EFT: A Clinically Proven Method That Helps Symptoms of PTSD

on Feb 09, 2022
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EFT for PTSD.

PTSD has become a serious and major health issue worldwide and having a simple and free method of treating it is of major importance. This treatment technique, EFT, can be self-applied or utilized via trained practitioners or doctors and is easily learned.

EFT works relatively quickly as the studies below will show and can be a superior adjunctive treatment to the standard of care for PTSD as outlined in the studies below. It also has an extremely good safety record that is far better than medications used for patients with PTSD.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a very common health issue in this day and age due mainly to the number of military people who had extremely disturbing experiences while serving overseas. PTSD also affects many other non-military people around the world who experience traumatic events in their lives that are extremely difficult to deal with. PTSD was first thought to be identified around 1980 but has likely existed as long as man.

PTSD has established typical symptoms as described in the following links, some of which include depression, anxiety, vivid flashbacks, difficulty concentrating, nightmares, agitation, social isolation, feelings of guilt, drug or alcohol addiction, hostility, mental instability, mistrust, loneliness, physical pain, fear, self-destructive behavior, insomnia, memory loss, increased risk for suicide, reduced interest in things that you used to enjoy or feelings of worthlessness. This is not a complete list.

https://www.cumberlandheights.org/blogs/17-symptoms-of-ptsd/

https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/ptsd/what-is-ptsd#:~:text=People with PTSD have intense,or estranged from other people.

https://www.addictioncenter.com/addiction/post-traumatic-stress-disorder/

As you can see with these symptoms, PTSD can essentially take over your life, and not in a good way.

Current medical treatments are definitely lacking in terms of available medications as well as psychological treatment. The cure rate is modest and can be lengthy and people oftentimes don't realize what is wrong or causing them problems in their daily lives. Family and friends are at a loss for how to help a loved one affected by PTSD.

Although many people associate PTSD with veterans who were exposed to traumatic events, the reality is that it can be caused by any traumatic events that have nothing to do with being in the military such as being molested as a child,  victims of human trafficking, having been in a physically abusive or mentally abusive relationship. PTSD can also be caused by being in a serious auto accident, being sexually assaulted, witnessing a murder. Many first responders to the World Trade Center got PTSD. There are many causes for PTSD and there are probably people with it who don't realize that they even have it and that there are ways to treat it.

There is also a certain stigma attached to people with PTSD or mental illness where others may actively try to avoid people with PTSD :

https://www.everydayhealth.com/ptsd/ptsd-stigma/#:~:text=The stigma around mental illness,fear they'll be hospitalized.

Here is a relevant quote from the article:

>>> ' The stigma around mental illness, and PTSD in particular, is strong. Stereotypes that depict people with PTSD as dangerous, unpredictable, incompetent, or to blame for their illness can promote stigma. People with PTSD may fear embarrassment or shame, too, and if they seek help, they may fear they’ll be hospitalized. ' <<<

There have even been studies to try and determine the rate of recovery for people who experience PTSD and recovery can vary significantly based on the cause and length of time with PTSD. Here is a study that discusses time to recovery once standard treatment is initiated :

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC5758426/#:~:text=with lifetime PTSD.-,Results,for recoveries after 24 months.

Here is a descriptive quote from the study :

>>> ' 20%, 27%, and 50% of cases recovered within 3, 6, and 24 months and 77% within 10 years (the longest duration allowing stable estimates). Time-related recall bias was found largely for recoveries after 24 months. ' <<<

So given the above information, you can see that PTSD is a very serious health issue that if left untreated can not only devastate a person's life, but also their families and friends.

On that note, I would like to talk about one method of dealing with PTSD that is simple, easy, and now proven in several studies to be effective and also to start working relatively quickly compared to some other treatments. It is in its infancy regarding PTSD but has been used effectively for other health issues also. This form of therapy is called Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT).

EFT for PTSD

Although EFT has been anecdotally known to help people with PTSD for about 2 decades, studies were not performed using  EFT for PTSD for quite a while. The first study that I found that discussed EFT and PTSD was in 2011 or roughly 10 years ago :

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21629014/

In the study, they compared the effectiveness of EFT to eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), another technique used for PTSD. Here is an interesting quote from the abstract :

>>> ' Overall, the results indicated that both interventions produced significant therapeutic gains at post treatment and follow-up in an equal number of sessions. Similar treatment effect sizes were observed in both treatment groups. ' <<<

In another study done in 2013, EFT was used with veterans with PTSD who were receiving mental health services. Of importance, this was a randomized controlled trial (RCT).

