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Study Finds 86 Percent Of Vets With PTSD Respond To Unusual Healing Technique

A growing number of people are using a non-conventional method to deal with stresses and anxieties. The "Emotional Freedom Technique" has been around for many years without making too much noise. But a new report claims EFT is the best treatment yet for soldiers with PTSD.


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“OK, we’re gonna start at the eyebrow. ‘I have so much clutter in my life.’”

“I have so much clutter in my life.”

“I always have this bad habit of collecting clutter.”

“I always have this bad habit of collecting clutter.”

Every Wednesday morning, members of The Woodlands EFT Tappers group meet for an Emotional Freedom Technique session.

EFT, or “tapping” is a therapy that uses acupuncture points for psychotherapy. Patients repeatedly tap different points on the body while thinking about a personal problem and voicing positive affirmations.

Anna Nelson started the group nine years ago. She first heard about the technique from a friend, but didn’t do anything with it because she didn’t believe it would work.

“And one day, I was… My husband had road rage, which he had quite often. So he was driving. I didn’t know what to do and I was thinking, I’ll try this stupid method. So he was having both hands on the steering wheel and I tapped on top of his head, and he got so angry for two seconds. And then he started smiling. And then, you know, I said to myself, wow, this really must be working.”

According to Dr. Dawson Church, it’s also working for veterans who are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.

Church is with the Foundation for Epigenetic Medicine in Santa Rosa, Calif. He led a study that found that 86 percent of veterans who received six sessions of EFT treatment dropped from the category of clinical, or severe, to subclinical PTSD.  

“It just seems to take those traumatic memories and all the emotional charge that previously was held in them, suddenly is released after you’ve used EFT.”

Church says the challenge is to get military institutions to adopt the technique. Only a few military medical centers offer it as part of their PTSD treatment. Houston’s Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center is not one of them.

A video The Woodlands EFT Tappers group recommends

But those that are, swear by the technique.

Dr. Jerry Wesch heads the “Warrior Combat Stress Reset Program” at the Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center in Fort Hood. He says he’s used tapping for more than 20 years and it’s now one of several components in his treatment program for soldiers.

“Ha, in the beginning they’re so skeptical. They say, you’re going to have me do what? Tap on where? And then they try it and then they’ll say, ‘I don’t know how this works, but I’m going to keep using it.’”

Wesch says that skepticism toward this relatively new and unusual technique may be the reason why EFT isn’t recognized by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. But he says he expects the technique to eventually become a part of basic training in psychotherapy with trauma.