Calorie Counter

hi all… read this in my local newspaper and thought it must be an April Fools article… but no. For those who aren’t familiar, the main character in this article is being tried in federal court for racketeering charges stemming from activities when he was mayor of Detroit.
Article copied from Detroit News, Online edition – August 9, 2012 – author: Francis X. Donnelly
Kilpatrick diet courts controversy
Ex-mayor slimmer, but some say method is an unhealthy fad
Leave it to Kwame Kilpatrick. Even his diets are controversial.
To lose weight, the former mayor is following a program that some dieticians dismiss as a fad, unhealthy and not supported by science.
The leading advocate is an acupuncturist from Russia whose quickly growing practice has opened clinics all over the U.S., including Kilpatrick’s home, the Dallas area.
Grigory Sadkhin, now based in Brooklyn, has clients place tiny steel balls behind their ears and massage them in a circular motion every two hours.
This supposedly suppresses their appetite by stimulating nerves that run from the ear to the stomach.
“In the initial stage of dieting, the body feels it is starving,” Sadkhin said in a prepared statement. “(It’s) difficult for many patients to bear so I looked for a way to control it.”
Kilpatrick’s diet was discovered Wednesday during the start of jury selection in his public corruption trial.
He showed up in U.S. District Court in downtown Detroit with masking tape behind his ears.
His attorney explained the diet, saying Hizzoner had shed 16 pounds.
But local dieticians scoffed at the weight-loss technique, saying its effectiveness hasn’t been supported by any studies.
“They may think it’s helping them,” said Marie Hoskins, a registered dietician from Troy. “In truth it doesn’t do anything.”
Hoskins and nutritionists are more concerned by other parts of Sadkhin’s method.
Clients are limited to 1½ pounds of fruits and vegetables for two days. They’re then restricted to 2½ glasses of yogurt or whole milk for two days.
They repeat the pattern until the diet is over.
The method leads to dramatic weight loss, an average of 20 to 23 pounds a month, said Sadkhin.
But the diet doesn’t have enough calcium, protein or fatty acids, dietician Joan Endyke wrote in a Massachusetts newspaper after a clinic opened there.
“Sounds like the only thing he researched was Barnum and Bailey’s methods. You know, the one about a sucker born every minute,” she said.
Clients pay $150 for their first visit to a Sadkhin clinic and then $75 every 10 days as they return to have the position of the metal balls changed.
Sadkhin said he has discovered eight pressure points behind the ear that affect eating.
The method has been around for centuries, he said.
Early practitioners of Eastern medicine placed apple seeds or grains of rice behind patients’ ears, he said.
Besides suppressing the appetite, it’s believed that stimulation of the ear may increase one’s endorphin levels, making a person feel better, said Sadkhin.
In turn, that could prevent the type of emotional eating that could be brought on by, say, a public corruption trial.
Among the growing number of followers are residents of Metro Detroit, where a clinic has opened in Lathrup Village.
Brandon Hynes of Canton said he tried it several years ago and found it effective.
“It works,” he said. “You pretty much lose everything within a month.”
After learning about Kilpatrick’s diet from news reports, Hynes wrote to the former mayor’s Facebook page, saying he was tickled that Kilpatrick was a fellow devotee.
The love wasn’t returned.
After several hours, the page’s administrator deleted the message.
From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20120810/METRO/208100369#ixzz23AREcbaQ

Should You Try Ear Acupuncture or Ear Seeds for Weight Loss?

What are they used for?

Pretty much everything, since there are points on the ear that correspond to virtually every part of the body. There are a few areas, though, where they seem to be most effective. “In my clinical practice, I use ear seeds with weight loss, addictions, and stress-related conditions,” says Dr. Stephen Chee, who is dual-trained as an M.D. and as an acupuncturist. “I find ear seeds to be most helpful in patients who are motivated to change and looking for something that they can physically do. I explain to patients it’s useful as a ‘pattern interrupt.'” So for example, if he has a patient who is dealing with stress eating, he’ll place the ear seed on the corresponding point and then encourage them to apply pressure for 15 to 60 seconds and take some deep breaths when they get the urge to overindulge. Ear seeds are also commonly used for smoking cessation and drug withdrawal symptoms, according to Justin Chung, L.Ac., a licensed acupuncturist at Raah Acupuncture.

