acupuncture for weight loss

How to Use Acupuncture for Weight Loss

In the past few years, more and more experts have been looking to the use of acupuncture for weight loss. A well-known weight-loss aid in the East, the use of needles to control appetite and help you shed pounds didn’t become popular in the West until recent years.

And now experts are looking to prove their efficacy through studies and research. For example, a meta analysis published in The International Journal of Neuroscience looked at the effect of acupuncture on appetite, metabolism and the reduction of stress (which can lead to overeating). It also searched for connections between acupuncture and the release of “feel-good hormones” such as endorphins and serotonin. Since elevated amounts of these hormones usually suppress appetite, acupuncture could become an important aid in controlling cravings.

While results of the analysis were mixed (some studies showed benefits while others didn’t), it does open up the possibility of acupuncture practice being a good alternative or supplementary aid for those trying to reduce their weight.

Ear Acupuncture and Weight Loss

One of the most popular places to use acupuncture for weight loss in the ear. In a study conducted by Kyung Hee University in Seoul, South Korea, researchers compared the use of what’s known as the “5 point” ear treatment for obesity vs. inserting only one needle in the area considered the “hunger suppression” point. A third group, used as a control group, received acupuncture in random points not associated with weight loss or hunger control. This is known as “sham acupuncture.”

After eight weeks of treatment, those receiving acupuncture on the “5 points” saw a reduction of 6.1 percent in their BMI (Body Mass Index), while those receiving hunger point acupuncture saw a reduction of 5.7 %. No changes were seen on those receiving sham acupuncture.

The researchers do point out that these are results based on short-term weight loss, and that more research is needed to figure out how these numbers hold up over time.


Why Acupuncture for Weight Loss Works

While the science behind acupuncture is not clearly understood, the idea is that the application of needles to certain points stimulates the body’s energy. For example, by placing a needle at a kidney point, you might help fight water retention, which could be causing you to appear bloated and could be slowing down your progress on the scale.

Other important points to target for weight loss are those connected to the thyroid gland and the spleen, as these are connected to hormonal rebalancing and glucose. By helping your body process sugar better, you’re also preventing fat accumulation and controlling cravings that could otherwise lead to overeating.

Points targeting the liver and adrenal glands are also key to acupuncture for weight loss. In fact, a skilled acupuncturist will target all of these points simultaneously for the best results.

Not All Studies Are Clear

A number of studies on acupuncture and weight loss have shown mixed results.  A 1999 study published in the Eating and Weight Disorders journal failed to find a direct connection between acupuncture and weight loss in obese patients. After 12 weeks of treatment, none of the participants experienced any significant weight loss that could be attributed to the use of acupuncture.

However, it’s important to note that those receiving acupuncture did experience an improvement in their depression and anxiety symptoms. This improvement could potentially lead to weight loss success in the long run, even though it wasn’t something the study considered at the time.

Because acupuncture is a non-invasive treatment with few to no side effects, there’s little harm in using it as part of your weight loss program. Just remember to work with a licensed acupuncturist who understands proper needle application and safety.



Using acupuncture for hypertension can help relieve the stress of weight gain during the holiday season and help you enjoy time with loved ones.

Beat the Bloat: Dodging Weight Gain During the Holidays

The holidays are on the horizon, and many families are already preparing for festive days with loved ones, socials with friends and co-workers, and rich comfort food. For people who have to be mindful of their health and diet lifestyles this can be a challenging time of year, says acupuncturist Dr. Helen Wang. It is important to maintain a heightened awareness of support tips and methods of treatment such as acupuncture for hypertension to ensure weight gain is not an issue during various holiday meals.

The Holidays – In Perspective

The average American can consume 3,000-4,500 calories in one holiday meal. Even if you are successfully controlling health issues, such as using acupuncture for hypertension or other methods for health-related concerns, eating large amounts of food can be disastrous for weight control and overall health. Add in sugar- and calorie-laden holiday drinks, and you can easily see how frivolous eating and drinking from November through January can more than double a person’s typical suggested calorie intake.

Who Should Be Concerned?

“Holiday weight control should be a priority for everyone,” says Dr. Wang, “but those who have health- and diet-related diseases should be even more concerned about seasonal eating habits.”

  • Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is largely complicated by increased consumptions of sodium (salt). Too much salt can increase blood pressure and raise the chances of strokes and heart attacks, the top two causes of American deaths each year. In addition, people with hypertension who consume large amounts of sugar can create and worsen various complications of diabetes.
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, or PCOS, is a condition affecting many women. It is a syndrome with myriad symptoms, including weight gain around the abdomen region. Another symptom is insulin resistance, which makes losing weight difficult. This can contribute to obesity or the development of Type 2 diabetes.

