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Emotional Freedom Techniques for Anxiety: A Systematic Review With Meta-analysis

Clond, Morgan PhD

The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease: May 2016 - Volume 204 - Issue 5 - p 388–395
doi: 10.1097/NMD.0000000000000483
Original Articles

Emotional Freedom Technique (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 American Psychological Association’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% confidence interval, 0.82–1.64; p < 0.001), whereas the effect size for combined controls was 0.41 (95% confidence interval, 0.17–0.67; p = 0.001). Emotional freedom technique treatment demonstrated a significant decrease in anxiety scores, even when accounting for the effect size of control treatment. However, there were too few 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.

Ben Gurion University, Medical School for International Health, Beersheva, Israel.

Send reprint requests to Morgan Clond, PhD, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Medical School for International Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, Caroline House, 3rd Floor, PO Box 653, Beersheva, Israel 8410500. E-mail:

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