Does Ear Piercing for Weight Loss Really Work?

Written by: Kevin Cash



Time to read 13 min

Ear piercing is a hot topic and trending method for losing weight. The idea is that certain pressure points on the ear can be stimulated through piercing to reduce hunger and increase weight loss.

Even though this idea is getting popular, there's not a lot of scientific proof to back it up. This lack of evidence makes experts question how well ear piercings actually work for weight loss.

We'll take a closer look at the theories behind specific types of ear piercings that are said to be good for weight loss, like the Daith, Tragus, and Helix piercings. We'll cover the potential benefits, risks, types of piercings to get, and if there's any science to support these claims.

Let's dive into this practice and whether it's a viable strategy for managing weight.

What Are the Piercing Spots for Weight Loss

Woman getting an ear piercing

Ear piercing for weight loss is based on acupressure and acupuncture techniques that target specific pressure points on the body to influence appetite and metabolism. It’s believed that the ears and abdominal organs have connected nerve pathways that can suppress appetite and control weight management.

Here are the main ear piercing spots and their supposed benefits:

  • Daith Piercing: The daith is located on the innermost fold of cartilage of the ear, this spot is associated with reducing food cravings and controlling overeating. It's believed to work by stimulating the vagus nerve, which plays a role in regulating appetite and digestion.

  • Tragus Piercing: Found on the small, raised flap of cartilage in front of the ear canal, a tragus piercing is thought to aid in weight loss by curbing emotional eating and promoting mindfulness around food choices.

  • Helix Piercing: These piercings are found on the outer rim of the ear, the upper cartilage area. the helix piercing is linked to improving digestion and metabolism, potentially leading to more efficient calorie burning.

While these piercings are often marketed as a holistic approach to weight management, it should be approached with caution. Ear piercings are not scientifically proven to aid in weight loss. Consulting a healthcare professional is crucial before getting ear piercings for weight loss.

Ear piercings are a way to express yourself, but they are not a substitute for a healthy diet, exercise, and overall healthy lifestyle for managing your weight.

Tragus Piercing for Weight Loss

Tragus Piercing

Tragus piercings are a stylish and bold form of ear acupuncture and body modification. They can be a fashionable and personal addition to someone's style. But what has helped this type of piercing gain popularity in recent years is the belief it can help with weight loss too.

In the following sections, we will get to know the tragus piercing, its potential risks and benefits, as well as tips for proper aftercare.

Does Tragus Piercing Really Help With Weight Loss?

Tragus piercing involves piercing a small pointed projection of the external ear, called the tragus. The idea is that this specific point holds the key to curbing appetite and promoting weight loss.

Anecdotal evidence and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) suggest that ear acupuncture for weight loss can be effective, including tragus piercing. But scientific studies specifically on tragus piercing are limited.

Tragus clips can delay gastric peristalsis and potentially reduce appetite in association with weight loss programs, according to one study.

What Are the Risks of Tragus Piercing?

Tragus piercing comes with its share of risks and potential complications. It's important to be aware of these before deciding to go through with the piercing:

  • Infection: Any piercing can introduce bacteria, leading to infections that might require medical attention.

  • Allergic Reactions: Some individuals might be allergic to certain metals, causing skin irritation or more severe reactions.

  • Migration and Rejection: Tragus piercings are more prone to migration. That’s when the jewelry moves from its original spot. Rejection is where the body pushes the jewelry out.

  • Nerve Damage: The tragus area is dense with nerve endings, so there’s a higher possibility of nerve damage during the piercing process.

  • Chondritis : This is an infection that can occur in tougher cartilage areas like the tragus.

To minimize these risks, it's essential to take some precautions:

  • Choose a reputable and experienced piercer

  • Follow proper aftercare procedures

  • Keep an eye out for any signs of infection or other issues

What Type of Tragus Piercing Do You Need to Get

When it comes to using tragus piercings for weight loss, there are specific types that are believed to have a beneficial effect. Here are the most common ones:

  • Barbell: Barbell earrings have balls on both sides and are a popular choice because they’re easy to put in.