Dr. Wang says these two examples show the importance of having a mindset of moderation, especially for those with certain health conditions. “That’s because weight gain can complicate some diseases, maintaining a healthy weight should take precedence when preparing meals and attending holiday socials.”

Solutions for Happy, Healthy Holidays

For people who are concerned about weight gain or who have difficulty losing weight because of PCOS or hypertension, holiday food temptations can feel like a disaster waiting to happen, but it doesn’t have to be that way. There are options to help combat unwanted gain and lead to a decline in the severity of symptoms.

  • Increasing day-to-day exercise can positively complement meal consumption and significantly enhance the way the body uses insulin. Finding a regular exercise regimen that works for your fitness level and lifestyle is a great way to maintain good health and boost weight loss.
  • If irregular periods are an issue because of PCOS, most women find a weight loss of 10–15 pounds could fix the problem. Shedding pounds has proven to be an all-around aid in improving health, as it can also result in lowered blood pressure readings. Hypertension becomes less of an issue when a person maintains a healthy body weight.
  • Eating a healthy snack before going to a holiday party can offset binge cravings. Bringing a healthy dish to the party is another way to ensure you have at least one dish you can enjoy with your friends and co-workers.
  • Considering an acupuncture plan can help stave off holiday hunger. Acupuncture treatments have been used extensively to reduce appetite and improve weight loss goals. Studies provide strong data that supports positive results for using acupuncture for hypertension, as well as incorporating acupuncture in PCOS treatments.

“Nothing is more comforting than knowing you have options when you’re faced with holiday temptations,” says Dr. Wang. Healthiness isn’t a one-stop shop, especially during the holidays, and most will find they need to custom-tailor their plans for optimal results. Supporting your body with a plan that encourages heart and mind health, with treatments such as acupuncture for hypertension, is essential to enjoying holiday celebrations with happiness and peace of mind.



acupuncture in raleigh nc

How Acupuncture Treatment Benefits a Range of Conditions

The credibility of using acupuncture in Raleigh NC has grown substantially over the past few years. Even if you had never considered trying acupuncture before, you might be weighing your options now.

Acupuncture has a long tradition of being a very effective, non-invasive treatment for issues like nausea and vomiting, especially in the case of chemotherapy patients.

Types of Conditions

Although results vary and there aren’t always reliable studies to back up anecdotal evidence, acupuncture is also widely used to treat:

  • headaches
  • fibromyalgia
  • carpal tunnel syndrome
  • addiction
  • weight loss

and even as part of stroke rehabilitation.

According to MedicineNet, acupuncture works by encouraging the body to release opioids into the central nervous system. This in turn eases pain, increases a feeling of well-being, and might explain the relief of a number of symptoms after a single visit to a practitioner.

Reliable Studies and Why the Experts Are Standing Behind Them

One of the main reasons people seek acupuncture in Raleigh NC is back pain – and with good reason. Numerous studies back up the use of acupuncture treatment for this condition, and many show it to be more effective than a number of conventional approaches.

For example, in an article published in Acupuncture Today, researchers pointed out that acupuncture actually works better than injectable drugs to relieve lower back pain. Other studies have shown that acupuncture treatment is superior to physical therapy and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to help relieve pain, tension and discomfort in the lower back area.

In addition, patients who receive acupuncture are more likely to experience long-term relief of pain and improvements in functional abilities as long as six months after the last session. These responses are not seen with the use of any other type of treatment.

How Else Acupuncture Can Help

Here’s an unexpected benefit of acupuncture: using it might actually improve the effectiveness of your prescription drugs. A study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine showed that people who used acupuncture and a small dose of Prozac experienced similar results to those using a full dose of Prozac but no acupuncture to treat anxiety. In addition, the acupuncture treatment option was a lot more effective because it resulted in fewer side effects. On the other hand, those on a full dose of Prozac experienced more nausea, gained more weight, and reported a decrease in their sex drive.

Digestive Conditions

And while the use of acupuncture in Raleigh NC for nausea and vomiting has been practiced for years, it now appears that acupuncture can also help with digestive conditions. In fact, researchers found that acupuncture sessions can help pregnant women deal with indigestion and heartburn without the dangers or side effects associated with drugs. In a study conducted in Brazil, 75 % of the women using acupuncture reported improvements in their heartburn episodes, while only 44% of women using traditional drug treatment reported the same.

Weight Loss

Finally, acupuncture has been extensively used to help reduce appetite and improve weight loss results, but new studies show it might also help fight obesity. A systemic review of 31 studies showed that the use of acupuncture treatment in obese patients leads to better results than the use of medications or diet alone.

If you are curious about these findings and living in Raleigh NC, make the short drive over to Chapel Hill‘s Acupuncture Balanced Health to see one of our highly experienced practitioners. Give us a call to schedule your introductory consultation.