What is EFT Tapping? - Technique for Anxiety Relief

EFT Tapping, or Emotional Freedom Techniques, is a holistic therapeutic practice that combines elements of psychology and acupressure. This blog will shed more light on the treatment.

History of EFT Tapping

For millennia, acupoints have been employed in the treatment of various ailments. Acupuncture, the practice of stimulating acupoints with needles, traces its roots back to around 100 BCE. However, the contemporary EFT tapping method, widely known and utilized in the United States today, emerged in the 1990s through the efforts of engineer Gary Craig, drawing inspiration from the work of clinical psychologist Roger Callahan, PhD.

Craig's approach, teachable within approximately five minutes, involves tapping specific points while vocalizing particular statements, effectively tuning individuals into their emotions. The technique has evolved as Craig put it into practice, with licensed therapists adding their unique insights over time.

Presently, EFT tapping is widely embraced as a tool for alleviating everyday stress and anxiety, enhancing performance, and curbing food cravings. In clinical settings, licensed practitioners employ EFT tapping to assist patients dealing with PTSD, trauma, phobias, and various other mental health challenges, showcasing the method's versatility and evolution over the years.

What is EFT Tapping?

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), also known as tapping or psychological acupressure, offers an alternative approach to address both emotional distress and physical pain. Advocates of this technique contend that by tapping specific points on the body, it restores balance to the energy system, thereby alleviating pain. Gary Craig, the founder of EFT, posits that disruptions in energy flow underlie negative emotions and physical discomfort.

While ongoing research is examining its efficacy, EFT tapping has shown promise in assisting individuals dealing with anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This technique presents a holistic perspective, seeking to harmonize the mind-body connection for enhanced well-being.

The Science Behind EFT

Scientific investigation sheds light on the mechanisms underlying EFT tapping, revealing its potential to alleviate stress, manage emotions, and regulate the central nervous system. While the precise workings are not yet fully understood, studies indicate tangible physiological changes.

Tapping is linked to a reduction in cortisol, commonly known as the "stress hormone," suggesting a genuine physiological response. By calming the nervous system, EFT allows individuals to address stressors without triggering intense emotional reactions. Consequently, it emerges as a promising approach for managing phobias and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), with research supporting its effectiveness.

EFT tapping's impact extends to alleviating depression. Combining tapping with affirmations may activate brain regions associated with self-processing and behavioral change. This activation has the potential to foster a more positive mindset, offering a scientific foundation for its potential benefits. EFT's manipulation of powerful meridian points sends calming signals to the brain, contributing to its remarkable outcomes.

How EFT Tapping Works on the Body?

EFT tapping employs defined acupoints similar to acupuncture, tapping into a network of over 2,000 acupoints connected by meridians, channels for vital life energy (known as "chi") according to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). TCM asserts that unobstructed chi flow is essential for health and disease prevention. Stimulation of specific acupoints aims to enhance this energy flow, benefiting overall well-being.

Scientific examination reveals these acupoints are far from random; they contain numerous nerve endings, heat and cold-regulating nerve fibers, and a concentration of white blood cells. Additionally, stimulating acupoints triggers the release of various brain chemicals, including endogenous opioids for pain relief, serotonin for mood regulation, and gamma-aminobutyric acid for relaxation.

Researchers, such as Dawson Church, PhD, founder of EFT Universe, are delving into the technique's effects by measuring gene expression, brain waves, hormones, and neurotransmitters. This evolving research underscores the tangible impact of EFT tapping on the body, with studies exploring its potential in addressing conditions like PTSD and obesity.

What are Different Types of EFT Tapping?

EFT tapping encompasses various approaches, but here are two predominant types stand out in brief:

1. Standard EFT Protocol:

  • Identify a troubling issue, like a stressful situation.
  • Gauge its intensity on a scale from 0 to 10.
  • Craft a self-acceptance-infused statement (e.g., "Even though I'm stressed about work, I fully love and accept myself").
  • Repeatedly recite a condensed version of the statement while tapping designated points on the body.
  • Reassess the intensity level, repeating the process until relief is felt.

2. Clinical EFT Tapping:

  • A validated approach supported by over 100 clinical trials.
  • Typically administered by certified clinical EFT professionals.
  • Combines memory recall, verbal statements, and tapping on eight acupoints (excluding the karate chop point).

   

Clinical EFT is employed to treat conditions like PTSD, phobias, and clinical anxiety, offering a evidence-based therapeutic option.

