Acupuncture for Weight Loss

Weight loss is a complicated issue. It is not only physically difficult and emotionally fraught, it also paved with fads of questionable efficacy. Acupuncture is gaining popularity recently, with devotees saying it helped them to shed pounds quickly and easily. Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine practice which is less about needles and more about energy. If a person is healthy life energy flows freely through a network of channels, called meridians, through the body. But when these channels are blocked, sickness or pain is the result. Acupuncture is the insertion of very fine needles into the specific points along these meridians to clear the blockages and promote the healthy flow of energy. The modern practitioners usually see it as a way to stimulate or calm certain muscles, nerves and connective tissue with sterile needles, electricity, and magnets. Here is the ways to acupuncture for weight loss.

acupuncture for weight loss

Acupuncture for Weight Loss

1.) Types of Acupuncture

Articular Acupuncture- This is a form of acupuncture for weight loss that targets on specific points on the external surface of the ear. The ear is an important microsystem within the body, and by stimulating various sites on the ear, therapeutic effects can be attained. Some acupuncture practitioners believe that this ear-centric form of acupuncture is highly effective for weight loss.

Electroacupuncture- This is a form of acupuncture for weight loss in which practitioners penetrate the acupuncture needles to the skin and simultaneously, pulsating electrical stimulation is delivered through the needles. The electrical current is thought to eliminate the need for excessive hand movement associated with nonelectrical acupuncture. It also thought that the electrical currents help to ensure that people get sufficient tactile stimulation.

Laser Acupuncture- This is a form of acupuncture for weight loss in which low-level laser are used as an alternative to needles. The laser which is used for laser acupuncture is referred to as cold lasers in which they do not heat up or burn the skin. Some people prefer laser stimulation t acupuncture sites over needles due to the lack of transcutaneous penetration, because sterility concerns associated with needles and side effects. Practitioners claims that light from lasers penetrate the skin and are transmitted through meridians to turn signaling within the body and promote weight loss.

2.) Appetite reduction Acupuncture for Weight Loss

Acupuncture may be the most effective for weight loss due to its ability to reduce appetite. According to the study conducted by Yao et al in 2012 among 118 individual with obesity on the effect of acupuncture on appetite. An individual that received acupuncture experienced significantly less hunger than a control group.

  • It is logical to assume that if you will eat less and inevitably lose some weight. There is man explanation as to why appetite decrease after acupuncture including changes in gastric motility, hormone level, ANS activation, neural activity, neurotransmitters and vagal tone.

3.) Autoimmune Nervous System Acupuncture to Reduce Weight 

Evidence suggest that acupuncture modulates activation in the autonomic nervous system via nerve innervation. When it stimulate with acupuncture, the nerves beneath the skin modify the signal transmission to the brain and other nerve bundles. This alters neurobiology, hormones and is thought to correct imbalances between the parasympathetic and sympathetic division of the ANS.

An individual with obesity often exhibit autonomic dysfunction and affect their metabolic rate, energy level and ability to lose weight. In some cases, both sympathetic and parasympathetic divisions of the ANS appear hypofunctional among those with obesity. Acupuncture enhance the function of and rebalance each branch of the ANS and accelerate weight loss.

4.) Beta-endorphin Modulation Acupuncture for Weight loss

Stimulation of the skin with acupuncture is thought to affect concentrations of beta-endorphin. As some acupuncture experts speculate that the technique increases central and peripheral concentrations of beta-endorphin. Beta-endorphin may promote lipolysis by mobilizing energy stores and lead to weight loss.


  • Other reports suggest that acupuncture reduces serum beta-endorphin. As obese people tend to contain a much greater concentration of serum beta-endorphin than nonobese person and reduction in beta-endorphin from acupuncture can help in weight reduction.

5.) Food Craving Decrease For Weight Reduction

People with obesity struggle to resist food cravings, especially for high sugar and high-fat foods. research have found that food such as Oreos are as addictive as drugs like cocaine to rodents. These foods essentially hijack the pleasure centers and reward the brain to promote the overindulgence and to force the brain to future consumption.

