Acupuncture: Benefits, Ear Acupuncture, And More

Medically reviewed by Maria Sarino, MD FACT CHECKED

Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese treatment technique for several health conditions, including obesity.

The treatment has been practiced for over 2500 years, and recently it got popularity in North America due to its effectiveness. The acupuncture technique involves the piercing of thin and flexible needles into specific points of the body.

Needle piercing allows the flow of Chi or Qi (energy) to different body regions and helps regain the body’s balance.  Similarly, overweight people may undergo acupuncture to shed a few pounds and get fit.

This article covers all the essential details related to acupuncture for weight loss that may help you get your desired goal. 

Acupuncture is considered an excellent technique for losing weight. It is believed that acupuncture stimulates the body’s energy to flow through different regions and impacts factors responsible for causing weight gain.

The common benefits you may get after acupuncture sessions include boosted metabolism, reduced appetite, hormonal balance, and lowered stress. 

Generally, obesity or weight gain occurs due to ill-functioning of organs like kidneys, liver, spleen, etc.; hence, treating the responsible organs with acupuncture techniques may improve their function. 

Ear Acupuncture

The ear is considered a primary organ by acupuncturists to help lose weight. Stimulating different regions of the ear’s outer surface would help treat obesity. 

Generally, acupuncture to the ear helps balance hormone levels, including ghrelin and leptin, which are responsible for appetite and hunger cravings. 

Benefits Of Acupuncture For Weight Loss

  1. May Regulate Hunger

    Hunger has a significant role in regulating an individual’s weight. Hence, controlling appetite would help lower weight.

    Hormones such as leptin and ghrelin, are responsible for hunger regulation. These hormones play a significant role in inducing hunger and signaling fullness to stop eating.

    Ghrelin is the hunger-inducing hormone, while leptin tells us to stop eating. Acupuncture techniques may help in regulating the levels of these hormones to control the appetite.  

  1. May Balance Hormone Levels

    Hormonal imbalance could significantly cause weight gain, especially in perimenopausal women. Generally, irregular hormone levels may affect crucial bodily functions, including digestive, cognitive, and immune functions. 

    People opting for acupuncture along with medicinal herbs may maintain their hormone levels. 

  1. May Improve Digestion

    Improving an individual’s digestion and absorption may help boost weight loss. Here, applying the acupuncture technique to specific channel systems like the kidneys and stomach may help aid digestion.

    This technique could help boost nutrient absorption essential for an excellent metabolism. People with a healthy digestive system may prevent themselves from gastrointestinal issues like bloating and constipation.

  1. May Reduce Fluid Retention

    Fluid retention may cause fluid swelling that makes your body look swollen. Moreover, it increases an individual’s water and overall body weight by a few pounds.

    Thus, lowering fluid retention is highly essential to avoid unexplained weight gain. The acupuncture technique stimulates the endocrine system, which helps significantly reduce fluid retention.

  1. May Improve Mood

    Stress and anxiety may increase the urge to eat high-calorie or junk foods for satisfaction. But, these urges may lead to excessive weight gain; thus, you must keep the stress level low. 

    Acupuncture could help elevate an individual’s mood by stimulating the release of the feel-good hormone, i.e., endorphin.

  1. May Enhacne Metabolism

    Boosting an individual’s metabolism would increase fat-burning, which is essential to losing weight extensively.

    Here, acupuncture could help boost the metabolism by stimulating two vital endocrine glands, the thyroid, and the pituitary. Stimulating these glands boost baseline metabolism resulting in significant calorie-burning and weight loss. 

How Many Sessions Required For Weight Loss?

The acupuncture technique does not have a specific treatment plan for losing weight. Generally, the sessions may vary depending on the practitioner and the total weight you are willing to lose. 

People looking to get into good shape and lose a few pounds would require a few sessions to achieve their goals. On the other hand, heavyweight people may require several weeks, i.e., up to 8 weeks, to see visible changes in their weight. 

The sessions may vary depending on the treatment plan designed by the practitioners. Some practitioners gradually reduce sessions per week as the treatment progresses. Thus, you should consult the practitioner to get detailed session information. 

Importance Of Positivity During Sessions

Positivity is highly essential to boost a treatment’s effect. Similarly, believing in acupuncture treatment for weight loss may help you effectively lose weight.  

A positive mindset allows you to take off all your stress and anxiety that may be causing weight gain. Moreover, positivity may help you make better choices like improving your diet, regularly exercising, etc.

Hence, a positive response to the treatment would help boost the treatment’s impact. 

Why Treatment Lacks Scientific Studies?

Acupuncture is widely regarded as an excellent technique for losing weight. But you won’t find many scientific studies to prove the above statement. 

Several studies have been done on the acupuncture technique helpful in lowering weight. But most of these studies failed to convince due to a lack of a good approach. 

Besides the poor approach, some of these study results include personal beliefs, expectations, and relations with the practitioners that seem irrelevant to the acupuncture treatment. 

Other factors that restrict scientific studies on acupuncture for weight loss include the variability in data from several small studies.

The usual variabilities observed in the studies are the number of acupuncture points, sessions, length of sessions, sham intervention, and technique. Thus, you may or may not find specific scientific studies of acupuncture for weight loss. 

Safety Measure Of Acupuncture

Acupuncture techniques would require a professional to carry out the procedure. If you don’t have any specialists nearby, you may need extensive research to find a good and licensed acupuncturist. 

Besides acupuncturists, several professionals like chiropractors, massage therapists, and neuropathic and medical healthcare providers also offer acupuncture treatment.

But they must have undergone professional training provided by the government bodies. Moreover, some regions require professionals to clear an acupuncture test conducted by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. 

Opting for non-professionals to carry out the acupuncture procedures may put you at several risks, including infections, collapsed lungs, injured CNS, and punctured organs.

Some other side effects experienced in acupuncture are soreness, fatigue, and minor bleeding at the site of needle insertion. Thus, consulting an acupuncturist would help avoid such risks and side effects. 


Acupuncture for weight loss could be effective, but it lacks satisfactory scientific studies. 

It is believed that people undergoing acupuncture may experience specific changes in their metabolism, hormone levels, and mood. Hence, opting for acupuncture may help you lose weight significantly. 

But, it would be best to consult a healthcare professional to learn the pros and cons of acupuncture. Moreover, the specialist may help guide you with the appropriate steps required to lose weight.

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