Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate whetherself-administered Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) lead toreduced pain perception, increased acceptance and copingability, and better health-related quality of life in individuals with fibromyalgia. Methods: Eighty-six women, diagnosed with fibromyalgia and on sick leave for at least 3 months, were randomly assigned to a treatment group or a wait-listed group. For those in the treatment group, an 8-week EFT treatment program was administered via the internet.
Results: Upon completion of the program, statistically significant improvements were observed in the intervention group (n=26) in comparison with the wait-listed group (n=36) for variables such as pain, anxiety, depression, vitality, social function, mental health, performance problems involving work or other activities due to physical as well as emotional reasons, and stress symptoms. In addition, pain catastrophizing measures, such as rumination, magnification, and helplessness, were significantly reduced, and activity level was significantly increased in the treatment group compared to the wait-listed group. However, no difference in pain willingness between the groups was observed. The number needed to treat (NNT) regarding recovering from anxiety was 3. NNT for depression was 4.
Conclusion: Self-administered EFT seems to be a good complement to other treatments and rehabilitation programs. The sample size was small and the dropout rate was high. Therefore the surprisingly good results have to be interpreted with caution. However, it would be of interest to further study this simple and easily accessible self-administered treatment method, which can even be taught over the internet.
Key words: Energy psychology, Emotional Freedom Techniques, EFT, fibromyalgia, internet-based interventions.