John Freedom, Marg Hux, and Jan Warner
The evidence base for acupoint tapping including Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) includes over 120 clinical trials showing relatively rapid and durable improvements for a range of psychological and physical conditions. It supports the premise that tapping is an active ingredient and shows associated physiologic changes. This evidence is based in standard Western literature databases such as EBSCO and overwhelmingly in English.
The current report explores international and regional research on EFT not previously known in the Western literature evidence base.
Methods and Results:
A search of ResearchGate found 86 research studies on acupoint tapping not identified in standard Western databases. A systematic search of 21 databases using the EBSCO search engine yielded an additional five previously unknown papers for a total of 91 research studies. These studies were published in regional and international journals (71% in Indonesia) with most published primarily in languages other than English (81% had only title and/or abstract available in English). EFT was used in 47% of the studies, and the remaining studies used “Spiritual EFT” (SEFT), a variation developed in Indonesia combining tapping with spiritual affirmations from the Quran. The majority (84%) were single group or comparative clinical trials and 5% were literature reviews. The target issue included a range of psychological or medical conditions such as anxiety (29%), depression (15%), and hypertension (11%). In a further step, the potential magnitude of this additional research base was explored using Google Scholar. Challenges include inconsistent quality of translations, limited search capabilities of Google Scholar, lack of full text translated into English, and reasons why this literature is not found in the major databases.
This review identified a large number of studies that had been “invisible” in the West due to their having been published in non-English-language journals. They demonstrate growing interest in EFT throughout the world. In comparison with English-language EFT databases, these studies tend to be more frequently performed in treatment settings such as hospitals, clinics, and universities, and they often address medical diagnoses such as diabetes, hypertension, and pain as well as psychological conditions. In addition, they apply EFT with populations rarely focused upon in Western EFT studies, such as prisoners, addicts, cancer patients, and diabetics. Finally, these studies provide a valuable perspective on how acupoint tapping is being used around the world in real-life settings.
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