Abstract: 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.
Abstract: 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.
Abstract: Objective: Chronic pain in patients with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a frequent symptom and a complicating factor in the treatment of patients. The study’s purpose is to systematically review the scientific literature on patients' characteristics and the effects of specific interventions implemented for the treatment of chronic pain in traumatized refugees. Method: A systematic search of the current literature was conducted in PubMed and Web of Science, from 1996 to 2017. A structured screening process in accordance with the PRISMA- statement was used with eligibility criteria based on the modified PICOS-criteria including refugees with chronic pain and diagnosed PTSD to investigate sample size, gender, country of origin, residential status, pain locations, predictors and correlations and type and efficacy of specific interventions. Results: The initial search resulted in a total of 2169 references, leading to 15 included studies. Most frequently, patients reported headaches, backaches, and pain in the arms and legs. Pain symptoms were associated with higher age, female gender, general living difficulties and PTSD symptoms. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and, NarrativeExposure Therapy (NET) with biofeedback, manualized traumapsychotherapy, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Emotional Freedom Techniques were evaluated as specific interventions, resulting in positive outcomes for both pain severity and PTSD symptoms. Conclusions: To date, the existing literature shows scarce evidence evaluating specific interventions that address the needs of traumatized refugees with chronic pain. However, the current reported evidence allows for a preliminary evaluation of the characterizations of patient dimensions as well as promising results found in intervention studies.
Abstract: 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.
Purpose: To assess the feasibility of measuring changes in gene expression associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) treatment using emotional freedom techniques (EFT).
Participants were randomized into an EFT group receiving EFT and treatment as usual (TAU) throughout a 10-week intervention period and a group receiving only TAU during the intervention period and then receiving EFT.
Setting: A community clinic and a research institute in California.
Sixteen veterans with clinical levels of PTSD symptoms.
Intervention: Ten hour-long sessions of EFT.
Messenger RNA levels for a focused panel of 93 genes related to PTSD. The Symptom Assessment 45 questionnaire, Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, Insomnia Severity Scale, SF-12v2 for physical impairments, and Rivermead Postconcussion Symptoms Questionnaire.
Analysis: Pre-, posttreatment, and follow-up mean scores on questionnaires were assessed using repeated measures 1-way analysis of variance. A Student t test and post hoc analyses were performed on gene expression data.
Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms declined significantly in the EFT group (−53%, P
< .0001). Participants maintained their gains on follow-up. Significant differential expression of 6 genes was found (P
< .05) when comparing the expression levels before and after the intervention period in participants receiving EFT.
Conclusion: Study results identify candidate gene expression correlates of successful PTSD treatment, providing guidelines for the design of further studies aimed at exploring the epigenetic effects of EFT.
Abstract: Background: Over the past two decades, growing numbers of clinicians have been utilizing Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression. Randomized controlled trials (RTCs) have shown promising outcomes for all three conditions. Objective: To assess the efficacy of EFT in treating PTSD by conducting a meta-analysis of existing RCT s. Methods: A systematic review of databases was undertaken to identify RCTs invesigating EFT in the treatment of PTSD. The RCTs were evaluated for quality using evidence-based standards provided by the American Psychological Association Division 12 Task Force on Empirically Validated Therapies. Those meeting the criteria were assessed using a meta-analysis that synthesized the data to determine effect sizes. While uncontrolled outcome studies were excluded, they were examined for clinical implications of treatment that can extend knowledge of this condition. Results: Seven randomized controlled trials were found to meet the criteria, and were included in the meta-analysis. A large effect was found for EFT treatment of PTSD, with a weighted Cohen’s d = 2.96 (95% CI 1.96-3.97; p < 0.001). No treatment effect difference was found in studies comparing EFT to other evidence-based therapies such as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR; 1 study) and cognitive behavior therapy (CBT; 1 study).
Conclusion: The results show that EFT is efficacious and reliable as a treatment for PTSD in time frames ranging from four to ten sessions. EFT is safe and can be used as a self-help practice as well as a primary evidence-based treatment for PTSD.
Abstract: Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) combines elements of exposure and cognitive therapies with acupressure for the treatment of psychological distress. Randomized controlled trials retrieved by literature search were assessed for quality using the criteria developed by the APA’s Division 12 Task Force on Empirically Validated Treatments. As of December 2015, 14 studies (n=658) met inclusion criteria. Results were analyzed using an inverse variance weighted meta-analysis. The pre-post effect size for the EFT treatment group was 1.23 (95% CI: 0.82-1.64, p < 0.001), while the effect size for combined controls was 0.41 (0.17-0.67, p=0.001). EFT treatment demonstrated a significant decrease in anxiety scores, even when accounting for the effect size of control treatment. However, there was too little data available comparing EFT to standard of care treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy, and further research is needed to establish the relative efficacy of EFT to established protocols.
