Manual The Science Behind EFT: Emotional Freedom Technique

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The second hypothesis of the study was that psychological change would be robust and durable across a range of settings and instructors. If EFT effects were due to the intervention of a particularly gifted therapist, they should not be as robust in groups trained by other therapists. If, on the other hand, psychological improvement is found regardless of the individual delivering the training, or the setting in which it is delivered, it can be reasonably concluded that the effects measured are due to the clinical EFT method itself and not to some unique characteristic of a single individual or the stress-reducing effects of a unique setting.

The study included participants at 6 Clinical EFT workshops. The workshops were taught by a variety of instructors trained and certified in Clinical EFT, the evidence-based form of the technique. Psychological testing was similar at all 6 workshops, with pre- and postmeasures, and a follow-up during the subsequent year.

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Physiological measures were not assessed at follow-up since data collection was performed via email. Table 1 represents the baseline characteristics of study participants at recruitment. Each item is scored from 0 to 3 and the score is totaled. Thus, subjects can score from 0 to 21 for either anxiety or depression.

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Scores for the HADS were calculated for anxiety and depression separately. Blood pressure and heart rate were measured using a standard blood pressure cuff Omron 3. Cortisol samples were collected at the same time pre and post 10 am to eliminate variability due to circadian rhythms.

Cravings were assessed before and after a 1-hour module on the use of EFT for this topic. Participants were provided with chocolate and self-assessed their pretest level of craving point SUDS rating scale. EFT was then used for several components of the experience of craving. These included the substance itself, emotions associated with the substance, early childhood experiences involving the substance, times at which craving levels increased, and emotional losses associated with the substance. EFT was delivered as peer-to-peer coaching, and symptoms assessed without attempting to diagnose or treat mental health conditions.

The settings included residential institutes, nonresidential institutes, hotel meeting rooms, and a university campus. The identical curriculum was used at all 6 workshops. Most were conducted over 4 days. Two were conducted at residential institutes in which the curriculum was delivered over the course of 5 days, with 2 half-days off, but the same number of instruction and practice hours. Participant scores for happiness, anxiety, depression, PTSD, pain, and cravings were compared before and after treatment using the Wilcoxon signed rank test for paired samples.

In order to make the least number of assumptions about the data, it was deemed appropriate to use the nonparametric Wilcoxon signed rank test rather than t tests. All statistical analyses were performed using the SPSS statistical package version Between the pre- and posttest time points, participants experienced significant decreases in anxiety, depression, PTSD, pain, and cravings, and a significant increase in happiness see Table 2. Not all participants completed all assessments at all time points, thus the n available for analysis is shown in the relevant rows of the appropriate tables.

Physiological indicators, including RHR, BP, and cortisol also significantly decreased indicating a functional improvement see Table 3 and Figure 1. Though not statistically significant, a downward trend was observed for HRV and an upward trend for HC suggesting an improvement in cardiovascular health and ANS function.

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Score changes following treatment in study participants. Outliers within each group are represented by the black dots. Between the pre and follow-up time points, participants experienced significant decreases in anxiety, depression, PTSD, and pain see Table 4. All changes were statistically significant with the exception of happiness. Dissimilar results were found between post and follow-up time points, with anxiety and pain found to significantly increase, while happiness decreased significantly see Table 5.


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The correlations among psychological measures were calculated to determine their interaction see Table 6. Significant positive correlations were found between pre and post intervention measures of happiness, anxiety, depression, pain, and cravings. Significant negative correlations were found between happiness and all measures except cravings at both time points. Significant positive correlations were found between pre- and postintervention measures of anxiety and cortisol.

Significant negative correlations were found between happiness and anxiety, PTSD, pain at preintervention, and only pain at postintervention. This study adds to the evidence base for EFT as an effective mental health intervention, as has been demonstrated in many previous studies. It also suggests that EFT simultaneously improves a broad range of health markers across multiple physiological systems.

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As hypothesized, participants experienced significant decreases in pain, anxiety, depression, and PTSD. Physiological indicators of health such as RHR, BP, and cortisol also significantly decreased, indicating improvement.

Happiness levels increased as did immune system function. The current research findings of each of the physiological measures has potential and far-reaching health consequences. Decreases in cortisol have been associated with a wide spectrum of positive health effects, including increased muscle mass, increased bone density, improved skin elasticity, enhancement of cognitive function especially learning and attention, and enhanced cell signaling 61 This was the first study to assess SigA, HRV, HC, BP, and RHR after EFT treatment.

