Obesity is a major health problem worldwide for which conventional therapy efficacy is limited. Traditional Chinese medicine, particularly body acupoint stimulation, provides an alternative, effective, and safe therapy for this medical challenge. The present study was designed to compare the effects of distinct methods to stimulate the same set of acupoints, on anthropometric and biochemical parameters in obese women.
MATERIALS AND METHODS:
Ninety-nine obese women were randomly assigned to six groups of treatment: Acupuncture with moxibustion, long needle acupuncture with moxibustion, electroacupuncture (EA), EA with moxibustion, embedded catgut with moxibustion (CGM) and shamacupuncture as control. Obesity-related parameters, including body weight, body mass index (BMI), waist and hip circumferences, waist/hip ratio, biochemical parameters (triglycerides, cholesterol, glucose, insulin) and homeostasis model of assessment - insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) index, were determined before and after each treatment.
Body weight and BMI were significantly reduced in response to all treatments. Interestingly, acupoint catgut embedding therapycombined with moxibustion was the only treatment that produced a significant reduction in body weight (3.1 ± 0.2 kg, P < 0.001), BMI (1.3 ± 0.1 kg/m(2), P < 0.001), insulin (3.5 ± 0.8 mcU/ml, P < 0.1) and HOMA-IR (1.4 ± 0.2 units, P < 0.01) in comparison with sham group. Furthermore, this treatment was able to bring back obese women to a state of insulin sensitivity, indicating that acupoint catgut embedding therapy combined with moxibustion could be useful as a complementary therapy to reduce the risk of diabetes associated to obesity in women.
Overall, our results confirmed the effectiveness of acupoints stimulation to assist in the control of body weight in women. They also highlighted the more favorable effects of embedded catgut-moxibustion combination that may be due to the extended and consistent stimulation of acupoints.