Researchers suggest using auricular acupressure to improve cholesterol levels in obese adolescents
05/11/2020 // Evangelyn Rodriguez // Views

Obesity, which is defined as an abnormal or excessive accumulation of body fat, is considered a global epidemic. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), obesity has tripled worldwide since 1975. In 2016 alone, 1.9 billion adults (18 years and above) were considered overweight, and 650 million were obese.

Research has also found that obesity is twice as common in adolescents now as it was three decades ago. In the U.S., the rate of obesity, particularly among adolescents, has increased dramatically. For instance, among adolescent females, its prevalence jumped from 10 percent to 21 percent between the 1980s and 2014. This is alarming to health experts, as obesity is known to increase a person's risk of developing metabolic, psychological and reproductive health problems.

In a bid to find a suitable and effective strategy against adolescent obesity, researchers at Sehan University and Ewha Woman's University in South Korea examined the effects of auricular acupressure on obese adolescents. They found that this non-invasive form of acupuncture can improve the lipid profile of obese adolescents, which decreases their risk of heart disease. The researchers discussed their findings in an article published in the journal Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice.

The benefits of auricular acupuncture for obese adolescents

To test how auricular acupressure can help with adolescent obesity, the researchers recruited 58 obese adolescents and divided them into two groups: the experimental group, which had 32 participants, and the control group, which had 26 participants.


The experimental group received auricular acupressure using vaccaria (cowherb) seeds instead of acupuncture needles, while the control group received a placebo auricular acupressure. The intervention lasted for eight weeks.

The researchers considered the following as outcome measures: body weight, abdominal circumference, hip circumference, waist-hip ratio, body-mass index, body-fat mass, body-fat percentage, triglycerides, total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, serum glucose and leptin.

They reported that, at the end of the intervention, the experimental group showed significant improvements in total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels. This means that auricular acupressure can improve the heart health of obese adolescents. High cholesterol levels, especially bad LDL cholesterol, increases a person's risk of heart disease, heart attack and stroke.

Based on these findings, the researchers concluded that auricular acupressure using vaccaria seeds can benefit obese adolescents by improving their lipid profile and reducing their risk of heart disease and fatal cardiac events.

Other health benefits of auricular acupressure

Auricular acupressure is a type of acupuncture that involves stimulating certain points along the external surface of the ear called the auricle. Like acupuncture, auricular acupressure is used to balance yin and yang and regulate organ function. Auricular acupressure can also be used to increase the body's resistance to pathogenic factors.

According to studies, this healing art can improve sleep quality and daytime dysfunction in people with insomnia. Auricular acupressure is also commonly used to relieve headaches related to menstruation and improve blood circulation. Here are some other health benefits associated with auricular acupressure:

  • Increases heart rate variability
  • Helps combat addiction
  • Reduces withdrawal symptoms
  • Alleviates stress
  • Reduces mood swings
  • Helps with smoking cessation
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Prevents weight gain by suppressing the appetite
  • Helps manage anxiety
  • Improves sleep quality
  • Relieves pain

As an alternative medicine, auricular acupressure has also been used for the following conditions:

  • Allergies
  • Arthritis
  • Chronic pain
  • Constipation
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Low back pain
  • Migraines

Auricular acupressure is an effective remedy for various ailments. It also involves a lower risk of infection and bleeding than acupuncture since it makes use of vaccaria seeds instead of needles. Auricular acupressure is considered generally safe but is not for recommended for children and pregnant women. To ensure your safety, consult with a trusted natural health practitioner before trying this therapy.

Sources include:

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