What is Emotional Freedom Techniques does it work?

What is EFT and does it work?

Emotional Freedom Techniques, sometimes known as “acupuncture without needles” or “tapping therapy” are a group of brief therapeutic intervention tools. EFT brings together the principles of traditional Chinese medicine, neuroscience and cognitive-behavioural therapy by combining stimulation of a series of acupressure points with cognitive restructuring (specially worded affirmations), typically leading to shifts in thought patterns and relief from both physical tension and excess negative emotions.

Currently, EFT has a growing data base in the psychology world with over 250 publication studies. This therapeutic intervention technique has been around for over 40 years. So let’s talk about the technique.

First: Become aware of the problem you would like to work on. Notice any unpleasant bodily sensation you feel in your body like tension, anxiety, or negative thoughts. Describe what is bothering you concisely but specifically – for example, “alcohol craving”, “thudding headache”, “worry about tomorrow’s interview”. Rate the problem on the scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is the mildest, and 10 is the highest intensity of the problem.

Second: (The set up) You will need to locate one of the following two points (it doesn’t matter which, it depends on personal preference). Either, find the Karate Chop point on the fleshy side of your palm (left or right) below the little finger – this is the area you would use for chopping bricks in half if you were doing Karate! Tap this gently but quite fast with the four fingers of your other hand (it is usually easiest to tap with your dominant hand, right or left, it doesn’t matter). (The Sore Spot) By prodding your chest in the area where you might pin a badge (either side, left or right). The Sore Spot is usually about 2in/5cm in diameter and feels sore or tender when pressed with your fingers. This is the only point in EFT that is massaged in a circular fashion, rather than tapped – the Sore Spot is not an acupressure point but is a so-called “neurolymphatic point”.

Now, the psychological component of EFT by using a “Set-up Phrase” or affirmation that aims to both acknowledge the problem, and at the same time, “balance” it with self-acceptance. This helps to reduce

the impact of self sabotage, or the so-called “psychological reversal” which can happen when we are critical and harsh towards ourselves (which is so common with addictions and other chronic problems) and think thoughts such as “I am a failure”, “It won’t work for me”, “I don’t deserve to get better”, “Nothing can help me”, and so on. The basic structure of the EFT Set-up Phrase is: “Even though [the problem], I accept myself.” “Even though I really need this drink [cigarette, hit, chocolate etc], I accept myself.” “Even though I have this horrible nagging headache, I accept myself.” “Even though I am anxious about tomorrow’s interview, I accept myself.” If you are uncomfortable with the statement of self-acceptance, you may want to try some of the alternatives.

Third: (The Clearing) This part is to clear the neurological imbalances that are contributing to the issues by tapping on the sequence of acu-points and mentally focus on the problem. 

How do I do this?

Using two fingers of one hand (left or right), gently tap on each of the following points (approximately 7- 8 taps is enough, but you don’t need to count):

EB – Beginning of eyebrow.

SE – Side of the eye on the edge of the bone.

UE – Under the eye on the edge of the bone.

UN – Under the nose.

CH – The dip in your chin, not the end of chin.

CB – Edge of your collarbone (the precise acu-point is in the dip just under the collarbone).

UA – Under arm (on the seam of your top, about 4in / 10cm below the armpit; for women – where you can feel your bra, for men – level with nipple).

Four: - (Evaluation) Focus on the problem or issue again, and notice how you feel. Check the rating on the scale of 1 to 10 – is the intensity the same, or has it subsided? Is there anything different about the feeling, sensation or the thought? Often people have insights or new awareness coming to their mind when they tap. Persistence is important Some simple problems may be relieved completely after a couple of rounds of tapping, but the more complex ones require perseverance. Repeat the procedure as many times as necessary, every time changing the words of the Set-up Phrase and the reminder phrase to describe what is happening now, acknowledging any changes (even small ones) that you noticed.

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