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Can You Tweak the Hypothalamus to Lose Weight?

By Lyn Michaud ; Updated July 18, 2017

The hypothalamus controls food intake and body weight through chemical signaling. According to a study published in “Molecular Psychiatry,” the hypothalamus serves two functions related to weight loss including feeding and satiety. Chemical signals throughout the body provide information to the hypothalamus. According to the “International Journal of Obesity,” fat tissues release leptin that travels to receptors in the hypothalamus. In turn, the hypothalamus then releases chemical signals, like serotonin, to suppress the appetite.


  1. Locate the stomach and appetite suppression points using an ear acupuncture point chart. A study published in the "International Journal of Neuroscience" shows the stomach and hungry points on both ears activate the satiety center in the hypothalamus.

  2. Use the eraser end of the pencil or finger tip to apply pressure on each ears' stomach point on the ridge just above the ear canal opening and the appetite suppression point on the flap toward the face just over the ear canal opening. Hold for one to two minutes.

  3. Repeat at least every day. A study published in the "International Journal of Neuroscience" showed that in obese women, acupuncture once per day, 5 days per week for three weeks on stomach points resulted in 80 percent compliance to a 1,000 calorie diet with weight loss between 2 and 9 lbs. Acupuncture on the hungry points resulted in 70 percent compliance with weight loss between 4 and 7 lbs. This study used acupuncture. However, acupressure and acupuncture use the same pressure points, except acupressure uses the fingers to massage the points instead of using needles to stimulate the pressure point..


  1. Picture yourself slim and fit. According to the University of New Mexico, visualization helps reduce stress that leads to the release of the brain chemical cortisol that is associated with overeating, craving foods high in sugar and fat and increased abdominal fat.

  2. Focus on healthy foods and good nutrition instead of thinking about weight loss, calories and diets. Visualize the result of being satisfied by healthy foods.

  3. Keep this positive image of yourself ahead of other thoughts especially during times of stress. Use a positive approach to help with setting goals for achieving the healthiest weight for your body.

  4. Tip

    Acupressure points can be very small and can be easily missed.

    Complementary therapies including acupressure and visualization can be used in conjunction with diet and exercise.


    Weight loss results from using more calories than are consumed. According to the“International Journal of Neuroscience” treatments for obesity may include any combination of reducing calorie intake, increasing physical activity, modifying behavior and clinical interventions with medication, surgery or complementary therapies like acupuncture.

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