What does scientific research say?

1. There have been over 60 energy psychology studies published in peer reviewed journals.
2. There have been 20 randomized control trials - the most rigourous scientific test
3. 98% of all these studies show that the energy psychology is highly effective

Click here for a through listing of published studies.

Study from Staffordshire University publicized this report:

Tapping for success: A pilot study to explore if Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) can reduce anxiety and enhance academic performance in University students

Elizabeth Boath, Anthony Stewart, Angela Carryer




Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), also known as tapping, is an emerging psychological intervention that has been used to treat a variety of conditions, including exam stress and public speaking anxiety.

Participants were a convenience sample of 52 3rd year Foundation Degree level students undertaking a Research Methods Module. The module included an assessed presentation, which was known to generate anxiety among students. The students were given a 15 minute assignment workshop. They then received a 15 minute lecture introducing EFT and were guided though one round of EFT focussing on their anxiety of public speaking. The students were assessed using the Subjective Units of Distress (SUDs) and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) pre and post EFT.  The students were instructed that they could continue to use EFT at any time to reduce their anxiety regarding their assessed presentation.   Immediately following their presentation, the students were invited to take part in a brief face- to-face interview to identify those who used EFT to explore their use of and feelings about EFT and to identify those who had chosen not to use EFT and explore their reasons for not choosing to use it.

Forty Six of the total sample of 52 students (88%) participated in the research. There was a significant reduction in SUDS (p=p<0.001), HAD (p = 0.003) and HAD Anxiety Subscale (p<0.001).  There was no difference in the HAD Depression Subscale (p=0.67). The qualitative data were analysed using a framework approach which revealed the following three themes: helpfulness of EFT in reducing anxiety and staying calm and focussed; Using other complementary therapy skills; and their reasons for not using EFT.

Despite the limitations of the study, the results suggest that EFT may be a useful addition to curricula for courses that include oral presentations and that using EFT to reduce presentation anxiety may enhance academic performance.


EFT Lowers Cortisol Levels

One-Hour Session Reduces the Weight-Gain Hormone by 24%


June 28, 2012, SANTA ROSA, CA. A study to be published in October in the prestigious Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, the oldest peer-reviewed psychology journal in the United States, found that Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) lowered the major stress hormone cortisol significantly more than other interventions tested.

In a randomized controlled trial (the gold standard of scientific research), 83 subjects were randomly assigned to a single hour-long session of EFT, talk therapy, or rest. Their cortisol levels were measured via a saliva test before and after the session. Cortisol is the “master hormone” regulating many aspects of the body’s stress response mechanisms. The researchers hypothesized that successful therapy would lower stress and that this would be reflected biochemically in a reduced level of salivary cortisol and psychologically in reduced levels of anxiety, depression, and other symptoms of psychological distress.

The results showed that cortisol levels in the rest and therapy groups declined by an average of 14%, while the EFT group declined 24%. The decline in this physiological marker of stress was also significantly correlated with a decline in anxiety, depression, and other psychological symptoms as measured by a standard psychological assessment tool.

The human body is designed to release cortisol only at times of physical danger, to help the body mobilize to fight or flee from that threat. The level of cortisol and other adrenal hormones such as adrenaline are supposed to subside when the danger passes. The human body is not meant to live in a constant “bath” of cortisol and adrenaline. Unfortunately, that is exactly what is happening to many people in today’s stressful world. Most are not responding to physical danger but to traffic, work worries, financial problems, and the myriad other stresses of modern life. Continually elevated cortisol levels are known to contribute to a range of physical and psychological problems, including weight gain and obesity, digestive and metabolic problems, fatigue, weakened immunity, anxiety, depression, and even diseases such as diabetes, Cushing’s syndrome, and cardiovascular disease.

Cortisol has become a hot topic as its role in weight gain has become more widely known. Chronic stress keeps the body in a state of mobilizing carbohydrates and fat for energy to respond to the perceived threat (the body doesn’t distinguish between the chronic stress of daily life and the acute stress of an attacker with a knife). This signals the body to eat more carbohydrates and fat. That is the physiological mechanism behind why weight gain and obesity often result from chronic stress. In addition, stress contributes to “emotional” eating, which results in further weight gain.

Stress reduction has long been cited as vital for health. The study provides specific evidence of how EFT reduces stress. EFT is a noninvasive technique that pairs the recall of emotional upsets (a form of exposure therapy, a common method in psychology) with physical stimulation of specific points on the body to discharge stress (as identified by thousands of years of use in acupuncture). The physiological mechanisms of action of EFT have been documented in a number of studies and review articles. These demonstrate that EFT affects several of the body's regulatory systems, including the brain and endocrine systems.

A flurry of products called “cortisol blockers” have appeared on the market as weight-loss supplements, though no research to date has demonstrated that cortisol blockers are effective in lowering cortisol levels. EFT has now demonstrated its effectiveness and, unlike various drugs and supplements touted to lower cortisol, it has no side effects.


The effect of Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) on stress biochemistry: A randomized controlled trial

Dawson Church, PhD, Foundation for Epigenetic Medicine
Garret Yount, PhD, California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) Research Institute
Audrey Brooks, PhD, Psychology Department, University of Arizona at Tucson 

Citation (APA Style): Church, D., Yount, G., & Brooks, A. J. (2012). The effect of Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) on stress biochemistry: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 200(10):891-6. doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e31826b9fc1.


