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EFT Research Paper

The effectiveness of emotional freedom techniques (EFT) on depression of postmenopausal women: a randomized controlled trial

Citation: Mehdipour A, Abedi P, Ansari S, Dastoorpoor M. The effectiveness of emotional freedom techniques (EFT) on depression of postmenopausal women: a randomized controlled trial. J Complement Integr Med. 2021 May 19;19(3):737-742. doi: 10.1515/jcim-2020-0245. PMID: 34013673.

Link to Pubmed abstract: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34013673/


Objectives: Postmenopausal women are at greater risk of depression. Depression may negatively affect the quality of life of women. An emotional freedom technique (EFT) is an evidence-based therapy combining cognitive and exposure components with acupressure. This study aimed to evaluate the effect of EFT on depression in postmenopausal women.

Methods: This was a randomized controlled trial in which 88 women with mild to moderate depression recruited from a menopausal clinic in Ahvaz, Iran, and randomly assigned into two groups of EFT (n=44) and control for sham therapy (n=44). Women in the EFT group received two sessions of training and asked to continue EFT for 8 weeks, one time per day. The Beck Depression Inventory (BDI2) completed by women before and after the intervention. The control group received training on sham acupressure points similar to the intervention group. Data collected using a demographic and BDI2. Women requested to complete the BDI2 before and after the intervention. The independent t-test, chi-square, and ANCOVA were used to analyze data.

Results: The mean depression score in the intervention group reduced from 20.93 ± 4.6 to 10.96 ± 4.38 in comparison to the control group that reduced from 19.18 ± 2.79 to 17.01 ± 6.05 after intervention (p=0.001). After the 8 week intervention, the frequency of moderate depression decreased from 56.8 to 9.35% in the intervention and from 50 to 29.5% in the control group. In total, 63.4 and 34.15% in the intervention and control groups were free of depression respectively after the intervention (p<0.001).

Conclusions: The results of this study showed that using EFT for 8 weeks could significantly reduce the mean score of depression in postmenopausal women. Using this method in public health centers for postmenopausal women is recommended.

Keywords: TCTR20200104002; depression; emotional freedom technique; postmenopausal women.

Craig’s Comments: This randomized trial took 88 Iranian women with mild to modertate depression in a menopause clinic and trained them in EFT over 2 sessions. They then were asked to tap once per day for 8 weeks while the control group did the same thing but were instructed to tap on fake or sham/ non EFT points. The results were significant in reducing their depression, with 63% of those tapping on EFT points free of depression after the study. (Intriguing enough that even tapping on the sham points resulted in a 34% free of depression.) This supports previous studies showing EFT to be effective for depression though this study was specific to menopausal related depression.

An interesting aside that this study was recently one of the included studies that met the inclusion criteria in a large 3000 person  over 14 countries meta analysis evaluation,  The effectiveness of psychosocial interventions on non-physiological symptoms of menopause: A systematic review and meta-analysis  of therapeutic interventions for menopausal related concerns https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0165032724003550?via%3Dihub