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Study Shows Acupuncture Effective for Weight Loss
By: Diane Joswick, L.Ac., MSOM
Acupuncture is growing in popularity as an effective weight loss tool.  With this rise in the use of acupuncture for weight loss came the need for a critical assessment of the studies that have been performed.

The International Journal of Obesity just published a review of 31 studies on the efficacy of acupuncture in the treatment of obesity.  The systematic review was comprised of 3013 individual cases where acupuncture was used to reduce body weight.  

The aim of this review was to critically assess evidence for reduction of body weight and to evaluate adverse events of acupuncture therapy based on the results of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that evaluate the effect of various types of acupuncture therapies.

The results of this review showed that compared to control of lifestyle, acupuncture was associated with a significant reduction of average body weight (95% confidence interval, CI) of 1.72 kg (0.50–2.93 kg) and was associated with an improvement in obesity (relative risk=2.57; 95% CI, 1.98–3.34). Acupuncture significantly reduced a body weight of 1.56 kg (0.74–2.38 kg), on average, compared to placebo or sham treatments. Acupuncture also showed more improved outcomes for body weight (mean difference=1.90 kg; 1.66–2.13 kg), as well as for obesity (relative risk=1.13; 1.04–1.22), than conventional medication.

While this review did show that acupuncture is an effective treatment for obesity, the researchers expressed that they would like to see more well-planned, long-term studies to address the effectiveness of acupuncture for treating obesity and weight loss.

Source: International Journal of Obesity, January 2009; Acupuncture for obesity: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
doi:10.1038/ijo.2008.269

How does acupuncture work for weight loss?