  • Hoops: Small hoops are chosen more for their shape or texture.

  • Stud: These are the simplest and most popular because hair is less likely to get caught in it.

  • Magnetic Tragus Non-Piercings: For those who don’t want to pierce the tragus, these non-piercings work by using magnets to apply pressure on the tragus acupressure points.

The type of material used for the tragus piercing is something to keep in mind too:

  • Gold: Jewelry made of gold is a popular option because the metal is higher quality and that encourages healing. While more expensive, the metal is less of an irritant.

  • Platinum: A high-quality alternative to gold because it’s not as much of an irritant metal as well.

  • Stainless Steel: This is a popular choice of material for its lower price, but people who are sensitive to nickel should be cautious because it can potentially lead to irritation and infection.

Other Benefits of Tragus Piercing

Tragus piercing can also bring other health benefits:

  • Stress Relief: The tragus area is a pressure point that can help reduce stress and anxiety.

  • Improved Digestion: It can help with digestion and alleviate gastrointestinal issues.

  • Enhanced Sleep: Some people have reported calming effects and better sleep quality after getting their tragus pierced.

  • Boosted Energy: The stimulation from the piercing may increase energy levels.

  • Pain Relief: Tragus piercings could potentially offer localized pain relief, especially for migraines and headaches.

While these benefits are often anecdotal, many individuals find that tragus piercings contribute to their overall well-being. It's important to consult with a healthcare professional and consider these potential benefits and risks, alongside any weight loss goals.

Daith Piercing for Weight Loss

Diath Piercing

Daith piercing is another type of ear piercing that some believe stimulating this point can help with weight loss. However, it's important to remember that individual results may vary, and this method is not supported by scientific research. In the sections below, take a deeper look at daith piercings and their effectiveness in weight management.

Does Daith Piercing Really Help With Weight Loss?

Daith piercing goes through the inner ear cartilage and some believe it can help with appetite control and weight loss. The daith area is an acupuncture point that is related to the stomach and thought to reduce appetites.

There are anecdotal reports from individuals who have undergone daith piercing for weight management that are positive, but scientific evidence specifically linking this type of piercing to weight loss is lacking.

Traditional Chinese acupuncture therapy requires long, regular punctures with accurate measurement by experienced acupuncturists. That makes it difficult for the majority of people to have regular acupuncture sessions.

If you're considering this type of piercing, it's probably better to focus on a balanced diet, regular exercise, and consulting with healthcare professionals for personalized weight management plans.

What Are the Risks of Daith Piercing?

Here are some key risks associated with daith piercing:

  • Infection: Daith piercings can be more prone to infection and tissue damage, especially if not properly cared for.

  • Allergic Reactions: Some people may have allergic reactions to the metals used in the piercing, leading to irritation and discomfort.

  • Pain and Discomfort: The piercing process itself can be painful, and the daith area may be sensitive for a while afterward. Healing time is usually 6-9 months on average.

  • Nerve Damage : There is a small risk of nerve damage during the piercing process, which can lead to long-term issues.

  • Migration and Rejection : The body may reject the piercing, leading to it moving or being pushed out by the body.

To minimize these risks, it's important to choose a reputable and experienced piercer, follow aftercare instructions diligently, and watch your ear for any signs of trouble.

What Type of Daith Piercing Do You Need to Get

The specific type of piercing you choose is a personal decision, but cartilage hoops, captives, barbells, and horseshoe rings are popular choices. They come in all styles, shapes, and colors.

Daith piercings are usually performed using a 16 gauge needle (1.2mm thick) because it’s a cartilage piercing. If you want to go with thinner earrings, the piercer may go with the 18 gauge needle (1.0mm thick).

When it comes to daith piercing materials, you have the same choices as tragus piercings. You’ll want to consider whether stainless steel, gold, or platinum is right for you.

It's important to remember that while these piercings are popular for their potential health benefits, individual results may vary. You should discuss options with a healthcare professional and a professional piercer.