Abstract: Maladaptive fear memories attributed to Pavlovian associations are considered to be at the crux of neuropsychiatric disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder and phobia. The memory reconsolidation theory suggests that upon retrieval, memories become labile for a few hours, during which yielding a prediction error can lead to therapeutic change. This article proposes that Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), a therapeutic intervention combining psychotherapy with a somatic acupoint stimulation component may be utilising memory reconsolidation mechanisms to facilitate therapeutic change. The EFT protocol combines three crucial elements of therapeutic change, namely, retrieval of fear memories, incorporation of new emotional experiences and learnings into the memory creating a prediction error, and finally reinforcement of the new learning.
Abstract: Background: Among a group of therapies collectively known as Energy Psychology (EP), Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) is the most widely practiced. EFT combines elements of cognitive and exposure therapies with the stimulation of acupuncture points (acupoints). Lacking is a recent quantitative meta-analysis that enhances understanding of the variability and clinical significance of depression reduction outcomes after EFT. Methods: All studies (2005 – 2015), both outcome and RCT, evaluating the EFT for sufferers of depression were identified by electronic search. Our primary outcome was depression measured by a variety of psychometric questionnaire and scales. Metaanalysis was undertaken synthesizing the data from all trials, distinguishing within and between effect sizes. Results: 21 studies qualified for inclusion into the meta-analysis (Outcome studies n = 446; RCT n = 653 (306 EFT, 347 Control). As hypothesized, EFT training showed a moderate effect size in the treatment of depression. Cohen’s d across all studies was 0.37. Effect sizes at posttest, less than 90 days, 90 days, and greater than 90 days were 0.63, 0.17, and 0.43 respectively. EFT was more efficacious than DB and SI in the posttest measurements (p = 0.06 vs DB; p <0.0001 vs SI), and SHE at the 9th week assessment (p = 0.036).
Conclusion: The results show that EFT is effective in reducing depression in a variety of populations and settings. This meta-analysis extends the existing literature through acilitation of a better understanding of the variability and clinical significance of depression improvement subsequent to EFT treatment.
Abstract: The stimulation of acupuncture points (acupoints) by tapping on them—used in con-junction with more conventional psychological interventions—has been shown to be ef-fective in the treatment of a spectrum of psychological disorders (Benor, 2014). Known as “energy psychology” (Gallo, 1998), a variety of protocols have been developed, with Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT; Craig, 2010) and Thought Field Therapy (TFT; Callahan & Callahan, 1996) being the best known and most widely practiced. Outcome investigations suggest that including the somatic elements of the approach can resolve a range of clinical symptoms with greater speed, power, and precision than psychological interventions alone (see reviews in Church, 2013; Church, Feinstein, Palmer-Hoffman, Stein, & Tranguch, 2014; Feinstein, 2012).
Abstract: Background and objectives: Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) is a type of therapy involving the stimulation of acupuncture points while using a spoken affirmation to target a psychological issue. While some studies cite data indicating EFT is highly efficacious, findings in other studies are unconvincing. The aim of this meta-analysis was to examine the effect of EFT, particular acupoint stimulation, in the treatment of psychological distress. Method: A systematic review of the literature identified 18 randomised control trials published in peer reviewed journals involving a total of 921 participants. Results: A moderate effect size (Hedge's g ¼ -0.66: 95% CI: -0.99 to -0.33) and significantly high heterogeneity (I2 ¼ 80.78) across studies was found using a random effects model indicating that EFT, even after removing outliers (decreases in I2 ¼ 72.32 and Hedge's g ¼ -0.51:95% CI:-0.78 to -0.23), appears to produce an effect. The analysis involved 12 studies comparing EFT with waitlist controls, 5 with adjuncts and only 1 comparison with an alternate treatment. Meta-regression and subgroup analyses were conducted to examine the effect of moderators on effect size of symptom change following EFT. Conclusions: Due to methodological shortcomings, it was not possible to determine if the effect is due to acupoint stimulation or simply due to treatment elements common with other therapies.
Abstract: Energy Psychology (EP) includes a spectrum of practices in which people tap on their bodies while focusing their minds on problems they want to change. EP therapies often are very rapidly effective. This article examines varieties of explanations for how EP works, including: Cognitive changes, psychological conditioning, expectation effects, distraction techniques, tapping on acupuncture points, shifts in other biological energies, wholistic healing, alternating stimulation of right and left sides of the body (presumably producing alternating stimulation of left and right brain hemispheres) and nerve conduction speeds.
