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Research

Studies Accepted in Peer Reviewed Journals

The Neurochemistry of Counterconditioning: Acupressure Desensitization in Psychotherapy

Note: This article assumes you have a working knowledge of EFT. Newcomers can still learn from it but are advised to peruse our Free Gold Standard (Official) EFT Tutorial™ for a more complete understanding.

EFt Tapping Outdated ImageNote: This is one of 3,000 articles written prior to the updated Gold Standard (Official) EFT Tapping Tutorial™. As a result, it is likely outdated. It provides practical uses for EFT Tapping but you should also explore our newest advancement, Optimal EFT, by reading our free e-book, The Unseen Therapist™, and/or get help from a Certified EFT Practitioner.

Lane, J. (2009). The Neurochemistry of Counterconditioning: Acupressure Desensitization in Psychotherapy. Energy Psychology: Theory, Research, & Treatment, 1(1), 31-44. 

Abstract

A growing body of literature indicates that imaginal exposure, paired with acupressure, reduces midbrain hyperarousal and counterconditions anxiety and traumatic memories. Recent research indicates that manual stimulation of acupuncture points produces opioids, serotonin, and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), and regulates cortisol. These neurochemical changes reduce pain, slow the heart rate, decrease anxiety, shut off the fight/flight/freeze response, regulate the autonomic nervous system, and create a sense of calm. This relaxation response reciprocally inhibits anxiety and creates a rapid desensitization to traumatic stimuli. This paper explores the neurochemistry of the types of acupressure counterconditioning used in energy psychology and provides explanations for the mechanisms of actions of these therapies, based upon currently accepted paradigms of brain function, behavioral psychology, and biochemistry.

Keywords: Counterconditioning, acupressure, amygdala, exposure therapies, anxiety, desensitization

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