Acupuncturists use needles, finger pressure or acu-tacks to stimulate points on your body that are thought to rebalance your natural state of health. These points are found along 12 energy meridians mapped out through a system called traditional Chinese medicine. Each meridian controls different health functions. Stimulating points on the stomach, spleen and conception vessel meridians can help you lose excess weight, according to licensed acupuncturist Almine Barton.
Stimulating specific points on the stomach meridian, which controls digestion and appetite, can lead to weight loss, according to acupuncture teacher Jim Cleaver of the National College of Natural Medicine. Stomach point 36, also called leg three miles, sits to the outside of your shinbone, about 5 inches below your patella. Stimulating ST36 boosts your body’s ability to take in nutrients by accelerating the release of hydrochloric acid. The increase in nutrients helps you feel satisfied and full on less food, leading to weight loss, says Barton.
According to traditional Chinese medicine tenets, the spleen meridian governs the balance of fluids in your body. If you tend to retain water or feel bloated, stimulating points along this meridian can help restore your system to proper water balance. The acupuncture point spleen 6, also called three yin crossing, lies on the inside of your lower leg, about 5 inches above your ankle bone. It is the crossing of several meridians, and needling it can release excess water retention, resulting in weight loss of up to 5 lbs., says Michael Gach, author of “Acupressure’s Potent Points.”
The spleen meridian also rules over the transformation of food into energy, says Cleaver. Stimulating spleen 9, known as shady side of mountain, can relieve abdominal bloat, cramps and water retention, leading to immediate weight loss. You can find SP9 on the inside of your leg just below the large bulge of your knee.
Conception Vessel 12
The CV meridian runs down the center of the front of your body. It manages your energy flow, including rate of metabolism, and it governs all major changes in your life, according to Cleaver. Conception vessel 12, also called the center of power, lies about halfway between your belly button and sternum. Your acupuncturist might needle CV12 to help you lose weight by relieving chronic constipation or indigestion, according to Gach. CV12 can also help strengthen your digestive tract and calm emotional stresses that leads to digestive upset.
- Dr. Almine Barton, L.Ac.; Indigenous Medicine Therapies; Bend, Oregon
- Dr. Jim Cleaver, L.Ac.; National College of Natural Medicine
- “Acupressure’s Potent Points”; Michael Reed Gach; 1990
Based in Portland, Ore., Christine Binnendyk has written about health topics since 2001. She is the author of the book "Ageless Pilates" and her work has appeared in "SELF" magazine and "Pilates Pro." Binnendyk holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Connecticut and certifications from YogaFit, ACE, IDEA, Oregon School of Massage and the Pilates Studio of New York.