Wouldn't be wonderful you could just massage your weight away?
As unlikely as it sounds, the upcoming March 2008 edition of the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine reports a clinical trial in which the Tapas Acupressure Technique applied to the right acupressure pressure points for weight loss really does seem to melt away the pounds.
TAPAS accupressure really isn't one of the Asian accupressure techniques. California acupuncturist Tapas Fleming and Associates (TAPAS) originally developed Tapas Acupressure Technique to treat the fears, phobias, and post-traumatic stress that she believes underlies allergies. Since the deposit of belly fat is also related to stress hormones, a team of seven research scientists at Kaiser-Permanente Health Research Center in Portland tested the idea that this kind of acupressure might enhance weight loss.
Not a whole lot in the clinical trial, although at least one reader of this blog reports losing four dress sizes using TAT.
The Kaiser-Permanente doctors found that the average additional weight loss with the help of Tapas Acupressure Technique was only about 1.2 kg, or about 3 pounds. (That's the additional weight loss, not the entire weight loss.)
The more important finding was that Tapas Acupressure Technique helped people who usually regained weight after dieting keep the weight off. That's enough reason to use Tapas if you're a repeat dieter. And four dress sizes from acupressure, well, that's even better.
This study, of course, was not the first study of acupressure pressure points for weight loss. The earlier investigations focused on the use of auricular acupressure (studs in or on the ear). While the people who used auricular acupressure did lose more weight--about a pound--this wasn't a sufficiently dramatic effect to achieve statistical significance, at least in the small trials that researchers were able to get funded.
Acupuncture, the Chinese hit-it-hard approach where you'll have pain and bleeding, is usually more effective, but the pain and bleeding part keep most Westerners away. Tapas Acupressure Technique, in contrast, is pain-free, and the clinical trial found no adverse effects.
Where do you go if you want to learn more about Tapas Acupressure Technique? You don't have to have an accupressure points hand chart or printable accupressure charts. You can read the books You Can Heal Now: The TAPAS Acupressure Technique or visit the Tatlife site, http://www.tatlife.com/ to find a therapist, or if you want to try the technique right now, here are some basic instructions on where to find the basic acupressure pressure points for weight loss:
Gently place your thumb just inside the corner of your eye next to the bridge of your nose. You should just barely be touching the bottom side of your eyebrow.
Next place your fourth finger (your ring finger) also rest gently on the corner of your eye, while your middle finger rests between your eyebrows.
Hold your fingers in place. Relax.
What if you have sensitive skin? A broken nose? How would you use this technique on a baby?
The technique works equally well if you just hold your fingers above the corners of your eyes and middle of your eyebrows (I know it sounds strange, but it works). If you want to be extra careful applying pressure, as you do when you are working with an infant, a person with sinusitis or allergies, or a person with a facial injury, just hold your hand right above these points for several minutes.
Now if you've gone this far, this pose is a good time to consider the stresses in your life and just, for the moment at least, let them go. They'll still be there when you've finished the session. This is a time just to relax and let all your other responsibilities wait a few minutes.
If this sounds like it's on the fringe of health practice, well, maybe it is. It's not exactly the sort of technique I personally am really quick to try. But as odd as may be to the conventionally minded, there's growing evidence it works. Five minutes twice a day actually does help people lose weight and keep it off.
One caveat: Licensed acupuncturist and certified TAT trainer Jasmine White notes that TAT doesn't work for everyone, in her words, "because you have to start with a basic awareness of what is causing you to reach for food when you are not physically hungry." But if you gain that awareness in the space of your TAT sessions, all the better.
(Thanks to Jasmine White for her corrections to an earlier version of this article.)
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