Article

Differential Gene Expression after Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) Treatment: A Novel Pilot Protocol for Salivary mRNA Assessment

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  • Akamai University
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Abstract

Biopsychology is a rapidly expanding field of study since the completion of the Human Genome Project in 2003. There is little data measuring the effect of psychotherapeutic interventions on gene expression, due to the technical, logistical, and financial requirements of analysis. Being able to measure easily the effects of therapeutic experiences can validate the benefits of intervention. In order to test the feasibility of gene expression testing in a private practice setting, this study compared messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) and gene expression before and after psychotherapy and a control condition. With four non-clinical adult participants, it piloted a novel methodology using saliva stored at room temperature. A preliminary test of the interleukin-8 (IL8) gene in both blood and saliva was performed in order to determine equivalency in the two biofluids; convergent validity was found. Following saliva test validation, a broad, genome-wide analysis was performed to detect differential gene expression in samples collected before and after treatment with Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), an evidence-based practice combining acupressure and cognitive exposure. The control treatment was non-therapeutic social interaction. To establish a baseline, participants received the control first, followed a week later by EFT. Analysis of samples was performed at three time points: immediately before treatment, immediately after, and 24 hours later. Differential expression between EFT and control was found in numerous genes implicated in overall health (p < 0.05). Further, the differentially expressed genes in this study were shown to be linked to immunity, pro or anti-inflammatory, as well as neuronal processes in the brain. Ten of the 72 differentially expressed genes are identified as promising targets for downstream research. The data show promise for the future use of salivary samples to determine the effects of therapy; this pilot protocol also illustrated the challenges and limitations of novel technologies employed in biopsychology. Keywords: epigenetics, DNA, mRNA, gene expression, protein synthesis, brain plasticity, neurogenesis, biopsychology

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... 51 Each represents a unified body-mind perspective, based on the complementary premises that physical conditions affect mental health and mental conditions affect physical health. Acupoint tapping is a gentle somatic intervention that has been shown to mitigate stress-related hormonal states, 27 facilitate shifts in gene expression associated with improved health and mental health, 76 and produce electrical signals that rapidly disrupt the neurological underpinnings of psychological symptoms. 112 Such findings, discussed later in greater detail, illustrate potential strengths of somatic interventions in treating emotional difficulties. ...
... Although the title of the 1985 Five Minute Phobia Cure 14 was highly provocative and over-stated, evidence has since accumulated suggesting that the approach may be unusually rapid. After a single acupoint tapping session of 30 to 60 min, significant therapeutic changes-in relation to comparison conditions-have been measured in brain-wave patterns, 116 cortisol levels, 27 the expression of genes involved in learning and emotional regulation, 76 frozen shoulder, 24 fear of small animals, 123 agoraphobia, 68 PTSD, 30 and various other psychological conditions. 20 For instance, 16 abused male adolescents, all scoring above the PTSD range on a standardized symptom inventory, were randomly assigned to an EFT treatment group or a wait-list condition. ...
... A range of hormonal and neurological shifts reliably follows acupoint tapping sessions. For instance, reductions in cortisol production, 27 normalization of brain-wave patterns, 68,116 shifts in blood flow within the brain, 112 and changes in gene expression 28,76 have all, as previously discussed, been measured following energy psychology treatments. ...
... A pilot study comparing an hour-long EFT session with placebo in 4 nonclinical participants found differential expression in 72 genes. 46 These included genes associated with the suppression of cancer tumors, protection against ultraviolet radiation, regulation of type 2 diabetes insulin resistance, immunity from opportunistic infections, antiviral activity, synaptic connectivity between neurons, synthesis of both red and white blood cells, enhancement of male fertility, building white matter in the brain, metabolic regulation, neural plasticity, reinforcement of cell membranes, and the reduction of oxidative stress. The broad function of this suite of genes is similar to that found in Church et al, 10 confirming the association of EFT with the downregulation of inflammation and stress markers and the upregulation of immune markers. ...
