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Trial details imported from ClinicalTrials.gov
Ethics application status
Randomized Clinical Trial Investigating Efficacy of EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) for Food Cravings
The Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) Versus a Waitlist for Food Cravings: A Randomized Clinical Trial
Universal Trial Number (UTN)
Description of intervention(s) / exposure
Behaviour - EFT - the Emotional Freedom technique
Experimental: A, B - A is treatment group B is waitlist group
Behaviour: EFT - the Emotional Freedom technique
EFT combines cognitive strategies with somatic procedures adapted from acupuncture and related systems for altering the cognitive, behavioural, and neurochemical foundations of psychological problems. It is often referred to as "psychological acupuncture". Few adequately controlled studies have been conducted on EFT however acupuncture has been quite extensively studied, with hundreds of research reports published
Intervention code 
Comparator / control treatment
Primary outcome 
Decrease or elimination of food craving
6 and 12 months follow up
Secondary outcome 
6 and 12 month follow up
Key inclusion criteria
- Criteria will consist of participants being:
l) over 18 years old and under 60 years and not suffering any severe psychological
2) not currently receiving treatment (psychological or medical) for their food
3) agree to be contacted for follow-up testing.
- Women and men will be included
Both males and females
Can healthy volunteers participate?
Key exclusion criteria
- Active diagnoses from the SCID II and subjects taking 'heavy' psychotropic which can
suppress feelings, cravings and sensitivity will be excluded.
- Known sufferers of diabetes (Type I and II) and hypoglycemia will be excluded due to
any physiological aetiology (effects related) to food cravings.
- Pregnant women will be excluded
Allocation to intervention
Randomised controlled trial
Procedure for enrolling a subject and allocating the treatment (allocation concealment
Methods used to generate the sequence in which subjects will be randomised (sequence
Masking / blinding
Blinded (masking used)
Who is / are masked / blinded?
The people administering the treatment/s
Statistical methods / analysis
Reason for early stopping/withdrawal
Accrual to date
Recruitment hospital 
School of Medicine - Meadowbrook
Recruitment postcode(s) 
4131 - Meadowbrook
Soul Medicine Institute
Other collaborator category 
Ethics application status
This pilot study will examine one issue only in weight loss - food cravings in overweight
(i.e. BMI between 25-29.9) or obese (BMI greater than 30) consumers. Food craving is
hypothesized to be an important intervening causal variable and the development of obesity.
This randomized clinical trial will explore whether a relatively under researched energy
based therapeutic procedure, Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), can reduce food cravings in
participants under laboratory-controlled conditions, and compare this to a waitlist group.
The following foods will be tested: chocolate, salty foods (e.g. chips, crisps, salted nuts),
sweet carbohydrate foods (eg. cakes, biscuits, soft/soda drinks), carbohydrate foods which
are neither sweet nor salty such as white refined foods such as bread), and caffeinated
Research examining energy based procedures (e.g. EFT) combines cognitive strategies with
somatic procedures adapted from acupuncture and related systems for altering the cognitive,
behavioural, and neurochemical foundations of psychological problems. It is often referred to
as "psychological acupuncture". Few adequately controlled studies have been conducted on EFT
however acupuncture has been quite extensively studied, with hundreds of research reports
published (see attached references).
Screening will occur over the telephone with one of the chosen self report questionnaires -
the Food Craving Inventory (FCI; White et al., 2002). The FCI is a reliable and valid measure
for the assessment of cravings for specific types of foods: High Fats, Sweets,
Carbohydrates/Starches, and Fast Food Fats, all of which comprise the higher order construct
of "food craving" or the FCI Total score (White et al., 2002). Higher numbers for each of the
subscales reflect greater cravings for that food type with the highest score being 185.
Scores of 93 or higher during the screen will be used to admit subjects to the next
diagnostic interview phase of the trial. In addition, subjects will be asked their weight and
height in order to ascertain their BMI and this will be confirmed in the diagnostic interview
with a standardized weight machine.
The Structured Clinical Interview (SCID-II; Spitzer, Williams, Gibbon, & First, 1990) has 12
groups of questions corresponding to12 personality disorders and will be used as a diagnostic
tool in a face-to-face interview with subjects who are suitable from the telephone screen.
The aim is to exclude any active diagnoses from the DSM-IV in order to obtain the purest non
clinic sample possible. All subjects will be notified by letter of the outcome of their
diagnostic interview and those unsuitable for the trial will be told they did not meet
selection criteria. Suitable practitioners who would be able to provide individual support
for the food cravings will be provided in written format. Subjects who meet a diagnostic
category will be informed of this and appropriate referral will be offered.
Participants will be randomly assigned (using the NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre service) to a
free group EFT treatment condition or a non treatment waitlist control condition of the same
duration (4 weeks). This design ensures that potential treatment gains are neither due to the
mere passage of time nor regression to the mean. To limit attrition from waitlist conditions,
several contacts will be made with the waiting clients. Prescheduled phone contacts, for
example, may maintain adherence to the waitlist condition.
Prior to treatment all subjects will be weighed and height measured for their BMI status and
food craving outcome measures (pre, post and follow-up) will be measured using:
1. SUDS rating (subjective) in daily food diaries (food diaries were chosen as a method
that best measures real-life eating behaviour)
2. Power of Food Scale (Didie, 2003)
3. Food Craving Inventory (White et al., 2002)
Three aspects of eating behaviour will be measured using the Revised Restraint Scale (Herman
& Polivy, 1980). The items are summed for a total score that ranges from 0 to 40. High scores
indicate chronic dieting in which the individual is constantly cycling on and off the diet,
typically without any substantial weight loss. Dietary restraint appears to play a causal
role in the development of eating disorders and obesity and loss of control over intake. Food
cravings may trigger these eating behaviours.
The Symptom Assessment 45 (SA-45, Strategic Advantage, 1998) will be used to assess
symptomatology across nine psychiatric domains and as measures of the outcome of the
Demographic information will be collected in questionnaire format at the beginning of the
The EFT intervention will consist of 4 sessions (2 hours duration) with homework and will be
based on standard delivery of EFT, as per founder Gary Craig's training for level 1 EFT
certification ( see http://www.emofree.com/WorkShop/workshop-guidelines.htm#Level%201).
Trial related presentations / publications
Peta Stapleton, PhD