The Emotional Freedom Technique: Finally, a Unifying Theory for the Practice of Holistic Nursing, or Too Good to Be True?

J Holist Nurs. 2017 Dec;35(4):382-388. doi: 10.1177/0898010116648456. Epub 2016 May 11.


The Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is defined and described as a clinical procedure for the relief of psychological and physical distress that patients often bring to the attention of nurses. Frequently referred to as "tapping," this technique combines the cognitive reprocessing benefits of exposure and acceptance therapy with the energetic disturbance releases associated with acupuncture and other energy therapies. More than 60 research articles in peer-reviewed journals report a staggering 98% efficacy rate with the use of this procedure from psychological distress (posttraumatic stress disorder, phobias, anxiety, depression, etc.) to physical conditions (asthma, fibromyalgia, pain, seizure disorders, etc.) to performance issues (athletic, academic). Perhaps because of this, this technique has encountered a fair degree of skepticism within the health care community. Easily taught as a self-help aid that patients can administer to themselves, EFT becomes an efficacious tool in the hands of nurses who are seeking whole person approaches for the healing of a wide variety of psychological and physical conditions. A conceptual framework, mechanisms of action, evidence of safety, literature review, and case studies are also included.

Keywords: emotional freedom technique (EFT); energy work; energy-based therapies; healing modalities.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety / psychology*
  • Anxiety / rehabilitation
  • Anxiety / therapy
  • Desensitization, Psychologic
  • Emotions
  • Holistic Nursing* / methods
  • Humans
  • Mind-Body Therapies*
  • Stress, Psychological / psychology*
  • Stress, Psychological / rehabilitation
  • Stress, Psychological / therapy
  • Treatment Outcome