Weight Loss and Acupuncture

Weight Loss and Acupuncture
January 1, 2023 Jackie Gomez


Eastern Medicine To Help You Maintain Your Weight

Weight Loss and Acupuncture

With all of the “lose weight fast” scams on the market, it can be easy to fall for them. Who doesn’t want an overnight fix to shed a few pounds? Well, we’re here to give you a much better solution. Obesity was first mentioned in Chinese medicine in the Yellow Emperor’s Internal Classic of Medicine, and since then Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has evolved to offer several healthy solutions for weight loss to fit your lifestyle.

How Does TCM Look at Weight Loss?

To start, it’s important to understand how TCM views weight loss and weight gain. In Chinese medicine, excessive weight gain is what happens when the body is accumulating “dampness or phlegm-dampness.” Remember, TCM is all about looking at how the body functions as a whole. When one part of your body is off balance, it can affect everything else. 

So, when we’re looking at weight gain, TCM focuses on the stomach and the spleen. For instance, if you’re eating a lot of fatty food, your stomach is going to have a difficult time digesting it. Therefore, the function of your stomach will be compromised. This can lead to an excess of food turning into dampness. The dampness we’re referring to is otherwise known as water retention. 

TCM and Weight LossAlong with your stomach not functioning properly, your spleen is also causing dampness. This is because your spleen is responsible for turning the food we eat into energy and getting rid of waste. The spleen is in charge of transportation and transformation. When there is a dysfunction of the spleen, there will be an accumulation of dampness and phlegm, causing weight gain. When food isn’t being broken down properly, it lingers in the body. This excess waste turns into dampness, which can result in weight gain. 

If you’ve been experiencing dampness, don’t worry, TCM is here to help. There are plenty of ways to encourage weight loss in a healthy way using Chinese Medicine. 

How to Use TCM for Weight Loss


We know that not everybody likes needles, but acupuncture is one of the best TCM methods for weight loss. Now, keep in mind that for acupuncture to work, research shows it must be paired with other weight loss methods. There are quite a few ways acupuncture can encourage weight loss. 

Relieves Stress

The basic function of acupuncture is to encourage the release of feel-good endorphins. Stress-related food cravings can make it hard to maintain your weight. Acupuncture, herbs, and Qi Gong can help to reduce stress through cortisol, in turn helping you to regulate your weight.

Improves Digestion 

Not only will acupuncture help relieve stress, it can also improve digestion. The dampness that is causing excess weight gain is the result of your digestive system not working properly. Utilizing acupuncture on your weight loss journey can help to relieve digestive issues such as: 

  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • GI Issues 

It will help strengthen digestive fire!

Reduces Inflammation 

Inflammation can cause all sorts of problems in the body, including weight gain. When your digestive system is suffering, your metabolism will slow down. This can cause a buildup of fat and inflammation in your body. Acupuncture is a great way to relieve tension and regulate your body. 

Best Acupoints for Weight Loss 

Not every acupoint will be effective if you’re trying to lose weight, but according to TCM there are quite a few that. 

Inner Elbow 

TCM, Elbow Acupuncture and Weight LossThe inner elbow point is also known as the Large Intestine LI11 acupoint. You can find it on the inside of the elbow crease. Applying pressure to this point daily can stimulate your intestine and rebalance your energy, and it’s often used when someone is suffering from food poisoning. This acupoint is also great in the summer for clearing heat from the body such as from a sunburn or other ailment.

Upper Lip (GV26)

The GV26 acupoint is located between your upper lip and your nose. If you’re not interested in actual acupuncture, you can try it as an acupressure point. All you need to do is apply pressure to the area for about five minutes two times a day. The idea is that it will suppress your appetite and help you control your hunger. 


It should be no surprise that the abdominal acupoints can assist with weight loss. There is an acupressure point below the belly button, Sea of Qi,  and it is used to improve the digestive system. Keep in mind that using an acupressure point such as the abdomen is only going to help you if you’re practicing other weight loss methods. 

Ear Acupuncture 

Another area to consider for weight loss acupuncture is the ear. In TCM, the belief is that you can control food cravings by using acupoints on the ear. Studies have shown that acupuncture on the ear can improve weight loss in healthy adults, and you can apply a protocol to do the work while you are in-between treatments with your provider. A 2011 randomized control study in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine concluded that “Auricular acupressure is thus a reasonable option in the treatment of overweight and obesity in young adults.” 

TCM Herbs for Weight Loss 

Along with diet, exercise and acupuncture, TCM herbal remedies can encourage weight loss. You can incorporate them into your diet, take them as supplements, or brew them in a hot cup of tea. That’s the great thing about Chinese herbs, they are versatile and provide many health benefits! 

Ginseng Root 

Herbs for Spleen - Red GinsengGinseng root has been used in Chinese medicine for over 5,000 years. It’s considered a remedy for almost any ailment you can think of. When it comes to weight loss, ginseng may help balance out your gut health. According to a Ginseng and Obesity abstract review, Ginseng or ginsenosides may help control appetite and prevent the over intake of food energy by attenuating the HFD-induced chronic inflammation of the hypothalamus, improving leptin resistance, and reducing the secretion of neuropeptide Y.

Lotus Leaf 

Lotus leaf is a plant used in TCM, and focuses on the Liver and Spleen. It has a bitter and mild taste, and research shows that it may also have weight loss benefits. This is because the lotus leaf is rich in taurine which is an amino acid. Taurine works by slowing down how quickly your body absorbs fat. 

Adenophora Root 

This TCM herb comes from a flower grown in Asia. It’s commonly used for treating dry cough symptoms. Adenophora root may also be effective when you’re trying to lose weight. This herb is associated with the Lung and Stomach meridians. It’s used to treat coughs, but has also been studied for weight loss. Taking this herb while practicing acupuncture and other weight loss methods can help you shed the pounds faster. 

Many herbs are combined to create formulas used for centuries for weight loss or your provider can create a custom formula for you.


Lack of physical exercise can cause poor circulation within the body. Qi (vital energy) and blood are not able to flow in the body causing stagnation. The stagnation of fluids in the body can result in dampness and phlegm. Qigong, through a range of postural movement and breathing techniques, slowly cultivates the Qi in the body thus we see more efficient blood circulation. When qi flows effectively, this encourages correct blood flow. Qigong can play an important role in a treatment plan for weight loss.

Final Thoughts on TCM and Weight Loss

The bottom line is that there is no single “cure all” for weight loss. No single pill, herb, or acupoint is going to get rid of excess body weight. It’s important to practice a healthy diet and lifestyle along with TCM methods on your weight loss journey. 

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