What is EFT tapping?

EFT stands for Emotional Freedom Techniques. Because EFT involves tapping with one’s finger tips on certain energy-specific locations on the body, the technique is also commonly referred to as EFT tapping. (Also, this full expression distinguishes it from the EFT acronym of Emotionally Focused Therapy, which is something different!) The EFT tapping technique was originally developed by Gary Craig in the 1980s, who introduced it to the public in 1995. Since then, Gary Craig has continued to develop his original EFT method, from what he refers to as Official EFT into what he calls Optimal EFT.

EFT tapping builds on both Eastern medicine (as meridians and acupressure points) AND modern Western psychology (as talk-based therapy). In EFT tapping, we stimulate certain points on the body that represent endpoints of meridians. We stimulate these by tapping with our fingertips one point at a time, while at the same time focusing our mind on a selected problem or concern. Such an issue may be a stressful event, a bothersome feeling, or an unpleasant bodily sensation. According to the underlying theory, by stimulating certain body points (which represent endpoints of eight specific meridians) while thinking about and feeling into a specific issue, OR by sensing a specific body part, the energetic charge or blockage in the affected meridian(s) will subsequently begin to subside. The body can hereby free itself from the trapped energy, which contains the painful memories, emotions and/or thoughts. This also helps the body to heal faster naturally from a physical injury. (See the tapping points in the image below.)

Over the last decades, a growing body of scientific and clinical resesearch is available on the application and efficacy of EFT tapping. To learn more about the science and research behind EFT tapping, please see the work of Dr. David Feinstein (plus here) and Dr. Dawson Church, as well as this website.

What is EFT tapping used for?

EFT tapping has proven useful and effective for alleviating, even curing, a wide range of physical, emotional and mental issues. Since the 1990s, EFT tapping is being recommended for a variety of mental, emotional and physical concerns, such as stress-related symptoms, insomnia, anxiety, depression, phobias, emotional trauma, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, migraines, chronic pain, and more. Common to all of these issues is an underlying emotional component, which if addressed and resolved, can support the body’s natural self-healing mechanisms.

With regards to trauma, EFT tapping is not only useful for alleviating symptoms (physical, mental or emotional) from a recent traumatic event. But also, it can successfully be used to process and heal symptoms from a traumatic event that occurred in a distant past, even as far back as early childhood. Perhaps most surprisingly, EFT has even been proven successful in treating symptoms that were originally caused by a physical injury, such as back pain following a car accident. In fact, tapping for chronic and diffuse pain is a common topic among EFT practitioners.

How do you do EFT tapping?

How do you use EFT tapping in practice? You begin by deciding on the specific issue or concern that you wish to process. It may be an emotional issue, a mental frustration, an unpleasant body symptom, or a stressful event. You may also wish to estimate the intensity of this symptom on a scale from 0 to 10, where 0 means undistinguishable and 10 means the highest possible intensity.

The normal procedure is to tap on eight specific body points, which corresponds to the outer endpoints of eight meridians (see image). While tapping on these points, you simultaneously focus your mind on the chosen issue (mental, emotional or physical, or an event). Usually, you tap about 5-10 times on each point, which generally allows you to say one sentence per point. As you continue to tap on the points, you intend to go deeper into the specific issue of choice. In this manner, you will continue tapping along the points until you feel a noticeable shift.

While doing the tapping, it is important to be as honest as possible with yourself about how you really feel about the issue. The truer you are to yourself, the greater the impact and shift.

Note: You can practice EFT on your own, or you reach out to an experienced EFT practitioner who will guide you in your tapping process, and help you go deeper into the core of your issue, which might enable more effective and permanent healing.

If you need inspiration or a demonstration, there are many free online videos showing and instructing how you do EFT tapping. At The Tapping Solution, Nick and Jessica Ortner (siblings) have made a great video to illustrate the “basic protocol”. Another world-wide EFT expert, Brad Yates, has created and published hundreds of videos on his Youtube channel, covering a wide range of topics and issues. His videos are easy and general enough for anyone to follow.

Going down the funnel… When you begin your tapping session, you often find yourself using many different words and sentences to express your thoughts, feelings, sensations and/or memories about your chosen issue. Eventually, you begin to narrow in on your experience, becoming more specific with what you feel. This can be symbolized as a downward spiraling or deepening process. Eventually, you reach the center of the spiral or funnel, which represents the “heart of the matter”. Here, you often find yourself repeating the same sentence over and over again. Soon, you will experience a natural inner shift where things begin to move in an upward direction (going upward in the funnel). You will notice that you begin to see your issue in a new and more positive light, as you start using more positive words. In this manner, the tapping process takes you on an inner journey that initially goes downward and eventually turns upward. This downward/upward process may not be apparent at first, but may eventually be apparent as you become more familiar with the tappping process.

Patience and curiousity are good intentions while you tap. The time length of your tapping session can vary considerably depending on your issue, your overall condition, and your ability to focus. Also, more time may be needed for more severe, complex or multi-dimensional emotional issues. Thus, sometimes the entire tapping session may last for less than15 minutes, while other times the process may require up to 45 minutes to notice a significant shift. Therefore, a good intention is to remain patient and continue tapping until you notice a positive result or a significant shift. With regard to everyday isssues (such as a disappointment or headache), we may have relief after only about 15 minutes of tapping, under which the “pain level” drops from perhaps an 8 to a 2 or even 0 (of 10 maximum). As for the number of EFT sessions, this may also vary from only one or two sessions to up to five. However, according to comparative research studies, conventional psychotherapy often requires many more sessions to attain lasting and positive results.

One symptom relief may reveal another symptom… In many cases, we find that there are clusters of issues that need to be worked on. These are best addressed in separate sessions. At the end of your tapping session, you may therefore wish to note down new issues or problems that came to the surface while you were tapping.

Free online resources on EFT tapping

To learn more about EFT tapping, I would recommend any of the following websites below, with much resources to support your practice.

  • Gary Craig and Emofree.com
    The official website on EFT tapping (and an advanced version) by its founder Gary Craig.
  • Brad Yates and the EFT Wizard on Youtube
    Brad Yates has created hundreds of videos on Youtube to follow on your own.
    See: Brad’s website and his Youtube channel.
  • Nick and Jessica Ortner and the Tapping Solution
    Nick Ortner have developed the documentary “The Tapping Solution” and the website with the same name. On the website, you will find lots of material, videos, manuals, cases, and scientific research on EFT.
  • How you can use EFT tapping to alleviate stress symptoms
    Here are various blog articles on how EFT tapping alleviates stress.
  • A mini-manual about EFT tapping
    See also this manual, which you can download as a pdf.

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