Get the point on weight loss

The New Year may be just 10 days old, but most resolutions are already coming to a quiet end -- especially that one resolution people make most: lose some weight.

Yes, diets can be difficult, especially early on.

Hang in there. And if you need a little extra help, there's no need to turn to pills or gimmicks. According to a new study, losing weight is one of the added benefits of acupuncture.

I know, it seems like it shouldn't work, and that's why so many mainstream "experts" will dismiss it. They can't explain it, so they ignore it.

They're even trying to dismiss the new study that tested two different forms of acupuncture of the ear for weight loss. One hits on five different points on the ear, while the other targets a single "hunger point."

Both are based on the ancient Chinese belief that the outer portion of the ear contains points that represent every part of the body. And while it seems pretty unlikely to those of us in the West, the new study shows there's something to it: Patients given the five-point treatment lost 6 percent of their BMI, while patients poked in the "hunger point" lost 5.7 percent.

Now, I've already seen mainstream talking heads dismiss this as the placebo effect. Just one problem: The study also included a placebo group of patients given a sham treatment, and they lost no weight at all.

Clearly, there's something to this, even if Western medicine can't explain it.

That said, while I've seen the benefits of acupuncture work wonders for everything from pain to depression -- and I even have an acupuncturist on my staff at the Stengler Center -- I wouldn't rely on this treatment alone for weight loss.

Consider it more of a tool to help with a diet -- with the diet being the far more important part of the equation. Acupuncture may help to control hunger and increase willpower, but it's the diet that will help you shed the pounds and get healthy.