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Complementary therapies for reducing body weight: a systematic review.

20 Feb

Researchers at Peninsula Medical School, at the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth in the UK conducted a review of the literature to determine the effectiveness of complementary therapies on reducing body weight.

The review looked at evidence from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and systematic reviews. Literature searches were conducted on Medline, Embase, Amed, and the Cochrane Library until January 2004. There were no restrictions regarding the language of publication.

Six systematic reviews and 25 additional RCTs met the inclusion criteria and were reviewed. The evidence related to acupuncture, acupressure, dietary supplements, homeopathy and hypnotherapy.

Except for hypnotherapy, Ephedra sinica and other ephedrine-containing dietary supplements, the weight of the evidence was not convincing enough to suggest effectiveness. Only small effects compared with placebos.

The review concludes that for most complementary therapies, the weight of the evidence for reducing body is not convincing. Hypnotherapy, however, as well as E. sinica and other ephedrine-containing dietary supplements, may lead to small reductions in body weight.

However, the intake of E. sinica and ephedrine is associated with an increased risk of adverse events.

Citation: Pittler MH, Ernst E. Complementary therapies for reducing body weight: a systematic review. International Journal of Obesity (Lond). 2005 Sep; 29 (9): pages 1030-8. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award