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Effect of the Emotional Freedom Technique on Perceived Stress, Quality of Life, and Cortisol Salivary Levels in Tension-Type Headache Sufferers: A Randomized Controlled Trial

Abstract

Objective
To evaluate the short-term effects of the emotional freedom technique (EFT) on tension-type headache (TTH) sufferers.

Design
We used a parallel-group design, with participants randomly assigned to the emotional freedom intervention (n = 19) or a control arm (standard care n = 16). Setting The study was conducted at the outpatient Headache Clinic at the Korgialenio Benakio Hospital of Athens. Participants Thirty-five patients meeting criteria for frequent TTH according to International Headache Society guidelines were enrolled. Intervention Participants were instructed to use the EFT method twice a day for two months.

Outcome Measures
Study measures included the Perceived Stress Scale, the Multidimensional Health Locus of Control Scale, and the Short-Form questionnaire-36. Salivary cortisol levels and the frequency and intensity of headache episodes were also assessed.

Results
Within the treatment arm, perceived stress, scores for all Short-Form questionnaire-36 subscales, and the frequency and intensity of the headache episodes were all significantly reduced. No differences in cortisol levels were found in any group before and after the intervention.

Conclusions
EFT was reported to benefit patients with TTH. This randomized controlled trial shows promising results for not only the frequency and severity of headaches but also other lifestyle parameters.

Keywords: Stress; TTH; stress management; EFT; health promotion

Citation (APA Style):
Bougea, A. M., Spandideas, N., Alexopoulos, E. C., Thomaides, T., Chrousos, G. P., & Darviri, C. (2013). Effect of the Emotional Freedom Technique on Perceived Stress, Quality of Life, and Cortisol Salivary Levels in Tension-Type Headache Sufferers: A Randomized Controlled Trial. EXPLORE, 9(2), 91–99. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.explore.2012.12.005

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