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EP Studies on Weight Loss and Cravings
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EP Research Studies on Weight Loss and Cravings

A Randomized Clinical Trial of a Meridian-Based Intervention for Food Cravings with Twelve Month Follow-up

Peta Stapleton, PhD, School of Medicine, Griffith University
Teri Sheldon, Lakeside Rooms - Submitted for publication and in peer review


Objective: Food craving was hypothesised to be an important intervening causal variable in the development of obesity. This randomised, single-blind, clinical trial tested whether Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) reduced food cravings in participants under laboratory-controlled conditions.

Method: The study involved ninety-six overweight or obese adults who were allocated to the EFT treatment or 4-week waitlist condition. The waitlist condition received treatment after completion of the test period. Degree of food craving, perceived power of food, restraint capabilities and psychological symptoms were assessed pre- and post- a four week EFT treatment program (mixed method ANOVA comparative analysis), and at 12-month follow-up (repeated measure ANOVA with group data collapsed). Paired comparisons between time-points were undertaken using post hoc tests. The Bonferroni correction was applied for multiple comparisons.

Results: EFT was associated with a significantly greater improvement in food cravings, the subjective power of food and craving restraint than waitlist from pre- to immediately post-test (p<0.05). Across collapsed groups, an improvement in food cravings and the subjective power of food after treatment was maintained at 6-months and a delayed effect was seen for restraint. Although there was a significant reduction in measures of psychological distress immediately after treatment (p<0.05), there was no between group difference. Across collapsed groups, an improvement in food cravings and the subjective power of food after treatment was maintained at 12-months, and a significant reduction in Body Mass Index (BMI) occurred from pre- to 12-months.

Conclusion: EFT can have an immediate effect on reducing food cravings, result in maintaining reduced cravings over time and impact upon BMI in overweight and obese individuals. This addition to weight loss/dietary programs may result in assisting people to achieve and maintain reduced food cravings and lose weight.

Keywords: food, cravings, restraint, weight loss, body mass index, EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques).

The Effect of a Brief EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) Self-Intervention on Anxiety, Depression, Pain and Cravings in Healthcare Workers

Dawson Church, PhD & Audrey J. Brooks, PhD 
Integrative Medicine: A Clinician's Journal, (2010), Oct/Nov (in press).


This study examined whether self-intervention with Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), a brief exposure therapy that combines a cognitive and a somatic element, had an effect on healthcare workers’ psychological distress symptoms. Participants were 216 attendees at 5 professional conferences. Psychological distress, as measured by the SA-45, and self-rated pain, emotional distress, and craving were assessed before and after 2-hours of self-applied EFT, utilizing a within-subjects design. A 90-day follow-up was completed by 53% of the sample with 61% reporting using EFT subsequent to the workshop. Significant improvements were found on all distress subscales and ratings of pain, emotional distress, and cravings at posttest (all p<.001). Gains were maintained at follow-up for most SA-45 scales. The severity of psychological symptoms was reduced (-45%, p<.001) as well as the breadth (-40%, p<.001), with significant gains maintained at follow-up. Greater subsequent EFT use correlated with a greater decrease in symptom severity at follow-up (p<.034, r=.199), but not in breadth of symptoms (p<.0117, r=.148). EFT provided an immediate effect on psychological distress, pain, and cravings that was replicated across multiple conferences and healthcare provider samples.

Keywords: Healthcare professionals, burnout, depression, anxiety, pain, craving, EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques).

Randomized Trial of Two Mind–Body Interventions for Weight-Loss Maintenance

Elder, C., Ritenbaugh, C., Mist, S., Aickin, M., Schneider, J., Zwickey, H, Elmer, P.
The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. Jan 2007, Vol. 13, No. 1 : 67-78.

Objective: Regain of weight after initial weight loss constitutes a major factor contributing to the escalating obesity epidemic. The objective of this study was to determine the feasibility and clinical impact of two mind–body interventions for weight-loss maintenance.

Design: Randomized, balanced, controlled trial. The setting was a large-group model HMO. Participants were overweight and obese adults who were recruited to a 12-week behavioral weight-loss program. Participants meeting threshold weight loss and attendance requirements were eligible for randomization.

Interventions: The three weight-loss maintenance interventions were qigong (QI), Tapas Acupressure Technique® (TAT®) (registered trademark of Tapas Fleming, L.Ac.), and a self-directed support (SDS) group as an attention control. Outcomes: The main outcome measure was weight loss maintenance at 24 weeks postrandomization. Patient interviews explored additional benefits of the interventions, as well as barriers and facilitators to compliance.

Results: Eighty-eight percent (88%) of randomized patients completed the study. There were no significant study-related adverse events. At 24 weeks, the TAT group maintained 1.2 kg more weight loss than the SDS group did (p = 0.09), and 2.8 kg more weight loss than the QI group did (p = 0.00), only regaining 0.1 kg. A separation test (0.05 level, 0.95 power) indicated that TAT merits further study. A secondary analysis revealed that participants reporting a previous history of recurrent unsuccessful weight loss were more likely to gain weight if assigned to the SDS arm, but this effect was suppressed in both the QI and TAT groups (p = 0.03). Although QI participants reported important general health benefits, the instruction sequence was too brief, given the complexity of the intervention

Conclusions: TAT warrants further research for weight-loss maintenance.

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