Abstract: Clear and transparent standards are required to establish whether a therapeutic method is “evidence based.” Even when research demonstrates a method to be efficacious, it may not become available to patients who could benefit from it, a phenomenon known as the “translational gap.” Only 30% of therapies cross the gap, and the lag between empirical validation and clinical implementation averages 17 years. To address these problems, Division 12 of the American Psychological Association published a set of standards for “empirically supported treatments” in the mid-1990s that allows the assessment of clinical modalities. This article reviews these criteria, identifies their strengths, and discusses their impact on the translational gap, using the development of a clinical innovation called Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) as a case study. Twelve specific recommendations for updates of the Division 12 criteria are made based on lessons garnered from the adoption of EFT within the clinical community. These recommendations would shorten the cycle from the research setting to clinical practice, increase transparency, incorporate recent scientific advances, and enhance the capacity for succinct comparisons among treatments.
Abstract: The personal, social, and economic burden of human suffering related to PTSD are major issues facing society. Conventional pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy reduce the severity of some PTSD symptoms; however, their effectiveness is limited, and many patients discontinue these pharmacological and psychotherapeutic treatments before achieving full remission. The limited effectiveness of conventional approaches and unmet treatment needs of patients provide compelling arguments for effective conventional and complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) interventions aimed at preventing PTSD and treating chronic PTSD.
Abstract: This editorial describes a pattern of six basic interlocking and antiscientific strategies of discourse used by writers and editors who are deeply biased against energy psychology despite evidence in favor of its efficacy. These strategies attempt to obscure their positions under a patina of objective evaluation. The level of distortion has reached new heights in the recent publication of two highly biased and inflammatory articles (Gaudiano, Brown, & Miller, 2012; Bakker, 2013) followed by the refusal of the editors of each journal to publish responses written by well-qualified experts in the field. In this way, antagonistic assessments of the energy psychology field are presented as objective reviews, while scientific discourse is stifled. The goal of this editorial is to cast light on this process of distortion, so that clinicians, consumers and policy-makers can better evaluate the evidence for the efficacy ofenergy psychology.
Abstract: Gaudiano, Brown, and Miller (2012) report that of 149 licensed psychotherapists who responded to an Internet-based survey, 42.3% said that they frequently use or are inclined to use Energy Meridian Techniques (EMTs). Gaudiano et al. portray EMTs as lacking an empirical basis and displaying multiple characteristics of pseudoscience. They conclude that EMT therapists may be characterized as relying on intuition in decision making, holding erroneous health beliefs, and showing lower scores on a test of critical thinking. This reply by clinicians who use EMTs demonstrates that, contrary to the claims of Gaudiano et al., there is a substantial body of research supporting the efficacy of EMTs, that theories underlying EMTs have an empirical basis, and that an affinity toward EMTs is not incompatible with critical thinking abilities.
Abstract: 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: (a) psychological conditions such as anxiety, depression, phobias and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD); (b) physiological problems such as pain and autoimmune conditions; (c) professional and sports performance, and (d) 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 EFTs 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.
Abstract: Clinical EFT (Emotion Freedom Techniques) is an evidence-based practice that combines elements of exposure and cognitive therapies with the manual stimulation of acupuncture points. The research literature indicates it to be efficacious for a number of psychological conditions in a variety of treatment time frames. Randomized controlled trials demonstrate that EFT effectively treats phobias and certain anxiety disorders in one session. A single session also results in a significant drop in cortisol and normalization of the EEG frequencies associated with stress. EFT has the client focus on specific traumatic memories; the emotional intensity of these memories usually diminishes rapidly during treatment. This makes EFT an efficient singlesession treatment for emotional distress associated with episodic memories. For conditions such as complex co-morbid PTSD, combination treatments and longer courses are indicated, though even treatment-resistant clients often experience some relief after a single session. Psychological symptoms of PSTD, depression, and anxiety typically reduce simultaneously, along with physical symptoms such as pain and insomnia. Clinical EFT also offers a suite of techniques developed to address treatment barriers such as dissociation and overwhelming emotion. This review and case series examines the conditions for which a brief course of EFT treatment is appropriate, when it is not indicated, when it can be taught to the client as a form of self-care, and when professional administration is required. It also cautions against generalizing EFTs rapid efficacy for certain conditions; this may contribute to unreasonable expectations in therapist or client. EFT is recommended as a front line primary care intervention to improve mental health and physical symptoms.
Abstract: Energy Psychology (EP) protocols use elements of established therapies such as exposure and cognitive processing, and combines these 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 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, and 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.