This study examined the changes in cortisol levels and psychological distress symptoms of 83 non-clinical subjects receiving a single hour long intervention. Subjects were randomly assigned to either an EFT group, a psychotherapy group receiving a supportive interview (SI), or a no treatment (NT) group. Salivary cortisol assays were performed immediately before, and thirty minutes after the intervention. Psychological distress symptoms were assessed using the SA-45. The EFT group showed statistically significant improvements in anxiety (-58.34%, p<0.05), depression (-49.33%, p<0.002), the overall severity of symptoms, (-50.5%, p<0.001), and symptom breadth (-41.93%, p<0.001). The EFT group experienced a significant decrease in cortisol (-24.39%, SE 2.62) compared to the decrease observed in the SI (-14.25%, SE 2.61) and NT (-14.44%, SE 2.67) groups (p<0.03). The decrease in cortisol levels in the EFT group mirrored the observed improvement in psychological distress.

Keywords: Cortisol, stress, depression, anxiety, physiology, EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques).

Visit the journal's web site.


Neurophysiological indicators of EFT treatment of post-traumatic stress

Citation (APA Style): Swingle, P., Pulos, L., & Swingle, M. K. (2005). Neurophysiological indicators of EFT treatment of post-traumatic stress. Journal of Subtle Energies & Energy Medicine, (2005),15, 75-86.


Clients previously involved in a motor vehicle accident who reported traumatic stress associated with the accident received two sessions of Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) treatments. All clients reported improvement immediately following treatment. Brainwave assessments before and after EFT treatment indicated that clients who sustained the benefit of the EFT treatments had increased 13-15 Hz amplitude over the sensory motor cortex, decreased right frontal cortex arousal and an increased 3-7 Hz / 16-25 Hz ratio in the occiput. The benefits of psychoneurological research to reveal the processes of subtle energy healing are discussed.

Keywords: Emotional freedom techniques (EFT), traumatic stress, EEG

Click here to download the paper


Brain Scan Changes During 4 Weeks of Treatment
for Generalized Anxiety Disorder

12 Sessions Combining Manual Acupoint Stimulation and Image Activation
with a patient who was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

1. Normal (Ideal) Profile

2. GAD Before Treatment

spc12.gif (819 bytes)





The images are digitized EEG brain scans.

The colors represent the ratio of brain frequencies (alpha, beta, and theta waves) and sub-frequencies within given areas of the brain.

  Blue = normal ratio of wave frequencies (according to data bases)
  Turq. = slightly dysfunctional ratio
  Pink = moderately dysfunctional ratio

Red = highly dysfunctional ratio of wave frequencies

Image 1 depicts a normal ratio of wave frequencies according to databases. Image 2 is a scan at the outset of treatment of a patient diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).The profile is typical for patients diagnosed with GAD. Images 3 through 5 are taken over the course of 12 sessions during a 4-week period using the stimulation of acupoints (while anxiety-provoking imagery was activated) as the treatment. A decrease in the intensity and frequency of GAD symptoms correlated with shifts toward normal levels of wave frequency ratios in the cortex. The pattern shown in these images was typical for GAD patients in the South American study who responded positively to the stimulation of acupoints. These images were provided to Energy Psychology Interactive by Joaquín Andrade,


As the wave frequencies shifted toward normal levels (from red to blue) in the central and front areas of the brain, the symptoms of anxiety decreased in both their intensity and their frequency. Similar sequences of images and symptom reduction were also typical of other patients with generalized anxiety disorder who received energy-based treatments.

Patients who were successfully treated with what has been the standard therapy for generalized anxiety disorder (Cognitive Behavior Therapy, combined with medication as needed), showed a similar progression in their brain scans during the pilot study in South America discussed below. But it took more sessions to achieve the improvements. And more importantly, on one-year follow-up, the brain wave ratios following the Cognitive Behavior Therapy protocol were more likely to have returned to their pre-treatment levels than they were for the patients who received the energy treatments.

An interesting tangent from this study was in the comparison between patients whose primary treatment was anti-anxiety medication and patients whose primary treatment involved stimulating energy points while holding anxiety-provoking images. Both groups enjoyed a reduction of symptoms. But the brain scans for the medication group did not show noticeable changes in the wave patterns, even though the symptoms of anxiety were reduced while the drug was being taken. This suggests that the medication was suppressing the symptoms without addressing the underlying wave frequency imbalances.

An Hypothesis

Early impressions from brain imaging studies, such as the study from which the above images are derived, support the following hypothesis:

Stimulating specific electrically inductive points on the skin while simultaneously activating an anxiety-provoking image changes the neurological connections to the amygdala and other brain structures in a manner that reduces the anxious response to that image.

This hypothesis is also supported by three empirically demonstrated principles (citations can be found in Energy Psychology Interactive):

  1.  Bringing a troubling image or memory to mind makes it temporarily responsive to interventions that alter the stress-activating circuitry in the amygdala and other brain structures (neural plasticity, a la Joseph LeDoux).

  2. A study from Harvard Medical School showed that stimulating specific acupoints can send signals that deactivate areas of the brain that are involved with the experience of fear and pain.

  3. Brain wave patterns that are markers of generalized anxiety and other mental disorders have been identified, and as you have seen, at least one early study suggests that stimulating acupoints while bringing anxiety-provoking images to mind changes these brain wave patterns.

These principles work in concert so that stimulating certain electrically inductive points while an anxiety-evoking image has been activated sends signals that normalize the affected wave patterns, as illustrated in the above brain scans.

Andrades and Feinberg's full report




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