Evaluation of a meridian-based intervention, Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), for reducing specific phobias of small animals

This study explored whether a meridian-based procedure, Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), can reduce specific phobias of small animals underlaboratory-controlled conditions. Randomly assigned participants were treated individually for 30 min with EFT (n = 18) or a comparison condition, diaphragmatic breathing (DB) (n = 17). ANOVAS revealed that EFT produced significantly greater improvement than did DB behaviorally and on three self-report measures, but not on pulse rate. The greater improvement for EFT was maintained, and possibly enhanced, at six- to nine-months follow-up on the behavioral measure. These findings suggest that a single treatment session using EFT to reduce specific phobias can produce valid behavioral and subjective effects. Some limitations of the study also are noted and clarifying research suggested. © 2003 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Clin Psychol

Wells, S., Polglase, K., Andrews, H. B., Carrington, P. and Baker, A. H. (2003), Evaluation of a meridian-based intervention, Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), for reducing specific phobias of small animals. J. Clin. Psychol., 59: 943–966. doi: 10.1002/jclp.10189

Brief Group Intervention Using Emotional Freedom Techniques for Depression in College Students: A Randomized Controlled Trial


Two hundred thirty-eight first-year college students were assessed using the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI). Thirty students meeting the BDI criteria for moderate to severe depression were randomly assigned to either a treatment or control group. The treatment group received four 90-minute group sessions of EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques), a novel treatment that combines exposure, cognitive reprocessing, and somatic stimulation. The control group received no treatment. Posttests were conducted 3 weeks later on those that completed all requirements.

The EFT group had significantly more depression at baseline than the control group. After controlling for baseline BDI score, the EFT group had significantly less depression than the control group at posttest, with a mean score in the “nondepressed” range. Cohen’s was 2.28, indicating a very strong effect size. These results are consistent with those noted in other studies of EFT that included an assessment for depression and indicate the clinical usefulness of EFT as a brief, cost-effective, and efficacious treatment.
Dawson Church, Midanelle A. De Asis, and Audrey J. Brooks, “Brief Group Intervention Using Emotional Freedom Techniques for Depression in College Students: A Randomized Controlled Trial,” Depression Research and Treatment, vol. 2012, Article ID 257172, 7 pages, 2012. doi:10.1155/2012/257172

Efficacy of massage on muscle soreness, perceived recovery, physiological restoration and physical performance in male bodybuilders

Kargarfard M, Lam ET, Shariat A, Shaw I, Shaw BS, Tamrin SB. J Sports Sci. 2016 May;34(10):959-65. doi: 10.1080/02640414.2015.1081264. Epub 2015 Sep 3.

It is believed that sport massage after intensive exercise might improve power and perceptual recovery in athletes. However, few studies have been done in this area. This study aimed to examine the effect of massage on the performance of bodybuilders. Thirty experienced male bodybuilders were randomly assigned to either a massage group (n = 15) or a control group (n = 15). Both groups performed five repetition sets at 75-77% of 1RM of knee extensor and flexor muscle groups. The massage group then received a 30-min massage after the exercise protocol while the control group maintained their normal passive recovery. Criteria under investigation included: plasma creatine kinase (CK) level, agility test, vertical jump test, isometric torque test, and perception of soreness. All variables were measured over 6 time periods: baseline, immediately after the DOMS inducing protocol, right after the massage, and 24, 48, and 72 h after the massage. Both groups showed significant (P < .001) decreases in jumping, agility performance, and isometric torque, but significant (P < .001) increases in CK and muscle soreness levels. The massage group in general demonstrated a better recovery rate. As such, a post-exercise massage session can improve the exercise performance and recovery rate in male bodybuilders after intensive exercise.

Psychological therapy for parents of children and adolescents with a longstanding or life-threatening physical illness

Eccleston C, Fisher E, Law E, Bartlett J, Palermo TM. Psychological interventions for parents of children and adolescents with chronic illness. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2015, Issue 4. Art. No.: CD009660. DOI:10.1002/14651858.CD009660.pub3.


This is an update of a previously published review published in 2012 investigating the efficacy of psychological therapies for parents of children with a longstanding or life-threatening physical illness. This review updates includes studies that have been conducted in the previous two years to give an up-to-date review of the evidence.

