Ear Acupuncture and Weight Loss

Last Updated on April 4, 2024

A Korean study published in the journal Acupuncture in Medicine shows that ear acupuncture can help people lose weight. 

Ear acupuncture and weight loss

In the study, researchers compared the efficacy of different acupuncture treatments in helping obese patients lose weight.  The researchers compared the standard Korean five point treatment with a single acupuncture point.  A control group was given a “sham” treatment.

The study followed 91 obese people – 16 men and 75 women – all of the participants had a body mass index equal to or greater than 23. None of the participants had received any other weight control treatments in the last 6 months.

The participants were randomly divided into three groups, one group to receive the five point acupuncture treatment, another the one point acupuncture treatment and the third group, the control “sham” treatment.

Method of Study:

The first group had imbedded needles positioned at the ear acupuncture sites; Shen-men, stomach, spleen, hunger, and endocrine. The needles were left for one week.

The following week, new needles would be inserted into the same acupuncture points on the other ear, with the process being repeated over the course of the 8 week trial.

The second group of participants followed the same treatment process but only had one needle inserted at the hunger point.

The sham group believed they were receiving the five point treatment.  The needles were inserted and then were removed immediately after insertion.  Tape was placed over the ear.

All three groups were put onto a restricted diet and asked to not increase their exercise or activity levels.

Before after and during the trial BMIs, waist circumference, body fat mass, percentage body fat and blood pressure were measured.


For the participants that completed the trial the results were significant.  The BMI of the five point treatment group showed a 6.1% reduction, the one point group a 5.7% reduction while the sham group showed no reduction at all.

The research suggests that ear acupuncture protocols for weight loss may provide a great benefit to patients seeking to lose abdominal fat.

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