Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is a revolutionary treatment method that offers healing from physical and emotional pain and disease. Without the use of needles, this form of acupuncture uses the fingertips to stimulate energy points on the body. Developed by Gary Craig, this is an easily mastered technique that can be performed virtually anywhere. This treatment sprang from the idea that, “The cause of all negative emotions is a disruption in the body’s energy system.”
EFT works by tapping on acupressure meridians to release blockages. When these blockages are released, the problem feeling can be released and move through the body. The process starts with a beginning statement of what the problem feeling is and includes a complete acceptance and acknowledgement of the problem. To start the process of EFT, the person would say something like, “Even though I have this (fear) about (the time I was criticized for being clumsy), I completely accept myself anyway.” Often that will not feel true to a person, so they would modify the statement to say, “I am willing to learn to accept myself” or “I want to accept myself.” The client says the statement three times while tapping on the karate chop point. In the second part of this treatment, the client focuses on the feeling (fear) in the body and rates it at an intensity between 1-10. Then the client begins to tap on points around the face while saying “this fear” simultaneously. Several rounds of this can be done until the fear is rated at a zero on a scale from 1-10. Once that fear is gone, the therapist will guide the client to feel into other fears that will then come up from different aspects of the same situation or emotional state.
While research on the health effects of tapping is fairly limited, there’s some evidence that tapping may offer certain benefits. Here’s a look at some key findings from the available studies on tapping.
Tapping may help reduce stress, according to a study published in the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease in 2012. For the study, researchers assigned 83 people to an hour-long EFT tapping session, an hour-long psychotherapy session, or no treatment. Results revealed that those assigned to EFT tapping experienced a significant decrease in their levels of the stress hormone cortisol, as well as significant improvements in anxiety and mood.
In a 2012 study of 45 people with anxiety disorders published in the journal Explore, researchers found that participants treated with Thought Field Therapy experienced significantly greater improvements in anxiety symptoms than study members assigned to no treatment.
Several studies indicate that tapping may be of some benefit to people with chronic pain. In a 2008 study published in Chiropractic & Osteopathy, for instance, Neuro-Emotional Technique was found to improve symptoms in individuals with chronic neck pain. The study involved 60 chronic neck pain sufferers.
In addition, a 2013 study published in Explore found that EFT tapping may be beneficial for people suffering from tension headaches. Involving 35 participants with chronic tension headaches, the study determined that EFT tapping helped reduce headache frequency and intensity.