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A Pilot Study of the Effects of Emotional Freedom Techniques in Psoriasis

Study Explores EFT and Psoriasis; Results Reveal 75-90% Reduction in Skin Related Symptom Distress

Citation: Hodge, P. (2011). A Pilot Study of the Effects of Emotional Freedom Techniques in Psoriasis. Energy Psychology: Theory, Research & Treatment, 3(2). Click here to view Abstract


Background: The documented relationship between stress and psoriasis suggests that noninvasive means of stress reduction may improve quality of life in persons with psoriasis.

Objectives: The purpose of this study was to (a) educate persons with psoriasis in the use of the innovative, self-applied, noninvasive emotional healing intervention Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) and (b) test its effects on psoriasis symptoms.

Method: A time series, within-subjects, repeated measures design was used. Persons with psoriasis (n = 12) were taught EFT in a 6-hr workshop and instructed to use EFT daily.

Symptoms were measured using the Skindex-29 questionnaire. Psychological conditions were assessed using the Symptom Assessment-45 (SA-45), which has 9 subscales, and two general scales for the severity (GSI) and breadth (PST) of psychological distress. Participants were assessed pre-intervention, post intervention, and at 1 and 3 month follow-ups.

Results: Psychological symptom severity (GSI) improved post-workshop, demonstrating both clinical (raw score) and statistical significance (-56.43%, p=.043). Improvements (T score) (-50.67%, p=.002) were sustained at three 3-month follow-up (-50.54%, p=.001; -38.43%; p=.002). Symptom breadth (PST) also improved post-workshop clinically (-49.24%, p=.005), and that improvement was sustained over time (-46.93%, p=.019). Skindex-29 scores indicated improvements in emotional distress (-41.56%, p=.002), symptoms (-49.05%; p=.001), and functioning (-58.31%; p=.001) post-workshop, with changes over time to -80.56% (p=<.001), -74.95% (p=<.001), and -89.99% (p=.001) respectively, and at 3 months. Differences by gender were found in psychological symptom severity and skin-related symptom distress.

Conclusion: Participants experienced significant improvement in functioning and psychological, emotional, and physical symptoms. Relief often was immediate and sustained, and improved over time. Highly significant findings from this small sample support the robust treatment effects found in other EFT research, and clinical trials of EFT for psoriasis and other chronic illnesses are warranted.

Editor’s Note

Psoriasis is the most prevalent autoimmune disease in the US, costing over 11 billion dollar/year with regards to health costs and lost work time. It is a condition that is intertwined with many psychosocial and stress related factors, therefore qualifying as an excellent condition/population to explore the role that EFT could play in reducing the stress related to psoriasis. There are often multiple other co-morbid medical conditions in these individuals. The associations between psoriasis and worry, anxiety, depression as well as avoidance behaviors and attachment avoidance. All of these symptoms in addition to the physical discomforts of pain and itching can significantly affect quality of life. The study authors utilized 12 participants that attended a 6 hour workshop regarding stress, EFT as well as tapping practice and information was given as to where they could find further information on the technique. Measurement indexes included the SA-45 and the SKINDEX29 scoring devices which were used pre intervention, at follow up telephone appoints at 1 and 3 months.

The results showed that all 12 participants compete the 3-month intervention with no dropouts or adverse events. The most significant results revealed at 3 months tabulations, an 80.56% decrease in skin-related emotional distress, a 74.95% in skin –related symptom distress and an 89.99% decrease in skin-related functioning difficulties.