Research: SHIRAISHI and co-workers,

Listed in Issue 98


SHIRAISHI and co-workers, Department of Neurophysiology, Division of Human Structure and Function, The Tokai University School of Medicine, Isehara 259-1193, Japan,, describe the effects of bilateral auricular acupuncture on body weight in healthy volunteers and mildly obese patients.


The study was designed to investigate the effects of acupuncture in the ear on body weight in non-obese and mildly obese persons.


55 non-obese healthy volunteers and 5 mildly obese patients were recruited. In a separate study, the effect of a single-blinded sham treatment was studied in 500 volunteers. For a two-week run-in period, all subjects charted their weight. Small auricular needles were then placed intracutaneously into the ear at points defined by a resistance of less than 100 kOhm/cm2.


During the run-in period, 57.1% of all subjects showed a decrease in body weight. During the treatment period, 64.6% of healthy subjects showed a decrease in body weight, while 20% of non-obese subjects gained weight and 16.4% stayed the same. The mildly obese patients all showed a decrease in body weight that was significantly correlated to fat volume. Sham treatment had no significant effect on body weight.


These results suggest that charting one's own body weight is in itself a weight-losing method. In addition, they strongly suggest that bilateral auricular acupuncture is helpful as a means of losing weight. The paper also proposes a mechanism for this to happen.


Shiraishi T, Onoe M, Kojima TA, Kageyama T, Sawatsugawa S, Sakurai K, Yoshimatsu H, Sakata T. Effects of bilateral auricular acupuncture stimulation on body weight in healthy volunteers and mildly obese patients. Experimental Biology and Medicine 228 (10): 1201-1207, Nov 2003.

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