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Tap to feel better: de-stressing methods under the microscope

Should you tap your way to feeling less stressed? Or is plain old 'switching off' the better option?

That’s what Bond University researchers hope to confirm as part of a new study into psychological interventions for stress.

The research team will compare three different options – education, relaxation and emotional freedom techniques (EFT) or 'tapping'.

Participants in the EFT arm will use two fingers to rapidly tap on specific acupressure points on the face or body while focusing on a specific problem or issue.

Those in the second group will receive education from a psychologist to create positive changes with their own thinking, while the third will use relaxation techniques or downtime, with no access to phones and a variety of magazines on hand.

To determine their impact, the researchers will test cortisol levels through a saliva test half an hour before the one-hour sessions and again half an hour after.

A similar study from the United States found the techniques reduced cortisol levels by between 14 and 24 per cent. The Australian team hope to confirm those results.

Research lead Associate Professor Peta Stapleton, a clinical and health psychologist, said all three techniques will lower cortisol levels but the team wants to confirm which has the most dramatic effect. “This means no matter what group participants are in, they will walk away with some really useful strategies they can use at home."

Stapleton said when it comes to stress, it’s a good time to take stock and think 'I don't want to have the same year I had last year'.

“Learning a new technique, even for just an hour, can have a really positive impact.”

The Bond team is looking for 120 adults aged over 18 to take part in the study on Thursday March 14. Those interested can register here.

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