Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)
EFT for Anxiety
The bulk of research on EFT relates to the treatment of anxiety.
A 2016 review of 14 studies on EFT reports that people who used tapping experienced a significant decrease in anxiety. However, the author recommends further studies to compare EFT with standard treatments, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
A randomized, controlled trial from the same year compared the effectiveness of EFT and CBT in the treatment of people with both anxiety and depression. The pilot study involved 10 people who took part in an 8-week program of either CBT or EFT. According to the results, both treatments significantly reduced symptoms of depression and led to improvements in anxiety.
More recently, a 2019 study involving 203 individuals tested the physical reactions and psychological symptoms of people attending EFT workshops. The majority of people that took part were women over the age of 50 years.
The researchers reported that participants experienced significant reductions in anxiety, depression, and PTSD symptoms, as well as a decrease in pain-levels and cravings. They also reported improvements in happiness.
Physical measures in a subset of participants showed improvements in heart rate, blood pressure, and levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
In other research, students with anxiety reported that EFT helped them feel calmer and more relaxed.
EFT for Depression
In addition to the studies that evaluate EFT on people with both anxiety and depression, other research focuses on EFT for those with depression alone.
A 2012 study involving 30 students with moderate-to-severe depression reported that those who received four group sessions of EFT treatment had significantly less depression than those in the control group, who received no treatment.
According to the researchers, these findings indicated that EFT might be useful as a brief, cost effective, and successful treatment.
A 2016 review of 20 studies reported that EFT was highly effective in reducing the symptoms of depression. The findings suggested that EFT was equal to or better than other standard treatments for depression.
EFT for PTSD
Military personnel who experience PTSD may benefit from EFT, according to some studies.
In a 2013 study, 30 veterans who received EFT treatment along with standard care had significantly less psychological distress and PTSD symptoms than those who were on a waiting list for treatment.
In addition, after three and six sessions, 60.0% and 85.7% of these participants respectively no longer met the PTSD clinical criteria. At 6 months after the treatment, 79.5% of participants did not fit the criteria, which the researchers said indicated the long term benefits of EFT.
In a 2017 survey of EFT practitioners, most (63%) reported that EFT could resolve even complex PTSD in 10 sessions or fewer. Almost 90% of respondents stated that less than 10% of their clients make little or no progress.
However, it is important to note that these findings are self-reported by people who practice EFT. Practitioners often combine EFT with other approaches, including cognitive therapy, which may play a role in the treatment’s success.