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23364126/

Here is a very important quote from the abstract that speaks directly to the very high efficacy of EFT in this group of veterans and also shows the superiority of EFT over standard of care (SOC) :

>>> '  Veterans meeting the clinical criteria for PTSD were randomized to EFT (n = 30) or standard of care wait list (SOC/WL; n = 29). The EFT intervention consisted of 6-hour-long EFT coaching sessions concurrent with standard care. The SOC/WL and EFT groups were compared before and after the intervention (at 1 month for the SOC/WL group and after six sessions for the EFT group). The EFT subjects had significantly reduced psychological distress (p < 0.0012) and PTSD symptom levels (p < 0.0001) after the test. In addition, 90% of the EFT group no longer met PTSD clinical criteria, compared with 4% in the SOC/WL group. After the wait period, the SOC/WL subjects received EFT. In a within-subjects longitudinal analysis, 60% no longer met the PTSD clinical criteria after three sessions. This increased to 86% after six sessions for the 49 subjects who ultimately received EFT and remained at 86% at 3 months and at 80% at 6 months. The results are consistent with that of other published reports showing EFT's efficacy in treating PTSD and comorbid symptoms and its long-term effects. ' <<<

In this 2014 study, EFT was employed in veterans to reduce pain, anxiety, and depression from PTSD and again, importantly this is a randomized controlled trial (RCT) :

Here is a quote of some of the findings revealed by the use of EFT in this group of 59 veterans :

>>> ' A randomized controlled trial of veterans with clinical levels of PTSD symptoms found significant improvements after Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT). Although pain, depression, and anxiety were not the primary targets of treatment, significant improvements in these conditions were noted. Subjects (N = 59) received six sessions of EFT coaching supplementary to primary care. They were assessed using the SA-45, which measures nine mental health symptom domains and also has two general scales measuring the breadth and depth of psychological distress. Anxiety and depression both reduced significantly, as did the breadth and depth of psychological symptoms. Pain decreased significantly during the intervention period (-41%, p < .0001). Subjects were followed up at three and six months, revealing significant relationships between PTSD, depression, and anxiety at several assessment points. At follow-up, pain remained significantly lower than at pretest. The results of this study are consistent with other reports showing that, as PTSD symptoms are reduced, general mental health improves, and pain levels drop. The ability of EFT to produce reliable and long-term gains after relatively brief interventions indicates its utility in reducing the estimated trillion-dollar cost of treating veteran mental health disorders in the coming years. ' <<<

Importantly these results were achieved in just 6 visits!

In this important 2018 study, they attempted to study if there were any gene changes in veterans who were treated using EFT by comparing before treatment gene expression to post treatment gene expression. This study is important because it illustrates that there is more going on than just a temporary mental boost :

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27520015/

Here is an important quote from the abstract which also showed these significant results in just 10 sessions of one hour each :

>>> ' Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms declined significantly in the EFT group (-53%, P < .0001). Participants maintained their gains on follow-up. Significant differential expression of 6 genes was found ( P < .05) when comparing the expression levels before and after the intervention period in participants receiving EFT. ' <<<

This is another RCT in veterans as somewhat of a preventative to PTSD development and this study again showed significantly positive results and also showed benefit for insomnia, traumatic brain injury symptoms, and anxiety.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27543343/

Here is a copy of the abstract as it is all-important information :

>>> ' Prior research indicates elevated but subclinical posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms as a risk factor for a later diagnosis of PTSD. This study examined the progression of symptoms in 21 subclinical veterans. Participants were randomized into a treatment as usual (TAU) wait-list group and an experimental group, which received TAU plus six sessions of clinical emotional freedom techniques (EFT). Symptoms were assessed using the PCL-M (Posttraumatic Checklist-Military) on which a score of 35 or higher indicates increased risk for PTSD. The mean pretreatment score of participants was 39 ± 8.7, with no significant difference between groups. No change was found in the TAU group during the wait period. Afterward, the TAU group received an identical clinical EFT protocol. Post treatment groups were combined for analysis. Scores declined to a mean of 25 (-64%, P < .0001). Participants maintained their gains, with mean three-month and six-month follow-up PCL-M scores of 27 (P < .0001). Similar reductions were noted in the depth and breadth of psychological conditions such as anxiety. A Cohen's d = 1.99 indicates a large treatment effect. Reductions in traumatic brain injury symptoms (P = .045) and insomnia (P = .004) were also noted. Symptom improvements were similar to those assessed in studies of PTSD-positive veterans. EFT may thus be protective against an increase in symptoms and a later PTSD diagnosis. As a simple and quickly learned self-help method, EFT may be a clinically useful element of a resiliency program for veterans and active-duty warriors. ' <<<

