More Evidence Supports EFT: An Iranian Study Shows EFT Helps Postmenopausal Women Combat Depression

(by Sarah Murphy, LPC)

study published in the May 2021 issue of the Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine documents the effectiveness of eight weeks of EFT for depression in postmenopausal women. Researchers documented a ten-point decrease in depression scores from 21 to 11 on the Beck Depression Inventory, among study participants, compared to a two-point drop among sham-treatment controls. The study adds to the growing evidence base for tapping.

Can EFT Help Depression?

Researchers from the Ahvaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences Midwifery Department in Ahvaz, Iran, evaluated Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) as a way to treat depression among their postmenopausal population. After menopause, women are more likely to experience depression, which has a negative impact on quality of life. 

The Study Setup

This randomized controlled study was comprised of 88 women, recruited from a menopause clinic, who had mild to moderate depression (scores between 14 and 28 on the Beck Depression Inventory 2 Scale). 

All participants received training in tapping, and were asked to tap daily for eight weeks. Half of the participants were trained in EFT. The rest were trained in sham tapping, where they tapped on different body points: eyeball, elbow, forehead, arm, chin, and nose. These are not points associated with EFT or any other form of tapping therapy, which draw on Traditional Chinese Medicine’s (TCM) acupressure meridians and treatment points. The sham points did not correlate to known meridian treatment points.

Both groups received phone follow up for the next eight weeks to make sure they were doing their daily  tapping, following the protocol. The study was designed to provide two sessions of live training. However, the covid pandemic hit Iran after the first training, and a second live training was impossible. The researchers switched to virtual training using WhatsApp.

Study Results

The mean depression score for the sham tapping group dropped only slightly, from 19.15 to 17.01. The scores among the EFT group dropped from 20.93 to 10.96.

In the sham tapping group, the frequency of moderate depression dropped from 50% to 29.5%. The EFT group’s score dropped from 56.8% to 9.35%. 

And some women no longer met criteria for depression after the eight weeks: 34.15% in the sham group, compared to 63.4% in the EFT group. 

Why it Matters

Depression is widespread, affecting nearly 20% of American adults. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), it affects 264 million people worldwide. All over the world, women reaching menopause experience an increased rate of depression. A simple, evidence-based tool that can help alleviate depression can make a big difference. Importantly, EFT can be used as a self-help technique that people can do to treat themselves. This can be very useful in parts of the world that lack a strong mental health infrastructure.

Interesting Note

For those who question the validity of EFT’s tapping points, this study should help clear things up. Both groups tapped, but one used sham points and the other used EFT’s acupressure points. As other studies have shown, the sham-point tapping was not as effective as the standard tapping protocol. These results highlight the validity of acupressure points. 

Making it Real: EFT Can Help Depression

EFT is an easy-to-learn, easy-to-use tool that helps with depression (as well as a host of other issues). It is a therapeutic tool as well as a self-help tool; it can be done in groups or for oneself. Many therapists assign tapping homework to reinforce the effectiveness of their one-to-one tapping sessions. 

Imagine a world where many public health centers taught their patients to tap as a means of emotional self-regulation, and to alleviate depression and anxiety. When I imagine that, I see a world filled with peaceful, happy people. 

And that leads me to ask: How can we help spread the word, and make it so? Maybe start by sharing this article with your friends. Please leave comments below!

Want to learn more about the robust body of research? Explore energypsych.org/research.

Author

Sarah Murphy is a licensed professional counselor and coach with more than 12 years of clinical experience. She is Communications Committee Chair for ACEP. She specializes in energy psychology, including EFT, as well as mindfulness and hypnotherapy. Send comments to SarahMurphyLPC@gmail.com; Learn more at www.transformative-therapy.com.

Photograph by Javad-Esmaeili on unsplash

Comments

  1. awesome study, and awesome review Sarah!!

  2. Thank you for a clear explanation of the study carried out and the hopeful results for women (and people regardless of age or gender) that comes from tapping techniques.

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