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EFT and Pain Research
The Effect of a Brief EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) Self-Intervention on Anxiety, Depression, Pain and Cravings in Healthcare Workers
Dawson Church, PhD1 and Audrey J. Brooks, PhD2
 Research Chair, Epigenetic Medicine Institute (EMI).
2Department of Psychology, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721
This study examined whether self-intervention with Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), a brief exposure therapy that combines a cognitive and a somatic element, had an effect on healthcare workers’ psychological symptoms such as anxiety and depression, as well as self-rated pain and craving. Participants were 216 attendees at 5 professional conferences, and included physicians, psychologists, chiropractors, nurses, and alternative medicine practitioners. Psychological distress was assessed before and after 2 hours of self-applied EFT in a within-subjects design. Physical pain, the intensity of traumatic memories, and cravings were self-reported on a 10-point scale. A 90-day follow-up assessment of symptoms was completed by 53% of the sample, and 61% reported using EFT subsequent to the workshop. At posttest statistically significant improvements were found on all scales, as well as pain (p<.001), emotional distress (p<.001), and cravings (p<.001). Gains were maintained at follow-up (p<.001) for the two global scales and most of the SA-45 subscales. On the two general scales on the SA-45, symptom severity dropped 45% at posttest, maintaining a 25% drop at follow-up. Similarly, symptom breadth dropped 40% at posttest, maintaining a 21% improvement at follow-up. Greater subsequent EFT use correlated with a greater decrease in symptom severity at follow-up (p<.034, r=.199), but not in breadth of symptoms (p<.117, r=.148). EFT provided an immediate effect on psychological distress, pain, and cravings that was replicated across multiple conferences and healthcare provider samples.