This next one is a meta-analysis from 2016 which importantly confirms the efficacy of EFT via multiple studies and also confirms that EFT is as good or superior to other energy psychology treatment methods for the treatment of depression :

 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27843054/

Here is what the study concluded:

>>> ' The results show that Clinical EFT were highly effective in reducing depressive symptoms in a variety of populations and settings. EFT were equal or superior to TAU and other active treatment controls. The posttest effect size for EFT (d = 1.31) was larger than that measured in meta-analyses of antidepressant drug trials and psychotherapy studies. EFT produced large treatment effects whether delivered in group or individual format, and participants maintained their gains over time. This meta-analysis extends the existing literature through facilitation of a better understanding of the variability and clinical significance of depression improvement subsequent to EFT treatment. ' <<<

This 2017 meta-analysis of the use of EFT for PTSD is in concordance with what we have read so far and concluded the following :

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27889444/

>>> ' The analysis of existing studies showed that a series of 4-10 EFT sessions is an efficacious treatment for PTSD with a variety of populations. The studies examined reported no adverse effects from EFT interventions and showed that it can be used both on a self-help basis and as a primary evidence-based treatment for PTSD. ' <<<

Although this post is mainly about the use of EFT for PTSD, I wanted to add that EFT has many other benefits and I have utilized some of those benefits in my own use of EFT over the years. I find it very useful when I have to deal with difficult people and maintain my composure. I also use it to remove the negativity associated with past events in my life that I find keep popping into my forward-thinking and causing me frustration or anxiety. Along this line of multiple uses for EFT, the following study discusses the use of EFT for weight loss :

https://core.ac.uk/reader/196606331?utm_source=linkout

 Repeated measures ANOVA compared scores pre- to 12-month follow-up, and significant improvements were found for body weight (P < .001), depression symptoms (P = 0.010), restraint (P = 0.025), and the subjective power of food in the external environment (P = 0.018). Weight decreased an average of 1lb/week during the course and 2lb/month between pretest and one-year follow-up.

This 2019 study found that EFT improved many of the previously mentioned health issues, but interestingly, it also increased happiness and lowered blood pressure!

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC6381429/

Here is a relevant quote :

>>> '  Participants (N = 203) were enrolled in a 4-day training workshop held in different locations. At one workshop (n = 31), participants also received comprehensive physiological testing. Posttest, significant declines were found in anxiety (-40%), depression (-35%), posttraumatic stress disorder (-32%), pain (-57%), and cravings (-74%), all P < .000. Happiness increased (+31%, P = .000) as did SigA (+113%, P = .017). Significant improvements were found in RHR (-8%, P = .001), cortisol (-37%, P < .000), systolic BP (-6%, P = .001), and diastolic BP (-8%, P < .000). Positive trends were observed for HRV and HC and gains were maintained on follow-up, indicating EFT results in positive health effects as well as increased mental well-being. ' <<<

I practice EFT and wasn't even aware it could improve blood pressure, hah, but I did know it could increase happiness as that is a benefit I have gotten from its use!

Additional EFT Benefits 

1. One study showed that EFT can significantly reduce fatigue in patients with multiple sclerosis.

2. EFT reduces PMS easily.

3. Useful for reduction of cancer-related cognitive impairment.

4. Reduction of stress, an important use in this age of Covid-19

5. Reduces burnout in nurses dealing with Covid-19 patients.

6. Significantly increases the quality of life in post-stroke patients.

7. Significantly reduce cortisol levels.

8. Reduce bipolar disorder symptoms.

9. Reduce anger.

10. Improve mood and quality of life in older adults.

From this list, it is apparent that EFT has multiple uses of which we are barely scratching the surface here. I think the potential is huge with limitations being set by yourself. If you try not to limit what you think EFT can do, I think you will quickly start to realize that EFT likely has much more importance for people than this minimal view I presented here that centers mainly on PTSD.

