Can acupuncture help you lose weight?

by Glenn Larson

Weight loss isn’t easy, and there is no shortage of weight loss hacks and diets to help you get to where you want to be. But with the multitude of options at your disposal, choosing a method is already a big task in itself.

Acupuncture is one of the weight loss therapies that offer an alternative to the usual diets and weight loss programs we all see on the internet. The question remains: is acupuncture for real? We’re sure you have that one friend who’s really into exploring traditional medicine, and you might be asking this question yourself, so let’s find out.


Have you heard your friends or family members talk about getting acupuncture? If you are curious, acupuncture stimulates different points in your body to induce various kinds of effects and health benefits. 

This medical practice has been a tradition in China which inserts slender needles in your skin to stimulate the points in your body. Other than needles, other acupuncture treatments use heat, manual pressure, or electrical stimulation.

Acupuncture has been a complementary medical practice since many studies have tried explaining its ability to manage headaches, neck, back, and osteoarthritis pain. For practitioners, the imbalance in the flow of qi, or vital energy, can lead to illnesses or ailments such as various body aches. Therefore, when acupuncture targets specific points in the body, qi’s blocked flow can be restored and heal the condition.

Acupuncture sometimes involves multiple sessions. This is done by placing thin, sterile needles into specific body points and left there for 10 to 20 minutes. Here, the practitioner can even be gently manipulated or conduct a very mild electric current.

One of the benefits of acupuncture was said to be weight loss. This is explicitly done with auricular acupuncture when tiny needles are inserted in the points around your ear. 


Practitioners of acupuncture and its proponents say that the therapy can induce a better flow of qi in the body which is said to reverse obesity. This includes increasing metabolism, decreasing stress, and lessening your appetite. Acupuncture is also said to affect the brain that makes you feel hungry. 

Traditional Chinese medicine believes that weight gain is an imbalance in the body. A malfunctioning liver, spleen, and endocrine system can induce such imbalance. Hence, when doing acupuncture for weight loss, these organs are common target points also. Also, the facts on the ear are said to control food cravings if stimulated.

Researches on the effectiveness of acupuncture for weight loss have not been entirely conclusive. Nevertheless, a human and animal study found out that acupuncture can help treat obesity by regulating the endocrine system, promote healthy digestion, and suppress appetite to manage food cravings. Moreover, the study also said acupuncture could decrease inflammation, blood sugar, and harmful cholesterol levels to help manage obese people. 

In contrast to that study, Western studies have shown otherwise. Acupuncture does not provide significant effects on weight loss unless the participants do lifestyle modifications. 


Now that you are aware of the weight loss applications of acupuncture, there are also many other applications for acupuncture. Some of the more common ones are the treatment for chronic back pain or headaches. Moreover, acupuncture can be used for ailments like nausea, vomiting, depression, insomnia, or anxiety. 

Acupuncture has a lot of applications, especially in traditional Chinese medicine. However, in Western practice, this is usually a complementary treatment used in conjunction with Western medical practice.


Can acupuncture help you lose weight?

If you are worried about the safety of acupuncture, do not worry since this is practically safe. There are significantly few side effects, and it is only attributed to inexperienced acupuncture practitioners. 

The safety of acupuncture is highly dependent on the cleanliness of needles and the training and level of expertise of the practitioner. Some of the side effects could include infections or injury to the central nervous system.

These side effects might sound scary. However, as long as you find a certified acupuncturist with a good amount of experience, then you will surely be safe.


Can acupuncture help you lose weight?

As mentioned earlier, there are conflicting results on the studies that aimed to examine the effects of acupuncture on weight loss. Regardless, this can still be a complementary treatment to your weight loss program as long as you communicate with your doctor or dietitian.

If you are interested in acupuncture as an inclusion to your weight loss program, make sure you have a good attitude towards acupuncture. If you have some friends or close relatives whom you have heard that acupuncture worked for them, you might also want to give it a shot.

Moreover, you can see acupuncture as a part of a holistic weight loss program. This complementary medical practice can be used in conjunction with a weight loss diet, daily exercise, and even pharmacologic interventions. 

Generally, acupuncture can be an excellent adjunct to your original weight loss plan as long as you practice it with a certified practitioner and with the aid of a medical professional, too.


You can have acupuncture sessions if you are looking for methods or practices you can include in your weight loss regimen. Despite the limited and conflicting research evidence, you can still get your target weight as long as you have a good outlook and healthy lifestyle choices.

Now, since you have an idea on acupuncture and weight loss, the bottom line would still be considering the help of your doctor. Discuss with them your plans on using acupuncture as a complementary treatment. 

Your doctor will be in the best position to determine whether acupuncture is right for you or if another weight loss alternative is more suitable for your current health situation.

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