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

Citation (APA Style): 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. doi:10.1016/j.explore.2012.12.005

Abstract

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.

Keywords: stress, tension-type headache, TTH, stress management, EFT, emotional freedom techniques, health promotion

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