Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medical practice that has been used for thousands of years to treat a variety of health conditions. In recent years, it has gained popularity as a complementary therapy for weight loss. In this article, we’ll explore the science behind acupuncture for weight loss, how it works, and what you can expect during a treatment session.

Acupuncture is Not a Magic Bullet for Weight Loss

One of the most common questions that I hear is “does acupuncture help with weight loss?” The answer is yes, but in most cases not nearly as fast and not to the extent that most people are hoping. (I do not offer ear stapling or stimulant herbal formulas. While these methods may offer quick weight loss, they do so at the risk of serious side effects.)

It is very common for people to come to me for other concerns (such as back pain, allergies, or insomnia) and, after several months of treatment, report that they have lost 20 pounds without really trying. The reason that this happens is that acupuncture reinforces physiological balance and, as a result, strengthens your body’s ability to provide you clear feedback regarding its dietary needs.

How Acupuncture Might Help You Lose Weight

Acupuncture can aid weight loss in several ways. First, it can reduce stress and anxiety, which are common triggers for overeating. Acupuncture has been shown to stimulate the release of endorphins, which can promote relaxation and reduce stress levels.

Acupuncture can also regulate hormones that affect appetite and metabolism. For example, it can stimulate the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and appetite. It can also increase the production of leptin, a hormone that signals the brain when the body has had enough to eat.

Acupuncture can also improve digestion and reduce inflammation in the body. This can help to alleviate digestive issues and promote healthy bowel movements, which can aid in weight loss.

When they are getting acupuncture, people notice that:

  • They feel satisfied with less food.
  • Their junk food cravings go away.
  • They start developing a preference for healthy food.
  • They start feeling very unpleasant when they overeat or eat unhealthy food.
  • They stop engaging in emotional eating.
  • If pain was previously impairing their ability to exercise, pain relief as a result of acupuncture enables them to be more active.
  • Their digestive function improves and they have more frequent and more thorough bowel movements.

Gradually, over the course of weeks and months, these changes add up to a real difference on the scale.

Acupuncture is Just One Piece of the Puzzle

The problem is that these changes are subtle, especially initially, and it takes time for a deficit of a few hundred calories a day to add up to a change in the way your clothes fit or the number on the scale. Ultimately, when people lose weight using acupuncture, the weight loss is very healthy because it takes place gradually and is the result of a real lifestyle change (as opposed to a short-term gimmick).

The downside is that, if you are looking to lose 30 pounds in 30 days, acupuncture is not the right treatment for you and you will almost certainly be disappointed.

If you are interested in losing weight, my recommendation is that you view acupuncture as one piece of the puzzle, not a magic bullet. Commit to a course of acupuncture therapy with the knowledge that it is a whole body treatment is similar to eating healthy and exercising in the sense that it needs to be carried out over time in order to see change.

What to Expect During an Acupuncture Session

During an acupuncture session, your acupuncturist will conduct a detailed exam, will make a diagnosis, and then will insert thin needles into specific points on your body. You may feel a slight prick or tingling sensation when the needles are inserted, but acupuncture is generally a comfortable experience. Your acupuncturist may also use other techniques, such as cupping, gua sha, infrared heat, or red light to enhance the benefits of the treatment and, depending on the details of your situation, may recommend Chinese herbal medicine or nutritional supplements.

Acupuncture sessions typically last between 45 and 60 minutes, and you will need multiple sessions to achieve the desired results. Your acupuncturist will work with you to develop a treatment plan based on your specific needs and goals.

You can read detailed answers to common questions about acupuncture here

Is Acupuncture Safe?

Acupuncture is generally considered safe when performed by a licensed and experienced practitioner. The needles used in acupuncture are sterile and disposable, and the risk of infection or other complications is extremely low.

Finding a Qualified Acupuncturist

If you are interested in trying acupuncture to help manage your weight, it is important to find a qualified practitioner. Look for someone who is licensed and certified by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM)

Licensed Acupuncturist in Waco, Texas

If you are interested in trying acupuncture to help you lose weight and are located in the central Texas area, our expert acupuncturist can help you. With over 20 years of clinical experience, she has helped thousands of patients in Waco, Texas and the surrounding areas to find relief through acupuncture and other modalities. Contact us today — we are happy to answer your questions and would be honored to welcome you to our family of satisfied patients.


Acupuncture is a safe and effective complementary therapy for weight loss. It can reduce stress, regulate hormones, and improve digestion, all of which can aid in weight loss. If you’re interested in trying acupuncture for weight loss, be sure to find a licensed practitioner with experience in treating this condition. With regular sessions and a commitment to healthy lifestyle habits, acupuncture can be a powerful tool in achieving your weight loss goals.