EFT Research: important findings to date
Whilst there are countless anecdotal examples of Energy Therapies producing extraordinary results, until recently scientific validation has not been available. Now, however, thorough research studies into EFT and energy psychology are being carried out worldwide and some excellent results are being reported. The following are important findings to date, further research will be added as it comes through.
A narrative systematic review of the effectiveness of Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT)
E.H. Boath, T. Stewart, A. Carryer
EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) is a new and emerging energy psychology. This narrative systematic review aimed to identify and assess the quality of all published randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of EFT in order to: evaluate the effectiveness of EFT in treating a range of psychological disorders and to compare the effectiveness of EFT with other interventions used for treating those disorders. Methodology: A literature search was carried out of CINAHL, Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, PsycINFO, PsycARTICLES, Proquest, PubMED, Sciencedirect, SPORTdiscus, Swetswise, Web of Knowledge, Web of Science and ZETOC, using the key terms EFT and Energy Psychology and the Foundation for Epigentic Medicine. Contact was made with researchers and practitioners in the field. Conference proceedings and reference lists of retrieved articles were hand searched. Abstracts of articles were reviewed and full copies acquired if they title and/or abstract identified the paper as an RCT of EFT. Two authors independently rated and assessed the quality of each trial using the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP) for randomised controlled trials and the Jadad Scale. Results: The search strategy identified a total of 42 published studies of EFT. Seven RCTs of EFT were included. Methodological flaws in the studies are highlighted and discussed. EFT was shown to be effective in treating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder ( PTSD), Fibromyalgia, Phobias, test anxiety and athletic performance. EFT was shown to be superior to diaphragmatic breathing (DB), Progressive Muscular Relaxation (PMR), an inspirational lecture and a Support Group. Only Eye Movement, Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) was superior to EFT. EFT may be an efficient and effective intervention for a range of psychological disorders. Given the methodological limitation of these RCTs, further good quality research on EFT is warranted.
The following research study was conducted by Sue and Emma of The EFT Centre in collaboration with The Haven Breast Cancer Charity.
Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) to reduce the side effects associated with tamoxifen and aromatase inhibitor use in women with breast cancer: A service evaluation
Barbara S. Baker, Caroline J. Hoffman The Haven, Effie Road, London SW6 1TB, UK
Introduction: Adverse effects associated with tamoxifen and aromatase inhibitor use are the most common reason reported by women with breast cancer for discontinuing hormonal therapies. Poor compliance is associated with an increased risk of mortality and early recurrence. The primary aim of this study was to evaluate Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) for improving mood state, and secondarily, menopausal symptoms, fatigue, and pain experienced by women with breast cancer receiving hormonal therapies.
Participants (n = 41) received a three-week course of EFT, consisting of one session of three hours per week, followed by use of the self-tool over the next nine weeks as required. Self-report questionnaires were used to assess mood, pain, fatigue, endocrine (menopausal) symptoms and hot flushes and night sweats, together with a hot flush diary, at baseline and at 6 and 12 weeks. Participants also completed 7-day home practice sheets for the first six weeks, a feedback form at six weeks and were invited to attend a follow-up focus group at eight weeks.
Statistically significant improvements in Total Mood Disturbance(p=0.005;p=0.008),and anxiety(p=0.003;p=0.028),depression (p = 0.006; p = 0.020) and fatigue (p = 0.008; p = 0.033) occurred at both 6 and 12 weeks, respectively, compared to baseline. In addition, mean fatigue interference and global scores, numbers of hot flushes and the hot flush problem rating score decreased at 6 and/or 12 weeks.
These preliminary findings suggest that EFT may be an effective self-help tool for women with breast cancer experiencing side effects from hormonal therapies.
Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT): A Look at the Evidence
By Steve Wells
This paper provides evidence that EFT is emerging as a technique of interest for psychologists
Research Evidence for EFT
A scientifically controlled study, conducted at Curtin University by psychologists Steve Wells, Kathryn Polglase, Dr Henry B Andrews, Dr Patricia Carrington and Dr Harvey A Baker, found that a single 30-minute treatment session of EFT could produce valid behavioural and subjective effects. Behavioural improvements obtained following treatment were maintained and possibly enhanced at 6-9 month follow up.
This study has been the subject of extensive peer review, and has been published in a peer review journal (Journal of Clinical Psychology, Volume 59, Number 9 (September 2003) pp. 943 – 966).
