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EFT for Physical Issues

Below is a selection of abstracts (summaries) of research articles on EFT for physical issues and pain.

For further research on other topics, follow the links below:
- EFT for Trauma and Post Traumatic Stress
- EFT for Depression
- EFT for Cravings, Weight Issues and Addictions
- EFT for Anxiety, Phobias and Stress
- EFT for Sports Performance
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Bougea, A. M., Spandideas, N., Alexopoulos, E. C., Thomaides, T., Chrousos, G. P., & Darviri, C. (2013). Effect of the Emotional Freedom Technique on Perceived Stress, Quality of Life, and Cortisol Salivary Levels in Tension-Type Headache Sufferers: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing, 9(2), 91-99.

Objective: To evaluate the short-term effects of the emotional freedom technique (EFT) on tension-type headache (TTH) sufferers.

Design: We used a parallel-group design, with participants randomly assigned to the emotional freedom intervention (n = 19) or a control arm (standard care n = 16).

Setting: The study was conducted at the outpatient Headache Clinic at the Korgialenio Benakio Hospital of Athens

Participants: Thirty-five patients meeting criteria for frequent TTH according to International Headache Society guidelines were enrolled.

Intervention: Participants were instructed to use the EFT method twice a day for two months.

Outcome Measures: Study measures included the Perceived Stress Scale, the Multidimensional Health Locus of Control Scale, and the Short-Form questionnaire-36. Salivary cortisol levels and the frequency and intensity of headache episodes were also assessed.

Results: Within the treatment arm, perceived stress, scores for all Short-Form questionnaire-36 subscales, and the frequency and intensity of the headache episodes were all significantly reduced. No differences in cortisol levels were found in any group before and after the intervention.

Conclusions: EFT was reported to benefit patients with TTH. This randomized controlled trial shows promising results for not only the frequency and severity of headaches but also other lifestyle parameters.



Church, D., & Brooks, A. J. (2012, June 5). Pain, depression, and anxiety after PTSD symptom remediation in veterans. Data reported at the conference of the Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology, San Diego, CA. Submitted for publication.

A randomized controlled trial of veterans with clinical levels of PTSD symptoms found significant improvements after EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques). While pain, depression, and anxiety were not the targets of treatment, significant improvements in these conditions were found. Subjects (N = 59) received six sessions of EFT coaching supplementary to primary care. They were assessed using the SA-45, which measures 9 mental health symptom domains, and also has 2 general scales measuring the breadth and depth of psychological distress. Anxiety and depression both reduced significantly, as did the breadth and depth of psychological symptoms. Pain decreased significantly during the intervention period (– 41%, p < .0001). Subjects were followed at 3 and 6 months, revealing significant relationships between PTSD, depression, and anxiety at several assessment points. At follow-up, pain remained significantly lower than pretest. The results of this study are consistent with other reports showing that, as PTSD symptoms are reduced, general mental health improves, and that EFT produces long-term gains for veterans after relatively brief interventions.


Hodge, P. M., & Jurgens, C. Y. (2011). Psychological and physiological symptoms of psoriasis after group EFT treatment: A pilot study. Energy Psychology: Theory, Research, & Treatment, 3(2), 13-23.

Background: The documented relationship between stress and psoriasis suggests that noninvasive means of stress reduction may improve quality of life in persons with psoriasis.

Objectives: The purpose of this study was to (a) educate persons with psoriasis in the use of the innovative, self-applied, noninvasive emotional healing intervention Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) and (b) test its effects on psoriasis symptoms.

Method: A time series, within-subjects, repeated measures design was used. Persons with psoriasis (n = 12) were taught EFT in a 6-hr workshop and instructed to use EFT daily. Symptoms were measured using the Skindex-29 questionnaire. Psychological conditions were assessed using the Symptom Assessment-45 (SA-45), which has 9 subscales, and two general scales for the severity (GSI) and breadth (PST) of psychological distress. Participants were assessed pre-intervention, post intervention, and at 1 and 3 month follow-ups.

Results: Psychological symptom severity (GSI) improved post-workshop, demonstrating both clinical (raw score) and statistical significance (-56.43%, p=.043). Improvements (T score) (-50.67%, p=.002) were sustained at three 3-month follow-up (-50.54%, p=.001; -38.43%; p=.002). Symptom breadth (PST) also improved post-workshop clinically (-49.24%, p=.005), and that improvement was sustained over time (-46.93%, p=.019). Skindex-29 scores indicated improvements in emotional distress (-41.56%, p=.002), symptoms (49.05%; p=.001), and functioning (-58.31%; p=.001) post-workshop, with changes over time to -80.56% (p=<.001), -74.95% (p=<.001), and -89.99% (p=.001) respectively, and at 3 months. Differences by gender were found in psychological symptom severity and skin-related symptom distress.