Part of the reason ear acupuncture is used for so many different ailments has to do with how it works. “Research has suggested a connection between the vagus nerve and ear acupuncture,” Dr. Chee explains. “The vagus nerve is intimately linked to the parasympathetic nervous system of the heart and the digestive tract.” The parasympathetic nervous system acts like brakes on a car for the flight-or-fight instinct that we all have, which is powered by the sympathetic nervous system. “Pressing the ear seed is like pushing on the brakes,” he says. So it makes sense, then, that pressing on an ear seed might help stop a panic attack, stress eating impulse, or drug craving.

Seeds aren’t permanent, but they can be worn continuously. “I usually tell patients to leave them in until they fall out or until their next appointment, when I can remove them,” Burris says. “Usually they will last for three to five days, but seeds are effective even if they last just one day.”

Are they legit?

Science is still lacking when it comes to proving that ear seeds have any effects on your weight. But one preliminary study in the Clinical Journal of Pain found that in combination with exercise, ear acupuncture can help ease chronic low-back pain. Another review published just this year in Pain Medicine found that ear acupuncture was helpful in treating acute pain.

Burris points out that “there are no side effects, there’s no discomfort, and in my 14 years of practice, most patients report that they absolutely receive a benefit from them.” In other words, ear seeds are completely safe to use, so there’s really no downside to trying them if you think they might be able to help you. Plus, the placebo effect is pretty powerful. If you believe ear seeds will make a difference, particularly with anything emotional or pain-related, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll see at least some benefit from them.

Does At-Home Ear Seed Acupuncture Work?

Ear seed acupuncture is becoming a popular, at-home remedy for a variety of health alignments. What exactly is it, and can it actually have a positive effect on your wellbeing? Or are these seeds simply glorified stick-on-earrings with no real benefit? Keep reading to find out.

What Are Ear Seeds?

Ear seeds are typically made of vaccaria seeds — the vaccaria plant is prominent in Traditional Chinese Medicine and associated with the liver and stomach meridians — though they can also be made of metal or ceramic beads. These seeds or beads are placed on adhesive tape, which you can put directly on your ears. (While they’re easy to place yourself, it’s best to talk with a practitioner first so you can learn how to safely and effectively do it!)

Ear seed acupuncture, also called auriculotherapy, is different from traditional acupuncture in that you don’t need to use needles. Yet both practices are rooted in the same healing belief system. Ear seeds work with specific pressure points found in the ears to unblock stuck qi, similar to how needles are placed in specific acupoints along meridian lines found in the body in acupuncture. Both practices say that moving qi blockages helps a variety of health conditions.

A key difference between the two healing practices is that ear seeds can be kept on the skin for days at a time. People can still shower, exercise, and sleep with them on, unlike acupuncture needles that stay in the body for only a handful of minutes while you’re lying down. Ear seeds usually fall out naturally between three and five days, but can also be removed at anytime.

How Do Ear Seeds Exactly Work?

Auriculotherapy stimulates the auricle (aka our external ear) with either needles or pressure to treat adverse health symptoms located throughout the body. According to TCM practitioners, there are hundreds of acupuncture points found in the ear that correspond to various organs, hormones, and body systems.

By applying pressure to the external ear, nerves are stimulated which in turn “talks” to our central nervous system and triggers neurotransmitters that help us relax and lessen pain. (1) Studies also show that applying pressure to ear seeds can improve peripheral blood circulation and elevate endorphins, our body’s natural painkiller. (2) (3)

What Ear Seeds Can Treat

In case you were wondering, no — ear seeds aren’t only used for ear aches or other health issues located on or near the ear. Since the ears are connected to the entire body, people use ear seeds to treat a handful of health ailments, which include:

  • Chronic pain
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Infertility
  • Migraines
  • Addiction
  • Anxiety
  • Weight gain

Remember: It’s best to work with a medical expert to fully understand your symptoms, along with the appropriate treatment plan.

DIY Ear Seeds — How to Use Ear Seeds Correctly

After you’ve worked with a practitioner, it’s pretty easy to apply ear seeds at home. However, the most common mistake people make when doing so is putting them inside the ear canal. Do not put them inside the ear canal. We repeat: Do not put them inside the ear canal! Instead, place the seeds along the outside of the ear. Have a doctor show you exactly where they should go for optimal results.

