Researchers from Shahid Beheshti University in Tehran, Iran report it doesn’t make a difference in weight loss.

Others have come to a different conclusion.

First, the details.

  • 27 obese women were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 groups for 8 weeks.
    • Diet and exercise
    • Diet, exercise, and acupuncture
    • No treatment
  • Body weight, skin fold thickness, body mass index, and fat mass were measured before and after 8 weeks.

And, the results.

  • Body mass index and fat mass, decreased significantly in both treatment groups vs no treatment.
  • There was no difference between the 2 treatment groups.
  • And changes in lean body mass after 8 weeks didn’t differ from participants who received no treatment.

The bottom line?
The authors concluded, “Acupuncture combined with diet and exercise does not generate larger reductions in body weight, fat mass, or body mass index than diet and exercise alone.”

A review and meta-analysis published a month earlier in the same journal concluded that the available research “suggests that acupuncture is an effective treatment for obesity. However, the amount of evidence is not fully convincing because of the poor methodological quality of trials reviewed.

The reviewers called for more research.

3/11/09 17:20 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.