EFT + Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) for PTSD

One more single case study regarding a World Trade Center survivor regarding PTSD showed that EFT plus Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is more effective than either one alone for treating PTSD. This patient was made almost symptom free in just one session :

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31156201/

Here is a very relevant quote :

>>> ' The combination of treatment methods appears to be highly effective and allowed this subject to return to work after many years of disability. ' <<<

Best Way to Implement EFT

Okay, so this all sounds very good as an effective treatment for PTSD and other health issues, but how and what do you do to implement EFT? I, like thousands of other people, learned how to do EFT from various videos on YouTube that number in the hundreds if not thousands. I watched quite a few videos of EFT practitioners before I found one that I felt comfortable with the specific techniques that he was using and I think that is a good approach for the EFT novice to get started.

Search for a practitioner on YouTube whose technique resonates with you. There are many on YT and you should be able to fairly quickly find a practitioner whose methods and techniques you feel comfortable with.

I don't want to name one, because I don't want you to be limited in your search. If you look at 10 different practitioners, you will quickly see which ones appeal to you the most and that will quickly narrow your list of practitioners that you are interested in learning from.

Almost all of these practitioners have paid courses you can take if you want to cut right to the chase, but if you are in no hurry, almost all of these EFT practitioners teach you for free through their videos how to utilize EFT for you and then once you learn their techniques and feel comfortable with them, you will be well on your way to using to improve your life as well as the lives of others! I would say let your imagination roam in trying to determine all that EFT has to offer us.

Here is a keyword link to get you started now on YouTube!

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=emotional+freedom+technique

Art




5 User Reviews



Posted by Trina (Louisville, KY) on 02/10/2022
5 out of 5 stars

EFT is wonderful for ptsd. The tapping is a form over external acupuncture points. Coupled with deep breathing, it can create a very calm inner self.

Replied by Mary
(NEW YORK)
02/10/2022
3 out of 5 stars

EFT…Tapping is good… but Psych K is better!

Art
(California)
02/12/2022
1338 posts
5 out of 5 stars

Hi Mary,

I saw some information for Psych-K on the internet, but PubMed didn't have one study listed for it, whereas they have over 100 clinical trials for EFT for multiple health issues of which it has an excellent response rate including PTSD that significantly surpasses the current standard of care (SOC) for PTSD and is also much faster at treating PTSD than SOC.

Aside from the clinical trials, I use it also and have gotten very good results over years of use. You can pay a trained EFT practitioner to work with you and teach you how to use it or you can go to YouTube and watch hundreds of free tutorials that train you how to do EFT. That is what I did and it allowed me to find a practitioner that I could relate to and easily understand his methods quickly at no cost. I have found EFT to be very useful for myself and friends.

Art

Replied by Art
(California)
02/18/2022
1338 posts

Hi Trina, Thank you for your comments! I'm sorry I missed your message, I just saw it right now. Thank you for the advice on adding deep breathing to EFT! Yes, it definitely adds to the calming effect. EFT is excellent for anxiety, depression, nervousness, pain, fatigue and so much more than just PTSD! The practitioner I learned from uses deep breathing as the last step of the release process for EFT. It seems to be additive tot the overall effect. Art


EFT
Posted by Jolene (Albuquerque, Nm) on 12/18/2012
5 out of 5 stars

Catch 22 -I whole-heartedly agree with the people who suggest EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) for PTSD. Many very effective videos demonstrating this technique can be found on YouTube. Just type in EFT tapping for PTSD. Brad Yates has many EFT videos that are effective in alleviating the various symptoms or conditions of PTSD - such as anxiety, guilt, depression, etc.

From what I learned today on the Charlie Rose show on the brain, PTSD probably cannot be completely cured at this time, but greatly reduced in its severity.


EFT
Posted by Effy1 (Phoenix, Az) on 08/23/2011
5 out of 5 stars

I need to agree with making the dietary changes to good real food and a great daily multiple I even take 2-3 daily if I am fatigued and the parasite cleanse. I do have PTSD issues and have dealt with low energy and depression through out my life and these two lifestyle modifications have made a world of difference. EFT is amazing and the passage of time and a healthy lifestyle seems to have calmed me some what. Best to all who suffer needlessly. Be well.