Now, follow these tips to ensure you get the best results from ear seed acupuncture:

  1. Clean and dry the outside of your ear. Make sure the outside of your ear is thoroughly cleaned and toweled off
  2. Identify the correct points. It’s best to work with an acupuncturist prior to help you find the best points to apply the seeds. Certain ear seed kits might also come with a chart that shows these locations if you need a refresher
  3. Use tweezers to apply the ear seed. Your ear seeds will likely already be attached to adhesive tape. Avoid touching the sticky side and use tweezers to place them on the correct points
  4. Apply gentle pressure. Rub the seeds in a circular motion for one to three minutes. Do this two to three times a day
  5. Change them out regularly. If your ear seeds are still in place after five days, remove and replace with a fresh pair. Using tweezers, tilt your head towards the ground before taking them off to avoid seeds getting caught in the ear canal. If a seed does fall into your ear and gets stuck, see a practitioner ASAP.

Ear seeds are definitely trending, and for good reason: there’s science to back up the benefits, and hundreds of positive testimonials from ear seed fanatics. Better yet, experts say there are no side effects and are generally super safe and easy to use.

Let us know: Have you tried ear seed acupuncture? What was your experience like? Leave us a comment below!

And if you’re a TCM practitioner interested in learning more about our practice management software, get started here.

Everything You Should Know About Ear Seeding, According to Two Naturopaths

We reached out to the two naturopathic doctors behind the Toronto-based clinic Well BYND, Emily Fitzgerald and Erica Arcuri, to find out more about this trending treatment, including the two main types of ear seeds and how long they will stick on your ears.

Here’s what you should know about ear seeding, according to Fitzgerald and Arcuri.

What exactly is ear seeding?

“Ear seeding, aka auriculotherapy, is a modality that comes from Traditional Chinese Medicine practices. It is a super easy, non-invasive treatment we often send patients home with that they can also apply themselves. There are hundreds of acupuncture points in the ear corresponding to every organ, hormone and system. Rather than using needles, we use tiny little seeds on skin tape that are applied to different points. Once the seed is in, you can gently apply pressure and massage the point to calm the nervous system and relax the body.”

What are the two types of ear seeds?

“Vaccaria seeds, which are good for people who are sensitive to metals, are applied to the ear with the help of tan-coloured tape that contains latex. Seeds made of metal pellets, crystals or beads stay on using clear tape, which is latex-free.”

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How long do they last?

“We tell our patients to keep the ear seeds in for as long as they stay! Usually they will fall out on their own after about 3-4 days. If they are still in by the fifth day, we recommend taking them out for hygienic reasons. We also suggest giving the ear a one day break between replacing any ear seeds, to decrease any chance of skin irritation.”

Can anyone get ear seeds? Are there any potential side effects?

“Ear seeds are generally safe to use. If you have sensitive skin or a latex allergy, metal seeds or adhesive tape might cause some irritation. However, we use vaccaria seeds which tend to be more gentle. There is always a very small risk of dizziness, nausea, or drowsiness with any stimulation of energetic acupuncture or acupressure points, so it is always best to check in with your healthcare provider before receiving treatment.

How did you come to offer it at the clinic? Is there a specific certification or training that your practitioners take?

“As Naturopathic Doctors (NDs), we receive 3 years of training in Traditional Chinese Medicine theory and acupuncture. Auricular acupuncture is a part of this curriculum. Not all NDs or acupuncturists will incorporate this into their practices; however, we find it so effective at helping our clients achieve that ultimate state of relaxation and to produce longer lasting effects post-treatment.”

Ear seeds are exactly what the name implies — tiny seeds that are placed on specific points of the ear. But the seeds aren’t meant to grow auricular plants. They are placed on known meridians on the outer ear to trigger the flow of energy and stimulate certain organs of the body.

Ancient Chinese healers practicing Traditional Chinese Medicine knew that the ear could be mapped and connected to major body organs and systems. This led to the popularity of ear acupuncture and acupressure benefits.

By stimulating very particular areas of the external ears with seeds, healers could resolve blockages that made patients sick.

What Are Ear Seeds?

