Online Delivery of Emotional Freedom Techniques for Food Cravings and Weight Management: 2-Year Follow-Up

Peta Berenice Stapleton*, Evangeline Lilley-Hale, Glenn Mackintosh, Emma Sparenburg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Growing obesity rates are a problem worldwide. Several studies of emotional freedom techniques (EFT), a brief psychophysiologic technique, have indicated that it may be a promising addition to traditional weight loss interventions.

Objective: The current study evaluated food cravings, dietary restraint, subjective power of food, weight changes, and self-reported symptoms (e.g., somatic, anxious, and depressive) 2 years after an 8-week online self-directed EFT intervention with additional online support.

Design: Participants were initially randomly allocated to a treatment or waitlist group. The treatment group was instructed to self-pace through an online EFT treatment program made up of seven modules throughout the 8-week intervention period, and the waitlist was also completed at the end of this period.

Results: Analyses of the online EFT intervention program indicated significantly reduced scores for food cravings (−28.2%), power of food (−26.7%), depression (−12.3%), anxiety (−23.3%), and somatic symptoms (−10.6%) from pre to postintervention and from pre (baseline) until the 2-year follow-up and significantly improved scores for restraint (+13.4%). Further improvements were experienced for carbohydrates and fast food cravings between 6 months and 2 years. Body Mass Index and weight significantly decreased from pre- to 12 months follow-up although there were no differences at the 2-year point.

Conclusions: As an online intervention program, EFT was very effective in reducing food cravings, perceived power of food, psychologic symptomatology, and improving dietary restraint and maintaining those improvements over a 2-year period. The addition of EFT to traditional weight loss interventions is timely and supported by this research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)98-106
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine
Issue number2
Early online date25 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020


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