Emotional Freedom Technique Research

There is extensive and ongoing research investigating and confirming the benefits of EFT. Details of studies and findings will be added over the coming months.

Cortisol (stress hormone) Studies – the Measurement of Stress

  • In this landmark study (1) conducted by Dr. Dawson Church, 83 adults were randomly assigned to either a single hour of EFT, a psychotherapy group receiving a supportive interview (SI), or a no treatment (NT) group who just rested. All adults had their cortisol tested (measured in their saliva) immediately before and 30 minutes after the intervention. The results showed that there were no significant changes in cortisol levels between the group who received the supportive interview and the no treatment (resting) group, but the cortisol levels in the EFT group dropped by an average of 25 percent!

  • In 2019, Dr. Stapleton’s team in Australia replicated this study with one small change – they offered the same three 1-hour interventions but in group format rather than in individual sessions. One of the measures of solid research is when other independent researchers replicate a trial and achieve the same outcomes. Replication tends to follow the same protocols as the original study, and if it achieves the same outcomes, this suggests that the original results were reliable and valid. In Dr. Stapleton’s study (2), the no treatment (NT) group had an INCREASE of cortisol by 2% (turns out reading magazines for an hour may not be very restful) and the psychoeducation (SI) group had a reduction of 19.5%. However the EFT group experienced a significant decrease in cortisol of 43.24%, which was greater than the original study! This study was published in a prestigious journal by The American Psychological Association, and really enhanced the acceptability of EFT by the field

  • 1

    Church, Dawson, Yount, Garret, and Brooks, Audrey. “The effect of emotional freedom techniques on stress biochemistry: A randomized controlled trial.” Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease 200 (2012): 89–896.

  • 2

    2 Stapleton, P., Crighton, G., Sabot, D., & O'Neill, H. M. (2020). Reexamining the effect of emotional freedom techniques on stress biochemistry: A randomized controlled trial. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy. https://doi.org/10.1037/tra0000563


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