Pilot Study Bridges the Fields of Energy Medicine and Molecular Biology

July 23, 2019
Steven Swanson, Science Team

One of the more popular alternative treatments for physical pain and emotional distress is Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), a form of energy psychology often referred to as “tapping.” It combines elements of methods like cognitive therapy with acupressure, utilizing a tapping motion focusing on the meridian points that are best known in Chinese medicine. It’s practiced by approximately 20-million people worldwide, and evidence supporting its effectiveness has been reported in numerous studies published in peer-reviewed biomedical journals.

Recently a team led by IONS scientist Dr. Garret Yount performed a study to explore the effects of EFT at the genomic level. A small group of war veterans experiencing symptoms of PTSD were recruited for the study and split into two groups, one receiving EFT treatment immediately, the other after a 10-week waiting period, and blood samples were drawn at various points from each participant. Different aspects of the data were analyzed, with the most recent portion of the study focusing on noncoding RNA molecules to determine if they might mediate the efficacy of EFT techniques. And the study found participants who received EFT therapy showed a general trend of decreased levels of expression in their noncoding RNA compared to those who did not.

Dr. Yount notes that this was a pilot study whose primary purpose was to determine the feasibility of measuring effects at the genomic level that are associated with EFT therapy and other techniques based on energy psychology and energy medicine — and the answer is yes! The report also provides helpful guidelines for researchers in these fields for setting up future experiments. The fact that there were noticeable effects indicates that this is a potentially fruitful area of research for others to carry further, whether that be specifically with EFT or with other forms of energy psychology or energy medicine. And it’s an excellent example of IONS’ mission to bridge previously disparate fields, in this case the fields of energy medicine and molecular biology, in our efforts to achieve a broader and deeper understanding of the interconnected nature of being.

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