You’ve likely heard that acupuncture can help with issues like muscle pain, migraines, and anxiety. But did you know that this ancient practice of pricking could also help with weight loss? We’re listening.
According to Manhattan-based holistic doctor and acupuncturist Julie Von, for many women, over-exercising and calorie limitations only increase weight gain, especially if there are hormonal, adrenal, or thyroid issues. So to achieve weight loss, the body needs to be treated as a whole, which is what traditional Chinese medicine is all about—and acupuncture can play a big role.
Ahead, we turned to Von and acupuncturist and owner of Vie Healing in Beverly Hills, Mona Dan, to learn more about how acupuncture for weight loss works. Keep scrolling for answers to questions like how often should you get it done and how much does it costs.
How It Works
“For many, the connection between an engaged nervous system and weight retention is very real,” shares Julie Von. “Acupuncture helps to relax and balance the nervous system, allowing digestion to be improved and circulation increased.” She adds that treatment is unique to everyone: “Each person is given an individual diagnosis, and from that, specific treatment plans are formulated.”
“Acupuncture is like a workout for the nervous system,” says Mona Dan, “Just like muscles how get weak over time when not properly stimulated, the same thing happens to our nervous system. The main part of the nervous system that first shuts down is our parasympathetic nervous system, which is the processing system. We need to wake it up and get it moving, so we can shift out of flight-or-fight mode that keeps us in stagnation.”
Acupuncture for Weight Loss vs. Traditional Acupuncture
A specialist in TCM, Mona says, “In general, there isn’t a difference between the two, however, we include auricular acupuncture as well for weight loss each session. The reason there isn’t really a difference is because we treat the body as a whole. Our main focus is to reset and relax the nervous system, which, when settled, properly works. A nervous system that is working properly, metabolizes food properly, sends proper hunger signals, digests well, and eliminates accordingly. We have to find the root of the issue, and each person is different.
Alongside the acupuncture, an Eastern nutrition approach is also key in order to assist with revving up the metabolism and stabilizing response signals.”
How Often Should You Do It?
To achieve best results, Von suggests treatment once a week. “Commitment is always an important part of any holistic treatment, if you stick with it, you will see results,” she says. However, too much of a good thing could be relevant here. Mona says, “Two to three times per week is totally fine, however, the point of the medicine is to reignite the proper flow of the body because it’s more intelligent than we think.”
Other Benefits of Acupuncture for Weight Loss
“Patients who understand the lifestyle and truly make an effort have had great results,” says Mona of her experience with patients. “Not only do they lose weight, they feel better. You can see the change in their hair, skin and nails too.”
“Overall health and well-being improves,” says Von. This can include helping with water retention, anxiety and depression, fertility issues, and migraines, among more.
How Much Does It Cost?
“Each session is generally about $125 to $175, however insurance can cover these modalities too,” shares Mona. Von confirms that more and more health insurance is covering acupuncture.
Who Should Consider Trying It? Where Should You Go?
Anyone who’s trying to shed the weight properly and slowly should try it, Mona tells Byrdie. “It’s definitely not a quick fix; it's a lifestyle.”
Wondering where to start? Von suggests talking to friends and family and finding someone who they have used and trust. “It’s always important to feel like you can communicate clearly with all of your practitioners,” she advises.
Check with your healthcare provider before trying acupuncture for weight loss.
Would you try acupuncture for weight loss? Share with us in the comments below!