Ear seeds are very small stick-on seeds or beads that are used to stimulate the external ear, which is also called the auricle. Using ear seeds or needles to apply pressure to the outer ear is called auriculotherapy.

Just like your feet, the ear has hundreds of acupuncture points that correspond with specific organs or body systems. Triggering these points is meant to allow for the proper flow of energy, called qi, in the body, which can resolve blockages that lead to health issues and prevent qi deficiency.

This idea of specific parts of the ear being linked to internal organs was first discovered in ancient China and noted in the medical classic “Yellow Emperor’s Canon of Medicine.” Today, auricular acupuncture is used for the diagnosis and treatment of several health conditions.

The ear seeds, or pellets, serve as stimuli to the ears, but they do not pierce the skin. Trained professionals commonly used plant seeds (usually from the vaccaria plant) or magnetic pearls to trigger a very specific area.

What Are They Used For?

There are hundreds of acupoints in the ear that, when stimulated, improve the flow of qi in the body. Ear seeds are sometimes applied after an acupuncture session in order to keep the energy pathways open and prolong the beneficial effects.

Most people use ear seeds in addition to a whole-body acupuncture session, but unlike the needles, seeds can be worn continuously for days at a time.

Ear seeds are used for a range of issues, from weight loss to addiction. Although research investigating the efficacy of ear seeds is limited, anecdotal reports suggest that they may help relieve issues such as:

  • acute pain
  • headaches
  • sleep issues
  • stress
  • anxiety and panic attacks
  • depression
  • weight issues
  • stress eating
  • addiction
  • low libido
  • fatigue

How They Work

According to research published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, the mechanisms of ear acupuncture have a close relationship with the autonomic nervous system and neuroendocrine system.

Its efficacy is based on the stimulation of neural reflexes, which makes it possible to relieve pain, anxiety and sleep issues by triggering ear acupoints.

Seed or pellet pressing is meant to open the energy pathways and stimulate nerves that relay messages to the central nervous system. The brain receives these stimulations, or messages, and activates the specific body part that’s been triggered.

Do They Work? Proven Benefits

Scientific studies supporting the efficacy of ear seeds is lacking, but there are some preliminary trials that show promising results. Some proven ear acupuncture benefits include its ability to:

1. Relieve Anxiety

A randomized clinical trial conducted in Brazil evaluated the effectiveness of auricular therapy in reducing pain and anxiety of hospital nursing staff members.

The participating nurses received 10 sessions of auricular therapy using ear seeds. Researchers found that there was a statistical difference for anxiety after the final assessment, although the best results were from ear acupuncture with needles.

There was also a 24 percent reduction of pain after using ear seed therapy.

2. Improve Sleep

A systematic review and meta-analysis published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that auricular acupuncture has a positive effect when used for insomnia.

Researchers concluded that ear acupuncture may serve as a cost-effective and safe therapy, but more studies are needed to fully understand its efficacy.

3. Relieve Pain

A 2012 study published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine examined the benefits of using ear seeds for back pain in a seven-day treatment period.

When auricular point acupressure was used to reduce chronic low back pain, participants reported a 46 percent reduction in their worst pain and a 50 percent reduction in average pain; 62 percent of participants also reported using less pain medication.

4. Ease Addiction

A 3- to 5-point ear acupuncture protocol is the most widely implemented acupuncture-assisted protocol for substance abuse and broad behavioral health issues, according to research published in Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation.

Ear acupuncture and acupressure are commonly used for smoking cessation. Although several randomized, placebo-controlled trials on acupuncture have been performed, they’ve had conflicting results.

However, there’s evidence that ear acupuncture and acupressure have been beneficial for patients suffering from drug dependence.

5. Boost Weight Loss

A study published in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine found that ear acupressure with Japanese magnetic pearls or vaccaria seeds decreased body mass index in an eight-week, randomized controlled trial. The vaccaria seed method showed the greatest reduction in BMI.

Auricular acupressure did not, however, reduce total cholesterol, total triglycerides or LDL levels.

Are They Safe? Risks and Side Effects

Ear seeds are available as stick-ons, so they’re easy to use and don’t require a licensed acupuncturist. That said, for ear acupuncture to be effective, it’s important to work with a trained professional who knows how to find the appropriate acupoints on the outer ear.

