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Home arrow Nutrition arrow Weight Management arrow Acupuncture for Weight Loss: Tips From a Medical Expert

Acupuncture for Weight Loss: Tips From a Medical Expert

Written by Dennis Njoroge
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: April 7, 2023
3 min read 1553 Views 0 Comments
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Acupuncture was used in traditional medicine to relieve stress and pressure from the body. However, recent research claims that it is also effective for weight loss. Check out our definitive guide to slimming through acupuncture treatments.

acupuncture for weight loss

There are countless diets, supplements, medications, and meal replacement plans for weight loss. However, not all of them work, and some are not backed by science. One alternative method many people consider for weight loss is acupuncture.

Some people claim that acupuncture treatment can alleviate physical pain and stress and treat weight gain. This article will assess acupuncture for weight loss and whether it is a viable method for losing weight.

Acupuncture for Weight Loss – Is It Effective?

Though acupuncture has gained popularity in some alternative medicine circles, there is not much evidence showing its effectiveness in weight loss.

Research suggests that ear acupuncture, also known as auricular acupuncture helps reduce cravings, thus aiding weight loss. Other medical reviewers confirm that it helps reduce stress levels, indirectly linked to helping a person lose weight effectively.

Ultimately, there is not enough conclusive evidence showing whether acupuncture is an effective treatment for shedding stubborn fat.

If you consider acupuncture for weight loss, talk to your healthcare provider, discuss the pros and cons, and choose a licensed acupuncturist to perform the procedure.

How Does Acupuncture Help With Weight Loss?

Acupuncture is a form of internal medicine, and it helps people lose weight in numerous ways, such as regulating hormones in the body. It is among the traditional methods used to treat water retention and relieve pain.

Acupuncture originates from traditional Chinese medicine, where thin, sterile needles were placed at strategic points to relieve pressure and bring the body back in balance.

Acupuncturists focus on the ear to assist people in shedding some pounds. When they stimulate nerve points on the outer ear, it helps regulate hormone levels of ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin is a hormone that helps control appetite, as leptin regulates fat storage and the body’s metabolism.

This lowers your cravings hence lowering food intake, improving digestion and metabolism, and helping patients lose more weight.

How Many Acupuncture Sessions Do You Need?

Patients looking to lose 10 to 15 pounds should initially have at least 2 to 3 acupuncture weight loss sessions for 6–8 weeks. The frequency of the acupuncture sessions then tapers off depending on the progress of the treatment.

The number of sessions might also vary from one practitioner to another, and it is best to discuss it first with your doctor.

Pros of Acupuncture for Weight loss

Medical acupuncture is an excellent way of relieving stress, and it is also among the alternative methods for losing weight. Some of the benefits of acupuncture include:

#1 Natural medicine

Acupuncture is an all-natural way of healing the body. It is safe and almost painless when performed by a trained acupuncturist.

The Chinese used acupuncture in traditional medicine. They believed that weight gain resulted from the functional imbalance in the endocrine system, kidney, liver, adrenal and ovary glands, and the spleen and thyroid gland.

#2 Energy boost

Among the main reasons people become overweight is a lack of physical activity. However, body acupuncture helps relieve mental and physical stress, making a person feel revitalized. This energy boost is a crucial ingredient for any weight loss plan.

#3 May suppress appetite

Ear acupuncture stimulates specific points in the outer ear, which help reduce appetite. It also influences hormones like ghrelin and leptin, which curb your cravings, helping you lose weight.

#4 Relieves stress

Some people gain weight when under stress. However, acupuncture stimulates the body to release feel-good hormones known as endorphins. This gives a calming and relaxing effect hence counteracting the stress-eating caused by frustration and anxiety.

Cons of Acupuncture for Weight Loss

Acupuncture can have some severe side effects if not carried out correctly. The common effects include:

#1 Takes time to see results

Like any other natural process for losing weight, weight loss through acupuncture is slow and steady, and it takes time before the results show. However, when combined with a proper lifestyle and a commitment to treatment, one can achieve the results in a relatively short time.

#2 Possible risk of infection

Though the chances of getting an infection from acupuncture are slim, we cannot completely negate it. One can suffer from medical conditions such as collapsed lungs, punctured organs, or damage to the central nervous system.

It can also reduce overall mood and affect bodily processes such as periods among obese women by causing moderate to severe premenstrual syndrome. Therefore, it is advisable to get the procedure only from a trained and licensed acupuncturist.

A Word From Dietitian

Though the latest evidence-based research might promise that acupuncture can promote weight loss, it is not a magic solution to shed the extra pounds.

To lose weight healthily, you need to implement long-term lifestyle changes like healthy eating habits, regular sleeping patterns, and following a good workout regimen.

Other better avenues for losing weight are eating on a calorie deficit and exercising regularly. It is best to consider other weight-loss tactics with more research supporting them than opting for acupuncture for losing weight.

Before considering acupuncture treatments for weight reduction, seek professional medical advice for a medical opinion and ask them to recommend a reputable acupuncturist for you. Work with a trained acupuncture practitioner for safety reasons and get the best results.


Acupuncture might help in treating obesity, but there is no guarantee of shedding weight from the needles. There are mixed sentiments in scientific circles on the effectiveness of acupuncture in losing weight.

If you are still interested in losing weight from acupuncture, discuss it with your doctor, and get the procedure from a reputable practitioner.

Written by Dennis Njoroge
Dennis is a seasoned writer who focuses on writing health and wellness articles. His career goal is to educate people on how to reprogram their lives by breaking free from unhealthy eating habits and fostering new sustainable habits. Dennis tries to give easy-to-follow advice based on scientific research. He strongly believes that regardless of age, fitness level, a person can always learn something new and reach their health goals if they have a positive mindset.
The article was fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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Written by Dennis Njoroge
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: April 7, 2023
3 min read 1553 Views 0 Comments

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