Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), often referred to as "tapping," is a psychological acupressure technique that can help alleviate emotional distress, reduce anxiety, and manage various negative emotions.
TAPPING: HOW DOES IT WORK?
The Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), also known as "tapping," is based on the concept that emotional and psychological problems are linked to disruptions or imbalances in the body's energy system. The following is a simplified explanation of how tapping is thought to work:
Energy Meridians: EFT is based on the principles of traditional Chinese medicine, which postulate the existence of energy meridians in the body. These meridians are pathways for vital energy (also known as "Qi" or "Chi") to flow. These meridians contain specific acupressure points.
Energy Flow Disruption: Emotional or psychological distress, according to EFT theory, can disrupt the flow of energy in these meridians. This disturbance may be caused by negative emotions, physical discomfort, or psychological issues.
Tapping on Acupressure Points: During a tapping session, you focus on the emotional or physical issue you want to address by tapping on specific acupressure points. The tapping is thought to stimulate these points, clear energy blockages, and restore energy flow balance.
EFT also addresses the concept of "psychological reversal," which occurs when you have subconscious resistance to healing or change. The setup statement at the start of an EFT session assists in acknowledging the issue and reducing resistance.
Dual Focus: While tapping, you maintain dual focus by acknowledging the problem and, at the same time, maintaining self-acceptance and self-compassion. This is done through the setup statement and reminder phrase.
Release of Negative Emotions: Tapping is believed to help release and neutralize the emotional charge associated with a specific issue. As you tap, you are encouraged to express your feelings, thoughts, and emotions related to the problem.
Health benefits of EFT
1. Stress Reduction: EFT is frequently used to reduce stress and anxiety. Tapping on specific points while acknowledging and accepting your emotional state can help to calm the nervous system and reduce stress-related physiological and psychological symptoms.
2. Emotional Regulation: EFT can help you regulate and manage strong emotions like anger, sadness, and fear. Individuals may experience relief from emotional distress by tapping on specific acupressure points and addressing the emotional issue at hand.
3. Pain Management: Some people use EFT to treat physical pain, such as headaches, chronic pain, or discomfort caused by a variety of medical conditions. While it may not work for everyone, some people report less pain after using EFT.
4. Trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): EFT is sometimes used as a complementary therapy for people who have experienced trauma or have PTSD. It is thought to help with the processing of traumatic memories and the associated emotional intensity.
5. Improved Self-Esteem and Confidence: EFT can be used to address self-esteem issues and boost confidence. Working on issues of self-worth and self-belief can help people develop a more positive self-image.
6. Addiction and Cravings: EFT has been used to treat cravings and addictive behaviours in some people. It may help reduce the emotional triggers that lead to addictive behaviours, but it is not a substitute for professional addiction treatment.
7. Better Sleep: By reducing anxiety and stress, EFT can help improve sleep quality. Some people find it easier to fall and stay asleep by tapping on points related to sleep difficulties.
8. EFT encourages people to become more aware of their emotions and the underlying causes of their emotional problems. This increased self-awareness can aid in personal development and growth.
Here's a step-by-step process for using EFT:
1. Identify the Issue:
Start by identifying the specific issue or emotion you want to address with EFT. This could be stress, anxiety, fear, a traumatic memory, or any other emotional or psychological concern.
2. Rate the Intensity:
On a scale of 0 to 10, with 0 being no intensity and 10 being the highest intensity, rate the level of emotional discomfort or distress you currently feel regarding the issue you identified. This will help you track your progress.
3. Setup Statement:
Create a setup statement that acknowledges the issue and combines it with a self-acceptance phrase. For example, "Even though I feel anxious about [specific issue], I deeply and completely accept myself."
4. The Tapping Sequence:
EFT involves tapping on specific acupressure points on your body while repeating affirmations. Here are the main tapping points and the order in which to tap them:
Start by tapping the "Karate Chop" point on the side of your hand (the fleshy part below your pinkie finger) while repeating your setup statement three times.
Move to the eyebrow point: Tap the inner edges of your eyebrows.
Side of the eye: Tap the outer edges of your eyes.
Under the eye: Tap just below your eyes.
Under the nose: Tap in the space between your nose and upper lip.
Chin point: Tap the point between your lower lip and chin.
Collarbone point: Tap just below your collarbone, usually with four fingers.
Under the arm: Tap about 4 inches below your armpit.
Top of the head: Tap the crown of your head.
5. Repeat Affirmations:
While tapping each point, repeat a positive affirmation or a reminder phrase that relates to the issue. For example, if you're addressing anxiety, you might say, "This anxiety," or "I release this fear."
6. Cycle Through Points:
Go through the tapping sequence at least 2-3 times or more, focusing on the issue and any associated negative emotions.
7. Check Your Intensity Level:
After each round of tapping, pause and reevaluate the intensity of your emotional distress using the 0-10 scale.
8. Continue Until Relief:
Continue tapping and repeating the sequence until you notice a significant reduction in the intensity of your emotional distress. Some issues may require multiple rounds of tapping.
Blacher S. Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT): Tap to relieve stress and burnout. J Interprof Educ Pract. 2023;30:100599. doi:10.1016/j.xjep.2023.100599
Bach D, Groesbeck G, Stapleton P, Sims R, Blickheuser K, Church D. Clinical EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) Improves Multiple Physiological Markers of Health. J Evid Based Integr Med. 2019;24:2515690X18823691. doi:10.1177/2515690X18823691
Church D, Stapleton P, Vasudevan A, O'Keefe T. Clinical EFT as an evidence-based practice for the treatment of psychological and physiological conditions: A systematic review. Front Psychol. 2022;13:951451. Published 2022 Nov 10. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2022.951451