Needles are used in acupuncture. It is also used to reduce weight. Practiced for thousands of years in traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture is believed to stimulate the flow of energy in the body, and research shows it may improve many of the factors that contribute to weight gain and obesity.

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  1. How Acupuncture Works for Weight Loss
  2. Acupuncture for Weight Loss
  3. How Much Time Acupuncture Take for Weight Loss
  4. What does the Research Say About Acupuncture
  5. Acupuncture Points for Weight Loss
  6. How to Choose the Right Doctor?
  7. Summary

Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medical practice of inserting thin, flexible needles into specific points on the body. In use for over 2,500 years. It has also become more popular in North America.

Traditionally, acupuncture has been used to regulate the flow of energy in the body and bring the body back into balance. The needles used in acupuncture can stimulate tissue, which affects blood circulation, nerves, and the immune system. It is also believed to be beneficial in promoting homeostasis and self-healing.

It has been used to help manage many conditions such as migraines, infertility, reducing pain, and weight loss.

First the acupuncturist will consider your other problems and weight loss techniques and help identify the root of the problem to determine the most effective treatment for you.

Acupuncture manages pain – especially for headaches and neck, back, knee and osteoarthritis pain.

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The needles used for acupuncture are thin, designed to work effectively without causing pain or bleeding. The needles are left in the body for 15 to 30 minutes per session. The doctor may lift or rotate the needles depending on the treatment. Many people report that acupuncture treatments are relaxing and pain-free.

For weight loss, acupuncturists focus on the ear. Research shows that stimulating certain points on the outer ear helps balance hormones which is beneficial in reducing appetite.

Acupuncture affects two hormones responsible for weight loss such as –

Ghrelin: which controls appetite and food cravings

Leptin: which regulates fat storage and metabolism

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, weight gain is caused by an imbalance in the body and this imbalance can be caused by a malfunction such as:

  • liver
  • spleen

  • kidney

  • thyroid gland

  • endocrine system

Therefore, for weight loss, acupuncture treatments usually target these areas of the body. Acupuncture is performed by physicians to help smokers and drug abusers end their addiction.

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Ways acupuncture is believed to help with weight loss include:

  • Reducing Stress and Anxiety

It is believed that acupuncture helps you lose weight by stimulating the secretion of endorphins. These are natural chemical hormones in your body that improve your mood and reduce stress. Stress and anxiety can sometimes trigger reactions like food cravings or overeating, which can lead to weight gain. Therefore, it makes sense that increasing endorphin levels may help curb stressful eating habits.

  • Improve Digestion

Improves the function of the digestive system by pressing specific acupuncture points located on the stomach and kidneys and increases the absorption of nutrients. Acupuncture may help reduce gastrointestinal problems such as constipation and bloating, and may also provide relief by replenishing the body's water intake.

  • Regulation of Hormones

Hormones such as insulin (regulates blood sugar levels), cortisol (a stress hormone that affects metabolism) and leptin (regulates feelings of hunger) are major regulators of your metabolism and your weight. In turn, acupuncture may help improve these hormones and their function, which may ultimately aid in weight loss.

  • Boost Metabolism

Acupuncture may help boost metabolism by improving the function of the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland produces hormones that regulate the body's metabolic rate and, when it does not function properly, leads to weight gain. Acupuncture can increase blood flow to the thyroid gland and reduce inflammation, resulting in a higher metabolism and making it easier to burn fat and calories.

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Different acupuncturists recommend different treatment times. For example, if you are planning to lose 10 to 15 pounds, it is normal to do several treatments a week for six to eight weeks.

If you believe that your acupuncture treatment is beneficial, a positive attitude can help you lose weight.


Research shows that acupuncture can help with weight loss. In one study, ear acupuncture was done in obese women and it was found that those who got ear acupuncture had less weight than others.

Many people often gain weight due to being under stress. Research shows that acupuncture needles stimulate the release of endorphins – the body's natural "feel good" hormones. It produces a calming, relaxing effect in the body which is helpful in eliminating stress, frustration and anxiety.

When added to a lifestyle like regular exercise, better sleep, stress management, and a balanced diet, acupuncture is effective for weight loss.

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Various acupuncture points are believed to help with weight loss, with all points related to organs and/or systems that control your weight, such as the digestive system, nervous system, and endocrine system.

The most commonly used acupuncture points for weight loss are:

  • Ear Shen Men

Location: At the top of the ear.

It is believed that this point helps reduce stress and anxiety. ,

  • Spleen 6

Location: On the inner foot, four fingers above the ankle.

This point is believed to help regulate digestion and reduce food cravings.

  • Stomach 36

Location: On the outer leg, below the knee.

It is believed that this point improves digestion and promotes metabolism.

  • Large Intestine 4

Location: On the hand, in the web between the thumb and forefinger. This point is believed to help reduce hunger and cravings.

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You may have to look hard to find a reputable acupuncturist in your area, as licensing and regulation vary from state to state. Check the training and certifications of anyone you want to get treatment from.

The risks of acupuncture are low if it is performed by a certified, competent practitioner. The most common side effects of acupuncture include:

  • Injury
  • minor bleeding where the needles were inserted

  • Tiredness

Before taking acupuncture treatment, be sure to consult your doctor.

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Although research shows evidence that acupuncture can aid in weight loss, don't expect magic to happen. For best results, eat a healthy diet, get enough sleep, and avoid stress. Apart from acupuncture treatment, also do regular exercise.

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