For research on acupuncture and weight loss, we turn to Professor Cabiolu of Selçuk University in Kona Turkey who has a large body of work on this subject. In one study, 165 volunteer women participated in one of three groups: (i) Placebo Electro-acupuncture, (ii) Electro-acupuncture, and (iii) diet restriction group. There was a 4.8% reduction in weight of patients with EA application, whereas patients with a diet restriction and placebo EA had a 2.5% and 2.7% weight reduction, respectively. There were significant decreases in phobia, anger, anxiety, obsession, paranoid symptoms, and depression in the EA groups compared to those of the placebo EA and diet groups.
In other studies on acupuncture and weight loss, he also found the therapy can affect appetite, intestinal motility, and metabolism, as well as emotional factors such as stress. Increases in neural activity in the ventromedial nuclei of the hypothalamus, in tone in the smooth muscle of the stomach and in levels of enkephalin, beta endorphin, and serotonin in plasma and brain tissue have also been observed with the application of acupuncture. It has been observed that acupuncture application to obese people increases excitability of the satiety center in the ventromedial nuclei of the hypothalamus. Acupuncture stimulates the auricular branch of the vagal nerve and raises serotonin levels. Both of these activities have been shown to increase tone in the smooth muscle of the stomach, thus suppressing appetite. Among other things, serotonin enhances intestinal motility. It also controls stress and depression via endorphin and dopamine production. In addition to these effects, it is thought that the increase in plasma levels of beta endorphin after acupuncture application can contribute to the body weight loss in obese people by mobilizing the body energy depots through lipolithic effect.
More research needs to be conducted on acupuncture for weight loss to understand its effect on the body. Right now we know enough to recommend it as an adjunctive therapy to help those who wish to lose weight.