Abstract: A psychotherapeutic approach that combines cognitive techniques with the stimulation of acupuncture points by tapping on them has been gaining increased attention among clinicians as well as among laypersons using it on a self-help basis. It is called energy psychology. Thirty-six peer-reviewed studies published or in press as of April 2012— including 18 randomized controlled trials—have found the method to be surprisingly rapid and effective for a range of disorders. More surprising are reports of “surrogate tapping.” In surrogate tapping, the practitioner taps on him or herself and applies other elements of energy psychology protocols as if he or she were the person whose problem is being addressed, all the while holding the intention of helping that person. Essentially long distance healing within an energy psychology framework, successful reports of surrogate tapping have been appearing with some frequency within the energy psychology practitioner community. A search of the literature and pertinent websites, combined with a call for cases involving surrogate tapping, produced the 100 anecdotal accounts described here where an apparent effect was observed. Studies of other longdistance phenomena, such as telepathy and distant healing, are reviewed to put these reports into context. The paradigm challenges raised by reports of positive outcomes following surrogate treatments are considered, and conclusions that can and cannot be legitimately reached based on the current data are explored.
Abstract: Recently there has been increasing interest in investigating energy psychology theoretically and as clinical intervention. This article provides an overview of energy psychology, including its history, theory, active ingredients, and empirical research on the effects in general and for the treatment of trauma and PTSD. Personal and case vignettes are also provided to illustrate the treatment process. The therapeutic effects are also discussed with respect to neuroscience, cognitive restructuring, reciprocal inhibition, genetics, distraction, placebo effect, memory reconsolidation, energetic and spiritual considerations.
Abstract: Objectives: The purpose of this study is to investigate the research regarding Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) and to understand the trends in meridian-based psychotherapy. Methods: Every article relevant to EFT was obtained from Pubmed and Korean journal databases. Keywords used for searching included “EFT” and “Emotional freedom technique.” Results: 1) 5 reviews, 11 randomized controlled trials, 3 controlled trials, 1 single group comparative study and 4 case studies were identified. 2) Anxiety disorders were most frequently studied. Other studies included insomnia, depression and pain symptoms. EFT interventions used many different protocols and assessed with various tools. 3) Review articles indicated that meridian-based psychotherapies, such as EFT, are based on the meridian theory of oriental medicine. They evaluate EFT positively for its effectiveness on psychiatric conditions. Conclusions: EFT is increasingly studied and used in clinical practice in various fields. Objective evaluation tools and standardized intervention protocols are needed for the development of a new guideline for EFT.
Abstract: Energy psychology is a clinical and self-help modality that combines verbal and physical procedures for effecting therapeutic change. While utilizing established clinical methods such as exposure and cognitive restructuring, the approach also incorporates concepts and techniques from non- Western healing systems. Its most frequently utilized protocols combine the stimulation of acupuncture points (by tapping on, holding, or massaging them) with the mental activation of a targeted psychological issue. Energy psychology has been controversial, in part due to its reliance on explanatory mechanisms that are outside of conventional clinical frameworks and in part because of claims by its early proponents—without adequate research support—of extraordinary speed and power in attaining positive clinical outcomes. This paper revisits some of the field’s early claims, as well as current practices, and assesses them in the context of existing evidence. A literature search identified 50 peer-reviewed papers that report or investigate clinical outcomes following the tapping of acupuncture points to address psychological issues. The 17 randomized controlled trials in this sample were critically evaluated for design quality, leading to the conclusion that they consistently demonstrated strong effect sizes and other positive statistical results that far exceed chance after relatively few treatment sessions. Criteria for evidence-based treatments proposed by Division 12 of the American Psychological Association were also applied and found to be met for a number of conditions, including PTSD. Neurological mechanisms that may be involved in these surprisingly strong findings are also considered.
Abstract: An obstacle to professional acceptance of the growing body of research supporting the efficacy of energy psychology is the vague use of the term “energy” in the field’s name and explanatory models. This paper explores whether the concept of “energy” is useful in accounting for the observed clinical outcomes that follow “energy psychology” treatments. Several anomalies within energy psychology that confound conventional clinical models are considered. The most vexing of these is that a growing number of anecdotal accounts suggest that one person can self-apply an energy psychology protocol, with the intention of helping another person who is in a distant location, leading to the other person reporting unanticipated benefits more frequently than chance would seem to explain. The possible roles of “energy” and macrosystem quantum effects in these anomalies are examined. A working model is proposed that attempts to explain the actions of energy psychology treatments in a manner that is consistent with established scientific knowledge while accounting for the anomalies. Three premises about the role of energy are delineated in this working model, and potential strengths of the model for practitioners and researchers are discussed.
