Inspiration

EFT Tapping and Fibromyalgia – What Does the Research Say?

Written by: Nick Ortner

Fibromyalgia involves widespread, chronic pain and tenderness all over the body, and it often comes along with other symptoms like fatigue, sleep problems, memory issues, and more. With such challenging and debilitating symptoms like those, it isn’t surprising that fibromyalgia can take a major toll on people’s lives and impact their mental and emotional wellbeing in a big way.

It’s often hard for people to find a treatment plan and self-care strategy to manage their symptoms that works well for them and their unique body. So if you or someone you know is struggling with fibromyalgia, I want to make sure you know about a tool that can have really amazing results when it comes to this condition – Tapping.

There are countless anecdotal reports of Tapping (also known as EFT) helping people with fibromyalgia. In fact, I’ve heard from many, many people in our very own Tapping Solution community who have found EFT Tapping to be a complete game changer for them, helping them to better manage or even resolve their pain and other symptoms.

Today, I wanted to highlight some of the research on EFT and fibromyalgia, so you can learn more about the science behind this incredibly effective self-care tool.

The current evidence behind Tapping for fibromyalgia

To date, there are two published studies on the topic. 

One of them was really small and involved only six women with fibromyalgia. While the results from this study were not considered “statistically significant,” the author did note that the data indicated an overall improvement for the women who were treated with EFT.[1]

Another study on Tapping for fibromyalgia was conducted by Swedish researcher Gunilla Brattberg. This study was larger and provided some really exciting results that suggest EFT can be very effective in supporting those with fibromyalgia.[2]

Let’s dive in to take a closer look and learn more about this exciting study!

A closer look at the study

In the study, a group of women with fibromyalgia diagnoses (all of whom were on sick leave due to their condition) were divided into two groups. The first half were assigned to the intervention group and were given EFT Training. These women were instructed to practice Tapping once per day for eight weeks. The other half were in the control group. Twenty-six women in total completed the study in the treatment group, and 36 women completed the study in the control group.[2]

All participants filled out questionnaires asking them about their pain, level of distress, anxiety and depression symptoms, quality of life, and so on at the beginning of the study and also eight weeks after it was over.

And what the author of the study found was that for the people in the EFT group, both the intensity of their pain and the influence of their pain on their life were reduced after they practiced Tapping.[2]

Additionally, the group of women who practiced Tapping daily reported reductions in:

  • Stress and tension
  • Anxiety and depression
  • The amount they ruminated on their pain
  • Feelings of helplessness related to their pain
  • Performance issues related to work and other activities [2]

On top of all of that, the women who did Tapping also experienced improvements in:

  • Quality of life
  • Social function
  • Vitality
  • Physical activity level
  • Self-efficacy (belief in themselves and their abilities) [2]

In the control group (the group of women who did not do Tapping daily), no improvements or changes were seen from before to after the study period.

The author notes that the findings should be interpreted with caution and replicated with further study, as there was a high dropout rate and the sample size ended up being relatively small. 

But even so, the data are really promising and suggest that EFT Tapping has the potential to positively affect many areas of a person’s life when living with fibromyalgia.

Why is Tapping SO good for fibromyalgia?

The study referenced above clearly showed some incredible benefits for people with fibromyalgia who practiced regular Tapping. Not only did their perceived pain go down, but also the pain they did still have didn’t negatively influence them as much as before. Their quality of life, vitality, and mental wellbeing all improved thanks to Tapping!

So the question is, why did Tapping have such great effects for the women with fibromyalgia who did daily Tapping? There are likely many different pathways in which EFT Tapping helps people with chronic pain conditions like fibromyalgia.

For example:

  • Tapping promotes acceptance. In that research paper, the author shared that previous research has shown that acceptance of chronic pain is associated with less pain. Because EFT Tapping helps us to accept our current circumstances, including the pain we might be in, the author suggests that “acceptance of pain may be the key factor in the observed results.”[2]
  • Tapping releases stress, which is linked to chronic pain. Tapping is an effective way to help calm down our nervous system, which is extremely important when you suffer from chronic pain. Chronic stress and chronic pain are proven to be related. When you feel pain, it initiates the body’s stress response. And the stress response can also trigger physical pain, leading to a vicious cycle. Tapping works by sending calming signals to the brain, helping to turn down that stress response so we can move into a state of being that promotes healing. The less stressed and anxious we are, the less likely we are to have as much pain.
  • Tapping helps us let go of pent-up emotions that can contribute to chronic pain. We all feel emotions; but when we don’t have a healthy way to release them from our bodies, they can manifest themselves as physical symptoms like pain. Tapping supports us in acknowledging and honoring ALL of our feelings so that we can release them and let them go to make room for greater peace, ease, balance, and health in our bodies.
  • Tapping influences our physiology. Research has proven that Tapping produces physiological changes in the body, including reducing cortisol levels. It also has beneficial effects on the nervous system, cardiovascular system, endocrine system, and immune system.[3-5] These physiological changes can have positive impacts when it comes to pain and conditions like fibromyalgia.

You can learn more about how Tapping can help with pain relief here

Tapping for fibromyalgia relief – getting started for yourself

There are many different angles from which Tapping may support those with fibromyalgia. 

From helping people to accept their pain, to calming their brain and bodies down, EFT Tapping has tremendous potential to support people with conditions like fibromyalgia and other chronic pain syndromes to not just reduce their pain, but to boost their wellbeing and feel more powerful in their lives as well.

If you or someone you know has fibromyalgia, Tapping is well worth a try. It has helped so many people feel better and feel more empowered to live well and thrive despite their fibromyalgia diagnosis. And it is backed up by scientific evidence, too!

I get so excited each time I hear a positive success story of someone finding relief from physical symptoms, chronic pain, and conditions like fibromyalgia after trying Tapping. It is amazing to hear these stories of transformation!

If you are looking for support for fibromyalgia and are open to exploring the power of Tapping, here are some resources we have available that you might find helpful:

And if you are completely brand new to Tapping, learn more about the Tapping process here and the Tapping points here.  

As always, take care and keep Tapping!

Until next time, 

Nick Ortner

References

  1. Connais C. The effectiveness of emotional freedom technique on the somatic symptoms of fibromyalgia. University of the Rockies, Denver, CO. 2009. Doctoral dissertation, 3372777.
  2. Brattberg G. Self-administered EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) in individuals with fibromyalgia: A randomized trial. Integr Med. 2008;7:30–35
  3. Bach D, Groesbeck G, Stapleton P, Sims R, Blickheuser K, Church D. Clinical EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) Improves Multiple Physiological Markers of Health. J Evid Based Integr Med. 2019;24:2515690X18823691. doi:10.1177/2515690X18823691
  4. Church D, Yount G, Brooks AJ. The effect of emotional freedom techniques on stress biochemistry: a randomized controlled trial. J Nerv Ment Dis. 2012;200(10):891-896.
  5. Stapleton P, Crighton G, Sabot D, O’Neill HM. Reexamining the effect of emotional freedom techniques on stress biochemistry: A randomized controlled trial. Psychol Trauma. 2020;12(8):869-877.


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