acupuncture for weight loss

Can acupuncture help with weight loss? How does it work?

December 8, 2022

The system of traditional Chinese medicine, of which acupuncture is a part, views weight gain as the outcome or sign of a body imbalance. According to this perspective, this imbalance can be caused by a malfunctioning of the spleen, liver, kidney, the endocrine system, or the thyroid gland.

To support weight loss, acupuncture aims to target these areas as well as weight-related factors such as metabolism, appetite, stress, and appetite-related hormones and brain processes. Many acupuncture practitioners also use auricular acupuncture, or acupuncture that focuses on the ear, to target weight loss, aiming to regulate food cravings and satiety.


How does acupuncture work for losing weight?

Acupuncture can support weight loss in combination with other weight loss methods, which can produce more effective outcomes than traditional weight loss methods alone. A BMJ pilot study* concluded that a week of auricular acupuncture treatments lowered levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin in participants.


Weight loss through stress relief

The calming effect provided by acupuncture has been shown to lower** perceived stress levels in study participants compared to a controlled group who received sham (placebo) acupuncture treatment. As most people who have attempted a diet can tell you, changing eating patterns and behaviours is much easier when stress levels are lower. A 2018 review of literature revealed that acupuncture can be effective in treating obesity*** through effects on neuroendocrine regulation and helping to prevent the effects of stress response on fat storage.


A holistic approach to weight loss

Before proceeding with any treatment plan, Essendon Natural Health’s acupuncturists will speak with you in detail to build up an in-depth picture of your individual needs and circumstances. It is important to remember that like every other weight loss technique, acupuncture is not a magic bullet, and that in general the magic bullet for weight loss does not exist.

Nevertheless, as part of an integrative system, acupuncture can be supportive in patients who are looking for healthy, natural weight loss – this is why the holistic system is so valuable. Our experienced practitioners are government registered and trained to recognise any condition requiring medical referral, as well as to perform standard medical examinations of the cardiovascular, respiratory, musculoskeletal, and nervous systems.


Book an initial appointment

If you’d like to book an acupuncture appointment, or if you’re simply curious about what these treatments involve, please set up an initial session with one of our acupuncturists on our bookings page or call our reception on (03) 9337 8572. We can also be reached by email on



*Ito, H., Yamada, O., Kira, Y., Tanaka, T., & Matsuoka, R. (2015). The effects of auricular acupuncture on weight reduction and feeding-related cytokines: a pilot study. BMJ Open Gastroenterology2(1), e000013.

**Schroeder, S., Burnis, J., Denton, A., Krasnow, A., Raghu, T. S., & Mathis, K. (2017). Effectiveness of Acupuncture Therapy on Stress in a Large Urban College Population. In Journal of Acupuncture and Meridian Studies (Vol. 10, Issue 3, pp. 165–170). Medical Association of Pharmacopuncture Institute.

***Zhang, K., Zhou, S., Wang, C., Xu, H., & Zhang, L. (2018). Acupuncture on Obesity: Clinical Evidence and Possible Neuroendocrine Mechanisms. In Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine (Vol. 2018, pp. 1–15). Hindawi Limited.

Robert Gentile

B.C.M (Hons), C.Clin.Prac (China), C.Toyohari. Registered Acupuncturist and Herbalist. Integrative Natural Medicine Practitioner.

Robert is a passionate and warm practitioner who has an extensive knowledge of integrative and functional natural medicine. He is down to earth and has an interest in organic foods, gardening and sustainable living. With over a decade of experience, he is renowned for being very thorough by both fellow practitioners and patients alike.