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EFT Research Paper

Self-Administered EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) in Individuals with Fibromyalgia

Female Fibromyalgia Syndrome Sufferers Studied for Self-Administered 8 Week EFT Program Show Significant Decreases in Perceived Pain, Stress Symptoms, Anxiety and Depression with Significant Increases in Vitltu, Social Function, Health and Performance with Work

Citation: Brattberg, G. (2008). Self-administered EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) in individuals with fibromyalgia: a randomized trial. Integrative Medicine: A Clinician’s Journal, August/September 2008. To view Abstract, search Archives index at www.imjournal.com


The aim of this study was to investigate whether self-administered EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) leads to reduced pain perception, increased acceptance and coping ability, and better health-related quality of life in individuals with fibromyalgia. Thus 86 women, diagnosed with fibromyalgia and on sick leave for at least 3 months, were randomly assigned to a treatment group or a wait-listed group. For those in the treatment group, an 8-week EFT treatment program was administered via the Internet. Upon completion of the program, statistically significant improvements were observed in the intervention group (n=26) in comparison with the wait-listed group (n=36) for variables such as pain, anxiety, depression, vitality, social function, mental health, performance problems involving work or other activities due to physical as well as emotional reasons, and stress symptoms. In addition, pain catastrophizing measures, such as rumination, magnification, and helplessness, were significantly reduced, and activity level was significantly increased in the treatment group compared to the wait-listed group. However, no difference in pain willingness between the groups was observed. The number needed to treat (NNT) regarding recovering from anxiety was 3. NNT for depression was 4. Self-administered EFT seems to be a good complement to other treatments and rehabilitation programs. The sample size was small and the dropout rate was high. Therefore the surprisingly good results have to be interpreted with caution. However, it would be of interest to further study this simple and easily accessible self-administered treatment method, which can even be taught over the Internet.

Editor’s Note

I personally hope that this study is duplicated because of the significance of no only the positive findings but because of the tremendous potential that tapping can have on this population whose lives are profoundly impacted by the breadth of symptoms and limitations that are commonly involved with this condition. Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) is defined by the Mayo Clinic as “a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. Researchers believe that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain processes pain signals.” The purpose of this study was to see if self-performed EFT could lead to a reduction in pain perception as well as improve coping abilities and improve general health related quality of life measures. This study followed 86 women who had been previously diagnosed with FMS and were on sick leave for at least three months. The women were assigned to a treatment or a waitlist control group. EFT was administered via the internet for an 8 week period.

The results revealed statistically significant improvements in the EFT group regarding decreases in perceived pain, anxiety, depression, stress symptoms and improvements in vitality, social function, mental health and decreased performance problems related to work or their activities related to physical and emotional reasons. Other improvements for the self-administered EFT group included a reduction in pain catastrophizing measures (ie helplessness, rumination and magnification) and an increase in activity level when compared to the wait-listed group. Author identified limitations include a small sample size and a high drop-out rate.