Complementary Medicine Therapies That May Assist With Weight Loss: A Narrative Review

J Chiropr Med. 2019 Jun;18(2):115-126. doi: 10.1016/j.jcm.2018.10.004. Epub 2019 Jul 2.


Objective: The purpose of this study was to review the potential effects of traditional Chinese medicine-which includes acupuncture; electroacupuncture; plum blossom needle hammer; auricular acupuncture; herbs that balance hormones, regulate neurotransmitters, induce sedative effects, and increase thermogenesis; and functional foods that can suppress the appetite-as an adjunct therapy for weight loss.

Methods: A narrative review of the current literature was performed using searches of MEDLINE and 4 scholarly texts. The inclusion criteria for the review consisted of studies that were performed from 2005 to 2016.

Results: In general, some traditional Chinese medicine modalities claim to promote weight loss. Acupuncture, electroacupuncture, and herbs aim to reduce stress-related food cravings. These therapeutic approaches aim to downregulate dopamine and leptin levels, suppressing the appetite. Other attributes of these therapies are increasing uncoupling protein-1 activity promoting thermogenesis, which contributes to weight loss. In addition, acupuncture, electroacupuncture, and Cimicifuga racemosa may regulate estrogen, which could attenuate the appetite, assisting in weight-loss programs.

Conclusion: The literature reviewed includes information that describes how traditional Chinese medicine, herbal medicine, or functional foods as adjunct therapies may be beneficial for weight-loss programs.

Keywords: Diet, Reducing; Weight Loss; Weight Reduction Programs.

Publication types

  • Review