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Can Acupuncture Help With Weight Loss?

By: Stuart Carter, Dip. PT, Precision Nutrition 1,

C.O.O., The Fit Father Project

acupuncture and weight loss
Losing weight can seem like a difficult venture. It's easy to get side tracked and lose the motivation. This is one the primary reasons people look into alternative therapies like acupuncture for weight loss.

While the best way to lose weight is to control your diet and activity levels, acupuncture can provide benefits.

The Theory Behind Acupuncture and Weight Loss

Acupuncture is the science of putting needles into your body. This practice originated in China approximately 8,000 years ago!

acupuncture and weight lossIn the beginning, sharp stones and bones were used instead of needles, but the theory is the same as today, the punctures direct the flow of energy in your body to achieve specific results.

The science behind this method reveals that the fine needles stimulate sensory nerves and encourage the body to release pain-relieving endorphins.

Acupuncturists now treat a range of health conditions including migraines, joint pain and other diseases of the bones and muscles.

A competent practitioner will always start by assessing your general health and medical history as well as conducting a physical examination.

During the treatment session, up to 12 fine needles get inserted under the skin for no more than 30 minutes.

acupuncture & hypnosis for weight lossThese pathways, also known as meridians, are accessible at 350 potential acupuncture points throughout the human body.

By inserting needles in the proper combination and depth throughout the human body, it is believed that the flow of energy can return to the appropriate balance.

This is how acupuncture assists in treating various health concerns.

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Efficacy of Acupuncture and Weight Loss

While a lack of scientific evidence as to its effectiveness may deter some patients, others claim that acupuncture offers immediate and long-lasting relief.

acupuncture and weight lossObesity is just one of the issues thought to be caused by these “imbalances.”

Studies have shown that it can help with pain relief and even stroke rehabilitation. But, there are very few studies on the link to acupuncture and weight loss.

In the case of weight loss, an acupuncture practitioner will look to stimulate nerve and hormone balance while reducing water retention. They may also use a process known as ear stapling to help control food cravings.

One study showed that ear acupuncture, combined with a 2,000 calorie diet and a 15-minute walk, resulted in half the test group losing an average of 10 pounds. Those who didn't have acupuncture lost an average of 3 pounds.

Of course, a 2,000 calorie diet and the 15 minutes of exercise is enough to start your weight loss journey by itself. You may be left wondering if the acupuncture contributed to the study.

It may be important to note that the side effects of acupuncture can include fatigue, muscle spasms, and general soreness. These ailments won’t help you to increase your exercise regime or eat more healthily.

Is Acupuncture Safe?

Although usually safe, side effects of acupuncture may include bleeding or bruising, drowsiness and nausea.

acupuncture and weight lossWhile the notion of sticking needles into the human body may sound dangerous, trained professionals are well versed in safely administering this treatment.

In addition, without any chemicals used in acupuncture, there are typically no side effects, allergic reactions, or physical or mental dependency in the using acupuncture for weight loss. This is a significant benefit for those with allergy concerns or with sensitivity toward pharmaceutical solutions for various health ailments.

Always ensure that a regulated health care professional carries out the treatment or that the practitioner belongs to a recognized national acupuncture organization.

There are a variety of complementary medicines to use alongside conventional treatment. Be aware that these therapies are scientifically untested, and while they may help improve your quality of life, they cannot cure existing conditions.

Alternative Approaches to Weight Loss

Acupuncture & hypnosis for weight loss are not the only alternative therapies on offer. Holistic treatments are slowly becoming more mainstream, allowing a variety of different treatment options to be suggested.


acupressure acupuncture and weight lossThis is actually very similar to acupuncture, but no needles are used. Instead, the pressure is placed on specific points to stimulate energy flow and remove blockages in your system. A finger is usually enough to provide the necessary pressure.

Unfortunately, this method also needs more research to confirm it is as effective as hoped.


Ayurveda is an ancient Indian approach to medicine and healing. It focuses on the importance of integrating your body, mind, and spirit. However, no approach is the same because no two individuals are alike.

You’ll be given a specialized diet, massage and even a selection of herbal remedies to help your body re-balance and you to lose weight. These can include meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, and drinking lemon and hot water; which is supposed to stimulate your digestion.

Again, the real issue is that, despite the success stories, there has been no real research into the link between Ayurveda and weight loss.

Natural Supplements

Another approach is to use natural weight loss supplements. Any pill or powder which has dietary ingredients such as vitamins, amino acids or minerals can be called a natural supplement.

supplements acupuncture and weight lossThe idea is that the supplement will help to suppress your hunger while making sure you have all the basic nutrients you need.

Again research is limited regarding the effectiveness of these supplements. It is important to note that it is hard to do an effective study as these are supposed to be part of your weight loss process and not a solution in themselves.

In fact, you’re more likely to get the desired result if you drink green tea, eat dairy products and use a calcium supplement.


Cryotherapy involves standing in a tank for between 2 and 4 minutes. The temperature in the tank is as cold as -250°F; in other words cold enough to kill you if you stay in there too long.

cryotherapy acupuncture and weight lossThe benefits are supposedly due to your body reacting to the cold. You will produce more brown fat cells which increase your metabolism, burn more fat and help you to stay warm. It’s also said to boost your metabolism, relax sore muscles and reduce inflammation.

For improved weight loss, the cold makes your body burn more calories in order to stay warm; the facilities offering this claim it can help you to burn 800 calories in 4 minutes.

This isn't that new. The first instance of cryotherapy was in Japan in the 1970s, when it was used to treat multiple sclerosis and arthritis.

There is currently no evidence to back up these claims, making it an expensive and potentially risky way to lose weight.

Should I Use Acupuncture for Weight Loss?

You're welcome to try acupuncture for weight loss, but with the limited science into its effectiveness, it may be a better option to just stick to the tried and true methods of losing

Join FF30X today to gain access to hundreds of healthy eating ideas and exercises and get on the path to a new you.  Weight loss is our expertise here at the Fit Father Project.

Our approach allows you to make small, but manageable, changes to your life that can be sustained for years to come. You don't need use alternative methods like acupuncture for weight loss. All you need is a positive mindset and a little determination.

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Stuart Carter Dip. PT, Precision Nutrition 1

C.O.O., The Fit Father Project

Stuart gained his Diploma in Personal Training & Sports Medicine through Premier Global, back in 2001. In 2018, he completed his Level 1 Precision Nutrition qualification.

Throughout his career in Fitness, Stuart has trained hundreds of clients, worked in almost every position in the industry, and ran his own successful training studio.

After a hiatus away from the Fitness industry, working in Corporate Management and Finance, Stuart returned to what he loves… Fitness! This return led to a chance meeting with Dr. Balduzzi, and a place in the Fit Father Project team.

Brotherhood Nickname: The Fit Brit
Bragging Rights: 18 Years in the fitness industry, Author of ‘The Easy Fitness Guide', Father of 4 boys and Husband to a Venezuelan beauty.

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*Please know that weight loss results & health changes/improvements vary from individual to individual; you may not achieve similar results. Always consult with your doctor before making health decisions. This is not medical advice – simply very well-researched info on acupuncture and weight loss.


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