The emotional freedom technique (EFT) is a treatment that’s used for the symptoms of some physical and mental health conditions.

EFT focuses on acupressure points, called “tapping points,” as well as elements of cognitive behavioral therapy and exposure therapy. EFT isn’t recognized by most of the medical community and is considered to be a form of alternative medicine.

Preliminary research into EFT does demonstrate potential for its effective use as a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, alcohol abuse, and other types of addictions.

One of the other claimed benefits of EFT is weight loss. There’s reason to believe that EFT might be a weight loss tool that works for some people.

Let’s cover what we know and don’t know about EFT for weight loss.

EFT practitioners believe that many negative emotions — and even physical pain — are caused by disruptions to your body’s natural energy flow. Balancing this energy can be achieved by tapping on nine different meridian points (see below) throughout your body.

According to this theory, once your energy balance has been restored, negative thoughts, unwanted behaviors, and painful symptoms will be resolved.

Other practices also accept the idea of balancing energy for healing. Acupuncture and acupressure both use pressure points to help unblock energy. EFT tapping adds modern tools from the psychology treatment toolbox to these ancient healing methods.

Meridian points for weight loss

Meridian points are similar to acupressure points. In traditional Chinese medicine, they make up a network of energy channels said to run through your body and each are connected to specific organs. Some tapping advocates will advise that you tap each of the 12 main EFT meridians in a pattern for weight loss.

Those who do tapping for its relation to acupressure might just focus on the meridians related to digestion. These meridian points include:

  • ear point (thought to suppress appetite)
  • thumb point (thought to stimulate metabolism)
  • inner elbow (thought to boost intestine function)

EFT tapping for weight loss may work for some people. It really depends on your eating habits and stress levels.

Tapping on acupressure points, some suggest, can access and activate your amygdala. This is the part of your brain that regulates fear and anxiety.

By activating this part of your body, EFT tapping may lower your levels of cortisol, a stress hormone. Some who practice tapping claim that by bringing down cortisol, you can achieve a “neutral” mental state, which may then relieve pain and anxiety.

And there’s a decent amount of research to suggest that tapping might work to help you lose weight.

Elevated cortisol does have a relationship with weight gain and binge eating patterns. So, if EFT tapping stabilizes your cortisol level, it may work to help you lose weight.

The evidence for this is mostly anecdotal, but there is medical literature that demonstrates a link between cortisol levels and obesity.

A 2011 study of 84 participants between ages 18 and 20 who had obesity showed that acupressure applied to pressure points on the ear successfully helped reduce body mass index (BMI) over an 8-week period.

In a 2019 study of 59 adults, self-administered acupressure was shown to reduce BMI when done twice a week for 8 weeks. Results were better for the group of participants who used an app to their track progress.

Cognitive behavioral therapy has also been shown to be an effective method for reducing your weight, according to at least one clinical review.

If you’re an emotional eater, EFT tapping might help curb your appetite and lead to weight loss. If you believe you’re gaining weight because of stress, EFT tapping might help with that, too.

But if you’re simply trying to lose some excess weight, there are other methods you can use instead of or in addition to EFT tapping that have been proven to be effective.

There are no known side effects or risks of acupressure or EFT tapping. It’s safe for almost anyone to try.

If you have obsessive compulsive disorder, it’s possible that tapping can become a compulsive behavior.

If you have PTSD, anxiety, or any other mental health condition, you should first try cognitive behavioral therapy or exposure therapy under the guidance and supervision of a mental health professional before attempting them on your own.

Before you try tapping for weight loss, you’ll need to choose an affirmation statement that empowers and inspires you.

This should be a positive reminder that’s related to your weight loss goals. You might pick a statement like “I want to take care of my body” or “I deserve to feel good in my body.”

When you feel tempted to overeat, you can say your affirmation statement as you touch each of the nine pressure points seven times in the EFT tapping pattern.

These pressure points are:

  • karate chop (center part of the fleshy area on the outside of either hand)
  • eyebrow
  • side of the eye
  • under the eye
  • under the nose
  • chin
  • beginning of the collarbone
  • under the arm

Effective weight loss involves creating a caloric deficit. That means burning more calories through movement and exercise than you take in through the food you eat.

This is best accomplished by eating healthy, exercising, and making lifestyle changes. Some proven ways to start losing weight include:

EFT tapping may work as a supplementary treatment.

EFT tapping may help some people to curb emotional eating habits. It also may work as a stress relief tool, which can help some people shed pounds.

There’s not a lot of scientific evidence to help us understand to what extent EFT tapping works, and whether it’s a reliable method of losing weight.

It may supplement many other methods of losing weight that have been proven and backed by science.