Abstract: As the impact of emotional factors on physical health is being increasingly recognized, energy medicine practitioners (e.g., acupuncture, acupressure, applied kinesiology, Barbara Brennan energy healing, Eden Energy Medicine, Healing Touch, medical qi gong, Reiki, Shiatsu, Therapeutic Touch, Touch for Health, etc.) are addressing this dimension of healing in a variety of ways. One that appears particularly promising involves the stimulation of acupuncture points and other energy centers, a strategy derived from the discipline of energy psychology. Having tools that directly impact the emotional aspects of physical health and healing enhances a practitioner’s effectiveness and provides an integrated approach to energy healing. This development has, however, raised important practical, ethical, and legal concerns regarding the scope of practice for energy medicine practitioners who are not trained or licensed to provide mental health services. This article addresses these issues, offering ethical and clinical guidelines for responsibly integrating tools from energy psychology into an energy medicine practice. The discussion focuses on when introducing these protocols may be appropriate, considerations for formulating such interventions, and guidelines on when a referral to a licensed mental health professional is required. Steps to ensure that these choices are made within an appropriate ethical framework are also delineated. The article concludes with a case history illustrating the effective integration of energy medicine and energy psychology protocols for a client with a serious illness, including a description of the techniques used and the clinical and ethical choices implemented by the practitioner.
Abstract: The objective was to learn about the characteristics of psychotherapists who use energy meridian techniques (EMTs). Methods: We conducted an Internet-based survey of the practices and attitudes of licensed psychotherapists. Results: Of 149 survey respondents (21.4% social workers), 42.3% reported that they frequently use or are inclined to use EMTs. EMT therapists reported higher use of a number of techniques from different theoretical orientations, reliance on intuition in decision making, positive attitudes toward complementary and alternative treatments, erroneous health beliefs, and importance placed on the intuitive appeal of evidence-based treatments. EMT therapists also had lower scores on a test of critical thinking. Conclusions: Results suggest that a number of characteristics differentiate therapists who are inclined to use EMTs, which can aid in future educational efforts.
Abstract: Animal and human studies have shown that the emotional aspects of fear memories mediated in the lateral nucleus of the amygdala can be extinguished by application of low-frequency tetanic stimulation or by repetitive sensory stimulation, such as tapping the cheek. Sensory input creates a remarkable increase in the power of the lowfrequency portion of the electroencephalogram (EEG) spectrum. Glutamate receptors on synapses that mediate a fear memory in attention during exposure therapy are depotentiated by these powerful waves of neuronal firings, resulting in disruption of the memory network. In this study, the role of sensory input used in the principal exposure therapies is examined through analysis of the raw EEG data obtained in clinical and lab tests. Nearly all sensory inputs applied to the upper body result in wave power sufficiently large to quench fear–memory networks regardless of input location and type and whether the sensory input is applied unilaterally or bilaterally. No power advantage is found for application of sensory input at energy meridians or gamut points. The potential for new or extended applications of synaptic depotentiation in amygdalar memory networks is discussed.
Abstract: Obesity is a growing epidemic. Chronic stress produces endocrine and immune factors that are contributors to obesity's etiology. These biochemicals also can affect appetite and eating behaviors that can lead to binge-eating disorder. The inadequacies of standard care and the problem of patient noncompliance have inspired a search for alternative treatments. Proposals in the literature have called for combination therapies involving behavioral or new biological therapies. This manuscript suggests that mind-body interventions would be ideal for such combinations. Two mind-body modalities, energy psychology and mindfulness meditation, are reviewed for their potential in treating weight loss, stress, and behavior modification related to binge-eating disorder. Whereas mindfulness meditation and practices show more compelling evidence, energy psychology, in the infancy stages of elucidation, exhibits initially promising outcomes but requires further evidence-based trials
Abstract: Energy Psychology (EP) occupies a unique niche in the range of modalities used by psychologists and other mental health professionals. Like other techniques early in their potential arcs of transition from untested innovation to unremarkable standard practice, EP has committed defenders and implacable detractors. Unlike most well established therapies, EP originated outside of the Western psychological/medical tradition as an integration of Western psychotherapy and several forms of Eastern medicine. EP also has the unique status of having been banned by the APA Education Directorate as a topic for which CEU’s can be granted. The controversy surrounding EP and its promise as a healing technique have the makings of a case study of how professional and academic psychology responds to innovation. What follows is a brief introduction to EP through my clinical experience and a summary of recent literature.
