What is EFT tapping?
Emotional freedom technique (EFT) is an alternative treatment for physical pain and emotional distress. It’s also referred to as tapping or psychological acupressure.
People who use this technique believe tapping the body can create a balance in your energy system and treat pain. According to its developer, Gary Craig, a disruption in energy is the cause of all negative emotions and pain.
Though still being researched, EFT tapping has been used to treat people with anxiety and people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
How does EFT tapping work?
Similar to acupuncture, EFT focuses on the meridian points — or energy hot spots — to restore balance to your body’s energy. It’s believed that restoring this energy balance can relieve symptoms a negative experience or emotion may have caused.
Based on Chinese medicine, meridian points are thought of as areas of the body energy flows through. These pathways help balance energy flow to maintain your health. Any imbalance can influence disease or sickness.
Acupuncture uses needles to apply pressure to these energy points. EFT uses fingertip tapping to apply pressure.
Proponents say the tapping helps you access your body’s energy and send signals to the part of the brain that controls stress. They claim that stimulating the meridian points through EFT tapping can reduce the stress or negative emotion you feel from your issue, ultimately restoring balance to your disrupted energy.
The EFT tapping sequence is the methodic tapping on the ends of nine meridian points.
There are 12 major meridians that mirror each side of the body and correspond to an internal organ. However, EFT mainly focuses on these nine:
karate chop (KC): small intestine meridian
top of head (TH): governing vessel
eyebrow (EB): bladder meridian
side of the eye (SE): gallbladder meridian
under the eye (UE): stomach meridian
under the nose (UN): governing vessel
chin (Ch): central vessel
beginning of the collarbone (CB): kidney meridian
under the arm (UA): spleen meridian
Begin by tapping the karate chop point while simultaneously reciting your setup phrase three times. Then, tap each following point seven times, moving down the body in this ascending order:
side of the eye
under the eye
under the nose
beginning of the collarbone
under the arm
After tapping the underarm point, finish the sequence at the top of the head point.
While tapping the ascending points, recite a reminder phrase to maintain focus on your problem area. If your setup phrase is, “Even though I’m sad my mother is sick, I deeply and completely accept myself,” your reminder phrase can be, “The sadness I feel that my mother is sick.” Recite this phrase at each tapping point. Repeat this sequence two or three times.
At the end of your sequence, rate your intensity level on a scale from 0 to 10. Compare your results with your initial intensity level. If you haven’t reached 0, repeat this process until you do.
Does EFT tapping work?
EFT has been used to effectively treat war veterans and active military with PTSD. In a 2013 studyTrusted Source, researchers studied the impact of EFT tapping on veterans with PTSD against those receiving standard care.
Within a month, participants receiving EFT coaching sessions had significantly reduced their psychological stress. In addition, more than half of the EFT test group no longer fit the criteria for PTSD.
There are also some success stories from people with anxiety using EFT tapping as an alternative treatment.
A 2016 reviewTrusted Source compared the effectiveness of using EFT tapping over standard care options for anxiety symptoms. The study concluded there was a significant decrease in anxiety scores compared to participants receiving other care. However, further research is needed to compare EFT treatment with other cognitive therapy techniques.
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