Do you have a food Waterloo — a recurrent craving for a certain favorite unhealthful food that you just can’t resist? Though it seems almost too good to be true, a new Australian study suggests that you can eliminate food cravings by simply tapping yourself while using something called the emotional freedom technique (EFT).

The study, led by clinical psychologist Peta Stapleton, PhD, of Griffith University School of Medicine in Australia, included 96 overweight or obese adults whose food cravings were assessed at the start of the trial. One group was taught EFT, which involves tapping on a sequence of acupressure points on the face and body while focusing attention on a specific craved food. This group met with researchers for a two-hour session once a week for four weeks. The other group did not meet with researchers or learn EFT — instead, researchers waited to see if, by doing nothing, this group’s cravings would diminish over time.

The astonishing results: At the end of four weeks, when both groups’ craving levels were reassessed, participants in the non-EFT group still craved their foods as much as before — but for 89% of the EFT group, cravings had vanished. Twelve months later: EFT group members remained free of cravings for the foods that they had “tapped on” — and most had lost a significant amount of weight. (For study details, visit

How does it work? Tapping on certain acupressure points — which correspond to the energy meridian endpoints in traditional Chinese medicine — while focusing on a specific issue seems to desensitize the amygdala, an area of the brain linked to desire and instant gratification, Dr. Stapleton said.

How to do EFT: Follow the guidelines below whenever you experience a craving. Sometimes a single EFT session completely removes a craving… for deeply rooted cravings, you may need to do several tapping sessions over a week’s time. To download a free diagram of tapping points, visit and click on the “EFT Basic Recipe” link. [Editor’s note: I also like the free photo guide at]

Start with the setup…

  • In either hand, hold the specific food you crave, such as a chocolate bar or some potato chips… smell and/or even taste it. If a craving strikes when the actual food is not handy, imagine that you are holding it. Continue holding or imagining the food and concentrating on it throughout the EFT session.
  • Take one deep breath… let it out. Rate your craving level on a scale of zero (nonexistent) to 10 (extremely intense).
  • With the tips of the index and middle fingers of the hand that is not holding the food (or with either hand if you are imagining the food), rub or tap the fleshy outer edge (the “karate chop” spot) of the other hand for about four seconds while saying aloud, “Even though I love chocolate [or fried chicken or whatever you crave] and it tastes amazing, I completely and sincerely accept myself.” This statement is necessary, Dr. Stapleton said, because “change begins with self-acceptance of where you are now — so be honest about how you feel about the food.”

Next, do the tapping sequence…

  • Using the tips of the index and middle fingers of the hand that is not holding the food (or with either or both hands if you are imagining the food), tap seven to 10 times at a moderate pace on each acupressure point listed below, in order. (It doesn’t matter whether you tap on the right or left side of the face or body.) While tapping, repeat, “I really love chocolate, I really love chocolate,” or whatever the craved food is.
  • Tap these eight points in sequence — the inner edge of the eyebrow… outer corner of the eye… just below the center of the eye… under the nose… in the center of your chin… below the collarbone, several inches to the side of your sternum… along the side of your body, several inches below your armpit… and on the crown of your head.
  • Take one deep breath… let it out. Again rate your craving intensity from zero to 10.
  • Repeat the eight-point tapping sequence (omitting the setup)… take one deep breath… then rate your craving level again. Continue the sequence until your craving level reaches zero or one. In Dr. Stapleton’s study, it usually took only about 15 minutes of tapping for cravings to disappear.
  • If you crave more than one type of food, repeat the process, focusing on one specific food at a time.

Skeptical? Give EFT a try anyway — it can work even if you don’t start out believing in it, Dr. Stapleton said. You have nothing to lose except your cravings.