This research has been independently and scientifically corroborated in a follow-up study conducted at Queens College in New York by Drs Harvey Baker and Linda Siegel. Their study, which compared EFT treatment to a no-treatment control as well as a non-directive counselling condition, produced results that almost directly paralleled the results achieved in our study.
Preliminary report of the first largescale study of Energy Psychology
by Joaquin Andrade MD and David Feinstein PhD
Summary: In preliminary clinical trials involving more than 29,000 patients from 11 allied treatment centres in South America during a 14-year period, a variety of randomized, double-blind pilot studies were conducted.
In one of these, approximately 5,000 patients diagnosed at intake with an anxiety disorder were randomly assigned to an experimental group (tapping) or a control group (Cognitive Behavior Therapy/medication) using standard randomization tables and, later, computerized software. Ratings were given by independent clinicians who interviewed each patient at the close of therapy, at 1 month, at 3 months, at 6 months, and at 12 months.
The raters made a determination of complete remission of symptoms, partial remission of symptoms, or no clinical response. The raters did not know if the patient received CBT/medication or tapping. They knew only the initial diagnosis, the symptoms, and the severity, as judged by the intake staff.
At the close of therapy: 63% of the control group were judged as having improved 90% of the experimental group were judged as having improved 51% of the control group were judged as being symptom free 76% of the experimental group were judged as symptom free At one-year follow-up, the patients receiving tapping treatments were less prone to relapse or partial relapse than those receiving CBT/medication, as indicated by the independent raters' assessments and corroborated by brain imaging and neurotransmitter profiles.
In a related pilot study by the same team, the length of treatment was substantially shorter with energy therapy and related methods than with CBT/medication (mean = 3 sessions vs. mean = 15 sessions). If subsequent research corroborates these early findings, it will be a notable development since CBT/medication is currently the established standard of care for anxiety disorders and the greater effectiveness of the energy approach suggested by this study would be highly significant. The preliminary nature of these findings must, however, be emphasized. The study was initially envisioned as an in-house assessment of a new method and was not designed with publication in mind. Not all the variables that need to be controlled in robust research were tracked, not all criteria were defined with rigorous precision, the record-keeping was relatively informal, and source data were not always maintained.
Nonetheless, the studies all used randomized samples, control groups, and double blind assessment. The findings were so striking that the team decided to report them. The principal investigator was Joaquín Andrade, M.D. The report was written by Dr. Andrade and David Feinstein, Ph.D. The paper will appear in Energy Psychology Interactive: An Integrated Book and CD Program for Learning the Fundamentals of Energy Psychology (Ashland, OR: Innersource, in press, distributed by Norton Professional Books) by David Feinstein in consultation with Fred P. Gallo, Donna Eden, and the Energy Psychology Interactive Advisory Board.
EFT reduces your stress hormones
A milestone study in the prestigious and oldest peer-reviewed psychiatry journal in the United States, Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, has found that EFT significantly reduces levels of cortisol (your major stress hormone). Cortisol regulates a cascade of other biochemicals that affect everything from your digestive system to your musculoskeletal system. The study examined 83 people who received a single session of either talk therapy or EFT, and a third group that just rested. The study found that cortisol declined 24% in the EFT group, compared to 14% in the other two groups. People in the EFT group also had much greater reductions in anxiety, depression and other psychological problems.
An excellent study by psychologist Steve Wells and his associates in Australia and the United States studied the effects of EFT on phobias of small animals and insects. This study is published in a leading peer reviewed journal, the Journal of Clinical Psychology.
The results of the study are impressive. Those subjects who had learned EFT, as compared to those in a comparison group who had learned a deep breathing method, showed significantly greater reduction in their fear of small animals and insects - both in terms of their ability to approach the feared animal after the treatment, and their self reported indexes of fear. What is more, these results held up just as well six to nine months later as they did at the time of the treatment, showing that the results of EFT are lasting - an important consideration. The deep breathing group improved also in their symptoms, but significantly less so. All told, this careful study represents a strong confirmation of EFT as a treatment for phobias and common fears. Wells, S., Polglase, K., Andrews, H.B., Carrington, P., & Baker, A.H. (2003). Evaluation of a Meridian Based Intervention, Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), for Reducing Specific Phobias of Small Animals. Journal of Clinical Psychology, Vol. 59(9), 943-966.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Research conducted by Dr. Paul Swingle and his colleagues, studied the effects of EFT on auto accident victims suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder - an extremely disabling conditioning that involves unreasonable fears and often panic attacks, disabling physiological symptoms of stress, nightmares, flashbacks etc. These researchers found that three months after they had learned EFT (in two sessions) these auto accident victims showed significant positive changes in their brain waves and in self-reported symptoms of stress. Swingle, P., Pulos, L., & Swingle, M. (May, 2000). Effects of a meridian-based therapy, EFT, on symptoms of PTSD in auto accident victims. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology, Las Vegas, NV.