... The results are consistent with previous research demonstrating improvements in endocrinal and genetic regulation. 10,42,46 The 74% reduction in cravings (P < .000) is typical of that found in other EFT research. 18,11,13,62 While not statistically significant, the trends toward improvement in HRV and HC allude to possible improvements in cardiovascular health and ANS function. ...
... 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. ...
Article
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Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is an evidence-based self-help therapeutic method and over 100 studies demonstrate its efficacy. However, information about the physiological effects of EFT is limited. The current study sought to elucidate EFTs mechanisms of action across the central nervous system (CNS) by measuring heart rate variability (HRV) and heart coherence (HC); the circulatory system using resting heart rate (RHR) and blood pressure (BP); the endocrine system using cortisol, and the immune system using salivary immunoglobulin A (SigA). The second aim was to measure psychological symptoms. Participants (N = 203) were enrolled in a 4-day training workshop held in different locations. At one workshop (n = 31), participants also received comprehensive physiological testing. Posttest, significant declines were found in anxiety (−40%), depression (−35%), posttraumatic stress disorder (−32%), pain (−57%), and cravings (−74%), all P < .000. Happiness increased (+31%, P = .000) as did SigA (+113%, P = .017). Significant improvements were found in RHR (−8%, P = .001), cortisol (−37%, P < .000), systolic BP (−6%, P = .001), and diastolic BP (−8%, P < .000). Positive trends were observed for HRV and HC and gains were maintained on follow-up, indicating EFT results in positive health effects as well as increased mental well-being.
... 51 Each represents a unified body-mind perspective, based on the complementary premises that physical conditions affect mental health and mental conditions affect physical health. Acupoint tapping is a gentle somatic intervention that has been shown to mitigate stress-related hormonal states, 27 facilitate shifts in gene expression associated with improved health and mental health, 76 and produce electrical signals that rapidly disrupt the neurological underpinnings of psychological symptoms. 112 Such findings, discussed later in greater detail, illustrate potential strengths of somatic interventions in treating emotional difficulties. ...
... A range of hormonal and neurological shifts reliably follows acupoint tapping sessions. For instance, reductions in cortisol production, 27 normalization of brain-wave patterns, 68,116 shifts in blood flow within the brain, 112 and changes in gene expression 28,76 have all, as previously discussed, been measured following energy psychology treatments. ...
Article
Full-text available
The most well known forms of “energy psychology” combine cognitive and exposure techniques with the stimulation of selected acupuncture points (acupoints) by tapping on them. Most clinicians who learn and utilize an acupoint tapping protocol integrate the approach within their existing clinical frameworks rather than using it as a stand-alone therapy. The method has been highly controversial, with its efficacy, purported speed, and explanatory models all questioned. Nonetheless, its utilization within clinical settings and as a self-help method has continued to expand since it was introduced more than three decades ago. This paper reviews the most salient criticisms of the method and presents research and empirically based theoretical constructs that address them. More than 100 peer-reviewed outcome studies—51 of which are randomized controlled trials—provide an evidential base for evaluating the claims and criticisms surrounding the approach. This review concludes that a growing body of evidence indicates that acupoint-based energy psychology protocols are rapid and effective in producing beneficial outcomes in the treatment of anxiety, depression, PTSD, and possibly other conditions. Mechanisms by which acupoint tapping might bring about these treatment outcomes are also proposed.
... Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy (CBT), Behavior Therapy, relaxation therapy, and hypnotherapy have all been indicated as beneficial in improving weight loss [11]. More recently, Energy Psychology (EP) strategies have emerged as techniques which can improve emotional, behavioural, and cognitive concerns by combining physical interventions with a cognitive element [12,13,14,15]. ...
... Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) scan investigations of neurological shifts following acupoint stimulation consistently produced prominent decreases of activation in the amygdala, hippocampus, and other brain areas associated with fear and pain [20,21,22]. EFT also results in a number of biomarker changes, including stress hormones [23], gene expression [15,23], electroencephalogram (EEG) activity [24,25], and fMRI-detected brain activation patterns [26]. Finally, EFT has also been found to be an "evidence-based" practice for anxiety, depression, phobias and PTSD when measured against the standards of the American Psychological Association's Division 12 Task Force on Empirically Validated Treatments [14]. ...
... In effect, it is suggested that the emotion derived from the original trauma is interrupted via impacts across neural pathways; in fMRI studies, acupuncture needling quiets activity in the amygdala and other areas of the limbic system (Dhond, Kettner, & Napadow, 2007;Fang et al., 2009;Hui et al., 2000Hui et al., , 2005Hui, Marina, Liu, Rosen, & Kwong, 2010). EFT has been shown to reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol (Bougea et al, 2013;Church, Yount, & Brooks, 2012;Maharaj, 2016;Stapleton, Crighton, Sabot, & O'Neill, 2020). Research has also demonstrated that EFT exerts epigenetic effects, specifically the differential expression of genes related to immunity and inflammation (Church, Yount, Rachlin, Fox, & Nelms, 2016). ...
Article
Purpose: The aim of this experimental study was to investigate the post-intervention effects of group-based positive psychology and mindful diaphragmatic breathing on anxiety and testtaking success in male college students. Method: A randomized controlled trial (RCT) was conducted across the undergraduate male students at a university in Montana. Participants (aged 18–32 years) were randomly assigned to two intervention groups (mindfulness and positive psychology) and a control (delayed intervention) group. The study included a group of 34 male participants with 10 in the mindfulness group, 12 in the positive psychology group, and 12 in the waiting group. Both intervention programs consisted of five 120-minute group sessions delivered over 10 weeks. All three groups were required to complete an assessment prior to the interventions and a second assessment after the interventions (mindfulness and positive psychology) or the waiting time (control group) were completed. The control group also received five 120-minute interventions after all measurements were taken. The constructs of self-care, test anxiety, and anxiety symptomatology were measured. Results: There were no significant baseline differences between the three groups on the demographic and dependent variables. The results showed no significant differences between the two intervention groups’ and the control group’s self-care pre and post scores. Results showed a significant difference between the treatment groups’ and control group’s scores on pretest and posttest in test anxiety. The results showed a significant difference between the two intervention groups’ and control group’s scores on pretest and posttest in total anxiety. Anxiety levels were noted to be different for ethnic groups. An explanation for observed differences in race is discussed. Conclusion: The study does not provide evidence that mindfulness and positive psychology interventions can reduce test anxietysignificantly. The results show a significant difference between the two intervention groups’ and control group’s scores on pretest and posttest in total anxiety. Importantly, descriptive analysis has shown a positive impact on test anxiety and total anxiety in participants of varied ethnic groups.
... One review concluded that tapping on acupressure points during imaginal exposure "quickly and permanently reduces maladaptive fear responses to traumatic memories and related cues" ( [28] p. 385). Additionally, empirical support has been found for EFT treatment and associated improvements in a range of physiological indicators of health such as heart rate variability (HRV), blood pressure, and cortisol levels [29][30][31][32] and regulation of inflammation and immunity genes [33,34]. ...
... A randomized controlled trial of veterans with PTSD found that after 10 sessions of EFT, the expression of stress-related genes had changed significantly (Church, Yount, Rachman, Fox, & Nelms, 2016). A pilot study using a whole-genome array found 72 genes differentially expressed after a one-hour EFT session (Maharaj, 2016). Broadly characterized, the genes identified in these two studies regulated inflammation and were implicated in heightened immunity. ...
... Hormonal shifts have been identified, including reductions in cortisol production that were statistically greater than cortisol reductions following a supportive counselling session [37]. Changes in blood flow patterns within the brain have been identified in pre-and post-treatment fMRI readings [38]. Studies examining the epigenetic effects of EFT treatment have found regulation of a range of genes related to health and mental health [37,39,40]. ...