Ear seeds are generally considered safe, as they are noninvasive and simply rest on the outer ear. There are a few types of ear seeds, including actual seeds from the vaccaria plant, crystal ear seeds, metal beads and ceramic beads.

If you notice signs of irritation after applying the seeds or pellets, then remove them right away. Researchers in China found that the most commonly reported adverse effects of auricular therapy were:

  • local skin discomfort
  • redness
  • tenderness

Applying pressure to the seeds may cause minor irritation, so don’t do it too often. It’s also helpful to give your ears a rest after removing the seeds before you reapply.

In addition to general signs of skin irritation, some people experience ear acupuncture side effects like feeling lightheaded, drowsy or nauseous.

Women who are pregnant or immunocompromised patients should speak to their health care providers before trying ear acupuncture or acupressure.

Conclusion

  • Ear seeds are tiny seeds, pellets, beads or crystals that are placed on ear pressure points to stimulate the flow of energy to other areas of the body.
  • Auriculotherapy is used for range of health issues, including anxiety, pain, weight loss and addiction. Although the research on its efficacy is minimal and mixed, there are many reports of its benefits.
  • You can apply ear seeds yourself or have them applied by a trained professional. They can stay on the ears for about five days at a time and they are generally considered safe.

Align Acupuncture

Nogier and other practitioners in France and Europe developed a complete system of anatomical correspondences between the ear and the rest of the body; like the homunculus represented in the brain (image search that one for fun if you don’t already know it), the functional activities of the body were mapped to the ear. Using practical experience and research, Nogier and his colleagues discovered that the ear showed correspondences in an inverted somatotopic (or body topography) representation, more colloquially known as the shape of an inverted fetus as it would be resting in the womb.

Chinese acupuncturists, tasked by Mao Zedong with reviving the use of acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine, learned of Nogier’s work in 1958, and from there quickly studied, developed, and applied auriculotherapy far beyond what had been in practice before. Accordingly, two complete effective systems developed — the Chinese and French systems — which have both overlap and differences, and which have both been further developed in different parts of the world. There have been attempts over the decades to standardize ear maps and point locations; at present, there are variations, though many practitioners draw from both systems.

Today, many types of healthcare practitioners use auriculotherapy — acupuncturists, naturopaths and osteopaths, physicians, dentists, chiropractors, and therapists.

What do ear seeds help with?

Since the whole person is represented on the ear, pretty much any health issue can be supported with ear seeds — things like anxiety, depression, detoxification, digestive issues, fatigue, headaches, immunity, insomnia, libido, moon cycles, pain, quitting, stress, seasonal symptoms, and trauma, to start.

And, guess what — you don’t need an acupuncture license or specialized training to safely apply a few tiny, stick-on ear seeds to some of the many recognized therapeutic points on the ears — you can apply this self-healing modality at home, yourself.

How do they work?

In auriculotherapy, the ear is treated as a microsystem, or a self-contained system within the larger system of the whole body. You might have heard the saying “as above, so below” which refers to the concept that all the information of the whole is present in the part, and that the same patterns repeat and are visible at every level of the system. This is one of the theoretical bases for why microsystems work — they contain all the information of the whole and can thereby both reflect and affect it.

The specific anatomy of the ear makes it unique among microsystems and helps explain why ear seeds work. To start, the ear is enervated by 4 nerves, a lot for such a small structure. The working theory is that applying pressure to the external ear stimulates these nerves, which relay to the central nervous system, stimulating neurotransmitters that relax and reduce pain. There’s more and more research detailing these effects.

Functional magnetic resonance imaging studies have shown brain activity in the parts of the brain corresponding to the auricular acupuncture points selected — the point on the ear corresponding to the stomach point produces activity in the hypothalamus satiety center, same as if you were eating. The thumb area on the ear activates the precentral gyrus, which is same area activated by direct stimulation of an actual thumb. This means that our brains interpret stimulation of these corresponding ear points as stimulation of the actual body part, opening up a way to easily work with so many internal body structures using just the external ear. This is how intricate, smart, and magical our bodies are!