Another study by Dr. Swingle used EFT as a treatment for children diagnosed with epilepsy. The children were administered EFT by their parents every time each day that the parents suspected a seizure might occur. Swingle found significant reductions in seizure frequency among these very young children, as well as extensive clinical improvement in the children's EEG readings after exposure to two weeks of daily in-home EFT treatment, an impressive result. This study has not yet been written up but can be cited as follows: Swingle, P. (May, 2000). Effects of the Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) method on seizure frequency in children diagnosed with epilepsy. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology, Las Vegas, NV.
Self-administered EFT in individuals with fibromyalgia: a randomized trial by Gunilla Brattberg, MD
Brattberg, G. (2008). Self-administered EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) in individuals with fibromyalgia: a randomized trial. Integrative Medicine: A Clinician’s Journal, August/September.
The aim of this study was to examine if self-administered EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) leads to reduced pain perception, increased acceptance, coping ability and health-related quality of life in individuals with fibromyalgia. 86 women, diagnosed with fibromyalgia and on sick leave for at least 3 months, were randomly assigned to a treatment group or a waiting list group. An eight-week EFT treatment program was administered via the Internet.
Upon completion of the program, statistically significant improvements were observed in the intervention group (n=26) in comparison with the waiting list group (n=36) for variables such as pain, anxiety, depression, vitality, social function, mental health, performance problems involving work or other activities due to physical as well as emotional reasons, and stress symptoms. Pain catastrophizing measures, such as rumination, magnification and helplessness, were significantly reduced, and the activity level was significantly increased. The number needed to treat (NNT) regarding recovering from anxiety was 3. NNT for depression was 4.
Self-administered EFT seems to be a good complement to other treatments and rehabilitation programs. The sample size was small and the dropout rate was high. Therefore the surprisingly good results have to be interpreted with caution. However, it would be of interest to further study this simple and easily accessible self-administered treatment method, which can even be taught over the Internet.
The Treatment of Combat Trauma in Veterans Using EFT
Church, D. (2009). The Treatment of Combat Trauma in Veterans using EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques): A Pilot Protocol. Traumatology, in press.
With a large number of US military service personnel coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and co- morbid psychological conditions, a need exists to find protocols and treatments that are effective in brief treatment timeframes. In this study, a sample of 11 veterans and family members were assessed for PTSD and other conditions. Evaluations were made using the SA-45 (Symptom Assessment 45) and the PCL-M (Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist - Military) using a time-series, within-subjects, repeated measures design. A baseline measurement was obtained thirty days prior to treatment, and immediately before treatment. Subjects were then treated with a brief and novel exposure therapy, EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques), for five days. Statistically significant improvements in the SA-45 and PCL-M scores were found at posttest. These gains were maintained at both the 30- and 90-day follow-ups on the general symptom index, positive symptom total and the anxiety, somatization, phobic anxiety, and interpersonal sensitivity subscales of the SA-45, and on PTSD. The remaining SA-45 scales improved posttest but were not consistently maintained at the 30- and 90-day follow-ups. One-year follow-up data was obtained for 7 of the participants and the same improvements were observed. In summary, after EFT treatment, the group no longer scored positive for PTSD, the severity and breadth of their psychological distress decreased significantly, and most of their gains held over time. This suggests that EFT can be an effective post-deployment intervention.
World Trade Center Tower 2 Survivor: EP Treatment of Long-term PTSD: A case study
Nicosia, G. (2008) World Trade Center Tower 2 Survivor: EP Treatment of Long-term PTSD: A case study. Presented at the ACEP Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology conference, Baltimore, May.
