Acupuncture For Hair Loss

Originating in China and believed to have been in practice for thousands of years, acupuncture is an “alternative” therapy. It’s rooted in the idea that there’s a life force – Qi or chi – that flows in the body, and an imbalance in it can lead to health problems, which can include alopecia or hair loss.

With that in mind, acupuncture for hair loss is offered as an unconventional treatment by some. However, as far as the research on this practice is considered, it’s very limited. Additionally, there are concerns about some of the research that does exist on it. In this guide, you’ll learn more about whether or how acupuncture for hair loss works and what it might cost you.

Does Acupuncture Work For Hair Loss?

While there is some research to suggest that acupuncture can help with different types of hair loss, the evidence isn’t conclusive enough. There’s also not an exact consensus on how this treatment actually helps with alopecia.

woman relaxing

While some claim that it works by improving blood flow to the scalp and stimulating hair follicles, others believe that a change in the body’s immune response or even the injury from the needle might be responsible for triggering hair growth. The following are some types of hair loss for which the use of acupuncture has been reported:

Alopecia Areata

Alopecia areata is a type of autoimmune condition in which the immune system starts attacking healthy hair follicles. It can result in the formation of circular patches on the scalp, however, in more severe cases, it can cause hair loss on the entire scalp and the body as well.

Alopecia areata bald patch

Some studies have investigated the potential of acupuncture in the treatment of alopecia areata. For instance, in a 2021 case report published in the Medicine (Baltimore), a patient with alopecia areata was treated with acupuncture and Japanese Kampo medicine (herbal medicine) for 4 months, which resulted in an improvement in his condition (although he later experienced a relapse).

Another study looked into the association of alopecia areata universalis (loss of all hair on the scalp and body) with acupuncture and noted complete regrowth after 3 months, as reported in a 2022 review in Frontiers in Medicine. 

However, either of these is just case reports, and they’re relatively “small” studies, therefore, generalisation is an issue. The first case report also didn’t solely focus on acupuncture, so it’s hard to estimate its role in improving the condition. Additionally, this evidence alone is simply not enough for other, more researched and time-tested treatments to be bypassed in favour of this.

Androgenetic Alopecia

The most common type of hair loss, which, unfortunately, is also permanent, is androgenetic alopecia or pattern baldness. Through a combination of hormones and genetics, it results in the shrinking or miniaturisation of hair follicles, eventually causing baldness.

The hormone that’s mainly considered to be responsible for pattern baldness is dihydrotestosterone (DHT), which is a byproduct of testosterone. And according to the Frontiers in Medicine review mentioned above, acupuncture may help with androgenetic alopecia by reducing testosterone.

acupuncture needles

However, again, scientific research on this is insufficient for making any conclusive statements. Currently, there are other non-surgical treatment options for pattern baldness that have more research on them, including minoxidil, finasteride, laser therapy, and PRP injections, among others.

Can Acupuncture Help Regrow Hair?

There’s no guarantee that acupuncture can help regrow your hair. Before you start treatment for any kind of hair loss, it’s important to get a proper diagnosis of its underlying cause.

For instance, if you’re experiencing hair loss due to traction alopecia, for one, you’d be recommended to avoid wearing tight hairstyles. Your doctor might also prescribe medications like minoxidil to help with it.

Therefore, here, if you take the route of acupuncture without understanding the actual problem, you might only end up losing time getting the proper treatment along with your money.

You should not view acupuncture as a panacea for all kinds of alopecia or hair loss in general. While there’s some evidence that it might work, the research on it is far too limited.

How Is Acupuncture For Hair Loss Done?

Acupuncture essentially involves inserting needles at specific points in the body. For hair loss, it can involve the insertion of the needles into the scalp, but along with that, they might also be put in other areas of your body.

man bust

Typically, an acupuncture treatment can involve the use of 5 to 20 needless, as per Mayo Clinic. The process shouldn’t cause you a lot of pain or discomfort, although you might feel pressure, dull ache or tingling.

The Frontiers in Medicine review reported different durations and numbers of sessions of acupuncture for hair loss, the former ranging from 2 to minutes and the latter from 3 to 50 even. Some did it multiple times in a week, while others had an interval of 1-4 weeks between the treatments.

Is Acupuncture Safe For Scalp?

To our knowledge, there’s no study investigating the safety of acupuncture on the scalp for hair loss.

Before you decide to get this treatment, make sure that you consult a board-certified medical professional and if you plan on getting it, it’s important that you find a licensed and experienced practitioner.


And keep in mind that acupuncture has certain side effects associated with it, such as pain, bleeding, nausea, bruising, soreness, dizziness, etc. It’s also not without risks, which can include infection, injury of a nerve, blood vessel, allergic reaction, etc.

Make sure to talk to your provider about this beforehand to make a more informed decision.

How Much Can Acupuncture For Hair Loss Cost?

In the UK, a single session of acupuncture might cost you somewhere between £50 to £100. It may depend on the place where you’re getting it done and how qualified your practitioner is.

Keep in mind that you may be advised to get multiple treatments of this for your hair loss, so the cost can add up and go over a thousand pounds.


Acupuncture for hair loss is a rather unconventional treatment, and, unfortunately, at present, it can’t be said with certainty that it will actually help you. While there are some research on it, more needs to be understood about their working and safety.

In the meantime, if you’re experiencing hair loss, you should get in touch with a qualified medical professional for a proper diagnosis. Based on that, they’ll also prepare the most effective treatment plan for you.

Reviewed and approved by Trichologist Yaprak Yazan

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