Acupuncture is used in the management of obesity, but the mechanisms of its action are not known. We explored the effect of abdominal acupuncture treatment on body mass index (BMI) and on intestinal flora.
The study was approved by the Ethics Committee of Shanghai Eighth Hospital. Informed consent was obtained, and the study was based on the Standards for Reporting Interventions in Controlled Trials of Acupuncture (STRICTA) guidelines.1 A total of 45 cases, all women, were invited from the specialist clinic for simple obesity using acupuncture at Shanghai Eighth Hospital. Cases were randomly divided into one of 3 groups: 2 treatment groups and 1 control group (15 cases each). The women ranged between 29–63 years in age, mean age 48.8 ± SD 13.3 years. Patients were included if they had BMI≥242 with no endocrine or metabolic cause. Patients with complications or who failed to complete treatment were withdrawn.
Exclusion criteria were: pregnancy or lactation; serious heart, liver, kidney, brain conditions and other serious complications of other primary diseases, mental illness, courses of antibiotics, etc. The control group had no treatment. No dietary interventions were given for any patients. The patients in the two treatment groups were treated with acupuncture by two senior doctors, respectively, using the same points and approach. Treatment was given using abdominal and body acupuncture points for all subjects.
Points were selected from CV12, CV9, BL24, BL26, ST28 and ST25, together with ST36 and SP6. After routine skin disinfection, hypodermic needles were inserted 1.5 inch in the direction of the umbilicus (abdominal points), with rotation and some degree of lift and thrust. Needles were retained for 30 min, and at 10 min and 20 min were manipulated gently. The treatment was given once every other day, 20 times for a course. The changes of BMI and faecal microbial flora in each group before and after one course were observed and recorded.
Samples for bacteriological examination was analysed by isolation and routine culture, blinded to group allocation.
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“Effect of acupuncture treatment for weight loss on gut flora in patients with simple obesity”