The Effect of EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) on Athletic Performance: A Randomized Controlled Blind Trial

Dawson Church*
Foundation for Epigenetic Medicine, 1490 Mark West Springs Rd, Santa Rosa CA 95404, USA

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© 2009 Church et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Foundation for Epigenetic Medicine, 1490 Mark West Springs Rd, Santa Rosa CA 95404, USA; Tel: 707-237-6951; E-mail:


The present study investigates the effect of a psychophysiological intervention, Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), on athletic performance. It evaluates whether a single EFT treatment can produce an improvement in highperformance men’s and women’s PAC-10 college basketball team members (n = 26). The treatment group received a 15 minute EFT session while a performance-matched attention control group received a placebo intervention of similar duration. Performance was measured on free throws and vertical jump height. The time frame of data collection and treatment simulated an actual basketball game. A statistically significant difference between the two groups was found for free throws (p<.03). On post-test, players who received the EFT intervention improved an average of 20.8%, while the attention control group decreased an average of 16.6%. There was no difference between treatment groups in jump height. When performance was analyzed separately by gender, trends toward significance were found for the women’s team on both performance measures with better results for the EFT intervention group. This indicates that EFT performed as an intervention during the course of an athletic event may improve free throw performance.

Keywords: Basketball, performance, free throws, Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), anxiety, stress.