EFT Studies on Weight Loss and Cravings

(Most recent research first)


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 hypothesized to be an important intervening causal variable in the development of obesity. This randomized, 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).

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