Beyond the nervous system connections and effects, though, other self-healing physiological processes are taking place: pressing on ear seeds has been shown to improve peripheral blood circulation, delivering more oxygen and nutrients throughout the body. Research has also found that systemic endorphins and enkephalins, our natural analgesics/painkillers, are elevated after auricular treatment, as in full body acupuncture treatments. This is all happening with acupressure too, by the way.

These are pretty significant physiological effects for “just” some stick on seeds on your ears. This is why people tell me they feel calm, relaxed, more in their bodies, and less pain when using ear seeds, regardless of the health condition they’re targeting. It’s all real.

3 foundational points

There are hundreds of acupuncture points in the ears, and I use about 80 of them regularly. But there are 3 points that I use as the foundation of most treatments: Shen Men, Point Zero, and Heart. I’m including a little snapshot from my book that includes how to find these points and why I use them often.

Ear acupressure is one tool you can keep in your self care tool bag. This blog post is an introductory how-to guide for doing it yourself.

Ear acupressure (also called “auriculotherapy” or simply “ear treatments”) is virtually free and can help you reduce symptoms and stay healthy. Using ear treatment methods, you can address everything from stress reduction and boosting immunity to soothing your digestion, easing joint & muscle pains, and more!

Ear treatments are done by placing small press balls, little magnets, or even seeds (especially seeds from the vaccaria plant) at specific areas of the outside of your ears. Don’t have press balls or seeds? You can massage ear points using a pencil eraser!

How does it work?

Similar to how foot reflexology targets points on the feet that correspond to areas of your body, in acupuncture, there is a map of the body inside the ear. Acupuncturists use these points for treating pain, digestive problems, smoking cessation, weight loss, generalized stress and anxiety, and to emphasize functions and parts of the body during an acupuncture session. But you can do this at home too!

MY ADVICE: Always use common sense when putting things in and on your body. Don’t leave press balls, magnets, or anything else that’s small on children who will rub or swallow or shove these items down their ears or any other place for that matter. Don’t do it. And don’t do it yourself either.

DIY Ear Acupressure Supplies List

  • medical tape and scissors
  • ear seeds, press balls, little magnets
  • mirror
  • alcohol wipes or a damp cloth

Here’s a Pinterest board to help you select which points to treat.

Chew Wong has created great pictures of the ear.Treat 1-5 points in an ear.

Step ONE

Gather your supplies and decide what symptoms you’re going to focus on.

Step TWO

Wipe your ear with alcohol or a damp wash cloth.

Step THREE

Stick the press balls or press seeds on up to 5 points on your ear. You can treat both ears or just one. Treat the same side as the problem you’re working on: for example, left hip pain gets some press balls in the left ear.

Step FOUR

Leave them in place for 2-3 days. To keep them from falling off, you can cut a small piece of medical tape and cover the press balls / press seeds in your ear. Check out the pics on our Pinterest board for examples of what that will look like.

More on Ear Treatments

How to Give Yourself Ear Acupressure by Denise Cicuto

Ear Acupuncture For the Masses by Ryan Bemis

More on Self-Care

Sara Ahmed’s research blog Feministkilljoys.

Low End Theory, On Audre Lorde’s Legacy and the “Self” of Self Care, Part 1 of 3.

Deirdre Cooper Owens on the DSA website, Black Bodies, Self-Care, and the Limits of Class.

Greg Jones, The Radical History of Acupuncture. (Copies are available at the clinic. If you join POCA can be downloaded from the POCA website.)

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Introduction

Background

Obesity is a common global health problem caused by different factors such as endocrine disorder, metabolic syndrome, improper diet, drugs, or heredity . It increases the risk of many chronic illnesses, including but not limited to hypertension, type 2 diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular diseases, musculoskeletal disorders, sleep apnea, and certain types of cancer .

Conventional approaches to alleviate obesity include medications , exercise , dietary control , behavior modification therapy , or bariatric surgeries . However, the safety of antiobesity agents is a concern because they may induce depressed mood disorders, anxiety, or even increased risk of suicide during treatment . Gastric bypass surgery and other bariatric surgeries also pose potential risks such as excessive bleeding, bowel obstruction, dumping syndrome, hernias, or stomach perforation .

