Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT or just Tapping) is a type of meridian tapping in which we tap lightly on the endpoints of several of the body's energy meridians as mapped out by Traditional Chinese Medicine. These are some of the same points that might be used in acupuncture or acupressure to address a wide variety of issues, both physical and emotional. If you've ever had acupuncture treatments from an accomplished practitioner, you know that its effects are very real and helpful. Many modern Western studies have proven the efficacy of this ancient healing practice, though of course it has already been shown to be effective in China over the course of roughly 3,000 years. You can find links to several studies below for your reference.
Tapping is a self-help technique that leverages the power of stimulating a specific series of points on the body, which helps qi (or chi), the Chinese word for life energy, to move more freely through the body by removing energy blockages. To the western mind, this can sound pretty esoteric, but the calming physical effects are often very real and have proven to be measurable in scientific studies. Once you learn the points and the basic technique, it's often easy to feel a substantial positive change in both physical and emotional states of being during and after its use. In my experience, it can bring us bolts of insight we didn't have access to just moments before. It can also free us to experience life in much greater ease and balance by reducing our physical and emotional stress. Clinical studies have proven its efficacy in rapidly reducing stress hormone levels, and I have provided links to some of these studies below.
Here's How to Do It
Below you'll find a written explanation of how to tap and illustrations of the acupuncture points you'll be using during the process.
Our first step is to decide what we're working on. Let's say it's frustration. Next, we are going to repeat what's called our set-up statement three times while we tap all along the side of the hand under the pinky finger (as shown at left) using the fingers of the other hand; you can also just tap the outsides of both hands together. (This first point is called the karate chop point.) The purpose of this statement is to voice the issue and allow ourselves to relax a little about where we are right now. A basic set-up statement would be: "Even though I feel all this frustration, I deeply and completely love and accept myself."
Next, we start a round of tapping on the rest of the points. We'll keep proceeding around these points until our issue is much better or completely resolved—the obvious goal. This is the order:
1. Inside of the eyebrow
2. Outside of the eye
3. Under the eye
4. Under the nose
5. In the crease of the chin
6. Under the collarbone
7. Under the arm
8. Under the chest
9. On the inside crease of the wrist
10. On the crown of the head
If you'd like more detailed help in getting up and running with using the powerful basic technique, enter your information in the box on the Home page to subscribe to my newsletter and get my free report: Tapping—Why It Works and Why It Might Not Work for You the Very First Time You Try It.
You can also refer to my blog entries for tips, tricks, and musings about this subject and others. I'll see you there!
A Longer Demonstration
Here's how to use the simplest form of EFT, the Basic Recipe, Shortcut Version. Tapping can feel a bit awkward at first because you know you'd look weird to others doing this, or because it may not seem like this could help. I encourage you to suspend your belief and try it anyway. It's not complicate. Here's what we'll go over:
- Deciding what to Tap about
- The reminder phrase
- A statement of self-acceptance
- One full round of Tapping
Sometimes people worry that saying out loud how they really feel while Tapping is too negative. Remember that it's healthy to express emotion, and the Tapping helps any negative feelings to dissipate more quickly than just talking.
A Few Studies Proving the Helpful Effects of EFT Tapping
Church, D., Hawk, C., Brooks, A., Toukolehto, O., Wren, M., Dinter, I., & Stein, P. (2013). Psychological trauma in veterans using EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques): A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 201, 153-160. doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e31827f6351
Church, D., Yount, G., & Brooks, A. J. (2012). The effect of Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) on stress biochemistry: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease. 200(10), 891-896. doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e31826b9fc1
Church, D., De Asis, M. A., & Brooks, A. J. (2012). Brief Group Intervention Using Emotional Freedom Techniques for Depression in College Students: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Depression Research and Treatment, 2012, 1-7. doi: 10.1155/2012/25717.
Article: Acupoint stimulation in treating psychological disorders: Evidence of efficacy.
By Feinstein, David
Review of General Psychology, Vol 16(4), Dec 2012, 364-380.
Summary of a study on the use of EFT for reducing food cravings: http://petastapleton.com/research/
Benor DJ1, Ledger K, Toussaint L, Hett G, Zaccaro D. Pilot study of emotional freedom techniques, wholistic hybrid derived from eye movement desensitization and reprocessing and emotional freedom technique, and cognitive behavioral therapy for treatment of test anxiety in university students. Explore (NY). 2009 Nov-Dec;5(6):338-40. doi: 10.1016/j.explore.2009.08.001. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19913760
Wells S1, Polglase K, Andrews HB, Carrington P, Baker AH.
Evaluation of a meridian-based intervention, Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), for reducing specific phobias of small animals.
J Clin Psychol. 2003 Sep;59(9):943-66.