Back to top

EFT for Insomnia: A Comparison of Emotional Freedom Techniques–Insomnia (EFT-I) and Sleep Hygiene Education (SHE) in a Geriatric Population: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Citation: A Comparison of Emotional Freedom Techniques-Insomnia (EFT-I) and Sleep Hygiene Education (SHE) for Insomnia in a Geriatric Population: A Randomized Controlled Trial Jung Hwan Lee, Hyeminseo Korean Medicine Clinic, Seoul, Korea Sun Yong Chung and Jong Woo Kim, Department of Oriental Psychiatry, Kyung Hee University, Seoul, Korea, Journal of Energy Psychology; Theory, Research and Treatment, vol. 7;(1) p. 22-29, May 2015.

Abstract

This study evaluated two treatments for insomnia, Emotional Freedom Technique’s-Insomnia (EFT–I) and Sleep Hygiene Education (SHE), in a geriatric population when delivered as group therapy. Participants (N = 20) were elderly women (mean age = 80+/- 4.75) with insomnia. They were randomized into two groups. One received SHE, and the other a form of EFT adapted for use with insomnia (EFT-I). The setting was a senior welfare center, and the interventions were delivered in a group format. Participants received 8 on-hour sessions twice a week for 4 weeks. They were assessed for insomnia severity, depression, anxiety, and life-satisfaction before and after treatment. Follow-ups occurred at 5 and 9 weeks post-test. Analysis revealed that EFT was superior to SHE for insomnia. The results were similar to those found in earlier studies evaluating EFT for insomnia. Neither the SHE nor the EFT group demonstrated significant improvement in anxiety or life-satisfaction. We conclude that EFT is an effective evidence-based treatment for geriatric insomnia and depression. EFT is cost-effective, and efficacious when delivered in a group format.

Objective: To evaluate two treatments for insomnia, Emotional Freedom Techniques–Insomnia (EFT-I) and Sleep Hygiene Education (SHE), in a geriatric population when delivered as group therapy.

Methods: Participants (N = 20) were elderly women (mean age = 80 ± 4.75) with insomnia. They were randomized into two groups. One received SHE, and the other a form of EFT adapted for use with insomnia (EFT-I). The setting was a senior welfare center, and the interventions were delivered in a group format. Participants received eight 1-hour sessions twice a week for 4 weeks. They were assessed for insomnia severity, depression, anxiety, and life satisfaction before and after treatment. Follow-ups occurred at 5 and 9 weeks posttest.

Craig’s Notes

The ability to sleep and sleep well has been shown to have a professional and effect on health and well-being. Statistics have shown however that one out of three people have insomnia at some point in their lives, the 20 to 40% of all adults have insomnia in the course of any given year and then over 70 million Americans suffer from disorders of sleep and wakefulness.

This problem is exacerbated in older adults, with over one half of adults age 60 or older report difficulty initiating or sleeping through the night. This important study conducted in association with the department of Oriental psychiatry in the university setting in Seoul Korea explores specifically the effect of EFT on reducing insomnia in an elderly population.

This study was a randomized controlled study (RCT) and it directly compared EFT against a well-respected and utilized treatment method for insomnia, what is referred to as Sleep Hygiene Education, (SHE). In order to mimic a somatic component to the sleep education delivered, researchers included movement and relaxation techniques to mimic the physical elements of the EFT-I.  Sleep quality was measured as were other aspects of well-being (using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index and the 15 question Sleep Scale, a Geriatric Depression Scale and Senile Life Satisfaction Scale to measure Life-Satisfaction, Depression and Anxiety in addition to sleep quality). All 20 participants were women (average age of 78 years old) who were not using a multitude of sleep medications. All were examined and given a diagnosis of insomnia by a neuropsychiatrist.

Both groups received “group sessions” at the senior welfare center for one hour 2x/week for 4 weeks by an MD trained in EFT. They were also instructed to use self-treatment and repetitive learning between session via use of a cassette tape and recorder and asked to listen and follow instructions at least once per day. Measurements were taken 5 weeks and 9 weeks post baseline measurements.

The authors summarized “that when EFT is offered to seniors in a group format, as a self-help tool. They can effectively learn to alleviate insomnia and improve their mental health and quality of life…EFT-I was more effective than SHE.” The study however found neither intervention resulted in a significant improvement in anxiety or life satisfaction. The authors summarize their conclusions with “Despite limitations (primarily that the interventions were performed in only a single setting and in an open public/non-private setting), the robust design of this study, the positive results, and its congruence with published literature suggest that EFT should be considered by clinicians an effective treatment for insomnia.”