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What is the difference between Ear Stapling and Acupuncture for weight loss?

By: Diane Joswick, L.Ac., MSOM

I am looking forward to hearing some other opinions on this subject. I have received many emails from acupuncturists and patients that are confused about the difference between ear stapling and ear acupuncture for weight loss...

Ear Stapling is currently a popular topic with the media and is being touted as the new "miracle cure" for weight loss.  More recently there has been a rash of ear stapling clinics across the country that have been shut down because of infections and "practicing medicine without a license".

For the record: Ear staples are NOT the same as a traditional acupuncture treatment. A lot of ear staple experts have little or no training in acupuncture and practice ear stapling under an ear or body piercing permit.

What is Ear Stapling?

Ear stapling is based loosely on acupuncture and is said to help in with appetite control and weight loss.  Ear Stapling involves having your ear pierced at certain acupuncture points with a stainless steel staple and will, allegedly, control appetite, food cravings and, ultimately, help you lose weight.

How is Acupuncture for weight loss different than ear stapling?

Acupuncture treatments combine ear points and body points along with Chinese herbs to control appetite, stop food cravings, increase metabolism, decrease water retention and help you lose weight. The ear points are stimulated with adhesive ear tacs that stay in place for several days.


Why I recommend traditional acupuncture over ear stapling.

  1. Ear staples have a much higher risk of infection than an adhesive ear tac.

  2. The body re-adjusts the meridians of energy when it is pierced. Piercings may temporarily influence an acupuncture point, but soon the point moves and the piercing is no longer effective.

  3. An acupuncture protocol that includes body points will increase endorphin release and speed up the metabolism. It will also address other imbalances within the body that are effecting your general state of health and your weight. It is much, much more complete.

Some of the points are important for weight loss treatments are:

  • Mouth - for the impulsive eater who may also smoke a lot and talk a lot
  • Stomach - for the person who eats even after they're full or who's constantly nibbling
  • Hungry - for general appetite control
  • Lung - for food addicts, and people who love chocolate, sweets
  • Shenmen - a calming point, for the psychology overlay for anxiety, anger, frustration, insecurity
  • Endocrine - for water retention that's responsible for some of the weight gain
  • Adrenal and Ovary - if weight gain is due to menopause or P.M.S.
  • Spleen - for sugar imbalances and hormonal disturbances
  • Kidney - for water retention, and nervous system and hormonal imbalances
  • Thyroid - for slow metabolism

The practitioner chooses two or more of these points for each treatment depending upon the patient's problem and personality profile regarding overeating.

If you still want to try Ear Stapling...

  1. Make sure you go to someone that is LICENSED TO PRACTICE ACUPUNCTURE.

  2. DO NOT go to a body piercer - This is a medical procedure.

  3. Discuss how an infection will be handled.  Know the cost involved as well as how fast they will be able to remove the staple if you get an infection.

  4. Talk about how the staples are removed.

  5. Make sure you are going to a "legitimate" health care professional.

  6. Take care of the staples to decrease the chance of infection.
Visit the weight loss forum on to talk about your experience with ear acupuncture, ear stapling or other weight loss solutions.  Weight loss forum - CLICK HERE

I wish you the best of luck with reaching your weight loss goals.  Please be careful with your health and remain an informed and educated health care consumer.

~ Diane Joswick, L.Ac. (Licensed Acupuncturist)

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