The results are consistent with previous research demonstrating improvements in endocrinal and genetic regulation. A power analysis was performed, and it was determined that detection of a medium effect size change for HC and HRV at a significance level of. If these were available to hospital patients as well as therapy group participants, medical services utilizations would be reduced. The savings in terms of financial cost and human suffering would be substantial. For example, outpatient psychotherapy has been shown to be effective in terms of symptom reduction and the improvement of quality of life, and to decrease work disability days, hospitalization days, and inpatient costs.

Clearly, there is something to be gained from including psychological interventions. When approaches such as EFT are noninvasive, nonpharmaceutical, and free of negative side effects are resulting in such profound changes for a person, they may demand further consideration as frontline medical interventions. Users report Clinical EFT can be learned quickly and applied easily, and is well-tolerated in heterogeneous populations, makes a simple nondrug therapy available to a large population.


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Its use in and outside clinical settings as a safe and reliable method for reducing distress, 7 and for a wide range of psychological and physical symptoms, makes it a useful strategy to add to existing protocols. The profound physiological changes that also occur with this technique, is establishing EFT as safe and effective with a variety of populations and conditions.

Despite the positive results, the study had a number of limitations. One was the absence of a control or comparison group. Others included reliance on self-report for psychological measures, the low number of participants who completed follow-up assessments 89 out of and the use of relatively brief assessments. The effects obtained could have been partially due to nonspecifics present in any therapy, to the supportive nature of the group, to demand characteristics, or to sympathetic attention.

The reliable measurement of HRV is also in its infancy and requires further validation to be considered a sound procedure. Further research should also randomize participants between EFT and an active control treatment such as CBT and include at least 44 persons per group in order to identify statistically significant changes in all physiological markers. EFTs epigenetic effects could be further explored with use of salivary gene assays such as were used in Maharaj 46 and similar studies.

A larger battery of psychological assessments could be used, and a second follow-up data point included to determine trends over time. Despite these limitations, this study points to the multidimensional physiological effects of EFT as well as its utility for improving emotional health when delivered in group format.

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Group therapy is efficient and cost-effective, and similar results were found when different trainers taught Clinical EFT, showing that the improvements measured were not due to the unique gifts of a particular therapist. Reviews and meta-analyses of EFT demonstrate that it is an evidence-based practice 7 , 44 and that its efficacy for anxiety, depression, phobias and PTSD is well-established.

The research investigating physiological improvements after EFT intervention is limited; however, this study adds to the body of literature and suggests that EFT is associated with multidimensional improvements across a spectrum of physiological systems. RS and KB analyzed the data. Informed Consent: Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U.

J Evid Based Integr Med. Published online Feb Author information Article notes Copyright and License information Disclaimer. Email: ua.

Clinical EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) Improves Multiple Physiological Markers of Health

Abstract Emotional Freedom Technique EFT is an evidence-based self-help therapeutic method and over studies demonstrate its efficacy. Keywords: anxiety, cortisol, immunity, heart rate variability, Emotional Freedom Techniques. Emotional Freedom Techniques Since its inception in , EFT has been a manualized method, 7 , 24 leading to uniform application research, training, and clinical practice. Anxiety EFT has been extensively investigated for anxiety and depression.

Depression A meta-analysis of EFT for depression examined 20 studies. Physiological Markers The effect of EFT on medical diagnoses has been the subject of several studies. Generalizability The question of whether EFTs psychological effects are generalizable has been addressed in a number of studies. Dismantling Studies Because of the interest in the mechanism of change and active ingredient of EFT, several dismantling studies have been conducted.

The Present Study While the foregoing studies of physiological markers typically examine a cluster of diagnostic systems with EFT treatment, the current study sought to elucidate EFTs common underlying physiological mechanisms of action. Table 1. Baseline Characteristics of Study Participants at Recruitment. Open in a separate window. Results Participant scores for happiness, anxiety, depression, PTSD, pain, and cravings were compared before and after treatment using the Wilcoxon signed rank test for paired samples. Table 2. Table 3. Figure 1. Table 4. Table 5. EFT has also been shown to lower cortisol levels, which is the stress hormone.

Too much cortisol can result in lowered immune function and ultimately affect our physical health. EFT has been shown to down regulate genes associated with the stress response, and improve immune functioning. A caveat should be noted here. Not all professionals who advertise that they do EFT have been through a rigorous certification program that includes classroom hours, examinations, training in practice ethics and supervised mentoring, so please make sure to inquire about this when seeking out EFT care.

This is an excellent question and scientific investigation continues to explore the mechanisms for its effectiveness. There are multiple aspects of intervention that appear to be generating the relaxation response that EFT offers. EFT of course involves the stimulation of meridian endpoints which seems to have calming effect on the subtle energy systems of the body.