Article
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Clinical EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) is an evidence-based method that combines acupressure with elements drawn from cognitive and exposure therapies. The approach has been validated in more than 100 clinical trials. Its efficacy for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has been investigated in a variety of demographic groups including war veterans, victims of sexual violence, the spouses of PTSD sufferers, motor accident survivors, prisoners, hospital patients, adolescents, and survivors of natural and human-caused disasters. Meta-analyses of EFT for anxiety, depression, and PTSD indicate treatment effects that exceed those of both psychopharmacology and conventional psychotherapy. Studies of EFT in the treatment of PTSD show that (a) time frames for successful treatment generally range from four to 10 sessions; (b) group therapy sessions are effective; (c) comorbid conditions such as anxiety and depression improve simultaneously; (d) the risk of adverse events is low; (e) treatment produces physiological as well as psychological improvements; (f) patient gains persist over time; (g) the approach is cost-effective; (h) biomarkers such as stress hormones and genes are regulated; and (i) the method can be adapted to online and telemedicine applications. This paper recommends guidelines for the use of EFT in treating PTSD derived from the literature and a detailed practitioner survey. It has been reviewed by the major institutions providing training or supporting research in the method. The guidelines recommend a stepped-care model, with five treatment sessions for subclinical PTSD, 10 sessions for PTSD, and escalation to intensive psychotherapy or psychopharmacology or both for nonresponsive patients and those with developmental trauma. Group therapy, social support, apps, and online and telemedicine methods also contribute to a successful treatment plan.
... In a 10-year research program conducted at Harvard Medical School, brain imaging experiments showed that the needling or electronic stimulation of specified acupoints consistently produced prominent decreases of activation in the amygdala, hippocampus, and other brain areas associated with fear and pain (Fang et al., 2009;Hui et al., 2005;Napadow et al., 2007). Clinically favorable shifts after acupoint tapping sessions have also been reported for a number of biomarkers, including stress hormones (Church et al., 2012), gene expression (Church et al., 2016b;Feinstein and Church, 2010;Maharaj, 2016), electroencephalogram activity (Lambrou et al., 2003;Swingle et al., 2004), and fMRI-detected brain activation patterns (Gaesser and Karan, 2017). For instance, in an Australian study, 15 obese adult patients selfadministered an EFT protocol at regular intervals over a 4-week period (Stapleton, 2017). ...
Article
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Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFTs) combine elements of cognitive restructuring and exposure techniques with acupoint stimulation. Meta-analyses indicate large effect sizes for posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety; however, treatment effects may be due to components EFT shares with other therapies. This analysis reviewed whether EFTs acupressure component was an active ingredient. Six studies of adults with diagnosed or self-identified psychological or physical symptoms were compared (n = 403), and three (n = 102) were identified. Pretest vs. posttest EFT treatment showed a large effect size, Cohen's d = 1.28 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.56 to 2.00) and Hedges' g = 1.25 (95% CI, 0.54 to 1.96). Acupressure groups demonstrated moderately stronger outcomes than controls, with weighted posttreatment effect sizes of d = -0.47 (95% CI, -0.94 to 0.0) and g = -0.45 (95% CI, -0.91 to 0.0). Meta-analysis indicated that the acupressure component was an active ingredient and outcomes were not due solely to placebo, nonspecific effects of any therapy, or nonacupressure components.
... 12 Dismantling studies show that the somatic element of EFT, which includes fingertip percussion of 12 acupressure points, confers a treatment effect beyond that which can be explained by EFTs cognitive and exposure elements. [13][14][15] Studies of the physiological mechanisms of action of EFT find that it reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol 16 ; regulates inflammation and immunity genes 17 ; alters the expression of a variety of genes implicated in cell repair, the immune response, tumor suppression, neural plasticity, and neurological signaling, 18 and regulates the autonomic nervous system as measured by EEG. 19,20 EFTs affect-regulation capability has also been assessed as a treatment for food cravings and the power of food in the external environment. ...
