Acupuncture for Weight Loss... Really?

Sure, you’ve heard of acupuncture for pain, insomnia and hot flashes, but can this ancient medicine really help you lose weight?

Before answering this question, let’s take a look at how Chinese Medicine views weight loss…

Excessive weight may be due to several factors:

1.     The “Spleen” energetic system is in charge of transforming our food into usable energy. Various factors may cause the Spleen to become overworked or depleted, slowing down digestive processes. In Western terms, this closely parallels the concept of “metabolism.”

2.     Strong emotional or stressful stimuli can “stagnate” our digestive processes, known as “Liver Qi Stagnation” in Chinese Medicine. This phenomena is strongly linked to the “fight or flight” mechanism, a state in which our survival instincts are on overdrive leaving other bodily processes neglected.

3.     There may be an endocrine component involved (i.e. hypothyroidism, PCOS, Cushing’s Syndrome, etc.) that can lead to excess weight. In Chinese Medicine, these are often considered a part of the “Kidney” energetic system, which regulates hormonal fluctuations.

Weight loss has become an obsession in our world, thanks largely to the media's perspective of beauty and health. Regardless of one’s shape or size, it seems as though just about everyone wishes they could “lose some inches here” or “shed some pounds there”. The fact of the matter is that acupuncture can not make you lose weight. Rather, acupuncture treats the whole person, a catalyst allowing for your own functional processes to realign. When the body is balanced, there is no surplus or deficiency of anything that the body does not need (i.e. stress, fat, illness, etc.). Balance the body and the extra pounds will fall off. If you are underweight yet desire to lose more, acupuncture may in-fact cause you to gain weight because of the restorative nature of this medicine. Acupuncture promotes health, not vanity, and does not follow the trends of our media-driven perspective of “a perfect body”.   

So as you can see, weight loss is not a “one-size-fits-all” approach in Chinese Medicine. It is the job of a trained acupuncturist to identify which energy pathways are out of balance and what needs to be done to restore this balance. Once these systems have been regulated, the body can then work within its own ability to eliminate excessive weight.  Side effects that have been reported with “weight-loss acupuncture” include improved sleep, decreased stress, balanced emotions and an overall state of wellness.

It is important to understand that this system of medicine is not a quick-fix. Coupling acupuncture with other healthy weight management strategies such as nourishing food choices and regular exercise will certainly expedite the process. With regards to our health and wellness, slow and steady always wins the race. 

For more information about how acupuncture can help you find balance and feel your best, please contact Kate Kronisch, Licensed Acupuncturist and Clinical Herbalist of

Eastern Traditions Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine

1740 Marion Street, Denver, CO 80218

(303) 949-4557

Eastern Traditions Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine 1643 Boulder Street, Suite 104. Denver, CO 80211. (720) 551-8408