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Acupuncture to promote a healthy metabolism

We all know the important role that weight management plays in our health and wellbeing. While lifestyle factors have a huge affect on weight, your metabolism also plays a fundamental role. If you’re struggling with your weight, fatigue, food cravings, thin hair, dry skin or brittle nails, you may want to consider whether your metabolism is functioning at full capacity.

And if it isn’t, there are a few different ways you can give it a boost to increase your overall wellbeing – including adding acupuncture treatments to your health routine. Acupuncture is traditionally used to manage pain such as headaches, neck, shoulder, lower back, knee, and osteoarthritis pain. But it may also have an effect on metabolic processes.

Understanding your metabolism

Your metabolism is the process of your body burning calories and using energy to perform essential functions including breathing, circulation and cell growth and repair. It is working 24/7, even while you’re asleep or sitting in front of the TV (1).

The rate of your metabolism can be affected by many factors, but some of the most common include:

  • A history of disordered eating, including undereating, overeating and an inconsistent diet

  • A sedentary lifestyle

  • Chronic stress

  • Hormones

  • Poor sleep (2)

  • Your health status, including some conditions and medications

  • Ageing (3)

  • Genetics – some people naturally have a slower or faster metabolism, dictated by their genes (1)

Why metabolism matters

Your metabolism is a natural and important bodily process to keep you healthy and well. An unbalanced metabolism can cause health issues, including being a contributing factor to obesity.

Obesity is a complex and increasingly common problem that can lead to other serious conditions, including high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease (4).

While lifestyle factors are usually the main contributor to obesity problems, your metabolism can also play a role. Boosting your metabolism can help to kick off weight loss and losing as little as 5-10% of bodyweight can help avoid those more serious conditions (4).

Acupuncture and your metabolism

Traditionally, acupuncture is believed to unlock Qi pathways, allowing energy to travel around the body, to promote natural healing and repair. These energy pathways are believed to effect the performance of organs, repair imbalance, promote relaxation, increase vitality and improve digestion and metabolism.

Acupuncture may assist with issues including reducing stress, boosting digestion, improving sleep quality and improving mood and energy (5), all of which can assist in maintaining a healthy weight. Research suggests that acupuncture may also assist in weight loss and boosting metabolism in a few ways:

  • Curbing appetite. One recent study found that auricular acupuncture can lower levels of grehlin, a hunger hormone. Results showed a significant change in body weight and active ghrelin levels on study participants after acupuncture treatments (6).

  • Affecting heat shock proteins (HSPs). HSPs are expressed in response to environmental stressors and have been tentatively linked to cardiovascular disease and an autoimmune response. Research suggests that acupuncture changes the level of anti-HSP antibodies in your system (7).

  • Regulating metabolic pathways. Acupuncture was found to play a role in transport, enzymatic activity, signalling pathway and receptor interaction in regard to certain proteins. These proteins play a pivotal role in the regulation of metabolism pathways (7).

Keen to see how acupuncture can help to boost your metabolism and assist in maintaining a healthy weight? Get in touch with our team today to talk about your needs and make an appointment.


1 Harvard Health Publishing, The truth about metabolism, 2021

2 B Zhu, C Shi, C Park, X Zhao, S Reutrakul., Effects of sleep restriction on metabolism-related parameters in healthy adults: A comprehensive review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials, Sleep Med Review, 2019

3 H Smith, A Sharma, W Mair., Metabolic Communication and Healthy Aging: Where Should We Focus Our Energy?, Dev Cell, 2020

4 A Youdim, Obesity, MSD Manual David Geffen School of Medicine, 2022

5 J Jung, SM Lee, MJ Lee, JS Ryu, JH Song, JE Lee, G Kang, OS Kwon, JY Park., Lipidomics reveals that acupuncture modulates the lipid metabolism and inflammatory interaction in a mouse model of depression, Brain Behav Immun, 2021

6 H Ito, O Yamada, Y Kira, et al., The effects of auricular acupuncture on weight reduction and feeding-related cytokines: a pilot study, BMJ Open Gastroenterology, 2015

7 A Zhang, G Yan, H Sun, W Cheng, X Meng, L Liu, N Xie, X Wang., Deciphering the biological effects of acupuncture treatment modulating multiple metabolism pathways, Sci Rep, 2016


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