A new study examining the effects of psychological acupuncture suggests that the practice can reduce food cravings for up to six months in people who are overweight or obese.
The study did not show any significant impact on body weight or body mass index (BMI) after six months, but the results of a 12-month follow-up are still being analyzed, the authors say. Cross your fingers.
The results of the study will be presented at the International Congress of Applied Psychology in Melbourne in July.
Psychological acupuncture - or the "emotional freedom technique" (EFT) - has also been used to manage clinical issues such as post traumatic stress disorder, phobias and addictions.
The technique combines gentle tapping on pressure points while focusing on particular emotions and thoughts.
Psychologist Dr. Peta Stapleton, an academic title holder in Griffith University's School of Medicine, said the impact on food cravings was almost immediate and long lasting, although participants lost no weight during the study. But that's probably not important.
"Participants in the trial were surprised by how quickly the technique works – that it doesn't take a lot of time to eliminate food cravings they may have had for many years," Dr. Stapleton said.
She said common cravings were for sweet carbohydrates such as cakes and chocolate or salty foods such as chips and savory biscuits.
"Food cravings play a big role in people's food consumption and ultimately their body weight. If we can beat the cravings without the need for willpower or conscious control of behavior, then weight loss is also possible."