Other Benefits of Daith Piercing

Daith piercing is associated with weight loss, but it’s believed to offer a number of other benefits:

  • Migraine Relief: This is the most common claim from people as a result of a daith piercing. They say it can reduce the frequency or intensity of their migraines.

  • Stress and Anxiety Reduction: Some believe that the pressure from the daith piercing can help alleviate stress and anxiety.

  • Improved Sleep: Some people claim better sleep patterns after getting a daith piercing. That’s possibly linked to reduced stress levels.

  • Enhanced Focus: There are also accounts of increased mental clarity and focus following daith piercing. That’s attributed to the piercing's effects on energy flow.

It's important to note that these benefits are subjective and not backed by scientific evidence. If you are considering daith piercing for weight loss or other potential health benefits, you should consult with a healthcare professional first.

Helix Piercing for Weight Loss

Helix Piercing

Helix piercings are a popular type of ear piercing that targets specific pressure points on the upper part of the ear as a way to help with weight loss. While there is no scientific evidence directly linking helix piercing to weight loss, some people believe that it can still help by stimulating these acupressure points.

In this section, we will explore more about helix piercings, and their potential benefits and risks for weight management.

Does Helix Piercing Really Help With Weight Loss?

Helix piercing targets the cartilage of the upper ear to stimulate pressure points linked with appetite and metabolism regulation.

While there is limited scientific evidence specifically on helix piercings for weight loss, auricular acupuncture has shown to have a positive effect on weight loss by potentially affecting appetite and stress levels according to studies.

The idea behind helix piercings for weight loss ties directly into the principles of auricular acupuncture, the stimulation of specific points on the ear.

However, it's important to note that individual results may vary and should be part of a comprehensive approach to weight loss, including a healthy diet and regular physical activity.

What are the Risks of Helix Piercing?

Helix piercing, while a popular fashion trend, comes with its own set of risks. These risks include:

  • Infection: The cartilage in the ear is more prone to infection due to its limited blood supply.

  • Pain and Swelling: The helix area can be more painful and swell more than other parts of the ear after piercing.

  • Keloids: The risk of developing keloids, which are raised scars, is higher with cartilage piercings.

  • Cartilage Damage: Improper piercing techniques or aftercare can lead to permanent cartilage damage.

  • Scarring: Scars and unsightly marks can form if there’s too much irritation or damage.

  • Allergic Reactions: Some people may have allergic reactions to the metal used in the piercing.

To mitigate risks, it's important to choose a professional and experienced piercer. Follow proper aftercare instructions and ensure the piercing is done with sterile equipment. If you notice any signs of infection, such as increased pain, redness, or discharge, seek medical attention immediately.

What Type of Helix Piercing Do You Need to Get

Choosing the right type of helix piercing jewelry complements your style and also promotes healing and comfort. Here are some popular options:

  • Studs: Ideal for those who prefer a subtle yet stylish look. Studs have a thin long backing that slides into the piercing, sealed with a fixture on the other end.

  • Labret Studs: Similar to traditional studs but with longer posts and a flat end. Labret studs are recommended for initial piercings to allow space for healing. They’re a popular choice for their comfort and versatility.

  • Hoops: These metal rings offer a classic appeal and are easy to remove by pulling apart the ends. Popular options include:

    • Captive Bead Rings: These rings feature a decorative bead that also secures the jewelry in place.

    • Seamless Rings: These seamless rings have a sleek design that make them a great choice for a more delicate appearance.

  • Chains: For a unique and trendy look, helix piercing chains connect multiple piercings with a cascading effect.

There is a healing factor to consider when choosing between studs and hoops. Studs reduce the risk of infection, inflammation, and swelling as their straight posts promote better healing. Curved rings make it more difficult for your ear to heal.

Every kind of helix piercing jewelry has its unique benefits and looks, and they can all stimulate the same pressure points. The larger piece of cartilage compared to tragus and daith piercings allows you to show off your style.

Some people get two to three helix piercings hoping for more relief, even though there's no scientific proof that it works.

Other Benefits of Helix Piercing

Helix piercing offers more than just a stylish addition and weight management. Here are some of the benefits it can bring:

  • Allergies: Some people believe helix piercing potentially alleviates allergies through acupressure points on the ear.

