COVID-19 is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation.
Get the latest public health information from CDC:

Get the latest research information from NIH: Menu

Gene Expression Correlates of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Symptom Change After EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques)

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT01250431
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : November 30, 2010
Last Update Posted : April 25, 2018
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Dawson Church, Soul Medicine Institute

Brief Summary:
The purpose of the study is to measure the change in psychological symptoms and gene expression in war veterans after a series of 10 EFT coaching sessions. Outcome studies have shown statistically significant reductions in depression, anxiety, and PTSD in veterans after EFT, and this study extends earlier research using biological sampling. EFT is a form of Energy Psychology (EP) that is sometimes referred to as "emotional acupuncture." It involves self-stimulation of 14 acupuncture points at the end of meridians with the fingertips, while recalling an emotional event such as a combat trauma. It is typically effective in 6 to 15 coaching sessions, making it an efficient clinical technique for reducing affect.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic Behavioral: EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) Early Phase 1

Detailed Description:
There is peer-reviewed published experimental evidence showing that (a) acupuncture reduces the fear response in the brain, especially the limbic system, and most particularly the amygdala; that (b) tapping or rubbing acupuncture points (acupressure) can be as effective as needling them; that (c) EFTs use of such acupressure is efficacious in reducing anxiety, PTSD and other mood disorders; that (d) EFT reliably reduces emotional intensity associated with traumatic memories, is safe and low-risk; that (e) all EP studies that included a long-term follow-up show that patient gains are maintained over time; that (f) the psychological questionnaires used in this study are validated and safe; and that for all these reasons (g) EP is a treatment of choice among therapists when dealing with the traumatic memories of clients. This study extends these findings by noting changes in gene expression associated with the remission of PTSD symptoms.

Layout table for study information
Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Actual Enrollment : 18 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: None (Open Label)
Primary Purpose: Screening
Official Title: Gene Expression Correlates of PTSD Symptom Change After EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques): A Randomized Controlled Trial
Actual Study Start Date : November 2010
Actual Primary Completion Date : November 2017
Actual Study Completion Date : November 2017

Resource links provided by the National Library of Medicine

Arm Intervention/treatment
Experimental: EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques)
10 sessions of EFT.
Behavioral: EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques)
10 EFT sessions

No Intervention: Wait List
10 week wait period.

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. QRT-PCR Assessment of Gene Expression Associated with Psychological Symptoms of Traumatic Stress [ Time Frame: Pre-intervention and Post-intervention ]
    For the experimental group, the first data point is immediately before the first EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) session. The second data point is immediately after the last of 10 weekly sessions. The control group is assessed at intake, and after 10 weeks.

Information from the National Library of Medicine

Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contacts provided below. For general information, Learn About Clinical Studies.

Layout table for eligibility information
Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years to 80 Years   (Adult, Older Adult)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   Yes

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Military Service
  • The ability to follow instructions, complete written forms, understand English, and provide informed consent. Subjects are required to be literate and understand English.
  • Remaining under the care of a primary care provider such as a VA hospital throughout the entire period of the study
  • Between 18 and 80 years old. No children will be research subjects in this study.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • A current or past physical or psychiatric disorder that would preclude their being able to respond to the psychosocial measures adequately, or to give blood safely (i.e. cognitive dysfunction, psychosis, or any blood or bleeding disorder)
  • Regularly work a night or graveyard shift (to avoid effects of alterations in circadian rhythm)
  • Inability to come into the San Francisco laboratory for an afternoon for testing
  • Immunomodulatory disorders (e.g. AIDS, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, lupus) or cancer history
  • Aggressive chronic periodontitis
  • Antibiotics within the last 3 months prior to the recruitment date
  • A score of more than 4 on questions 34 and 35 of the SA-45:

Having urges to beat, injure, or harm someone Having urges to break or smash things

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its identifier (NCT number): NCT01250431

Layout table for location information
United States, California
Soul Medicine Institute
Santa Rosa, California, United States, 95404
Sponsors and Collaborators
Soul Medicine Institute
Layout table for investigator information
Principal Investigator: Dawson Church, PhD Soul Medicine Institute
Principal Investigator: Garret Yount, PhD Soul Medicine Institute
Publications of Results:
Layout table for additonal information
Responsible Party: Dawson Church, Principal Investigator, Soul Medicine Institute Identifier: NCT01250431    
Other Study ID Numbers: SMI-YOUNT-11/24/10
First Posted: November 30, 2010    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: April 25, 2018
Last Verified: April 2018
Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Layout table for MeSH terms
Stress Disorders, Traumatic
Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic
Trauma and Stressor Related Disorders
Mental Disorders