Abstract: Combining brief psychological exposure with the manual stimulation of acupuncture points (acupoints) in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other emotional conditions is an intervention strategy that integrates established clinical principles with methods derived from healing traditions of Eastern cultures. Two randomized controlled trials and six outcome studies using standardized pre- and post-treatment measures with military veterans, disaster survivors, and other traumatized individuals corroborate anecdotal reports and systematic clinical observation in suggesting that (a) tapping on selected acupoints (b) during imaginal exposure (c) quickly and permanently reduces maladaptive fear responses to traumatic memories and related cues. The approach has been controversial. This is in part because the mechanisms by which stimulating acupoints can contribute to the treatment of serious or longstanding psychological disorders have not been established. Speculating on such mechanisms, the current paper suggests that adding acupoint stimulation to psychological exposure is unusually effective in its speed and power because deactivating signals are sent directly to the amygdala, resulting in reciprocal inhibition and the rapid attenuation of maladaptive fear. This formulation and the preliminary evidence supporting it could, if confirmed, lead to more powerful exposure protocols for treating PTSD.
Abstract: Controlled research into Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) and other meridian-based therapies is at its beginnings. We examined several issues facing EFT researchers, including: the number and type of dependent measures; expectancy effects; the need for follow-up assessment; a newly proposed procedure for keeping participants blind; the duration of the intervention; the value of treating the hypothesized Energy Meridian System and EFT's operations as separate constructs; and the possibility that EFT's efficacy is mediated by processes long known to be associated with psychotherapy. Such issues are considered in the context of three recent EFT studies: Waite and Holder (2003); Wells et al. (2003); and Baker and Siegel (2005). Some limitations of these studies are delineated and guidelines on EFT research are suggested.
Abstract: Human and animal studies suggest that acupuncture produces many beneficial effects through the central nervous system. However, the neural substrates of acupuncture actions are not completely clear to date. fMRI studies at Hegu (LI4) and Zusanl i (ST36) indicated that the limbic system may play an important role for acupuncture effects. To test if this finding applies to other major classical acupoints, fMRI was performed on 10 healthy adults during manual acupuncture at Taichong (LV3), Xingjia n (LV2), Neiting (ST44), and a sham point on the dorsum of the left foot. Although certain differences could be observed between real and sham points, the hemodynamic response (BOLD signal changes) and psychophysical response (sensory experience) to acupuncture were generally similar for all four points. Acupuncture produced extensive deactivation of the limbic‐paralimbic‐neocortical system. Clusters of deactivated regions were seen in the medial prefrontal cortex (frontal pole, pregenual cingulate), the temporal lobe (amygdala, hippocampus, and parahippocampus) and the posterior medial cortex (precuneus, posterior cingulate). The sensorimotor cortices (somatosensory cortices, supplementary motor cortex), thalamus and occasional paralimbic structures such as the insula and anterior middle cingulate cortex showed activation. Our results provide additional evidence in support of previous reports that acupuncture modulates the limbic‐paralimbic‐neocortical network. We hypothesize that acupuncture may mediate its antipain, antianxiety, and other therapeutic effects via this intrinsic neural circuit that plays a central role in the affective and cognitive dimensions of pain as well as in the regulation and integration of emotion, memory processing, autonomic, endocrine, immunological, and sensorimotor functions.
Abstract: In the nearly three decades since tapping on acupuncture points was introduced as a method psychotherapists could use in the treatment of anxiety disorders and other emotional concerns, more than 30 variations of the approach have emerged. Collectively referred to as energy psychology (EP), reports of unusual speed, range, and durability of clinical outcomes have been provocative. Enthusiasts believe EP to be a major breakthrough while skeptics believe the claims are improbable and certainly have not been substantiated with ad- equate data or explanatory models. Additional controversies exist among EP practitioners. This paper addresses the field’s credibility problems among mental health professionals as well as controversies within EP regarding (a) its most viable explanatory models, (b) its most effective protocols, (c) how the approach interfaces with other forms of clinical practice, (d) the conditions it can treat effectively, (e) what should be done when the method does not seem to work, and (f) how the professional community should respond to the large number of practitioners who do not have mental health credentials.
Abstract: Three forces have dominated psychology and psychological treatment at different times since the early 1900s. The first force was Freudian psychoanalysis and its offshoots that focus on unconscious psychodynamics and developmental fixations, with principal therapeutic techniques including free association, dream analysis, interpretation, and abreaction. Second came behaviorism, spearheaded by Pavlov, Watson, and Skinner, which emphasized environmental stimuli and conditioning—its techniques including respondent and operant condition- ing, exposure, desensitization, schedules of reinforcement, modeling, and more. The third force involved humanistic and transpersonal approaches that attend to values and choice, including client-centered therapy, gestalt therapy, phenomenology, and cognitive therapy, some of the principal leaders being Rogers, Maslow, Perls, Rollo May, Binswanger, and Ellis. Recently the new paradigm of energy psychology has emerged, which may be considered psychology’s fourth force. The earliest pioneers included Goodheart, Diamond, and Callahan. This theoretical and practice approach offers the field some unique findings, as it views psychological problems as body–mind interactions and bioenergy fields, providing treatments that directly and efficiently address these substrates. Some of energy psychology’s techniques include stimulating acupoints and chakras, specific body postures, affirmations, imagery, manual muscle testing, and an emphasis on intention. This review covers energy psychology’s historical development and experimental evidence base. Case illustrations and treatment protocols are discussed for the treatment of psychological trauma and physical pain, two of the most important and ubiquitous aspects common to rehabilitation conditions. Additionally, the research on energy psychology is highlighted, and the distinction between global treatments and causal energy diagnostic-treatment approaches to treatment is addressed.
