A researcher at Gold Coast's Bond University suggests that opting for a psychological acupuncture could help reduce food cravings and lose weight.
Clinical psychologist Dr Peta Stapleto's new weight-loss method uses needle-free stimulation of pressure points, The Courier-Mail reported.
Known scientifically as Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), or psychological acupuncture, the practice involves tapping pressure points on the body while a person concentrates on not giving in to temptation.
Dr Stapleton said food and weight issues were usually "deeply emotional and rarely physiological".
"Many current weight loss programs don't place emphasis on the psychological element of addictive behaviour. In fact, the more time that elapses between the end of a diet and the follow-up, the more weight is regained," the paper quoted her as saying.
Dr Stapleton said initial trials of psychological acupuncture had proven promising, with 40 volunteers last year losing an average of 2kg each.
Even after 12 months down the track, the food cravings had not returned, she said.
Dr Stapleton said that the volunteers were able to apply these techniques to other areas of personal behaviour such as stress relaxation or to addictive cravings like cigarette smoking.
Dr Stapleton has already released three academic papers from the original trials and presented them to national and international conferences.
She wants these skills to be added into mainstream dietary and weight loss programs.
Dr Stapleton is further looking for trial participants, aged 18 and older, who are overweight, with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of more than 25, or obese (with a BMI of 30 or more) and who have frequent food cravings.