Article
Background/objective: Traditional methods of delivering therapeutic interventions have increasingly been supplemented by online courses. The current study investigated the effects of Clinical EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) in 76 participants enrolled in a six-week online course called Naturally Thin You. Weight, restraint, the power of food in the external environment, happiness, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms were assessed before and after the course and at one-year follow-up. Method: Participants received six live group teleclasses, access to online course materials and a private social media group, and a year of monthly support teleclasses. No particular diet was recommended; the course focused instead on controlling emotional eating, and using EFT to treat the emotional triggers associated with food. Clinical EFTs Borrowing Benefits protocol, in which the group facilitator works with a single participant while others simultaneously self-apply EFT, was used during the teleclasses. Results: Repeated measures ANOVA compared scores pre- to 12-month follow-up, and significant improvements were found for body weight (P < .001), depression symptoms (P = 0.010), restraint (P = 0.025), and the subjective power of food in the external environment (P = 0.018). Weight decreased an average of 1lb/week during the course, and 2lb/month between pretest and one-year follow-up. On follow-up, no change was observed in PTSD symptoms measured by a brief civilian trauma checklist, or anxiety, and increases in happiness were non-significant. The results indicate Clinical EFTs utility to address the influence of food in the external environment and assist weight loss, and to promote beneficial long-term change when delivered in an online format.
... CHURCH AND FEINSTEIN A subsequent study investigated whole-genome expression in saliva samples from four nonclinical participants who received first a placebo session and then a 1-hour EFT session. 41 The researchers identified differential expression in 72 genes following the EFT session. The functions of the genes affected by the EFT session revealed greater specificity than earlier studies. ...
Article
Background: The U.S. military has seen dramatic increases in traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) among military personnel due to the nature of modern-day conflicts. Conventional TBI treatment for secondary brain injuries has suboptimal success rates, and patients, families, and healthcare professionals are increasingly turning to alternative medicine treatments. Objective: Effective treatments for the secondary injury cascades that occur after an initial brain trauma are unclear at this time. The goal of successful treatment options for secondary TBI injuries is to reduce oxidative stress, excitotoxicity, and inflammation while supporting mitochondrial functions and repair of membranes, synapses, and axons. Intervention: A new paradigm of medical care, known as functional medicine, is increasing in popularity and acceptance. Functional medicine combines conventional treatment methods with complementary, genetic, holistic, and nutritional therapies. The approach is to assess the patient as a whole person, taking into account the interconnectedness of the body and its unique reaction to disease, injury, and illness while working to restore balance and optimal health. Functional medicine treatment recommendations often include the use of acupuncture, Ayurveda, chiropractic manipulation, detoxification programs, herbal and homeopathic supplements, specialized diets, massage, meditation and mindfulness practices, neurobiofeedback, nutritional supplements, t'ai chi, and yoga. At present, some of these alternative treatments appear to be beneficial, but more research is needed to validate reported outcomes. Conclusions: Few clinical studies validate the effectiveness of alternative therapies for TBIs. However, further clinical trials and empirical studies warrant further investigation based on some reported positive results from research studies, case histories, anecdotal evidence, and widespread popularity of some approaches. To date, only nutritional therapies and hyperbaric oxygen therapy have shown the most promise and potential for improved outcomes for the treatment of secondary TBI injuries.
... A subsequent study investigated whole-genome expression in saliva samples from four nonclinical participants who received first a placebo session and then a 1-hour EFT session. 41 The researchers identified differential expression in 72 genes following the EFT session. The functions of the genes affected by the EFT session revealed greater specificity than earlier studies. ...