Steps for EFT Tapping

EFT tapping, a powerful self-help technique, comprises five fundamental steps. For those grappling with multiple issues or fears, this sequence can be repeated to effectively address and diminish the intensity of negative emotions.

1. Identify the Issue:

Start by pinpointing the specific issue or fear that you wish to address. Focusing on one concern at a time optimizes the technique's effectiveness.

2. Test the Initial Intensity:

Establish an initial intensity level for your chosen issue on a scale of 0 to 10, with 10 representing the most distressing scenario. This step gauges the emotional or physical discomfort associated with the problem, providing a baseline for tracking progress.

3. The Setup:

Prior to tapping, formulate a concise phrase that encapsulates your issue, emphasizing two key objectives: acknowledging the problem and accepting yourself despite it. The common setup phrase template is: "Even though I have this [fear or problem], I deeply and completely accept myself." Adapt the phrase to suit your issue, ensuring it centers on your feelings to alleviate distress.

4. EFT Tapping Sequence:

The EFT tapping sequence involves systematic tapping on nine specific meridian points, each associated with an internal organ. Key points include the side of the hand (karate chop), top of the head, eyebrow, side of the eye, under the eye, under the nose, chin, beginning of the collarbone, and under the arm. 

Commence by tapping the side of the hand while repeating the setup phrase three times, followed by seven taps on each subsequent point, working your way down. Throughout, maintain focus on your problem area by reciting a reminder phrase, ensuring alignment with your issue.

5. Test the Final Intensity:

Conclude the sequence by reevaluating the intensity of your issue on the 0 to 10 scale. Compare the final rating with the initial one, aiming to reduce it to 0. If the desired relief is not achieved, repeat the process until the desired emotional balance is restored.

How to Treat Mental Health by Using EFT Tapping

EFT tapping offers a versatile approach for various scenarios, endorsed by experts and research findings:

1. Stress and Anxiety: EFT is valuable during heightened stress or anxiety episodes and when addressing stress-inducing situations.

2. Phobias: Tapping can be employed to confront specific phobias by focusing on the fear during the tapping process.

3. PTSD: EFT is applicable to individuals dealing with traumatic experiences, although it's recommended to work with a qualified practitioner for guidance and support.

4. Depression: EFT aids in dispelling negative thoughts but should complement other established treatments like talk therapy or medication. Consult a healthcare professional for a personalized approach.

What to Expect Before, During, and After EFT Tapping

For those seeking general stress relief or life enhancement, starting with a tapping app can be beneficial. As proficiency grows, individuals may choose to continue with or without guidance.

In a typical tapping session, initial focus centers on negative emotions and unresolved issues. As the tapping progresses through acupoints, thoughts tend to shift towards positivity, fostering relaxation and improved mood.

Clinical EFT for conditions like PTSD involves certified practitioners. The process entails vividly recalling traumatic events while pairing them with neutral statements during tapping. Acupoints are gently stimulated in sequence, with accompanying statements, while therapists assess intensity levels. The number of sessions required varies but clinical guidelines recommend 10 for PTSD.

In-person clinical sessions have shown higher efficacy compared to online or telephone options, significantly reducing PTSD symptoms.

EFT Tapping Risks

When practiced correctly, EFT tapping has minimal to no adverse effects, especially when guided by a trained therapist. Standard EFT tapping carries few risks for healthy individuals using it for managing everyday stress.

However, self-administered EFT by those with PTSD or past trauma can lead to emotional distress and retraumatization without professional guidance. Retraumatization involves a resurgence of trauma-related emotions and memories, potentially exacerbating PTSD symptoms. It's essential to approach EFT tapping with care, especially for individuals with a history of trauma, seeking expert support when necessary to mitigate these risks.

FAQs

What is EFT tapping?

Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) tapping is a therapeutic method involving gentle tapping on acupressure points to alleviate emotional distress and promote well-being.

What does EFT tapping do to your body?

EFT tapping may reduce stress, anxiety, and emotional distress by balancing energy and calming the body's stress response through acupressure points.

Is EFT tapping proven?

EFT tapping has some empirical support for reducing stress and anxiety, but more research is needed to establish its effectiveness conclusively.

What are the 9 tapping points in EFT?

The nine EFT tapping points are: top of the head, eyebrow, side of the eye, under the eye, under the nose, chin, collarbone, underarm, and wrist.

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