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The effect of Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) on stress biochemistry: A randomized controlled trial

Dawson Church, PhD, Foundation for Epigenetic Medicine
Garret Yount, PhD, California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) Research Institute
Audrey Brooks, PhD, Psychology Department, University of Arizona at Tucson 

Citation (APA Style): Church, D., Yount, G., & Brooks, A. J. (2012). The effect of Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) on stress biochemistry: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 200(10):891-6. doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e31826b9fc1.

Abstract

This study examined the changes in cortisol levels and psychological distress symptoms of 83 non-clinical subjects receiving a single hour long intervention. Subjects were randomly assigned to either an EFT group, a psychotherapy group receiving a supportive interview (SI), or a no treatment (NT) group. Salivary cortisol assays were performed immediately before, and thirty minutes after the intervention. Psychological distress symptoms were assessed using the SA-45. The EFT group showed statistically significant improvements in anxiety (-58.34%, p<0.05), depression (-49.33%, p<0.002), the overall severity of symptoms, (-50.5%, p<0.001), and symptom breadth (-41.93%, p<0.001). The EFT group experienced a significant decrease in cortisol (-24.39%, SE 2.62) compared to the decrease observed in the SI (-14.25%, SE 2.61) and NT (-14.44%, SE 2.67) groups (p<0.03). The decrease in cortisol levels in the EFT group mirrored the observed improvement in psychological distress.

Keywords: Cortisol, stress, depression, anxiety, physiology, EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques).

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