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Does Acupuncture Work for Weight Loss?

Does Acupuncture Work for Weight Loss?

While acupuncture will not directly cause someone to instantly lose weight, it can be a key component of a successful weight loss program.

What Is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medicinal practice that employs the use of inserting thin needles at various depths into the body along certain energy pathways. There are over 2,000 acupuncture points on the human body. Some people have compared it to hypnosis in that it brings about a state of inner calmness as blocked channels are opened up to allow the flow of healing energy.

With roots in Eastern culture, the purpose of acupuncture is to bring about holistic healing. It has been used for a variety of health-related issues such as dealing with allergies, controlling addictions, and most commonly for pain management. It has only more recently been explored as a weight loss aid in Western culture. The thyroid, mouth, stomach, and spleen are common acupuncture points for targeting weight loss.

Acupuncture for Weight Loss Clinical Studies

Obesity is a growing epidemic and is linked to a host of health problems. A healthy diet and regular exercise are critical to weight loss. However, acupuncture is becoming an increasingly popular focus of research studies that look promising.

Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine: In a 1993 study published in the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine researchers found that in obese patients suffering from hypofunction of the sympathetic-adrenal system and the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal system and that acupuncture was successful for effecting weight loss by improving the functioning of both systems.

Australian Family Physician: In another promising study published in the 1998 Journal Australian Family Physician, the researchers set out to measure the effectiveness of auricular acupuncture points for the suppression of appetite. 95% of the participants of the group receiving the treatment experienced positive results.



“Acupuncture for some common disorders: a review of evaluative research.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Aug. 2010.

“Stimulation of auricular acupuncture points in wei… [Aust Fam Physician. 1998] – PubMed result.” National Center for Biotechnology Information. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Aug. 2010.

Liu, Z, J Li, Y Wang, K Hu, and F Sun. “Effect of Acupuncture on Weight Loss Evaluated by Adrenal Function.” Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine 13.3 (1993): 169-173. Print.

Richards, D., and J. Marley. “Stimulation of Auricular Acupuncture Points in Weight Loss.” Australian Family Physician 27.2:S (1998): 73-77. Print.

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