Acupuncture for Weight Loss: A Healthy Way to Shed Pounds


For individuals wanting to improve and/or maintain health research shows evidence that acupuncture may help promote weight loss. Can incorporating acupuncture into an overall health plan help achieve this goal?

Acupuncture Weight Loss

Acupuncture is a traditional medical therapy that inserts thin, flexible needles into the body at specific points. It has been around for more than 2,500 years. The practice is believed to stimulate the body’s energy/circulation, and research suggests that it could improve various factors known to contribute to weight gain and obesity. (Kepei Zhang et al., 2018)

  • Acupuncture regulates energy flow and helps restore the body’s balance, which is believed to promote homeostasis and self-healing. (Ning-Cen Li et al., 2019)
  • Acupuncture stimulates connective tissue, which affects blood circulation, nerves, and the immune system.
  • It has been used to help manage conditions like migraines, infertility, pain management, and weight loss.
  • At the first appointment, the acupuncturist will take a general medical history and identify weight loss goals.
  • They will help identify the root causes contributing to weight gain, e.g., slow metabolism, thyroid issues, and overeating, to develop an effective personalized treatment plan.
  • A trained and licensed practitioner may also be able to provide nutritional and health coaching in addition to acupuncture treatments.


  • The needles are thin and designed to work effectively without causing pain or bleeding.
  • The needles are left in for 15 to 30 minutes per session, depending on the treatment stage.
  • The practitioner may lift or rotate the needles as part of the technique during a session.
  • Many individuals report that acupuncture treatments are relaxing and pain-free.
  • For weight loss, the ear points will be the focus.
  • Research suggests that stimulating certain outer ear points may help balance hormones that help decrease cravings and suppress appetite. (Li-Hua Wang et al.,2019)
  • Two hormones that help in weight loss and acupuncture may help rebalance include: (Li-Hua Wang et al.,2019)


  • Controls appetite and meal stimulation.


  • Regulates fat storage and metabolism.

Acupuncture Weight Loss can help:

  • Decrease food cravings
  • Suppress appetite
  • Improve digestion
  • Increase metabolism


Acupuncture weight loss recent research:

  • One study compared the effectiveness of auricular/ear acupuncture to body acupuncture in obese women and found that those who received ear acupuncture lost more weight than the individuals who received acupuncture in other body areas. (Cayir Yasemin et al., 2017)
  • Another study found that overweight females between 20 and 30 years of age who received six weekly treatments of ear acupuncture experienced a reduction in waist circumference. (Felicity Lillingston et al., 2019)
  • Many individuals gain weight as a result of stress.
  • Research suggests that acupuncture therapy helps stimulate the release of endorphins or the body’s natural pain-relieving hormones.
  • This helps create calming, relaxing effects that counteract stress eating caused by tension, frustration, and anxiety. (Laila Ahmed Abou Ismail et al., 2015)
  • When incorporated with lifestyle adjustments, like regular exercise, improved sleep, stress management, and a balanced diet, a review of studies concluded that acupuncture is effective for weight loss. (S-Y Kim et al, 2018)


The risks of acupuncture are low when performed by a licensed and certified practitioner. The most common side effects include:

  • Soreness
  • Bruising
  • Minor bleeding where the needles were inserted
  • Fatigue

Before seeking acupuncture treatment, consult your healthcare provider about consideration. They may recommend a reputable practitioner if the treatment is right for you.

Chiropractic Care and Metabolism


Zhang, K., Zhou, S., Wang, C., Xu, H., & Zhang, L. (2018). Acupuncture on Obesity: Clinical Evidence and Possible Neuroendocrine Mechanisms. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2018, 6409389.

Li, N. C., Li, M. Y., Chen, B., & Guo, Y. (2019). A New Perspective of Acupuncture: The Interaction among Three Networks Leads to Neutralization. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2019, 2326867.

Wang, L. H., Huang, W., Wei, D., Ding, D. G., Liu, Y. R., Wang, J. J., & Zhou, Z. Y. (2019). Mechanisms of Acupuncture Therapy for Simple Obesity: An Evidence-Based Review of Clinical and Animal Studies on Simple Obesity. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2019, 5796381.

Yasemin, C., Turan, S., & Kosan, Z. (2017). The Effects of Auricular and Body Acupuncture in Turkish Obese Female Patients: A Randomized Controlled Trial Indicated Both Methods Lost Body Weight But Auricular Acupuncture Was Better Than Body Acupuncture. Acupuncture & electro-therapeutics research, 42(1), 1–10.×14908026364990

Lillingston, F., Fields, P., & Waechter, R. (2019). Auricular Acupuncture Associated with Reduced Waist Circumference in Overweight Women-A Randomized Controlled Trial. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2019, 6471560.

Ismail, L. A., Ibrahim, A. A., Abdel-Latif, G. A., El-Haleem, D. A., Helmy, G., Labib, L. M., & El-Masry, M. K. (2015). Effect of Acupuncture on Body Weight Reduction and Inflammatory Mediators in Egyptian Obese Patients. Open access Macedonian journal of medical sciences, 3(1), 85–90.

Kim, S. Y., Shin, I. S., & Park, Y. J. (2018). Effect of acupuncture and intervention types on weight loss: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Obesity reviews : an official journal of the International Association for the Study of Obesity, 19(11), 1585–1596.

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Professional Scope of Practice *

The information herein on "Acupuncture for Weight Loss: A Healthy Way to Shed Pounds" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional or licensed physician and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.

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Our information scope is limited to Chiropractic, musculoskeletal, acupuncture, physical medicines, wellness, contributing etiological viscerosomatic disturbances within clinical presentations, associated somatovisceral reflex clinical dynamics, subluxation complexes, sensitive health issues, and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions.

We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from various disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system.

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Our office has reasonably attempted to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research studies supporting our posts. We provide copies of supporting research studies available to regulatory boards and the public upon request.

We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation of how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez, DC, or contact us at 915-850-0900.

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Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, RN*, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, ATN*


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