Parenting a child with a longstanding or life-threatening illness is very difficult, and can have a negative impact on many aspects of the parents’ life. Parents of these children often have difficulty balancing caring for their child with other responsibilities and demands. As a result, parents may experience more stress, worries, mood disturbance, family arguments, and their children may show troubling or problematic behaviour. Parents also have a major influence on their child’s well-being and adjustment, and play an important role in how their child adapts to living with an illness. Treatments for parents of children with a longstanding illness aim to improve parent distress, parenting behaviours, family conflict, child distress, child disability and the child’s medical symptoms.

Review question

To evaluate the effectiveness of psychological therapies for parents of children and adolescents with chronic illnesses including painful conditions, cancer, diabetes mellitus, asthma, traumatic brain injury (TBI), inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), skin diseases, or gynaecological disorders. Psychological therapies will be compared to active, treatment as usual, or wait-list controls. There were two primary outcomes of interest: parent mental health and parenting behaviour. We included five secondary outcomes; child behaviour/disability, child mental health, child symptoms, family functioning, and adverse events.

Study characteristics

The search was completed in July 2014. Forty-seven studies were found in the search including 3778 participants. The average age of the children was 14.6 years. We found studies that focused on six chronic illnesses (painful conditions, cancer, diabetes, asthma, traumatic brain injury and eczema) and evaluated four types of psychological therapies (cognitive behavioural therapy, family therapy, problem solving therapy, multisystemic therapy). Outcomes were extracted from the time point immediately after the treatment and at the first available follow-up. We analysed the data in two ways: first we grouped the studies by each individual illness (across all therapies) and then we grouped the studies by each individual psychological therapy (across all chronic illnesses).

Key Results

Psychological therapies improved parenting behaviour of parents of children with cancer immediately following treatment. Parent distress also improved for parents of children with cancer. Children with painful conditions and those with symptoms of diabetes showed benefit immediately following treatment, and for diabetes the reduction in symptoms was maintained at follow-up. When analysing different psychological therapies, we found cognitive behavioural therapy can improve the child’s medical symptoms. Problem-solving therapy can improve a parent’s distress and their ability to solve problems, with the reduction in parental distress continuing long-term. Five studies reported that there were no adverse events during the study period. The remaining studies failed to report or discuss adverse events. Risk of bias assessments of included studies were predominantly unclear due to poor reporting.


There is evidence that psychological therapies including parent interventions can benefit parents of children with a chronic illness, particularly for parents of children with cancer. However, due to the small number of studies in this review, future studies are likely to change the findings in this review.

The effect of the stay active advice on physical activity and on the course of acute severe low back pain

Patricia Olaya-Contreras, Jorma StyfDaniel ArvidssonKarin Frennered and Tommy Hansson

BMC Sports Science, Medicine and Rehabilitation20157:19  DOI: 10.1186/s13102-015-0013-x



Disability due to acute low back pain (ALBP) runs parallel with distress and physical inactivity. If low back pain persists, this may lead to long-term sick leave and chronic back pain. This prospective randomized study evaluated the effect on physical activity and on the course of ALBP of two different treatment advices provided in routine care.


Ninety-nine patients with acute severe LBP examined within 48 h after pain onset were randomized to the treatment advices “Stay active in spite of pain” (stay active group) or “Adjust activity to the pain” (adjust activity group). Pedometer step count and pain intensity (Numeric Rating Scale, NRS, 0–10) were followed daily during seven days. Linear mixed modeling were employed for statistical analyses.


The step count change trajectory showed a curvilinear shape with a steep initial increase reaching a plateau after day 3 in both groups, followed by an additional increase to day 7 in the stay active group only. At day 1, the step count was 4560 in the stay active group compared to 4317 in adjust activity group (p = 0.76). Although there were no statistical differences between the two groups in the parameters describing the change trajectory for step count, the increase in step count was larger in the stay active group. At day 7 the step count was 9865 in the stay active group compared to 6609 in the adjust activity group (p = 0.008). The pain intensity (NRS) trajectory was similar in the two groups. Between day 1 and day 7 it decreased linearly from 5.0 to 2.8 in the stay active group (p < 0.001), and from 4.8 to 2.3 in the adjust activity group (p < 0.001).


Patients with acute severe LBP advised to stay active in spite of the pain exhibited a considerable more active behavior compared to patients adjusting their activity to pain. This result confirms compliance to the treatment advice as well as the utility of the stay active advice to promote additional physical activity for more health benefits in patients with ALBP. There was minimal effect of the treatment advice on the course of ALBP.

Trial registration

ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT02517762).

Massage therapy for osteoarthritis of the knee: a randomized controlled trial.



Massage therapy is an attractive treatment option for osteoarthritis (OA), but its efficacy is uncertain. We conducted a randomized, controlled trial of massage therapy for OA of the knee.