Article
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Background: The manual stimulation of acupuncture points has been combined with components of cognitive and exposure therapies into a clinical and self-help approach known as Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT). More than 40 clinical trials and four meta-analytic reviews of EFT treatments have demonstrated large effect sizes with a range of conditions, including pain, PTSD (in both civilian and military veteran populations), phobias, anxiety, and depression. Objective: This review describes the approach, with a focus on PTSD in veterans and service members, provides an overview of how EFT is most commonly applied, and outlines obstacles and cautions related to its implementation. Methods: Peer-reviewed clinical trials and meta-analyses of EFT in the treatment of PTSD are assessed to identify the characteristics of the approach that render it suitable for the treatment of PTSD. Results: The literature demonstrates that remediation of PTSD and comorbid conditions is typically accomplished within brief time frames, ranging from one session for phobias to between four and ten sessions for PTSD. Clinical EFT has been shown to regulate stress hormones and limbic function and to improve various neurologic markers of general health. The epigenetic effects of EFT include upregulation of immunity genes and downregulation of inflammation genes. Six dismantling studies have indicated that the acupressure component of EFT is an active ingredient and not placebo. Conclusions: Seven empirically supported strengths of the approach were identified that make it especially suitable for use with veterans and active military: (1) the depth and breadth of treatment effects; (2) the relatively brief timeframes required for successful treatment; (3) the low risk of adverse events; (4) the minimal training time required for the approach to be applied effectively; (5) the simultaneous reduction of physical and psychologic symptoms; (6) the utility and cost-effectiveness of clinical EFT in a large group format; and (7) the method's adaptability to online and telemedicine applications.
... EFT is part of a broader genre of therapeutic approaches that has been termed Energy Psychology (Gallo, 1999), which has been shown, in a systematic review of 42 studies, to have wide application (Boath, Stewart, & Carryer, 2012), perhaps through the capacity of these methods to modify the biochemistry of stress (Church, Yount, & Brooks, 2012) and gene expression (Church, Yount, Rachlin, et al., 2016;Maharaj, 2016). Reports on the outcomes of Energy Psychology methods (e.g., Feinstein, 2012) have been both criticized and defended; see, for example, critical accounts by Gaudiano, Brown, and Miller (2012) and Bakker (2013) and rebuttals of these by Sise, Leskowitz, Stein, and Tranguch (2014) and Feinstein (2014). ...
Article
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Background: Among a group of therapies collectively known as energy psychology (EP), emotional freedom techniques (EFT) is the most widely practiced. Clinical EFT is an evidence-based practice combining elements of cognitive and exposure therapies with the manual stimulation of acupuncture points (acupoints). Lacking is a recent quantitative meta-analysis that enhances understanding of the variability and clinical significance of outcomes after clinical EFT treatment in reducing depression. Methods: All studies (2005-2015) evaluating EFT for sufferers of depression were identified by electronic search; these included both outcome studies and randomized controlled trials (RCTs). Our focus was depressive symptoms as measured by a variety of psychometric questionnaires and scales. We used meta-analysis to calculate effect sizes at three time points including posttest, follow-ups less than 90 days, and follow-ups more than 90 days. Results: In total, 20 studies were qualified for inclusion, 12 RCTs and 8 outcome studies. The number of participants treated with EFT included N = 461 in outcome studies and N = 398 in RCTs. Clinical EFT showed a large effect size in the treatment of depression in RCTs. At posttest, Cohen׳s d for RCTs was 1.85 and for outcome studies was 0.70. Effect sizes for follow-ups less than 90 days were 1.21, and for ≥ 90 days were 1.11. EFT were more efficacious than diaphragmatic breathing (DB) and supportive interview (SI) in posttest measurements (P = .06 versus DB, P < .001 versus SI), and sleep hygiene education (SHE) at follow-up (P = .036). No significant treatment effect difference between EFT and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) was found. EFT were superior to treatment as usual (TAU), and efficacious in treatment time frames ranging from 1 to 10 sessions. The mean of symptom reductions across all studies was -41%. Conclusions: The results show that Clinical EFT were highly effective in reducing depressive symptoms in a variety of populations and settings. EFT were equal or superior to TAU and other active treatment controls. The posttest effect size for EFT (d = 1.31) was larger than that measured in meta-analyses of antidepressant drug trials and psychotherapy studies. EFT produced large treatment effects whether delivered in group or individual format, and participants maintained their gains over time. This meta-analysis extends the existing literature through facilitation of a better understanding of the variability and clinical significance of depression improvement subsequent to EFT treatment.