Auriculotherapy or auricular treatment involves stimulating points on the ear with sterile acupuncture needles or acupressure with magnetized pellets or seeds . Auriculotherapy offers a more effective and economical option to treat obesity than conventional approaches . Auricular acupuncture has been frequently used to treat obesity in many countries . However, the use of needles for auricular acupuncture may not be acceptable to people with needle phobia and could pose a risk of blood-borne transmission through needle prick injuries. Other methods of auricular acupoint stimulation include the application of electroacupuncture or auricular acupressure (AA) using magnetic pellets or seeds . Some researchers attempted to adopt a combined approach by integrating auriculotherapy with diet restriction. Although auriculotherapy was found to be effective for weight reduction and management of dyslipidemia, the effect solely attributed to auriculotherapy could not be determined.

AA is a safe, noninvasive, inexpensive, and easily self-administered approach that causes few adverse effects . A number of studies have attempted to examine the efficacy of using different materials for AA in weight reduction. The authors concluded that using semen vaccariae is more effective than magnetic pellets for lowering body weight. During AA treatment, self-administered pressing on the seeds by the patients is necessary to achieve adequate acupoint stimulation. However, previous therapists may have difficulties in monitoring the compliance of subjects to perform seed pressing that might affect the intervention dosages. Some controversial findings have indicated that AA does not significantly change the anthropometric parameters between experimental and control groups probably because of a low compliance rate of subjects in conducting seed pressing, which the researchers fail to monitor.

Smartphones are currently the most popular communication tools, with approximately 70% of the global population using them. Accelerometer-based tracking devices and smartphone apps have been increasingly used to promote health because of their potential to influence self-regulation of a person’s behavior .

Given that weight reduction increases the serum adiponectin concentration, resulting in a decrease in leptin levels , outcome measures should not only include anthropometric indices but also hormonal changes (leptin concentration and adiponectin level) associated with weight reduction. Determining the changes in plasma leptin and adiponectin levels could facilitate our understanding of the association of these biomarkers and the underlying mechanisms of the treatment protocol on weight reduction. A smartphone app (namely ‘Auricular Acupressure for Weight Reduction, V1’) was developed in this trial to monitor and enhance subjects’ compliance on performing pressings to the acupoints.

Objectives

Our work aims to determine whether self-administered AA integrated with smartphone app was more effective than using AA alone or the controls for weight reduction. Subjects’ satisfaction level toward the treatment protocol and the smartphone app, the recruitment and attrition rate of the subjects were evaluated. The preliminary effects of the treatment protocols, the hormonal changes associated with weight reduction, and the effect sizes of the treatment protocols were also determined. The findings of this feasibility study could provide valuable information for future large-scale studies.

Methods

Settings and Participants

This study is a 3-arm randomized waitlist-controlled feasibility trial. On the basis of the previous studies of the effectiveness of AA on weight reduction, a medium effect size is considered for sample size calculation. According to Whitehead et al , a sample size of 15 per treatment arm is adequate. Considering an attrition rate of 20%, 19 to 20 subjects per arm were recruited for this feasibility study.

Subjects who met the following inclusion criteria were recruited from the community through snowball sampling via social network platforms (WhatsApp and Facebook): (1) age 18 years or older; (2) overweightness, with body mass index (BMI) ≥25.0 kg/m2 in accordance with the BMI classification of the World Health Organization (WHO) ; (3) neither received other weight control measures nor experienced medical or drug history within the last 3 months; (4) no ear injuries, such as inflammation or lesions, and no medical history of ear surgery within the last 6 months; and (5) smartphone user. Exclusion criteria were (1) diabetes, severe hypertension, heart disease or endocrine abnormalities; (2) pregnancy; (3) SCOFF (a questionnaire utilizing an acronym in 5 simple questions on “Sick, Control, One stone (6.5 kg), Fat, and Food”) score ≥2 out of 5 items, which indicates eating disorders ; and/or (4) psychiatric and mental disorders.

