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