Can Acupuncture Help with Weight Loss?

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For many, the battle against excess weight is an ongoing struggle that often feels like an uphill climb. The biggest question many people have is: can acupuncture help with weight loss? While diet and exercise remain fundamental pillars of successful weight management, some individuals are turning to alternative therapies such as acupuncture for extra support.

In this article, we’ll dive into the science and practice of acupuncture for weight loss.


Does Acupuncture for Weight Loss Really Work?

Research into acupuncture’s effectiveness for weight loss is still in its early stages, but there are promising findings that suggest it may have a role to play in weight management.

According to a 2018 study, acupuncture is considered an effective obesity treatment with strong indications suggesting potential involvement of neuroendocrine regulation.

According to a 2015 study, the combination of body acupuncture and dietary restriction has shown effectiveness in promoting weight loss and reducing inflammatory responses. This suggests that acupuncture could serve as a complementary treatment for managing obesity if combined with other treatments and procedures.

On the other hand, there’s also a small study conducted in Japan last 2015 that focused on acupuncture applied to the ear area, which led to significant alterations in the active levels of ghrelin—a hormone originating in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract known to influence hunger levels. Participants who received acupuncture exhibited a notable reduction in body weight when compared to those in the control group.

These are only some of the studies that prove the effectiveness of acupuncture for weight loss. While further research is still required to establish the precise mechanisms and long-term effects of acupuncture on weight loss, the existing evidence suggests that it may be a viable option for some individuals.


Can Acupuncture Help with Weight Loss? How?

Acupuncture is believed to influence weight loss through several mechanisms, although it’s important to note that the exact mechanisms are still being researched and understood. Here’s a closer look at how acupuncture may contribute to weight loss:

Appetite Regulation

Acupuncture may affect hormones related to appetite control. For instance, the study mentioned earlier found that acupuncture applied to the ear area led to significant changes in ghrelin levels. Ghrelin is a hormone responsible for hunger regulation. By modifying these hormone levels, acupuncture may help reduce cravings and overeating.

Stress Reduction

Stress is one of the biggest triggers for emotional eating and can lead to weight gain. Acupuncture sessions often induce a deep sense of relaxation, which can reduce stress and anxiety. This emotional balance may prevent stress-driven eating and promote healthier food choices.

Metabolism Boost

Some proponents of acupuncture argue that it can stimulate the metabolism, leading to increased calorie expenditure. While the scientific evidence for this claim is limited, the potential for acupuncture to impact metabolic processes is an area of ongoing research.

Digestive Support

Acupuncture may target specific points related to digestion and the gastrointestinal system. By improving digestion and nutrient absorption, it may indirectly contribute to weight management.

Hormone Balance

Acupuncture is thought to help balance hormones related to metabolism, such as insulin and thyroid hormones. Balanced hormone levels may promote better weight control.


6 Acupuncture Points for Weight Loss

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Acupuncture practitioners often target specific points on the body to aid in weight loss. These acupuncture points are believed to have a connection to various aspects of metabolism and appetite regulation. Here are six commonly used acupuncture points for weight loss:

Ear Points (Auricular Acupuncture)

The ear is a popular area for acupuncture related to weight management. Acupuncturists may focus on the “hunger point,” which is believed to control appetite. Stimulating this point is thought to reduce cravings and overeating.

Stomach Point (ST 36)

Located on the lower leg, about four finger widths below the kneecap and one finger width outside the shinbone, ST 36 is believed to be connected to digestion. It’s often used to improve digestion and boost energy levels, which can be beneficial for weight management.

Spleen Point (SP 6)

Found on the inner side of the lower leg, just above the ankle, SP 6 is associated with the spleen, which plays a role in digestion and nutrient absorption. Stimulating this point may aid in digestive health and support weight loss efforts.

Conception Vessel 12 (CV 12)

CV 12 is situated on the midline of the abdomen, around four finger widths above the navel. It’s believed to help regulate the digestive system and promote balanced energy flow in the abdominal area. Stimulating this point may aid in digestion and support weight management.

Spleen 10 (SP 10)

SP 10 is located on the inner thigh, about three finger widths above the kneecap. It’s associated with the spleen and is believed to influence blood sugar levels and balance in the body. Stimulating this point may help address water retention and hormonal imbalances that can affect weight management.

Governing Vessel 26 (GV 26)

Located just under the nose, between the upper lip and the base of the nose, GV 26 is often used for its calming effect. Stress reduction can be crucial for preventing emotional eating, making this point relevant to weight management.

How Many Acupuncture Sessions Are Needed for Weight Loss?

The number of acupuncture sessions needed for weight loss usually varies depending on your individual goals, your body’s response to treatment, and the acupuncturist’s assessment. Typically, having at least two to three sessions a week is recommended, which may be adjusted depending on your body’s response to the treatment.


When considering acupuncture for weight loss, it’s essential to consult with a qualified acupuncturist who can tailor a treatment plan to meet your specific needs and goals. Additionally, acupuncture should be part of a comprehensive approach to weight management, including a healthy diet, regular exercise, and stress reduction strategies.
Can acupuncture help with weight loss? At Bradenton Acupuncture, we’re dedicated to exploring the potential benefits of acupuncture for weight management and various other aspects of health and well-being. If you’re interested in learning more, contact us today!

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