Sixty-eight adults with radiographically confirmed OA of the knee were assigned either to treatment (twice-weekly sessions of standard Swedish massage in weeks 1-4 and once-weekly sessions in weeks 5-8) or to control (delayed intervention). Primary outcomes were changes in the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) pain and functional scores and the visual analog scale of pain assessment. The sample provided 80% statistical power to detect a 20-point difference between groups in the change from baseline on the WOMAC and visual analog scale, with a 2-tailed alpha of .05.


The group receiving massage therapy demonstrated significant improvements in the mean (SD) WOMAC global scores (-17.44 [23.61] mm; P < .001), pain (-18.36 [23.28]; P < .001), stiffness (-16.63 [28.82] mm; P < .001), and physical function domains (-17.27 [24.36] mm; P < .001) and in the visual analog scale of pain assessment (-19.38 [28.16] mm; P < .001), range of motion in degrees (3.57 [13.61]; P = .03), and time to walk 50 ft (15 m) in seconds (-1.77 [2.73]; P < .01). Findings were unchanged in multivariable models controlling for demographic factors.


Massage therapy seems to be efficacious in the treatment of OA of the knee. Further study of cost effectiveness and duration of treatment effect is clearly warranted. .


ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00322244.

[PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
Arch Intern Med. 2006 Dec 11-25;166(22):2533-8.

Exercises for mechanical neck disorders

Exercise for Neck Pain
Gross A, Kay TM, Paquin JP, Blanchette S, Lalonde P, Christie T, Dupont G, Graham N, Burnie SJ, Gelley G, Goldsmith CH,Forget M, Hoving JL, Brønfort G, Santaguida PL, Cervical Overview Group. Exercises for mechanical neck disorders.Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2015, Issue 1. Art. No.: CD004250. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD004250.pub5.

Review question

We reviewed the evidence about the effect of exercise therapy on pain, disability, patient satisfaction, and quality of life among people with neck pain.


Neck pain is common; it can limit a person’s ability to participate in normal activities and is costly. Exercise therapy is a widely used treatment for neck pain. This review includes active exercises (including specific neck and shoulder exercises, stretching, strengthening, postural, breathing, cognitive, functional, eye-fixation and proprioception exercises) prescribed or performed in the treatment of neck pain. Studies in which exercise therapy was given as part of a multidisciplinary treatment, multimodal treatment (along with other treatments such as manipulation or ultrasound), or exercises requiring application by a trained individual (such as hold-relax techniques, rhythmic stabilization, and passive techniques) were excluded.

Study characteristics

The evidence is current to May 2014. We found 27 trials (with a total of 2485 participants) examining whether exercise can help reduce neck pain and disability; improve function, global perceived effect, patient satisfaction and/or quality of life. In these trials, exercise was compared to either a placebo treatment, or no treatment (waiting list), or exercise combined with another intervention was compared with that same intervention (which could include manipulation, education/advice, acupuncture, massage, heat or medications). Twenty-four of 27 trials evaluating neck pain reported on the duration of the disorder: 1 acute; 1 acute to chronic; 1 subacute; 4 subacute/chronic; and 16 chronic. One study reported on neck disorder with acute radiculopathy; two trials investigated subacute to chronic cervicogenic headache.

Key results

Results showed that exercise is safe, with temporary and benign side effects, although more than half of the trials did not report on adverse effects. An exercise classification system was used to ensure similarity between protocols when looking at the effects of different types of exercises. Some types of exercise did show an advantage over the other comparison groups. There appears to be a role for strengthening exercises in the treatment of chronic neck pain, cervicogenic headache and cervical radiculopathy if these exercises are focused on the neck, shoulder and shoulder blade region. Furthermore, the use of strengthening exercises, combined with endurance or stretching exercises has also been shown to be beneficial. There is some evidence to suggest the beneficial effects of specific exercises (e.g. sustained natural apophyseal glides) with cervicogenic headaches and mindfulness exercises (e.g. Qigong) for chronic mechanical neck pain. There appears to be minimal effect on neck pain and function when only stretching or endurance type exercises are used for the neck, shoulder and shoulder blade region.

Quality of the evidence

No high quality evidence was found, indicating that there is still uncertainty about the effectiveness of exercise for neck pain. Future research is likely to have an important impact on the effect estimate.There were a number of challenges with this review; for example, the number of participants in most trials was small, more than half of the included studies were either of low or very low quality and there was limited evidence on optimum dosage requirements.