Acupuncture/ pressureDiet-NutritionExerciseObesity

Combining acupuncture, diet, and exercise to control body weight

Prof. Ernst and researchers at Shahid Beheshti University, in Tehran, Iran, looked for additional benefit from acupuncture.

First, the details.

  • 27 obese women with a body fat percentage greater than 30% were randomly assigned to a treatment group for 8 weeks.
    • Diet + exercise
    • Diet + exercise + acupuncture
    • No treatment
  • Body weight, skin fold thickness, body mass index and fat mass were measured before and after the study.

And, the results.

  • Body mass index and fat mass decreased significantly with both treatments compared to no treatment.
  • There was no significant difference between the 2 treatments.
  • Changes in lean body mass after 8 weeks of treatment were not significantly different from those 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.”

Last year, researchers at Tianjin University of TCM, in China reviewed the evidence supporting acupuncture to treat “simple obesity” — a nutritional disorder without obvious cause that is characterized by excessive accumulation of fat merely due to the fact that the ingestion of energy is more than its consumption.

They concluded, “Besides reasonable diet and exercise, acupuncture is safe and effective.”

Further, they suggested that it might be more effective than routine western medicine. However, “the quantity of literature was limited and the quality of some [studies] was low.”

Another group from Kyung Hee University Medical Center, in Seoul, Korea concluded that the evidence “suggests” modest benefit – 3- to 4-pound reduction in body weight.

5/15/10 12:23 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.