Use of the Move to Emptiness Technique, A Mind-Body Exercise for Treating Trauma and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: A Case Report

Albert Yeung, MD, ScD; Yi Chen, PhD; Fan Feng, MD, PhD; Wen Zhou, BS; Tracie Goodness, PhD; Fang Wang, MD, PhD; Tianjun Liu, MD



Context • The paper reports a case of trauma treated by the Move to Emptiness Technique (MET), which is a therapy to alleviate patient’s physical or psychological symptom related to trauma by combining Qigong with imagery, metaphor and suggestions.

Objective • To introduce MET and report treating a patient with trauma using MET.

Intervention • The patient was guided to visualize a symbolic object that represented the physical or psychological symptom of the traumatic experience, and visualize moving the symbolic object to the farthest possible space of “emptiness”, where the object became imperceptible. At the same time, the patient embodied the physical and emotional sensations of the symbolic object and its container, and focused on the changes in his sensations when moving them.

Outcome Measures • A self-assessment was used to score the patient’s distress form 0 to 10, 10 being the worst before and after intervention.

Results • The score of distress dropped form 8/10 to 2/10. The patient improved a lot and was better able to manage his emotions and communicate with his parents after resolving his conflict.

Conclusions • MET may be an alternative to commonly used trauma-focused treatments. It is safe and easy to learn for therapists and patients. (Adv Mind Body Med. 2021;35(4):9-11.)


Albert Yeung, MD, ScD, Depression Clinical and Research Program, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA. Yi Chen, PhD, School of Psychology, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing, China. Fan Feng, MD, PhD, Benson Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA. Wen Zhou, BS, Nanjing Xinyoufang Culture Communication Co., Ltd, Nanjing, China. Tracie Goodness, PhD, Home Base Program, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA. Fang Wang, MD, PhD, Department of Psychology, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, Guang’anmen Hospital, Beijing, China. Tianjun Liu, MD, School of Acupuncture-Moxibustion and Tuina, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Beijing, China.

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