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The Effect of Emotional Freedom Techniques on Stress Biochemistry: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Church, Dawson PhD*; Yount, Garret PhD; Brooks, Audrey J. PhD

Journal of Nervous & Mental Disease: October 2012 - Volume 200 - Issue 10 - p 891–896
doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e31826b9fc1
Original Articles

Abstract: This study examined the changes in cortisol levels and psychological distress symptoms of 83 nonclinical subjects receiving a single hourlong intervention. Subjects were randomly assigned to either an emotional freedom technique (EFT) group, a psychotherapy group receiving a supportive interviews (SI), or a no treatment (NT) group. Salivary cortisol assays were performed immediately before and 30 minutes after the intervention. Psychological distress symptoms were assessed using the symptom assessment-45. The EFT group showed statistically significant improvements in anxiety (−58.34%, p < 0.05), depression (−49.33%, p < 0.002), the overall severity of symptoms (−50.5%, p < 0.001), and symptom breadth (−41.93%, p < 0.001). The EFT group experienced a significant decrease in cortisol level (−24.39%; SE, 2.62) compared with the decrease observed in the SI (−14.25%; SE, 2.61) and NT (−14.44%; SE, 2.67) groups (p < 0.03). The decrease in cortisol levels in the EFT group mirrored the observed improvement in psychological distress.

*Foundation for Epigenetic Medicine, Fulton, CA; †California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute, San Francisco; and ‡Department of Psychology (Integrative Medicine), University of Arizona at Tucson.

Send reprint requests to Dawson Church, PhD, Foundation for Epigenetic Medicine, 3340 Fulton Rd, #442, Fulton, CA 95439. E-mail: dawson@soulmedicine.net.

These data were presented at iMosaic, Minneapolis, April 5, 2011.

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.