Auricular acupuncture, also known as auriculotherapy, uses the outer ear to diagnose patients and perform acupuncture therapy. This procedure has been used by the Chinese and ancient Greeks for more than 2,000 years. Today, auricular acupuncture is being used in the form of ear stapling as a means of weight loss.
Types of Practitioners in New Jersey
The types of practitioners that perform ear stapling for weight loss in New Jersey vary. Some facilities, such as Dream Staple, have limited medical background. The owner of Dream Staple was trained as a medical assistant, but most states, like New Jersey, do not regulate the procedure, its training or the purchase of the supplies needed. It's also not uncommon to find ear stapling offered at salons and chiropractors, such as Natural Healing Chiropractic.
Ear Stapling Procedure
The ear stapling procedure for weight loss uses surgical steel staples. They are stapled into the middle cartilage of the outer ear at specified acupuncture points, most often the points relating to the mouth, stomach or intestines. This provides continuous stimulus to these points, and according to acupuncture theory, stimulates the associated parts of the body via signals to the brain. One or both ears may be stapled. The staples remain in the ear typically between two weeks and six months.
Practitioners report that the primary benefit of ear stapling is weight loss. According to Dream Staple, women lose two to five pounds per week and men lose four to eight pounds per week, on average. In addition to weight loss, other reported benefits include reduced stress levels, a reduction in nicotine cravings in smokers, suppressed appetite, reduction in gastric bypass and IBS symptoms, and a decreased craving for junk food. These benefits reportedly continue until the staple is removed by the practitioner.
There are a couple of side effects associated with ear stapling for weight loss. Infection at the staple site is one of the most common and most dangerous side effects. For this reason, it is recommended that the area around the staple is cleaned with alcohol each day; many practitioners recommend placing antibacterial cream over the staple to keep it from getting infected. A second side effect is possible scarring, especially if larger staples are used.
The effectiveness of this procedure has yet to be documented by scientific research. Many of the positive results that have been reported are relayed by practitioners of the stapling procedure. The reported weight loss results can be as much as 40 pounds a month. However, as Discovery Health notes, many skeptics report these benefits may simply be due to the placebo effect. Positive placebo effect results are achieved simply because the person who had the procedure believes it's going to work.