Objective: To provide a randomized placebo-controlled trial to determine the efficacy of an auricular acupressure device.
Design: Subjects were randomly assigned to either treatment or placebo. The treatment group received the acupressure device and were instructed to use the device in their dominant ear. The placebo group received an acupressure device for their wrist. Participants were followed for 12 weeks.
Setting: Outpatient core of the New York Obesity Research Center.
Subjects: 96 obese adult volunteers, 80 females and 16 males, between 19 and 70 years of age.
Measurements: Weight, body fat, and blood pressure measured every two weeks.
Results: All subjects combined lost, on average, 0.96 kg. There was no significant difference between the two groups on weight loss (mean wt loss = 1.28 [s.d. = 2.74] kg for treatment and 0.63 [s.d. = 3.26] kg for placebo) regardless of whether all subjects were examined or only the most compliant subjects were examined. Similarly, there were no significant differences between the two groups regarding fat loss or blood pressure reduction.
Conclusion: The acupressure device appears to be a safe device (did not cause any harmful side effects). However, it did not promote significantly greater weight or fat loss, or declines in blood pressure than placebo.