Background: Acupuncture, as a complementary and alternative medical treatment, has shown some promise as a therapeutic option for obesity and weight control. The aim of the current study was to investigate the effects of electroacupuncture on body weight, body mass index (BMI), skin fold thickness, waist circumference and skin temperature of the abdominal region in non-obese women with excessive abdominal subcutaneous fat.
Methods: A total of 50 women with excessive abdominal subcutaneous fat (and average BMI of 22) were randomly assigned to one of two groups: an electroacupuncture group (n = 25) receiving 10 electroacupuncture sessions (insertion of needles connected to an electrical stimulator at a frequency of 40 Hz for 40 min) and a control group (n = 25) that received no treatment. Outcome measures evaluated included waist circumference, supra-iliac and abdominal skinfolds, body composition and superficial skin temperature (measured by cutaneous thermography) before and after treatment.
Results: Compared with the untreated group, women in the electroacupuncture group exhibited decreased supra-iliac and abdominal skin folds (p < 0.001), waist circumference (p < 0.001), percentage body fat (p = 0.001) and percentage abdominal fat (p < 0.001). In addition, the electroacupuncture group showed an elevated skin temperature at the site of the treatment. However, electroacupuncture did not significantly impact body weight (p = 0.01) or BMI (p = 0.2).
Conclusion: Electroacupuncture promoted a reduction in abdominal waist circumference, supra-iliac and abdominal skin folds, and percentage body and abdominal fat in women of normal BMI with excessive abdominal subcutaneous fat, as well as an increase in the superficial skin temperature of the abdominal region.