Abstract: A growing body of literature indicates that imaginal exposure, paired with acupressure, reduces midbrain hyperarousal and counterconditions anxiety and traumatic memories. Recent research indicates that manual stimulation of acupuncture points produces opioids, serotonin, and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), and regulates cortisol. These neurochemical changes reduce pain, slow the heart rate, decrease anxiety, shut off the fight/flight/freeze response, regulate the autonomic nervous system, and create a sense of calm. This relaxation response reciprocally inhibits anxiety and creates a rapid desensitization to traumatic stimuli. This paper explores the neurochemistry of the types of acupressure counterconditioning used in energy psychology and provides explanations for the mechanisms of actions of these therapies, based upon currently accepted paradigms of brain function, behavioral psychology, and biochemistry.
Abstract: A review of the evidence on energy psychology (EP) was published in this journal. Although the author’s stated intention of reviewing the evidence is one we support, we note that important EP studies were omitted from the review that did not confirm claims being made by EP proponents. We also identify other problems with the review, such as the lack of specific inclusion and exclusion criteria, misportrayal of criticism of EP, incorrectly characterizing one of the studies as a randomized clinical trial, and lack of disclosure regarding an EP-related business. We note that in the APA, decisions on classification of therapies as empirically supported are most rightfully the function of Division 12-appointed committees of psychologists. It is not enough for any one individual or group of proponents of a particular approach to make such a determination.
Abstract: Energy psychology utilizes cognitive operations such as imaginal exposure to traumatic memories or visualization of optimal performance scenarios—combined with physical interventions derived from acupuncture, yoga, and related systems—for inducing psychological change. While a controversial approach, this combination purportedly brings about, with unusual speed and precision, therapeutic shifts in affective, cognitive, and behavioral patterns that underlie a range of psychological concerns. Energy psychology has been applied in the wake of natural and humanmade disasters in the Congo, Guatemala, Indonesia, Kenya, Kosovo, Kuwait, Mexico, Moldavia, Nairobi, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Thailand, and the U.S. At least three international humanitarian relief organizations have adapted energy psychology as a treatment in their post-disaster missions. Four tiers of energy psychology interventions include 1) immediate relief/stabilization, 2) extinguishing conditioned responses, 3) overcoming complex psychological problems, and 4) promoting optimal functioning. The first tier is most pertinent in psychological first aid immediately following a disaster, with the subsequent tiers progressively being introduced over time with complex stress reactions and chronic disorders. This paper reviews the approach, considers its viability, and offers a framework for applying energy psychology in treating disaster survivors.
Abstract: Energy psychology utilizes imaginal and narrative-generated exposure, paired with interventions that reduce hyperarousal through acupressure and related techniques. According to practitioners, this leads to treatment outcomes that are more rapid, powerful, and precise than the strategies used in other exposure-based treatments such as relaxation or diaphragmatic breathing. The method has been exceedingly controversial. It relies on unfamiliar procedures adapted from non- Western cultures, posits unverified mechanisms of action, and early claims of unusual speed and therapeutic power ran far ahead of initial empirical support. This paper reviews a hierarchy of evidence regarding the efficacy of energy psychology, from anecdotal reports to randomized clinical trials. Although the evidence is still preliminary, energy psychology has reached the minimum threshold for being designated as an evidence-based treatment, with one form having met the APA Division 12 criteria as a “probably efficacious treatment” for specific phobias; another for maintaining weight loss. The limited scientific evidence, combined with extensive clinical reports, suggests that energy psychology holds promise as a rapid and potent treatment for a range of psychological conditions.
Abstract: This article discusses the application of one of the energy psychology (EP) methods, emotional freedom technique (EFT), in the workplace setting. As the trauma support group manager for trains, working in the London Underground counselling and trauma service, I have integrated EFT into my counselling practice with traumatised members of Transport for London (TfL); trauma volunteer training; support of colleagues in the workplace and in my own self-support and self-supervision processes. My interest in EFT developed through my wish to understand and learn an approach that appeared to offer a simple and effective way of reducing the impact of pain, distress and trauma on individuals. I found the technique to be simple and easy to learn and teach, easy to apply and for those individuals who like EFT, it can be experienced as life changing. I will be drawing on examples of EFT application in a variety of situations in this article.