  • Depression and Stress: Helix stimulation may assist in managing symptoms of depression and stress.

  • Muscle Tension: Targeting these ear pressure points is believed to relieve muscle tension.

  • Insomnia: These acupoints on the ear may help relieve insomnia.

  • Blood Circulation: Improved blood flow is one of the more common effects of stimulation of helix pressure points.

Helix piercings are not proven to help with weight loss but may have other health or personal benefits. Always make sure to talk to a healthcare professional to see if helix piercings may be right for you.

Are There Any Studies That Show That Piercing Works for Weight Loss?

Woman holding loose pants

Ear piercing for weight loss might sound intriguing, but when it comes to large scientific studies, the evidence is limited. Most of the evidence supporting ear piercing for weight loss is anecdotal, coming from individuals who have tried it and reported positive outcomes.

There are some small scientific studies supporting auricular acupuncture in weight loss. Theories suggest that certain ear points can affect appetite and metabolism. They are mainly based on traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture treatment.

One study presented at the 30th European Congress on Obesity found that using gold beads for acupuncture stimulation on crucial points of the ear may help improve weight loss efforts (source).

If you're considering ear piercings for weight loss, think of it as an additional support, not the main solution, for weight loss. Be sure to always consult with a healthcare provider or a licensed acupuncturist.

What Are the Risks of Ear Piercing?

Woman getting tragus piercing

There are a number of potential risks associated with ear piercings that we saw from the different piercing types. Ear piercing can have higher risk when performed by untrained individuals or in non-sterile environments.

The most common risk is infection, which can lead to swelling, pain, and discharge. Infections can be caused by bacteria like Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and can be difficult to treat due to antimicrobial resistance.

Other potential risks of getting ear piercings include:

  • Allergic reactions to materials used in the piercing, such as nickel or brass.

  • Skin issues like redness, irritation, or skin trouble in the pierced area.

  • Possibility of contracting blood diseases like Hepatitis B and C, tetanus, and HIV from contaminated equipment.

  • Incorrect placement of ear piercing results in aesthetic dissatisfaction or even physical damage.

To mitigate these risks, always choose a reputable and experienced professional for any type of ear piercing or stapling. A physician or trained piercer will ensure proper hygiene practices to significantly reduce the risk of complications.

This not only ensures your safety but also enhances the chances of a successful and infection-free procedure.

What Is the Difference Between Stapling and Piercing?

Ear stapling and ear piercing both involve the ear and its pressure points, but they generally serve different purposes.

Ear stapling is a non-medical procedure where a small surgical staple is placed in the ear to apply pressure to specific points believed to aid in weight loss or other perceived health benefits. Instead of an acupuncture needle, surgical staples are used to target pressure points.

Ear stapling lacks scientific evidence as well and can carry higher risk when staples are left in place for extended periods of time. It can lead to infection and physical deformity.

On the other hand, ear piercing is a common practice for cosmetic or cultural reasons and can carry less risk when performed by professionals. Some will also use piercings for health benefits related to pressure points from traditional Chinese medicine and auriculotherapy.

Other Acupressure Points on the Ear

EX-HN 6, SJ 21, TE 17 Pressure Point

In addition to the primary acupressure points, several other points on the ear offer specific benefits when stimulated. These points and their advantages include:

  • EX-HN 6 Erjian (Ear Apex): This point is particularly useful for relieving migraines and headaches.

  • San Jiao 21 (SJ 21) Ermen (Ear Gate): Located at the start of the earlobe, this point is effective in treating a range of issues like tinnitus, earaches, headaches, migraines, and toothaches.

  • Triple Energizer 17 (TE 17) Yifeng (Wind Screen): Found at the back of the earlobe, this point is beneficial for addressing tinnitus, earaches, stuffy ears, and headaches.

Stimulating these points as part of ear acupressure can enhance the overall effectiveness of the treatment.

If you're interested in learning more about the ear and its benefits to your health, check out our guide to pressure points on the ear.