Study Shows EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) Improves Multiple Physiological Markers

 In Naturopathic News

Node Smith, ND

A recent study looked at the ability of Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) to impact central nervous system responses by looking at various changes in physiological markers. EFT is an evidence-based therapeutic method that has been documented in over 100 studies, and shown as effective. It is used primarily in a clinical setting for anxiety, depression and certain types of trauma. It can be taught to patients and clients and used as a self-help tool. The current study looked to further elucidate EFTs mechanism of action through modulation of the central nervous system by measuring heart rate variability (HRV) and heart coherence (HC). It also looked at the effects on the circulatory system, the endocrine system and the immune system by measuring resting heart rate (RHR), blood pressure (BP), cortisol and salivary immunoglobulin A (SigA). Psychological symptoms were a secondary aim to measure.

EFTs mechanism of action through modulation of the central nervous system studied

A test group of 203 individuals were enrolled in a 4-day training workshop to learn EFT. Measurements and surveys indicated a significant decrease in anxiety, depression, PTSD, pain, cravings as well as increased happiness scores. Immune system markers were seen to increase, as well as improvements in RHR and a decrease in cortisol. Blood pressure was also observed to lower with EFT and positive trends were seen for HRV and HC post-test.

EFT shows positive health and physiologic effects

The overall conclusion of the study was that EFT shows positive health effects – physiologic effects – as well as increased mental well-being.

What is Emotional Freedom Technique?

EFT is a manual method that can be used clinically, or taught to clients/patients for at home use. It is a brief intervention that utilizes exposure, cognitive therapy, and somatic stimulation of acupressure points on the body and face. The method asks an individual to identify a problem thought, fear, emotion, or situation and rate their level of distress. Then a statement is generated from the “problem” into a “setup statement,” which helps facilitate the healing of the “problem.” This statement is usually stated as “even though I have this problem, or fear, I deeply and completely accept myself/ love myself.” The individual then repeats this statement as they conduct a series of light tapping on various acupressure points on the face and body. At the end of the tapping individuals are asked to re-rate their distress.


Node Smith, ND, is a naturopathic physician in Humboldt, Saskatchewan and associate editor and continuing education director for NDNR. His mission is serving relationships that support the process of transformation, and that ultimately lead to healthier people, businesses and communities. His primary therapeutic tools include counselling, homeopathy, diet and the use of cold water combined with exercise. Node considers health to be a reflection of the relationships a person or a business has with themselves, with God and with those around them. In order to cure disease and to heal, these relationships must be specifically considered. Node has worked intimately with many groups and organizations within the naturopathic profession, and helped found the non-profit, Association for Naturopathic Revitalization (ANR), which works to promote and facilitate experiential education in vitalism.

Node Smith graduated from the National University of Natural Medicine (NUNM) in 2017, and is currently licensed as a naturopathic physician in Oregon and working towards becoming licensed in Saskatchewan, Canada as well.

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