EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) is a form of treatment that draws on other models of alternative medicine such as acupuncture, energy medicine, neuro-linguistic programming, and Thought Field Therapy. The technique is also referred to as ‘tapping’ or psychological acupressure and is used as an alternative treatment for emotional distress and physical pain.
The theory of EFT is based on the belief that disruptions in the energy fields of the body are the cause of all negative emotions that lead to pain and that the body is able to restore balance to this energy system when certain meridian points are stimulated. EFT tapping has been successfully used to treat anxiety and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) in many people. It is used to help people deal with fears, trauma, and a variety of other issues that affect their lives in a negative way.
How Does it Work?
Based on ancient Chinese medicine, energy flows through the body along meridian pathways in a balanced way, maintaining the health of the body. Any imbalances in this energy flow can cause the body to experience emotional and physical pain and even disease. Restoring balance to the energy system can relieve the painful symptoms that may have been caused by a negative emotion or experience in the past.
In the same way that acupuncture applies pressure to particular energy points to balance energy, EFT uses tapping with the fingers to access these same energy points. Stimulating certain meridian points by tapping sends signals to the part of the brain that helps control stress, releasing the negative emotion caused by an issue and ultimately restoring balance to the disrupted energy flow.
There are five basic steps to address each issue and reduce or eliminate the intensity of negative feelings.
Step 1: Identifying the Issue
Identifying the exact issue is fundamental to the success of the technique as it will be the focal point to concentrate on while tapping. Focusing on one problem at a time will enhance the outcome.
Step 2: Testing the Initial Intensity
As the identified issue is being addressed, a benchmark level of intensity is established rated on a scale from 0 to 10, with 10 being the most intense. The level of intensity describes the physical and emotional discomfort and pain caused by the focal issue being addressed.
Once a benchmark has been established it helps to monitor the progress after performing a complete sequence of tapping. For example, if the intensity experienced was 10 before starting the tapping and dropped down to 5 after the sequence, a 50% improvement has been accomplished. Of course, the goal is to eliminate all discomfort and the sequence can be repeated until it is achieved.
Step 3: The Setup
This is an important part of the process. A phrase describing the issue you are trying to address must be established before commencing with tapping. The phrase explains what it is you are feeling and must focus on 2 main goals:
- Acknowledgment of the issue
- Acceptance and love for yourself despite the issue
In EFT tapping the common setup phrase used is:
“Even though I have this … (fill in the blank with the fear or problem being addressed), I deeply and completely love and accept myself”.
Focus on how the issue makes you feel and the distress it causes.
Step 4: The Tapping Sequence
There are 12 major meridians on each side of the body that mirror each other and correspond to an internal organ.
This sequence includes methodical tapping on 9 of these meridian points:
- KC (Karate Chop), the small intestine meridian
- TH (Top of Head), the governing vessel
- EB (Eyebrow), the bladder meridian
- SE (Side of Eye), the gallbladder meridian
- UE (Under Eye), the stomach meridian
- UN (Under Nose), the governing vessel
- CH (Chin), the central vessel
- CB (Collarbone), the kidney meridian
- UA (Under Arm), the spleen meridian
The sequence begins by tapping with two fingers (the index and middle fingers) of either hand on each point, starting with the karate chop point (the outside of the hand between the little finger and the wrist). Tap the karate point continuously while repeating the setup phrase 3 times.
After this tap each meridian point a few times (about 7) while moving down the body in the following order: top of the eyebrow, side of the eye, under the eye, under the nose, indent above the chin, inside of the collarbone, under the arm in line with the breast, top of the head
While tapping on each meridian point a reminder phrase focusing on the issue must be recited. For example “this fear I feel because of …” or “this pain I feel over …”, “this sadness I feel due to …”. The reminder phrase should be repeated 2 or 3 times at each tapping point.
Step 5: Testing the Intensity Level
At the end of the sequence, the intensity level is again rated from 0 to 10 and compared it with the results from the beginning intensity level. Repeat the process until you experience zero intensity from the issue. If the intensity level goes down to a certain level and stays there you may have to get the help of a professional EFT practitioner to help you identify any underlying problems that may not be evident from the outset. There is an event where EFT experts gather to share their experience. You can participate and glean further insights into Tapping: http://treasuretapping.com/tapping-world-summit
EFT tapping has been used most successfully to treat PTSD in war veterans and active military personnel. Compared to conventional treatment methods, participants who used EFT tapping with the guidance of a coach experienced a significant reduction in psychological stress and more than half of the cases in an EFT test group no longer suffered from anxiety after treatment.