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TAPPING STUDIES Research on EFT Tapping

What does EFT tapping research tell us?

Because my life has changed so dramatically due to EFT tapping, I wanted to share its powerful effects with the world. Personal experiences and anecdotal accounts of EFT tapping benefits may have convinced you to try it for yourself. However, if you’re still on the fence, I wanted to share more about the tapping therapy research that has been conducted so far.

While research on EFT tapping is still in the early stages, the findings have consistently shown that tapping is effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety and stress, as well as offering a host of other psychological and physiological benefits.

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EFT Tapping and Stress

A study published in October 2012 in the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease analyzed cortisol and psychological stress symptoms in 83 nonclinical subjects before and after a 1-hour intervention. Patients were distributed into four groups, where they received one of the following treatments:

  • EFT tapping
  • Psychotherapy
  • Supportive Interviews
  • No Treatment

The idea was to determine whether EFT tapping had a significantly higher impact on cortisol and stress levels versus other interventions. Cortisol levels were measured both immediately before and 30 minutes after the interventions.

The study found that there was a statistically significant reduction in anxiety, depression, symptom severity, and breadth of symptoms, plus a significant decrease in cortisol levels from subjects in the EFT tapping group (24%) versus the SI (14%) and NT (14%) groups.

This study, along with a few others, demonstrates the efficacy of tapping therapy for stress reduction.

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EFT Tapping and Physiological Improvements

A study published in the Journal of Evidence-Based Integrative Medicine found that clinical EFT offers many physiological benefits to patients.

Prior to the report, which was published in 2019, over 100 studies had already been conducted that have helped demonstrate the efficacy of EFT tapping.

While many of these studies focused on the psychological and emotional benefits of the practice, there were not many results that covered EFT tapping benefits for certain vital signs, including resting heart rate, blood pressure, cortisol levels, and SigA (salivary immunoglobulin A, a measure of immune function).

In this study, 203 participants were placed in a 4-day training workshop. At 6 different training sites where EFT tapping was being taught to patients, there were improvements in several physiological factors, with no major differences between training sites, showing that the setting or instructor alone didn’t determine how effective the workshops were.

Out of the 203 participants, 31 received comprehensive physiological testing before and after the workshops.

The results of the study indicated that EFT led to significant declines in symptoms of anxiety, depression, pain, PTSD, and cravings. Happiness and SigA values also increased.

Resting heart rate, cortisol, and both systolic and diastolic blood pressure values also saw significant improvements.

While not statistically significant, patients also saw improvements in heart rate variability and heart coherence, showing an improvement in cardiovascular health and autonomic nervous system function. The results mirrored the hypotheses the researchers had going in based on results from other studies.

More About EFT Tapping and Anxiety

The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease published “Emotional Freedom Techniques for Anxiety: A Systematic Review With Meta-analysis” in 2016. The study analyzed 14 randomized controlled trials of EFT designed to combat anxiety disorders, with a total of 658 participants across all studies. Even when taking into account the effect size of the control treatment, EFT treatment was shown to be more effective, with a significant decrease in anxiety scores for patients who received that treatment.

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EFT Tapping and Depression

A 2016 meta-analysis at EFT used for depression looked at 20 previous studies and found that EFT was more effective than other physical and psychological interventions, including diaphragmatic breathing and supportive interviews.

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EFT Tapping For Specific Conditions

Prior to the 2019 study on physiological markers, EFT tapping research had also examined the effects of tapping on many different conditions, including:

Fibromyalgia

The intervention group in this study saw improvements in many emotional and physical symptoms of fibromyalgia, including pain, anxiety, and depression. The improvements were significant compared to the group that was waitlisted.

Tension headaches

The frequency and intensity of the headaches decreased, but cortisol levels didn’t appear to change. However, other studies have found reduction in cortisol levels, including the 2012 and 2019 studies detailed above.

Psoriasis

Patients saw a 75-90% reduction in “skin-related symptom distress” over time, while also experiencing immediate relief from emotional, physical, and psychological symptoms.

Pulmonary Injuries

Tapping therapy helped improve health-related quality of life and improved mental health in patients with pulmonary injuries.

Chemotherapy side effects

The effects of EFT tapping improved total mood disturbance, anxiety, depression, and fatigue in chemotherapy patients. The therapy also decreased the number of “hot flushes” over time.

Insomnia

Researchers found that EFT tapping was effective in treating geriatric insomnia and depression.

Traumatic brain injury

Findings from the study indicate that EFT might help protect against an increase of symptoms from traumatic brain injury and help protect against a PTSD diagnosis down the line.

Frozen shoulder

For patients experiencing a decreased range in motion from a frozen shoulder, researchers found that psychological stress and pain both decreased after EFT tapping.

Chronic pain

Not only was tapping found to immediately reduce the severity of patients’ pain, but it was also found to help patients live and cope with their pain.

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Results From Tapping Therapy Research Dismantling Studies

EFT tapping has also been subject to a number of dismantling studies, ones done to better determine which pieces of EFT tapping therapy are contributing most to the improvement in symptoms and physiological markers.

A 2015 study involved 126 school teachers and a burnout assessment. The study included a control group that had participants tap on “sham points” with everything else identical. The EFT group was found to have better scores than the sham group on the 3 burnout indicators that were tracked: Emotional Exhaustion, Personal Accomplishment, and Depression.

A meta-analysis conducted on 6 full or partial dismantling studies found that the acupuncture point component to EFT tapping is “an active ingredient and outcomes were not due solely to placebo, nonspecific effects of any therapy, or non-acupressure components.” These studies show just how impactful EFT tapping can be for physical, emotional, and psychological symptoms, even above other interventions that aim to improve the same symptoms.

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What does EFT tapping research say about the practice being delivered via mobile app?

The studies listed above included a variety of ways EFT tapping could be communicated and administered to subjects. You may think you can only benefit from a therapy like this with in-person instruction, but in fact, you can receive benefits from EFT tapping from the comfort of your own home, without ever meeting someone face-to-face.

A study published in the October 2020 issue of JMIR mHealth and uHealth studied the efficacy of app-based delivery of clinical EFT techniques. The researchers assessed the effects of an EFT app on user self-ratings of psychological distress. The sample included over 270,000 users.

Users were asked to self-rate their emotional intensity before and after a session on the app. They could choose from 23 different meditations. User data was collected from over 380,000 sessions.

The findings from the study were clear – researchers saw statistically significant changes in emotional intensity after the sessions. The findings indicated that the app was effective in reducing anxiety and stress via clinical EFT techniques. The article also mentioned the dismantling studies that demonstrate acupoint tapping as an active ingredient in treatment, and not merely a placebo.

The research on EFT tapping shows us that the practice can help patients both in-person and when self-administered remotely.

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Summary of EFT Tapping Research

While research on EFT tapping is still in relatively early stages, many studies have been conducted in recent years, and show the efficacy of EFT tapping for emotional, psychological, and physical symptoms. 

Tapping therapy has been shown to improve symptoms of anxiety, depression, insomnia, fibromyalgia, chronic pain, tension headaches, and more.

Studies have indicated that tapping serves as an active ingredient in treatment, and not merely a placebo. 

While more tapping therapy research needs to be done, early results display the powerful immediate and long-term benefits of the practice. EFT tapping does not need to be done in person to be beneficial. Researchers have found that it is effectively delivered via an app as well.