Stress reduction via neuro-emotional technique to achieve the simultaneous resolution of chronic low back pain with multiple inflammatory and biobehavioural indicators: A randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial

J Integr Med. 2022 Mar;20(2):135-144. doi: 10.1016/j.joim.2021.12.001. Epub 2021 Dec 3.


Background: Beginning with the concepts of stress developed by Selye, an approach to stress and pain management, known as neuro-emotional technique (NET), has been developed. It is a treatment approach based on the principle that the stressor effects of dormant and/or current unresolved issues or trauma are what determine one's bodily responses. These responses are relatively personalized to the conditioned, experiential and emotional reality of the individual.

Objective: To determine the effect of NET on patients with chronic low back pain (CLBP) over time.

Design, setting, participants, and interventions: In a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled study conducted in a single clinic, NET or control treatments were given twice weekly for 4 weeks in a population of 112 patients.

Main outcome measures: Outcome measures, including Oswestry Disability Index, Quadruple Visual Analogue Scale, the psychoneuroimmunology markers of blood serum levels of C-reactive protein, tumour necrosis factor-α, interleukin-1 (IL-1), IL-6, and IL-10, and 10 dimensions of the Short Form Health Survey scale, were assessed at baseline and at 1, 3 and 6 months following the intervention period.

Results: Compared to placebo, NET produced clinical and statistical significance (P < 0.001) via declines of virtually all physiological, pain and disability markers, accompanied by gains in quality-of-life indicators at 0 (baseline), 1, 3 and 6 months. Reductions of the percentages of patients whose 5 biomarkers lay outside the normative range were achieved at 1, 3 and 6 months by NET but not control interventions.

Conclusion: A randomized, controlled trial of CLBP patients indicated that 8 NET interventions, compared to placebo, produced clinically and statistically significant reductions in pain, disability and inflammatory biomarkers, and improvements in quality-of-life measures.

Trial registration: The trial was registered with the Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (No. ACTRN12608000002381).

Keywords: Biomarker; Biopsychosocial model; Emotion; Inflammation; Mind-body therapies; Neuro-emotional technique.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Australia
  • Chronic Pain* / therapy
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain* / therapy
  • Pain Measurement
  • Treatment Outcome