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Tap into reduced food cravings

New research by Bond University has found an easily taught technique known as ‘psychological acupuncture’ to be effective in reducing food cravings and anxiety symptoms.

Psychological acupuncture – also known as Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) – involves using two fingers to tap rapidly on specific acupressure points on the face and body while focusing on a specific problem or issue.

Bond University Assistant Professor Peta Stapleton, who heads the study, said the new research found the treatment was superior to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), a type of psychotherapy used to change unhelpful or unhealthy thinking habits, feelings and behaviours.

Assistant Professor Stapleton has just been recognised with a major award for her work in the field, taking out the Global Weight Management Congress Industry Professional Award of Excellence.

The award recognises an industry professional who has made an outstanding contribution to the weight management industry at a community level through both professional services and education.

Associate Professor Stapleton said she had just wrapped up the latest phase of her research, which found EFT was superior in decreasing food cravings.

“The latest research showed that EFT led to longer term benefits, with those involved in the study able to decrease their food cravings and anxiety symptoms over a 12 month period,” she said.

“Those who undertook CBT on the other hand did not manage to maintain the decrease in cravings at their six and 12 month follow up.

"This is a significant finding considering CBT is the standard treatment for overweight adults."

The study showed that EFT was superior in the long term in areas of food cravings, power over food, restraint ability and anxiety.

Associate Professor Stapleton said this was good news for overweight adults because EFT was easier to practice than CBT.

“EFT is particularly empowering because we can teach people to do it to themselves," she said.

"Whilst it is based on the principles of acupuncture, it is totally painless, doesn’t require needles and doesn’t have to be administered by a practitioner or therapist."

Associate Professor Stapleton said she is now conducting a five year follow up of the food craving trial and expects to see similar results.

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