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SCIENTIFIC Clinical EFT (emotional freedom techniques) combines acupoint stimulation with elements of cognitive and exposure therapy. Numerous studies have demonstrated the efficacy of EFT for depression, anxiety, phobias, PTSD, and other psychological conditions. The current study assesses whether acupoint stimulation is an active ingredient or whether treatment effects are due to nonspecific factors. Thirty-seven participants with “frozen shoulder” consisting of limited range of motion (ROM) and pain were randomized into a wait list, or 1 of 2 treatment groups. ROM, pain, and the breadth and depth of psychological conditions such as anxiety and depression were assessed before and after a 30-min treatment session, and 30 days later. One treatment group received clinical EFT, while the other received an identical cognitive/exposure protocol but with diaphragmatic breathing (DB) substituted for acupoint stimulation. No significant improvement in any psychological symptom was found in the wait list. Participants in both the EFT and DB groups demonstrated significant posttest improvement in psychological symptoms and pain. Follow-up showed that both groups maintained their gains for pain, with EFT superior to DB, but only the EFT group maintained gains for psychological symptoms (p
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Energy Psychology (EP) protocols use elements of established therapies such as exposure and cognitive processing and combine them with the stimulation of acupuncture points. EP methods such as EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) and TFT (Thought Field Therapy) have been extensively tested in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and outcome studies assessing PTSD and co-morbid conditions have demonstrated the efficacy of EP in populations ranging from war veterans to disaster survivors to institutionalized orphans. Studies investigating the neurobiological mechanisms of action of EP suggest that it quickly and permanently mediates the brain's fear response to traumatic memories and environmental cues. This review examines the published trials of EP for PTSD and the physiological underpinnings of the method. It concludes by describing seven clinical implications for the professional community. These are: (1) the limited number of treatment sessions usually required to remediate PTSD; (2) the depth, breadth, and longevity of treatment effects; (3) the low risk of adverse events; (4) the limited commitment to training required for basic application of the method; (5) its efficacy when delivered in group format; (6) its simultaneous effect on a wide range of psychological and physiological symptoms, and (7) its suitability for non-traditional delivery methods such as online and telephone sessions.
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Psychoanalytic Energy Psychotherapy is the outcome of one psychoanalyst's encounter with Thought Field Therapy and other forms of 'energy psychology'. This approach explores the interface of psychodynamic, bodily, and energetic phenomena as they manifest in human distress - and describes methods of alleviating such distress.
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Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate whether self-administered Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) lead to reduced pain perception, increased acceptance and coping ability, and better health-related quality of life in individuals with fibromyalgia. Methods: Eighty-six women, diagnosed with fibromyalgia and on sick leave for at least 3 months, were randomly assigned to a treatment group or a wait-listed group. For those in the treatment group, an 8-week EFT treatment program was administered via the internet. Results: Upon completion of the program, statistically significant improvements were observed in the intervention group (n=26) in comparison with the wait-feted 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. In addition, pain catastrophizing measures, such as rumination, magnification, and helplessness, were significantly reduced, and activity level was significantly increased in the treatment group compared to the wait-listed group. However, no difference in pain willingness between the groups was observed. The number needed to treat (NNT) regarding recovering from anxiety was 3. NNT for depression was 4. Conclusion: 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.
