Many people who are facing surgery are looking for ways to reduce pre-surgical fear. Those of us who work with energy psychology understand how tools like EFT can help. For instance, I (Sarah) have often used EFT with my clients who are fearful of an upcoming operation, and I know – and my clients learned! – how effective it is.

Until now, there have not been clinical trials to back this up. The October 6, 2023, edition of the Journal of PeriAnesthesia Nursing changed that! They published a study by Menevse and Yavla to study the effectiveness of EFT for pre-surgical fear. Results show that, indeed, EFT significantly reduced fear by 54.4%.

The study setup

The research used a pretest, post-test, and randomized controlled experimental research design. A total of 112 patients participated and were randomly divided into EFT experimental and control groups. In order to have data to compare, the control group received standard treatment practices. Meanwhile, the experimental group received EFT.


Researchers used a patient information form, an Anxiety Specific to Surgery Questionnaire, a Surgical Fear Questionnaire, and Subjective Units of Disturbance (SUD) to collect the research data. There were no significant difference between the groups in terms of descriptive and clinical features (P > .05).

The surgery

All participants were facing laparoscopic cholecystectomy. This is a surgical procedure where the surgeon removes the gall bladder through small punctures in the abdomen to permit the insertion of a laparoscope and surgical instruments.


The post-test score averages of EFT group in the Surgical Fear Questionnaire, Anxiety Specific to Surgery Questionnaire, and SUD were significantly lower than in the control group (P < .001). Significantly, EFT reduced the SUD scores of the patients by 54.4% (P < .001).

The authors concluded:  “EFT was found to be useful in clinical practice in the preoperative period, reducing surgery-specific anxiety and surgical fear. EFT can be recommended for application during the preoperative period in clinics.”

Why this study matters.

How to reduce pre-surgical fear and anxiety is an important question for patients and providers. Clinicians and healthcare workers can help their patients by sharing EFT. Most people would love a tool that gives them a 50+% reduction in their fear. That tool exists, and we should be using it.

 Want to learn more?

ACEP offers gold-standard training, designed especially for licensed clinicians, in EFT. Want to learn more while earning CE’s? Take our science of energy healing course. You can stay up to date with the research on energy psychology here, or ask research committee chair John Freedom to add you to the research mailing list. Want to be involved in energy psychology research? You can participate in ACEP’s research collaboration with Peta Stapleton.


John Freedom, CEHP, serves as chairman of ACEP’s research committee. The author of Heal Yourself with Emotional Freedom Technique, he presents seminars and events throughout the US and in Europe.

Sarah Murphy, LPC, ACP-EFT, is an ACEP board member and communications committee chair. She is a counselor in private practice and specializes in working with people who have serious illnesses.