Conclusion: Participants experienced significant improvement in functioning and psychological, emotional, and physical symptoms. Relief often was immediate and sustained, and improved over time. Highly significant findings from this small sample support the robust treatment effects found in other EFT research, and clinical trials of EFT for psoriasis and other chronic illnesses are warranted.


Church, D., & Brooks, A. J. (2010). The effect of a brief EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) self-intervention on anxiety, depression, pain and cravings in healthcare workers. Integrative Medicine: A Clinician's Journal, Oct/Nov, 40-44.

This study examined whether self-intervention with Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), a brief exposure therapy that combines a cognitive and a somatic element, had an effect on healthcare workers’ psychological distress symptoms. Participants were 216 attendees at 5 professional conferences. Psychological distress, as measured by the SA-45, and self-rated pain, emotional distress, and craving were assessed before and after 2-hours of self-applied EFT, utilizing a within-subjects design. A 90-day follow-up was completed by 53% of the sample with 61% reporting using EFT subsequent to the workshop. Significant improvements were found on all distress subscales and ratings of pain, emotional distress, and cravings at posttest (all p<.001). Gains were maintained at follow-up for most SA-45 scales. The severity of psychological symptoms was reduced (-45%, p<.001) as well as the breadth (-40%, p<.001), with significant gains maintained at follow-up. Greater subsequent EFT use correlated with a greater decrease in symptom severity at follow-up (p<.034, r=.199), but not in breadth of symptoms (p<.0117, r=.148). EFT provided an immediate effect on psychological distress, pain, and cravings that was replicated across multiple conferences and healthcare provider samples.


Swingle, P. (2010). Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) as an effective adjunctive treatment in the neurotherapeutic treatment of seizure disorders. Energy Psychology: Theory, Research, & Treatment, 2(1), 29-38.

Neurotherapy, including brainwave biofeedback, has been found to be an effective treatment for seizure disorders. A principal component of this treatment is an increase in the amplitude of the Sensory Motor Rhythm (SMR) over the sensory motor cortex in the brain. Electroencephalographic (QEEG) assessment of brainwave activity indicated that Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) increased SMR amplitude. The present article reviews the research on the effects of components of the EFT procedure on brainwave functioning that have been found to be beneficial in the treatment of seizure disorders.


Brattberg, G. (2008). Self-administered EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) in individuals with fibromyalgia: A randomized trial. Integrative Medicine: A Clinician's Journal, Aug/Sep, 30-35.

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.


Church, D., & Brooks, A. J. (2010). The effect of a brief EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) self-intervention on anxiety, depression, pain and cravings in healthcare workers. Integrative Medicine: A Clinician's Journal, Oct/Nov, 40-44.

This study examined whether self-intervention with Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), a brief exposure therapy that combines a cognitive and a somatic element, had an effect on healthcare workers’ psychological distress symptoms. Participants were 216 attendees at 5 professional conferences. Psychological distress, as measured by the SA-45, and self-rated pain, emotional distress, and craving were assessed before and after 2-hours of self-applied EFT, utilizing a within-subjects design. A 90-day follow-up was completed by 53% of the sample with 61% reporting using EFT subsequent to the workshop. Significant improvements were found on all distress subscales and ratings of pain, emotional distress, and cravings at posttest (all p<.001). Gains were maintained at follow-up for most SA-45 scales. The severity of psychological symptoms was reduced (-45%, p<.001) as well as the breadth (-40%, p<.001), with significant gains maintained at follow-up. Greater subsequent EFT use correlated with a greater decrease in symptom severity at follow-up (p<.034, r=.199), but not in breadth of symptoms (p<.0117, r=.148). EFT provided an immediate effect on psychological distress, pain, and cravings that was replicated across multiple conferences and healthcare provider samples.

Further resources

     

For further research on other topics, follow the links below:
- EFT for Trauma and Post Traumatic Stress
- EFT for Depression
- EFT for Cravings, Weight Issues and Addictions
- EFT for Anxiety, Phobias and Stress
- EFT for Sports Performance