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Is EFT a Potent Treatment For Influencing Gene Expression?

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Is EFT a Potent Treatment for Influencing Gene Expression?

by David MacKay


SANTA ROSA, CA. A paper published in the Review of General Psychology, a journal of the American Psychological Association, suggested that:

  1. Effective psychotherapies turn on or turn off the expression of genes that underlie psychological conditions and psychological health; and
  2. Energy Psychology, including EFT, is among the most potent and precise therapies available for influencing gene expression.

Written by David Feinstein, PhD and Dawson Church, PhD, the paper appeared in one of the Energy Psychology Journal issues. The abstract is available in the research bibliography on this website.

A particular class of genes of great interest to biologists, because they turn on in three seconds or less, is the IEGs or Immediate Early Genes. These are the stress genes, the ones that contain the blueprints that allow our bodies to produce stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. They turn on quickly because an effective response to danger is essential to an organism’s survival.

But if they’re turned on repeatedly, for instance by filling our minds with stressful thoughts, or re-playing unresolved childhood traumas, the overproduction of those stress hormones robs our body of the precursors required for cell repair and other beneficial biological functions.

In their groundbreaking paper, David Feinstein and Dawson Church explain how EFT and other forms of energy psychology reduce the emotional intensity of traumatic memories, and thus reduce their biological impact as well, silencing stress genes.

One of the most graphic portrayals of the effects of stress comes from studies of identical twins. They’re born with exactly the same genes, and when scientists look at gene maps of their chromosomes at the age of 2 or 3 they’re indistinguishable. Yet by the age of 50 their patterns of gene expression can be very different, if one is more stressed than the other.

Below are some faces of identical twins, showing how they diverge over time.

At the age of 10, identical twins might still look very much alike.

By the age of 30 or 40, stress and other epigenetic factors change their patterns of gene expression.

And by the age of 50 or 60, their biological age can differ by as much as 10 years.


The yellow areas of these chromosomes indicate similar DNA expression patterns in identical twins. At the age of 3, they’re very similar, but by the age of 50, they differ markedly, due primarily to the epigenetic effects of stress.

EFT makes a great contribution by reducing those stresses, and returning the body to a calm baseline. In chapter 11 of The Genie in Your Genes, Dawson Church describes many scientific studies that demonstrate how emotions affect genes, and in chapter 13, the studies showing the effects of EFT on reducing stress.

This paper being published in Review of General Psychology presents the evidence for the stress-reducing genetic effects of energy psychology in scholarly form. These proposed mechanisms of action of EFT have led to a new study examining gene expression after 10 sessions of EFT, as well as one determining if cortisol levels are affected by a single EFT session.