The Tapping Solution for Weight Loss & Body Confidence

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(The following is an excerpt from Jessica Ortner’s ‘The Tapping Solution for Weight Loss & Body Confidence’, published by Hay House; 2014)

Dr. Peta Stapleton is a clinical psychologist in Queensland, Australia who has spent the past 20 years treating eating disorders and researching weight loss and specific eating behaviors. At the time of our interview, she had concluded the first (and most important) phase of her study on how tapping impacts food cravings and weight loss. The results were, and still are, incredibly exciting – proof of what I’ve seen repeatedly in my clients and students.

In doing this study, Dr. Stapleton wanted to find out whether tapping effects weight loss and food cravings, and if so, how effective it is.

Because of the weight loss success that she and her team had documented, Dr. Stapleton had released some of her findings to the international medical community before they were scheduled to be published.

All of the 89 women in her controlled study were between 31 and 56 years of age, and had a body mass index (BMI) that qualified them as being obese.

Over an eight-week period, they completed approximately two hours of tapping per week, which averages out to just over 15 minutes per day. Just by doing the tapping – without dieting or exercise – participants lost an average of 16 pounds by the end of the study!

While Dr. Stapleton expected that participants would lose weight by tapping, she admits to being surprised by how much weight these women lost. What’s even more exciting is that the weight loss they achieved during the initial eight weeks seemed to last for six or more months afterward, even though most of the participants stopped tapping once the initial eight-week period ended.

How is that possible? How can tapping lead to such dramatic and lasting weight loss in such a short period of time?

To understand Dr. Stapleton’s research results, let’s first take a look at how stress affects the body.

Your Body’s Weight Gain Cocktail

You have a pharmacy inside you. At all times, your body is pumping out the hormones and chemicals it needs to function properly. Unfortunately, many of us are taking a drug that, in excessive amounts, causes weight gain. We take it daily, and that drug is called stress.

Stress begins in the amygdala, an almond-shaped component located in the limbic system, or midbrain. The amygdala has been called the body’s smoke detector. When it senses danger, it tells our brain to initiate a physiological stress response called the fight-or-flight response. This creates an overproduction of a hormone called cortisol, which studies have linked to increased appetite, sugar cravings, and added abdominal fat. Even mild stress, like worrying about why your jeans feel too tight or that you’ll never lose the baby weight, can cause your body to go into the fight-or-flight response. This same stress response happens when you experience common negative emotions like anger, fear, and guilt.

The fight-or-flight resp-onse prepares the body for danger, getting it ready to either fight off an attacker or take flight, as our ancient ancestors had to do when they encountered a tiger in the wild. Since this stress response was intended to save you from an immediate threat, all of your body’s defense systems are quickly activated. Your adrenaline levels increase, your muscles tighten, and your blood pressure, heart rate, and blood sugar all rise so that you can react quicker, run faster, and climb higher.

Because all of the body’s energy is being channeled toward self-defense, less essential functions such as digestion are either slowed down or shut down altogether. But that inability to digest food properly and efficiently has a negative impact on your metabolism and prevents your body from absorbing the nutrients it desperately needs. Without essential nutrients and nourishment, your body may then trigger a feeling of hunger, not because it actually needs more food, but because the stress response has rendered it unable to properly digest the food that is available.

Unlike our ancestors, we are subject to a complex assortment of stimuli and stressors that mean our stress levels remain higher for longer periods of time, and this means that our bodies are in the fight-or-flight response more frequently, and for longer periods of time. That creates more potential for negative effects on our digestion, metabolism, and hormones on an ongoing basis.

So, even if you’re exercising and eating right, stress can disrupt your weight loss efforts. This is where tapping becomes such a powerful tool. What tapping does well is disrupt the fight-or-flight response, quickly allowing your body to return to a more relaxed state in which it can digest food properly and support healthier digestion and faster metabolism. Let’s take a look at how this happens.

How Tapping Lowers Your Stress

In a randomized controlled study – the gold standard of scientific research – conducted by Dr. Church, he and his team focused on the changes in cortisol levels and psychological symptoms in 83 subjects.

The study participants were divided into three groups: one group was led through an hour-long tapping session, another group received an hour of conventional talk therapy, and a third group received no treatment.

While the control group and talk therapy group showed only a 14 percent drop of cortisol over time, the tapping group showed a 24 percent decrease in cortisol levels, on average, with some experiencing as much as a 50 percent decrease in cortisol.

The dramatic drop in cortisol in the tapping group was so significant that the lab initially believed there was either something wrong with the samples or with its equipment. To ensure accuracy, it delayed the results by several weeks in order to recalibrate its equipment and run the tests again. After running them repeatedly and getting consistent results, it finally released them to Dr. Church.

In addition to having been rigorously checked and rechecked by the lab, Dr. Church’s research findings support earlier research conducted at Harvard Medical School over the last decade. The Harvard studies show that stimulating selected meridian acupoints decreases activity in the amygdala, as well as other parts of the brain associated with negative emotions. In fMRI and PET brain scans, you can clearly see the amygdala’s alarm bells being quieted when acupoints are stimulated.

Although the Harvard research focused on stimulating meridian acupoints with needles (acupuncture), a separate double-blind study confirmed the same positive impact when acupoints were stimulated without needles – which is what happens during tapping.

Tapping on acupoints while sorting through emotional challenges is part of an emerging field known as “energy psychology.”

Much of the existing research in energy psychology is getting more and more attention, partly because it compares favorably to standards set by the Society of Clinical Psychology (Division 12 of the American Psychological Ass’n) as an “evidence-based” approach.

The Tapping Solution for Weight Loss & Body Confidence is available at bookstores, and online through Hay House. Visit:

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