Acupuncture is an ancient East Asian healing modality that has been in use for more than 2000 years. Unfortunately, its mechanisms of action are not well understood, and controversy regarding its clinical efficacy remains. Importantly, acupuncture needling often evokes complex somatosensory sensations and may modulate the cognitive/affective perception of pain, suggesting that many effects are supported by the brain and extending central nervous system (CNS) networks. Modern neuroimaging techniques such as functional magnetic resonance imaging, positron emission tomography, electroencephalography, and magnetoencephalography provide a means to safely monitor brain activity in humans and may be used to help map the neurophysiological correlates of acupuncture. In this review, we will summarize data from acupuncture neuroimaging research and discuss how these findings contribute to current hypotheses of acupuncture action.
Abstract: Previous research, theoretical writings, and case reports have suggested that energy psychology is an effective psychotherapy treatment that improves psychological functioning. The purpose of the present study was to measure any changes in psychological functioning that might result from participation in an experiential Emotional Freedom Techniques™ (EFT) workshop and to examine the long-term effects. Using a time-series, within-subjects repeated measures design, 102 participants were tested with a short-form of the SCL-90-R (SA-45) 1 month before, at the beginning of the workshop, at the end of the workshop, 1 month after the workshop, and 6 months after the workshop. There was a statistically significant decrease in all measures of psychological distress as measured by the SA-45 from pre-workshop to post-workshop which held up at the 6 month follow-up.
Abstract: A new therapy for phobias, PTSD, addictive behaviors and other psychological issues was first described by Dr. Roger Callahan and involves thought activation of the problem followed by tapping on certain acupoints in a specific sequence. In addition, a gamut procedure involving further tapping, eye movements and following simple commands is used. He calls his method Thought Field Therapy. In most cases, the problems were reportedly cured in a matter of minutes. We theorize about the neuroanatomical and neurophysiological mechanisms underlying the success of this technique. We propose that tapping and other sensory stimulation procedures globally increase serotonin. The important structures specifically involved in this therapy are the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala. The success of this technique requires that glutamate first be increased in the circuit that involves the conditioning stimulus and the unconditioned stimulus. This analysis does not define sequences for tapping. We suggest the name Psychosensory Therapy to encompass this specific treatment as well as to define a broader new paradigm for the treatment of these problems.
Absract: This paper provides a scientific foundation for the biofield: the complex, extremely weak electromagnetic field of the organism hypothesized to involve electromagnetic bioinformation for regulating homeodynamics. The biofield is a useful construct consistent with bioelectromagnetics and the physics of nonlinear, dynamical, nonequilibrium living systems. It offers a unifying hypothesis to explain the interaction of objects or fields with the organism, and is especially useful toward understanding the scientific basis of energy medicine, including acupuncture, biofield therapies, bioelectromagnetic therapies, and homeopathy. The rapid signal propagation of electromagnetic fields comprising the biofield as well as its holistic properties may account for the rapid, holistic effects of certain alternative and complementary medical interventions.
Acupuncture, an ancient therapeutic technique, is emerging as an important modality of complementary medicine in the United States. The use and efficacy of acupuncture treatment are not yet widely accepted in Western scientific and medical communities. Demonstration of regionally specific, quantifiable acupuncture effects on relevant structures of the human brain would facilitate acceptance and integration of this therapeutic modality into the practice of modern medicine. Research with animal models of acupuncture indicates that many of the beneficial effects may be mediated at the subcortical level in the brain. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate the effects of acupuncture in normal subjects and to provide a foundation for future studies on mechanisms of acupuncture action in therapeutic interventions. Acupuncture needle manipulation was performed at Large Intestine 4 (LI 4, Hegu ) on the hand in 13 subjects [Stux, 1997]. Needle manipulation on either hand produced prominent decreases of fMRI signals in the nucleus accumbens, amygdala, hippocampus, parahippocampus, hypothalamus, ventral tegmental area, anterior cingulate gyrus (BA 24), caudate, putamen, temporal pole, and insula in all 11 subjects who experienced acupuncture sensation. In marked contrast, signal increases were observed primarily in the somatosensory cortex. The two subjects who experienced pain instead of acupuncture sensation exhibited signal increases instead of decreases in the anterior cingulate gyrus (BA 24), caudate, putamen, anterior thalamus, and posterior insula. Superficial tactile stimulation to the same area elicited signal increases in the somatosensory cortex as expected, but no signal decreases in the deep structures. These preliminary results suggest that acupuncture needle manipulation modulates the activity of the limbic system and subcortical structures. We hypothesize that modulation of subcortical structures may be an important mechanism by which acupuncture exerts its complex multisystem effects.