The Emotional Freedom Technique

by in Energy, Mental Health and Well-being, Other November 12, 2020

You may not have heard much about it, but the Emotional Freedom Technique or psychological acupuncture as it’s also been coined, is something we see in action almost daily.  Well, sort of. Centuries ago, Ancient Chinese medicine focused on meridians- or acupressure points to relieve stress. Meridians are a network of energy channels through which flows our “life force” or “qi”. Almost daily we use these points and we don’t even notice. Witness someone receiving bad news over the phone as they grab the bridge their nose or think of a coworker who places their hand over their chest when they feel overwhelmed. While our use of “tapping” or touching these meridians might not be exactly what the ancient healers prescribed, it does point to how intuitively we know there are these spots in our body that help us relax. 

What we’re doing in essence is having a very conscious experience. Unlike slamming your fist against a table (not what we’re going for here – LOL), we’re stimulating these acupuncture points to comfort ourselves and to deal with our emotions. Anyone in today’s turbulent times will tell you, when we feel stress or overwhelmed it’s not just an experience limited to your mind, you feel it in your body- knots in your stomach, tension in the chest, the list goes on. It’s a very physical reaction so a technique that brings that in, and involves the body, helps you when you can’t just think your way out of the stressful situation. 

While EFT uses the principles of energy channels and meridians from traditional Chinese medicine, the actual technique is seeing huge success in treating everything from anxiety to food cravings.  It was developed by Gary Craig who ushered in today’s iteration of EFT in the 1990s based on his study of work done by Roger Callahan in Thought Field Therapy (TFT).  TFT was one of the first methods in what is now called Energy Psychology. As Craig realized the potential and startling results of this approach, he established a system of proven techniques backed by evidence. 

EFT could be thought of as acupuncture minus the needles, a less evasive method of balancing the mind body connection. Studies done by Harvard show how the same acupuncture points stimulated with needles, can actually be stimulated with a tapping motion. Great news for needle-phobes, right? Increasingly, research is showing what happens to the brain whilst performing EFT. Studies measuring the cortisol level, the stress hormone, are seeing how it significantly drops after tapping. An Australian study by Bond University demonstrated how tapping helped women cope with food cravings. In a nutshell: after tapping, the parts of the brain associated with cravings no longer light up when the women were told to look at food stimulus. The women reported feeling more centered and in control, which we all could use even when not staring down a doughnut. Lead researcher Dr. Stapleton revealed, “This is the first time anywhere in the world that Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging scans (FMRI) have been used to see physical, scientific evidence of exactly how EFT self-help techniques work on these conditions by changing the brain’s neural pathways involved in addiction and food cravings.” 

Tapping is not just for serial over thinkers, dieters or stress heads. It’s a valuable tool for anyone living in today’s rapidly changing world. Change- even good change can be taxing on the system. Author of the Tapping Solution, Jessica Ortner describes how there is a part of your brain that is wired to fear anything that is new and uncertain. Yes, landing that coveted job or signing your first home deed can be unnerving. It’s important to have a technique like EFT that can be used on a daily basis to help you get centered. People who love the idea of meditation but have trouble quieting the “monkey mind” within, have thrived with tapping. 

So how can you get out of your head and into your body with EFT next time you’re feeling under the pump? You can’t ignore the physical component; you’re not only feeling the emotions in your head but they cascade to the body. Think about what’s bothering you, focus on the thought that’s creating the physical response of anxiety and begin to stimulate the strategic points using your fingers. Begin to tap on the side of the hand, underneath the pinky. Tap three times on the side of the hand. A gentle tap- as you might tap on a window. Say the set-up statement that sets you up for the rest of the process. For example, “Even though I’m so anxious about this job interview tomorrow, I accept myself and how I feel.”  Modify the set-up statement for your situation. It’s so powerful to do that because when we get upset, we judge our feelings and we don’t allow ourselves to be honest with ourselves.  Instead, we deny how we are feeling completely hoping that it will go away by itself. Be intuitive. Some points can be more tender than others. Another point is the eyebrow point where the hair of the eyebrow begins. Tap two fingers at the point where the eyebrow begins. Move to the next points, between the nose and upper lip, then down to the chin point, in the crease between your lip and your chin. For your collarbone point, use the whole hand and tap on your chest to stimulate there. Move on to underneath your armpit, where your bra strap is on your side, using the whole hand to tap three times. Finally, right on the top of the head is another powerful point for tapping. Depending on where you are and how discreet you need to be, you can always go back to these points when you start feeling tense. Tap each spot a few times and give voice to how you’re feeling. Your body will start feeling more relaxed. You’re acknowledging, letting your body and brain know that it is safe. We are wired to look at the negative, it’s a survival technique we’ve evolved to have. Like when you’re driving along a gorgeous cliff face but you notice the traffic signs warning you of hazards to keep you safe from tumbling to your doom. Acknowledging the fear and tapping on these acupressure points is you letting your body know it’s safe to relax. Tapping can be subtle, you can practice it even when you’re in a meeting or in a cab. A moment to yourself, an immediate sense of calm. Who doesn’t love that? 

For any more information on the Emotional Freedom Technique, please get in touch with us via, the contact us page on the website or Whatsapp.

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