A small study out of Korea has found that ear acupuncture could be used to help people shed belly fat.
In the same way that pressure points in the feet are supposed to be linked to certain organs in the body, a new study claims that the stimulation of five acupuncture points in the ear could help patients with weight loss, particularly in battling the midriff bulge.
Published online in Acupuncture in Medicine, scientists out of Kyung Hee University in Seoul divided participants into three groups: 31 people were given acupuncture treatments to the outer ear in five different points. The needles were inserted 2 mm deep into the flesh and held in place with surgical tape for a week. The same treatment was switched to the other ear, and the process repeated over eight weeks.
In the second group of 30 participants, a needle was applied at one single hunger point.
The third group was given a "sham" treatment which involved removing the needles immediately after insertion.
Throughout the experiment, it should be noted that participants were asked to follow a reduced calorie diet and to refrain from exercise.
In total, 24 people dropped out before the eight-week term was up, 15 of whom were in the control group.
But among those who remained, researchers say the first group lost six percent of their body mass index at the midway point, while the group that received the single-point acupuncture treatment lost 5.7 percent.
Scientists say that the largest drop in waist circumference was observed in the group that received the five-point acupuncture treatment.
A study published this summer out of the University of Maryland also found that when used to complement in-vitro fertilization treatments, acupuncture could help improve success rates.