Objective: Many overweight people are aware that diets can help with weight loss but have difficulty in suppressing their appetite. Acupuncture stimulates the auricular branch of the vagal nerve and raises serotonin levels, both of which have been shown to increase tone in the smooth muscle of the stomach, thus suppressing appetite. The aim of this study was to determine the effectiveness of transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation of specific auricular acupuncture points on appetite suppression.
Methods: Sixty overweight subjects, randomly divided into an active and a control group, used the AcuSlim device twice daily for four weeks. The active group attached the AcuSlim to the acupuncture ear points shenmen and stomach, whereas the control group attached the device to their thumb where there are no acupuncture points. The goal of a 2 kg weight loss was set and changes in appetite and weight were reported after four weeks.
Results: Of those who responded, 95% of the active group noticed suppression of appetite, whereas none of the control group noticed such a change. None of the control group lost the required 2 kg, with only 4 subjects losing any weight at all. Both the number of subjects who lost weight and the mean weight loss were significantly higher in the active group (p < 0.05).
Conclusion: Frequent stimulation of specific auricular acupuncture points is an effective method of appetite suppression which leads to weight loss.