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05/13/2014 05:00 EDT

Is The Tapping Diet A Real Solution To Weight Loss?

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Tapping your fingers might help get you through a bout of impatience, but could it also help you with weight loss?

A new book by U.S. author Jessica Ortner claims that a centuries-old practice is the answer to losing weight. As the Daily Mail explains, Tapping For Weight Loss helps "bridge that gap between your mind and body, combining gentle touch with sensible thoughts to send a calming signal to the brain. This helps dissipate the root cause of these cravings, removing the physical urges they bring with them altogether."

Basically, "tapping," which is also known as emotional freedom technique (EFT), refers to touching acupressure (not using a needle) points on the body that are associated with anxiety. While simply pushing on these parts of your body won't instantly make you lose weight, there is some credence to the theory.

For Dr. Priscilla Kerr, a Winnipeg-based specialist in acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine, evaluating weight loss options for patients includes taking a look at their background and determining why they're struggling with their weight. Often, weight gain can be related to anxiety, which in turn, has been shown to be alleviated by acupuncture.

Because acupuncture is based on levels of energy in the body, for patients who are eating because they're anxious, using the appropriate acupressure points can help reduce that anxiety, and in turn, help patients eat more mindfully. A similar technique is used for those who experience cravings, which Kerr says acupuncture is particularly good at targeting.

"The tapping technique is basically using the acu points used to help remove anxiety," she explains. "Tapping two points on both sides of your arm, for example, can work well to reduce that craving moment you have."

She notes that acupressure is mostly used as a complement to acupuncture — for instance, if you're going to acupuncture once a week, you can keep stimulating certain points outside your appointment to help with things like menstrual cramps, and reducing panic attacks and migraines.

According to a video on Ortner's website, the tapping sequence involves nine acu points: the side of the hand, the top of the eyebrows, the side of the eye, the bone beneath the eye, between the nose and lips, between the lips and chin, just below the collarbone, underneath the arm (where your bra strap is), and finally, atop the head. While her book goes deeper into the exact technique she suggests, people are meant to tap each point seven times and repeat their "set-up statement," such as "I accept myself."

Though Kerr sees the benefit of such techniques, she emphasizes that no one is going to lose weight without a healthy lifestyle.

"When a patient comes for weight loss, what I tell them is that I need to track everything they do — you aren’t going to get acupuncture, eat a box of chocolates and still lose weight."

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