunteers who wanted to quit smoking and lose weight, with the weight loss group dropping an average of nine pounds in the two month study. But any study funded by a company selling a product—and not an unbiased medical journal or health organization—should be taken with a large grain of salt.

When it comes to alternative medicine, there’s no shortage of skeptics, nor of true believers who insist they have been helped by these non-traditional techniques.  Though many doctors deny the legitimacy of acupressure as a serious weight loss aid, there is at least anecdotal evidence that it may indeed benefit select individuals.  That said, beware of any pricey acupressure product that touts itself as a miracle fat-burner. Your goal is to lighten your weight—not your wallet.