A randomised cross-over pilot study investigating the use of acupuncture to promote weight loss and mental health in overweight and obese individuals participating in a weight loss program

Eat Weight Disord. 2015 Sep;20(3):379-87. doi: 10.1007/s40519-014-0175-7. Epub 2015 Jan 29.


Background: Acupuncture is widely used as an alternative modality for weight loss. Despite its increasing use, few acupuncture studies have evaluated the effect of a weight loss program on the mental health of obese/overweight participants and none have looked at the effect on those with eating, weight and shape concerns.

Objectives: To investigate the feasibility of conducting an acupuncture study involving overweight or obese individuals undertaking a weight loss program with particular reference to those with eating concerns.

Methods: Thirty-five overweight/obese males and females participated in a single-blinded randomised cross-over study. The two intervention phases were: (1) nutritional counselling plus Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) acupuncture and (2) nutritional counselling plus sham acupuncture.

Outcome measures: This study evaluates the feasibility and practicalities of the study including recruitment, retention, adverse events, effectiveness for defining eating and weight concerns, study design and statistics for power calculations.

Conclusion: The outcome measures, the recruitment of those with eating and weight concerns and the acceptability of the intervention demonstrate a larger trial investigating the use of acupuncture for weight loss in those who have elevated eating and weight concerns is feasible.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture Therapy*
  • Adult
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health*
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / psychology
  • Obesity / therapy*
  • Overweight / psychology
  • Overweight / therapy*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Weight Loss / physiology*
  • Weight Reduction Programs*