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Six Ways That Acupuncture Can Help With Weight Loss

Even with a regular exercise regimen and a healthful diet, some people continue to struggle with weight loss. Recently, acupuncture has shown promise in its ability to restore balance to the body and promote weight loss when accompanied with lifestyle changes.

It’s no news that many Americans want to lose weight, but find it a challenge to shrink that spare tire.  Even if you succeed in peeling off the pounds, the weight may creep back on.  During times of stress, many people seek comfort in food, and old eating habits tend to re-emerge.  If your schedule has been disrupted the past few months by the COVID-19 shutdown, your self-care and exercise routines may have fallen by the wayside.  Uh-oh.

As we settle into the “new normal” of the pandemic, now is a great time to take stock of your health and get back in shape.  If weight loss is a goal, consider a new approach.  It’s important to first understand the reasons why you are overweight, and then find a solution that works for you.  

While it may seem novel to think of acupuncture for weight loss, there are a number of ways that acupuncture can help clear up the underlying issues that have caused you to gain weight.  Here are some great reasons why you may wish to include acupuncture treatment as part of your weight loss program.

Understanding Weight Gain

If you want to find a solution for losing weight, first understand the source of the problem.  Weight loss isn’t simply a matter of eating less and exercising more.  It’s important to recognize the variety of factors that can contribute to weight gain.  Hormone imbalances, nutritional deficiencies, stress, and insufficient sleep can all interfere with your body’s ability to maintain a healthy weight.  Certain medications can also contribute to weight gain, including some common antidepressants and antihistamines.  

Everyone is different, and there are real, physiological differences that make it more difficult for some people to lose weight than others.  If your metabolism has been disrupted by other health issues, or if you have been overweight for a long time, keeping weight off can be an extra challenge.  Even after revving up your exercise regimen and sticking to a nutrient-dense, healthful diet, you may still find it hard to shed those stubborn pounds.

Food and Your Mood

The food we eat is so much more than simply a source of physical nourishment.  Under stress, many people find themselves eating emotionally – snacking when they aren’t really hungry, or rushing to the fridge and binging on “comfort foods.”  Moreover, emotions and metabolism are linked, so the foods you choose can either make or break the vicious cycle.  It’s fundamental to address your emotional triggers if you are trying to lose weight.

How Does Acupuncture Help with Weight Loss?

Acupuncture is not a “magic bullet” for weight loss.  There’s no question that losing weight and keeping it off requires a deep dive into transforming your life.  Lasting change takes some determination and perseverance.  Shifting to a nutrient-dense, whole foods diet, engaging in a consistent exercise program, and addressing emotional stressors are all important.  If making all that change can feel overwhelming, acupuncture treatment may provide the additional support you need for success.  

Recently, research on acupuncture has shown some promise in its ability to promote weight loss. When coupled with lifestyle modifications, such as regular exercise and a healthful diet, acupuncture treatments can encourage your body to rebalance itself and make it easier for you to lose weight.  Here are six potential health benefits of acupuncture that may impact weight management:

  1. Balancing Hormones:  Acupuncture has a variety of effects on the endocrine system, the hormone-producing glands that control metabolism.  Research shows that acupuncture may help reduce insulin resistance in pre-diabetic patients, making it easier to lose weight.
  2. Promoting Healthy Digestion:  Acupuncture helps to regulate the fight-or-flight response (sympathetic nervous system) and shift the body to rest-and-digest (parasympathetic).  This supports weight loss by prioritizing the body’s resources towards healthy digestion, and reducing a variety of digestive complaints, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and acid reflux (GERD).
  3. Managing Emotional Stress:   By shifting the nervous system out of fight-or-flight, acupuncture not only supports healthy digestion, it also has a positive impact on mood.  A variety of research studies have shown that acupuncture helps to regulate neurotransmitters, including the “feel good” hormones –  serotonin, dopamine and endorphins.
  4. Reducing Cravings:  By helping to regulate the biochemicals that impact our brain and nervous system, acupuncture helps to reduce cravings.  One of the most widely-supported uses of acupuncture is in the treatment of addictions, including alcohol.
  5. Supporting Sleep:  Poor sleep is a well-known contributor to obesity and weight gain.  Acupuncture can be effective in promoting high-quality sleep.
  6. Boosting Energy:  Fatigue can be a significant barrier to engaging in exercise that helps you lose weight.  Acupuncture can help boost energy not only by supporting quality sleep and managing stress, research suggests it can also help recovery from chronic fatigue.


If you are interested in a natural and holistic approach to weight loss, consider making an appointment with an acupuncturist who can assess your goals and develop a customized treatment plan to help you achieve them.

Want to learn more about Five Element Acupuncture in the Portland-Metro area? Call Inner Works Acupuncture at (503) 227-2127 to schedule an appointment today.

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