Acupuncture helps to reduce craving and make it easier to ease consumption of addictive foods and restrict calories for weight loss. Numerous anecdotal reports document a reduction in craving for foods after acupuncture, ultimately resulting in weight loss. Research have found that acupuncture can reduce the craving for addictive substances like cigarettes, it is reasonable to speculate that similar craving reduction occurs among those addicted to foods implicated in obesity.

6.) Gut Bacteria Acupuncture to lose Pounds

Acupuncture affects specific strains of gut bacteria to promote weight loss. You can find the evidence for this potential weight loss mechanism from the study in 2013. This study recruited 45 women diagnosed with simple obesity and assessed bacteria diversity within their gastrointestinal tract.

  • The women were divided into 3 groups, 2 groups of an acupuncture treatment and 1 of a control. After the treatment, the BMIs of the women receiving acupuncture were significantly reduced and significant changes to gut bacteria were apparent. The bacteria strains of bifidobacterium and lactobacillus significantly increased, whereas Clostridium perfringens and Bacteroides significantly decreased.
  • Researchers have found that acupuncture has modulated the bacterial ecology of the gastrointestinal tract to restore balance in the body. This restoration of balance may have been a secondary effect in resulting from acupuncture primary effect on the immune system. Data indicated that bactericides are significantly elevated among those with obesity, it is reasonable to speculate the lower concentrations of bactericides after acupuncture can facilitate weight loss. Possibly through suppression of FLAF.

7.) Hormonal Modulation Acupuncture for Weight Loss

You can follow acupuncture treatment for obesity, it appears as though a multitude of hormones area altered. According to the study happened in 2012 measured the effect of 2 acupuncture sessions per week for about 5 weeks on hormone concentration in 40 overweight women. After the study of 5 weeks, concentrations of insulin and leptin significantly decrease compared to those that received a sham intervention.


  • On the other hand, the concentration of cholecystokinin and ghrelin were observed to increase. It is understood that these hormones play important roles in appetite regulation, fat accumulation, energy intake, and metabolism. Perhaps cumulative modulation of hormones like ghrelin, insulin, cholecystokinin and leptin via acupuncture helps the obese individual to lose weight.

8.) HPA Axis Modulation Acupuncture for Weight Loss

The hypothalamic pituitary adrenal is often significantly altered in the obese individual compared to nonobese counterparts, lead to increase the concentration of certain hormones like cortisol within adipose tissue, poor sleep and increase stress.  the combination of HPA mediated increase in cortisol,  poor sleep and stress are understood to cause weight gain.

  • Acupuncture appears to directly modulate activity within the HPA axis and possibly reversing abnormalities among obese individual to promote weight loss. According to the study from early 1993 discovered that acupuncture corrected hypofunction of the HPA axis among those with simple obesity and speculated that this was a mechanism resulting in their weight loss.

9.) Immunomodulation Acupuncture for Weight Loss

Another mechanism through which acupuncture can facilitate weight loss is through immunomodulation.  According to the study published by Adbi in 2012 noted that auricular acupuncture performed over a 6-week duration significantly reduced expression of anti-heat shock protein antibodies and these reductions were associated with statistically significant weight loss. The reduction in anti-heat shock protein antibodies among those people that received acupuncture were maintained for an additional 6 weeks even after stoppage of acupuncture therapy.

  • acupuncture modulate immune function and possibly affect more than just anti-heat shock protein antibodies. It is understood the anti-heat shock protein antibodies are elevated among those with the metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disorders, two conditions closely related to obesity and being overweight. It is assumed that a reduction in anti-heat shock protein antibodies is a mechanism by which acupuncture induces weight loss.

10.) Inflammation reduction Acupuncture for Weight Loss

People with obesity are understood to exhibit increased inflammation. This heightened inflammation is thought to impair weight loss efforts and potentiate weight gain. Some research even suggests that acupuncture can decrease the inflammation by altering nerve ending induced release of various neuropeptides such as calcitonin gene-related peptide, beta-endorphin, and substance P.

The modulation of these neuropeptides can upregulate IL-10 to reduce proinflammatory cytokines such as TNF-alpha. It could be ongoing acupuncture therapy acts as a beneficial adjuvant in weight loss via inflammation reduction.

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