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Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) has moved in the past two decades from a fringe therapy to widespread professional acceptance. This paper defines Clinical EFT, the method validated in many research studies, and shows it to be an “evidence-based” practice. It describes standards by which therapies may be evaluated, such as those of the American Psychological Association (APA) Division 12 Task Force, and reviews the studies showing that Clinical EFT meets these criteria. Several research domains are discussed, summarizing studies of: 1) psychological conditions such as anxiety, depression, phobias, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD); 2) physiological problems such as pain and autoimmune conditions; 3) professional and sports performance; and 4) the physiological mechanisms of action of Clinical EFT. The paper lists the conclusions that may be drawn from this body of evidence, which includes 23 randomized controlled trials and 17 within-subjects studies. The three essential ingredients of Clinical EFT are described: exposure, cognitive shift, and acupressure. The latter is shown to be an essential ingredient in EFT’s efficacy, and not merely a placebo. New evidence from emerging fields such as epigenetics, neural plasticity, psychoneuroimmunology, and evolutionary biology confirms the central link between emotion and physiology, and points to somatic stimulation as the element common to emerging psychotherapeutic methods. The paper outlines the next steps in EFT research, such as smartphone-based data gathering, large-scale group therapy, and the use of biomarkers. It concludes that Clinical EFT is a stable and mature method with an extensive evidence base. These characteristics have led to growing acceptance in primary care settings as a safe, rapid, reliable, and effective treatment for both psychological and medical diagnoses.
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Acupressure is a Chinese medical technique that involves application of pressure to acupuncture points on the body. This study aimed to examine whether a four-week self-administered acupressure course could reduce depressive mood. Sixteen male and nine female college students (33.2 ± 10.0 years) who majored in acupuncture and moxibustion medicine were randomly assigned to either a self-administered acupressure group or a control group. The participants in the self-administered acupressure group were instructed to conduct five acupressure sessions three times a day (morning, midday, and night). Each session included applying pressure on three points on the left and right side of the neck for five seconds. The controls were asked to continue their daily routine. Depressive mood levels were measured at baseline, two weeks later, and following intervention. Depressive mood levels were similar between both groups at baseline. It decreased two weeks later and remained constant until the end of the intervention. Depressive mood levels were significantly lower in the self-administered acupressure group than in the control group at two weeks from baseline and after intervention. These results provide initial evidence that self-admin- istered acupressure may improve depressive mood.
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An individual's genetic background affects their emotional behavior and response to stress. Although studies have been conducted to identify genetic predictors for emotional behavior or stress response, it remains unknown how prior stress history alters the interaction between an individual's genome and their emotional behavior. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to identify chromosomal regions that affect emotional behavior and are sensitive to stress exposure. We utilized the BXD behavioral genetics mouse model to identify chromosomal regions that predict fear learning and emotional behavior following exposure to a control or chronic stress environment. 62 BXD recombinant inbred strains and C57BL/6 and DBA/2 parental strains underwent behavioral testing including a classical fear conditioning paradigm and the elevated plus maze. Distinct quantitative trait loci (QTLs) were identified for emotional learning, anxiety and locomotion in control and chronic stress populations. Candidate genes, including those with already known functions in learning and stress were found to reside within the identified QTLs. Our data suggest that chronic stress history reveals novel genetic predictors of emotional behavior.
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This study compared the effectiveness of process-experiential psychotherapy with one of its components, client-centered psychotherapy, in the treatment of (34) adults suffering from major depression. The client-centered treatment emphasized the establishment and maintenance of the Rogerian relationship conditions and empathic responding. The experiential treatment consisted of the client-centered conditions, plus the use of specific process-directive gestalt and experiential interventions at client markers indicating particular cognitive-affective problems. Treatments showed no difference in reducing depressive symptomatology at termination and six month follow-up. The experiential treatment, however, had superior effects at mid-treatment on depression and at termination on the total level of symptoms, self-esteem, and reduction of interpersonal problems. The addition, to the relational conditions, of specific active interventions at appropriate points in the treatment of depression appeared to hasten and enhance improvement.
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