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Can acupuncture help with weight loss?

There is no single ‘magic bullet’ for losing weight. Any sensible attempt to lose, and maintain

a healthy weight include dietary changes, exercise, and other lifestyle modifications.

That being said, there are several ways by which acupuncture can be used effectively in

holistic weight-loss programs:


Physiologically the sensation of hunger is triggered by a hormone called ghrelin. Research

has shown that ghrelin levels increase during times of stress. This is thought to be a

physiological response designed to provide the body with energy to cope with stressful

situations. In the context of our busy modern lifestyle, this could mean anything from

preparing for exams, public speaking, demanding periods at work, or chronic stress. Regular

acupuncture treatment, especially in the early stages of one’s weight loss journey, may help

reduce stress and anxiety and therefore hunger and so facilitate an easier transition to the

newly adopted lifestyle.


Adjustment to the new dietary regime may be accompanied by temporary gastric discomfort

which can be managed with the help of acupuncture. For example, a systematic review of

randomized control trials found that acupuncture may be effective in reducing symptoms of

irritable bowels syndromes (IBS), such as abdominal pain, bloating, and diarrhoea. Another

study found that acupuncture was more effective than medication for treating functional

dyspepsia, a condition characterized by indigestion and discomfort in the upper abdomen.


And finally, a healthier lifestyle adoption will require regular physical activity. Whether it is

pumping iron in the gym, long walks, yoga stretches, or a jog in the park, such activities,

especially at the beginning, as the body adjusts to the new regime can be followed by

muscular aches and pains, tendonitis, sore knees, and other acute Musculoskeletal

conditions. This is to be expected and the good news is that acupuncture can manage those

temporary conditions and facilitate the transition to a fitter, leaner, and healthier you!

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