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EFT Research Paper

Everything smells like poo, landfill, and rotten food: A retrospective case report using Clinical Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) for parosmia following COVID-19

Citation: Boath, E., & Philpott, C. (2023). “Everything smells like poo, landfill, and rotten food”: A retrospective case report using Clinical Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) for parosmia following COVID-19. Energy Psychology: Theory, Research, and Treatment, 15(2), 27–32.

Link to Journal Abstract


Parosmia is a disorder of scent that has affected millions of people worldwide following their recovery from COVID-19. Parosmia post COVID-19 can be long-term and has a negative impact on quality of life. Despite this there is limited evidence for effective treatment strategies. This retrospective case report details the use of Clinical Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) to address parosmia following COVID-19 with a single client over three sessions. The sessions addressed specific food, drink, and odors that were having a major negative impact on the client’s quality of life, psychological well-being, physical health, weight, and relationships. By the end of the three sessions, the client was able to tolerate certain scents and eat foods that the client selected to tap on. The client’s quality of life improved to the point where she was able to eat, go out to restaurants, socialize, and ultimately return to work. Whether EFT can be successfully applied to other people experiencing parosmia following COVID-19 or parosmia caused by other conditions is not clear and requires further research.


parosmia, sense of smell, COVID-19, Clinical Emotional Freedom Techniques, EFT

Craig’s Comments:

I had the privilege of reviewing this retrospective case sudy by Elizabeth Boath, PhD. She is the author of “In Defense of EFT and Energy Psychology: Conducting, Writing and Publishing Case Studies (Making the Case for EFT and Energy Psychology). This published paper is an excellent example of how a limited intervention can offer significant improvements for an individual within 3 sessions and then perhaps become the seed for further more rigorous investigation.

This paper explored the application of EFT for parosmia. This is a smell disorder where odors become distorted and once nice-smelling things can start to smell foul, off, or even smell like feces. Data regarding this condition before the COVID-19 pandemic was lacking, but estimates suggest that approximately 4% of the general
public and around 12–24% of ear, nose, and throat (ENT) patients experienced parosmia.

In this case the individual, Lynne, with no previous history of the condition, post COVID infection  developed parosmia which significantly affected her ability to eat perviously enjoyed foods, cook for her family and the need to avoid situations that emitted aromas that made her gag and experience significant weight loss and disrupt normal family activities.

The intervention was focused clinical EFT provided over three sessions. The paper describes how Lynne was then able to not only tolerate the smells but also be able to return to eating normally enjoyed foods.

A six month post follow up communication with the client revealed “Although I didn’t think it would actually work, I was absolutely delighted that EFT helped me so quickly. I also kept tapping by myself. EFT certainly helped me to eat lots of foods again, to smell my son’s aftershave, to socialize and go out for dinner.” She also reported she is now able to eat in restaurants, go to coffee shops, go on holiday, and laughed that she has now put on so much weight, she is planning on using EFT for weight loss.”

The author noted that “This anecdotal retrospective case report is, however, the first-known published paper using EFT for parosmia.” This paper of course represents teh limitations of being a retrospective case report so no outcome measures were used other than SUDS measurments. The author reports that a prospective case study is currently being carried out with ethical approval and will involve significantly greater devices for progress measurement.

Case studies like this are valuable in that they lay the foundation for further investigation of exploring the effectiveness of EFT for a variety of unknown clinical entities.