Objective: To review the current situation of researches on auricular acupuncture treatment for obesity by using bibliometric analysis, so as to provide a reference for clinical application and experimental research in the future.
Methods: Articles written in both Chinese and English and published from the time of establishment of the following databases were collected from databases of CNKI, Wanfang, PubMed and Web of Science by using key words of "otopoint sticking" "otopoint seed-pres-sing" "auriculotherapy" "ear/auricular acupuncture" "auricular pressure" "auricular-plaster therapy" "acupuncture and auricular pressure" "auriculopressure" "transcutaneous vagus nerve stimulation (taVNS)" "obesity" "adiposity" "adiposis" and "fatty". The articles met our inclusive criteria were analyzed for summarizing their publication years, involved journals, research organizations and selected acupoints.
Results: A total of 61 qualified Chinese and 44 English articles were retrieved and published in 45 and 25 journals, respectively. The commonly-used acupoints are "Endocrine" "Stomach" "Spleen" "Shenmen" "Hunger point" "Sanjiao" "Lung" and "Subcortex". The employed auricular acupoint therapy mainly includes auricular acupressure, ear acupuncture, auricular vagus nerve stimulation, and auricular laser radiation.
Conclusion: Current clinical literature on auricular acupuncture treatment of obesity is relatively lower in quality. Thus, strict research protocols and randomized controlled clinical trials with multiple centers and larger samples are definitely necessary for providing reliable evidence for clinical treatment of obesity by using auricular acupuncture therapy.
Keywords: Auricular acupuncture therapy; Bibliometric analysis; Clinical trials; Obesity.