Groupings and Procedure

Eligible subjects were randomly allocated to 1 of the 3 groups by using a computer-generated randomized table. The random allocation sequence was placed in an opaque, sequentially numbered, sealed envelope to guarantee adequate allocation concealment. The therapy was administered by a researcher (SY) who had received intensive coaching by the research team (LS, JY), and reliability on the accuracy of ear point identification was established. A total of 6 reflective zones or acupoints for weight reduction were chosen. These acupoints included “shenmen” (TF4), “stomach” (CO4), “endocrine” (CO18), “external nose” (TG1, 2i), “large intestine” (CO7), and “forehead” (AT1). The Chinese Standard Ear Acupoints system and the nomenclature of the Nogier auricular acupoints (European system) were taken as reference for acupoint selection and location identification (Figure 1). The principles of acupoint selection are to reduce excessive calorie intake and promote waste excretion to achieve weight reduction. The research team, which included an academic with over 20 years of research experience on auriculotherapy (LS) and 2 team members registered as traditional Chinese medicine practitioners of Hong Kong (JY and JH), selected the acupoints to be used.

There are several magnet therapy methods for weight loss that you can try. Using acupressure points, the magnets are said to promote weight loss when applied correctly.

Ear Magnet Weight Loss Therapy

The most popular magnet weight loss method is ear magnet therapy. Some products offered simple ear lobe magnets. However, to take advantage of the acupressure points used in acupuncture, you’ll want to use seed bead magnets.

Acupressure Magnetic Seed Beads for Ears

When worn correctly, small seed bead magnets apply a continuous stimulation to specific acupressure points for weight loss. You can purchase a set of self-adhesive seed magnets. The swath of tape to keeps the magnet seeds in place.

How to Use Ear Magnets

Most packages of ear magnets come with instructions on where to place the magnets on the appropriate acupressure points. For good hygiene, you’ll want to change out the seed magnets as the adhesive loosens on the magnets. The points to place the magnets follow:

Shen Men

Place a magnet on the Shen Men, which is the point located in the anti-helix part of the ear. This cartilage area in just below the helix (upper outer rim of ear). It is a powerful acupressure point and a primary treatment point many ailments, such as anxiety and fear. It is used in treatment for the sympathetic nervous system. The point can help to regulate this system as well as treat inflammation. The Shen Men is also a point for the spleen and liver, both organs involved in weight gain.

Appetite Control Point

This acupressure point controls food cravings and is located on the tragus. The tragus is the little flap of cartilage that protrudes from your face and covers the entrance to the ear canal. This cartilage is thicker that some outer ear areas.

Mouth Point

The mouth point is located on helicis crus which is the end part of the outer ear cartilage that forms the outer ear. This point is located just past the curved indentation where the tragus and helicis crus connect. This acupressure point is used to reinforce the appetite control point.

Endocrine Master Point:

This acupressure point is found in the intertragic notch that is a scooped-out area that form a notch just above the ear lobe. This point is used to correct any imbalance of hormones that can cause weight gain. Other cranial endocrine gland acupressure points are also located in this area. The point you’ll use is right in the center of the notch.

Antidepressant Point

This point is located where the helix and the lobule (earlobe) meet. The connection isn’t noticeable as the helix and lobule form the out rim of the ear. If you were to draw a straight horizontal line from the antidepressant point toward the outer part of the ear, it would cross over the endocrine master point since it is directly across from it. This acupressure point will help reduce mood swings and curb emotional eating as well as keep you in good spirits.

Toe Magnets Stimulate Thyroid and Weight Loss

Nutritional Consultant, Justine Haynes discusses how to wear silicone toe magnets on your big toes.

  • The magnet side of the ring is turned, so it is on the underside of your toe.
  • You can wear these all day to stimulate the thyroid pressure point to boost your metabolism and curb your hunger.

Does Magnet Therapy for Weight Loss Work?

According to the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, ear stapling is an acupuncture practice that’s used for weight loss. This therapy uses the ear acupressure points responsible for controlling food cravings. Other considerations include combining this therapy with diet and walking exercise. Ear magnets use a therapy that targets specific acupressure points on the ear.

Studies Verify Weight Loss Success

In 2017, the National Institutes of Health published a study made of 18 randomized controlled trials (RCTs). 13 RCTs that revealed a significant reduction in body weight. The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) concluded, “Therefore, we recommend more auricular acupoint stimulations of longer than 6 weeks as an alternative treatment for overweight and obese adults.”

Magnet Therapy and Weight Loss

The way to succeed with magnet therapy for weight loss is to use the acupressure points that directly correlate to various functions associated with weight control. Select the magnetic product that’s right for you to get started on your weight loss therapy.

Weight loss ear seeds

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