What Is E.F.T., the Emotional Freedom Technique, or Tapping?
EFT, or Emotional Freedom Technique, also known as tapping, is a type of meditation or therapy where an individual touches or taps certain points on their body while focusing on one specific concern. It is used to address physical or emotional pain.
It first came to prominence in the 1990s when Gary Craig published information about the therapy on his website based on his study of work done by Roger Callahan in Thought Field Therapy (TFT). This was an East meets West moment as the roots of accessing energy meridians are from Traditional Chinese Medicine and thousands of years old. The action of tapping is done to assist emotional and physical imbalances, such as anxiety and depression.
How Do You Tap?
E.F.T. tapping therapy combines aspects of cognitive therapy, exposure therapy, and physical touch. For each time you run through this practice, try targeting one specific issue at a time. If you are able to identify more than one fear or stressor, feel free to repeat the process shifting your focus every time. As with meditation, think of this as a practice; set yourself goals to work toward, not necessarily something you’re trying to perfect.
To start, identify a single concern or fear. This concern will become a phrase of what you are trying to address.
Have your phrase focus on two main goals:
- Acknowledging your issue
- Accepting yourself despite the problem
The phrase you could use for tapping could be:
Even though I feel (scared at this moment) because of (PTSD) I deeply and completely accept myself.
E.F.T. is believed to balance the energy system within the body by targeting “hot spots” or meridian points with rhythmic fingertip tapping. Research suggests the tapping sends signals to the brain, which accesses negative emotions or issues needing resolution.
There are 12 major meridians that are mirrored on each side of the body and over 360 acupressure points on the body. E.F.T. focuses on nine acupressure points:
- Karate chop- small intestine meridian
- Top of head- governing vessel
- Eyebrow- bladder meridian
- Side of the eye- gallbladder meridian
- Under the eye- stomach meridian
- Under the nose- governing vessel
- Chin- central vessel
- Collarbone- kidney meridian
- Under the arm- spleen meridian
Once you have determined your Tapping phrase, each meridian point on the body is tapped in a specific sequence five to seven times. While tapping, the participant repeats the short setup statement either to themselves or out loud to maintain focus on the problem at hand.
It should be noted that feelings such as anger, anxiety, uneasiness, sadness, or even temporary worsening of the problem(s) might occur while working on your issues. Having access to a licensed mental health provider is always recommended.
Before and after your tapping session rate the level of distress regarding how this affects you using the 1-10 Subjective Unit of Distress (SUDS) scale, with 10 being the most distressing.
Here’s our friend Sarah Aborn, a single mom and amazing healer, leading us in a guided meditation and demonstrating Tapping.
Tapping and Research
Through research and studies, E.F.T. has been seen to effectively treat many symptoms of depression, anxiety, trauma, headaches, addiction, and other similar physical and emotional challenges. E.F.T. has also been seen to improve brain function and structure among those who use it regularly. Here are some recent studies about E.F.T:
- Clinical EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) Improves Multiple Physiological Markers of Health
- A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized and Nonrandomized Trials of Clinical Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) for the Treatment of Depression