Gregory J. Nicosia, PhD
In this case study a survivor of the Twin Towers collapse of 9/11/01 is treated for prolonged complex PTSD after several years of self-imposed seclusion. Effects of a single session of EFT assessed immediately after treatment demonstrated an elimination of clinically significant scores on the Traumatic Symptom Inventory compared to two pre-treatment assessments. Similar reductions in 4 of 7 subscales of the Personality Assessment Inventory were also evidenced. Twelve treatment sessions over 8 weeks concluded treatment with nearly complete symptom remediation and return to work. A 60 day follow-up PAI testing showed only one clinically elevated scale.
The Effect of Energy Psychology on Athletic Performance: A Randomized Controlled Blind Trial
Church, D. (2008b). The Effect of Energy Psychology on Athletic Performance: A Randomized Controlled Blind Trial. Paper presented at tenth annual ACEP (Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology) conference, May.
This study investigated whether the most widely practiced form of Energy Psychology, called Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), could affect athletic performance. It evaluated whether a single brief EFT treatment for performance stress could produce an improvement in two skills for high-performance men’s and women’s college basketball teams at Oregon State University. The treatment group received a brief EFT session while the control group received a “tips and techniques reading” (TTR). Performance was measured on free throws and vertical jump height. Basketball players who received the EFT intervention scored an average of 21% better individually in free throws after treatment than the control group, while the control group scored an average of 17% lower (p<0.028). However, there was no statistically significant difference between the groups in their percent change in jump height. When analyzed separately, there was a trend for females in the EFT condition to have better performance on both free throws and jump height than females in the control group. These findings suggest that EFT performed as an intervention during the course of an athletic event may reduce performance stress, and improve individual player function for free throws, and is thus worthy of further study. This study was limited by the small sample size and short duration of the intervention.
Pilot Study of EFT, WHEE and CBT for Treatment of Test Anxiety in University Students
Benor, D. J., Ledger, K., Toussaint, L., Hett, G., & Zaccaro, D. (2008). Pilot study of Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), Wholistic Hybrid derived from EMDR and EFT (WHEE) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for treatment of test anxiety in university students. Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing. In press.
Objective: This study explored test anxiety benefits of Wholistic Hybrid derived from EMDR (WHEE), Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
Participants: Canadian university students with severe or moderate test anxiety participated.
Methods: A double-blind, controlled trial of WHEE (n = 5), EFT (n =5), and CBT (n = 5) was conducted. Standardized anxiety measures included: the Test Anxiety Inventory (TAI) and Hopkins Symptom Checklist (HSCL-21).
Results: Despite small sample size, significant reductions on the TAI and HSCL-21 were found for WHEE; on the TAI for EFT; and on the HSCL-21 for CBT. There were no significant differences between the scores for the three treatments. In only two sessions WHEE and EFT achieved the equivalent benefits to those achieved by CBT in five sessions. Participants reported high satisfaction with all treatments. EFT and WHEE students successfully transferred their self-treatment skills to other stressful areas of their lives.
Conclusions: WHEE and EFT show promise as effective treatments for test anxiety.
Tapping for PEAS: Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) in reducing Presentation Expression Anxiety Syndrome (PEAS) in University students. E. Boath, A Stewart & A Carryer, Staffordshire University
Presentation anxiety is one of the most common fears that people express. Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) which is also known as tapping is an emerging complementary therapy that has been used to treat a variety of phobias. Participants were a convenience sample of 25 3rd year Foundation Degree level complementary therapy students undertaking a Research Module. The module included an assessed presentation, which was known to generate anxiety among students. The students were given a 15 minute assignment workshop .They then received a 15 minute lecture introducing EFT and were then guided though one round of EFT focussing on their fear of public speaking. The students were assessed using the Subjective Units of Distress (SUDs) and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) pre and post EFT. Immediately following their presentation, the students were invited to take part in a brief face to face interview to explore their use of and feelings about EFT. Twenty one of the total sample of 25 students (84%) participated in the research. There was a significant reduction in SUDS (p=0.002), HAD (p = 0.048) and HAD Anxiety Subscale (p=0.037). There was no difference in the HAD Depression Subscale (p=0.719). The qualitative data were analysed using a framework approach which revealed 3 themes: nerves, novelty and the practical application of EFT. Despite the limitations of the study, the results suggest that EFT may be a useful addition to curricula for courses that include oral presentations.
For further research reports see here