EFT for Chronic Pain

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Current chronic pain affects 20-33% of the American adult population (~50+ million adults) and represents a major health care crisis due its associated disabling physical and emotional problems (Gaskin & Richard, 2012), while resulting in healthcare costs up to $635 billion a year (Dahlhamer et al., 2016; Johannes et al., 2010). Evidence from randomized controlled trials reveal lack of rigor in the quality of evidence reported on the effectiveness of physical therapy to treat and im rove chronic pain (van Middelkoop et al., 2011)). In addition, although pharmacological treatments, specifically opioid prescriptions, have increased exponentially (Kenan et al., 2012) these drugs are
often ineffective and incur a high risk for addiction and death (Abdel Shaheed et al., 2016). Similarly, meta-analytic evidence for use of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to treat chronic pain as an adjunct to physical therapy, demonstrates limited to no incremental benefit (Hajihasani et al., 2019).

Due to this limited evidence and treatment void, several innovative mind-body interventions have emerged as potential treatments for chronic pain. Rationale for these
psychotherapeutic approaches (provided at the body level) is indicated by the growing number of studies reporting acceptance of bodily sensations as an important mechanism in
coping with pain and distress. One innovative non-pharmacological mind-body approach, Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), is an evidence-based brief intervention for anxiety, depression, phobias, and posttraumatic stress disorder.


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