What is Emotional Freedom Techniques or EFT
Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) is a do-it-yourself healing tool that alleviates stress, reduces physical pain and increases your potential for success. It is a non-invasive energy therapy using gen- tle finger tapping on specific meridian points beneath the surface of the skin. The meridians come from Chinese medicine. They create pathways through which Qi (chee), or energy, flows to all parts of the human body. The meridians form the basis of the ractice of acupuncture. This idea of energy flowing in the body is, then, certainly not a new one, and it is this theory that EFT works from. In fact, EFT is often termed acupuncture without the needles.
So, how does EFT actually work? EFT’s magic rests in its ability to smooth out
disruptions in your energy system. EFT was developed in the 1990s by a tanford
University-trained engineer named Gary Craig. Gary Craig was a student of the
forefather of EFT, Roger Callahan, who had previously developed a system of
meridian tapping called TFT or Thought Field Therapy. Gary Craig took TFT, a
process which used tapping on specific meridian points depending on the emotion you were feeling, and simplified it. He designed the system to stimulate the major meridian points in an unchanging sequence. It does not matter what emotion you are feeling because the tapping remains the same whether you are
experiencing anger, fear, sadness or pain. By tapping on the points identified
in EFT, you are able to access all the major energy circuits and find relief.
The underpinning of Gary Craig’s work is his discovery statement, which says, “The cause of all negative emotions is a disruption in the body’s energy system.” Using EFT, we tap on the negative emotions from a specific event, for instance the overwhelming stress we feel due to an upcoming examination. Tapping on the stress, the negative emotion, allows the emotion to be released and the energy disruption is then straightened out. This release of the negative allows the flow of positive energy back into your life. With the brain no longer feeling overloaded you are then able to retrieve the information needed to ace the exam.
Here comes the science part of this explanation. Part of the human brain is ancient and has been in operation, working to keep our species alive, for thousands of years. The limbic brain is the oldest, most primitive part of the brain and a part of the limbic brain is a small, almond shaped area called the amygdala. The amygdala is the part of the brain triggered when you are in danger, the relay station that sends out the message for your fight or flight response to kick in. When this response is activated, it signals the body of danger and the hormones adrenaline and cortisol are released. In ancient times, when this part of our brain developed, it was essen- tial for our survival. The release of adrenaline and cortisol fueled our ancestors who were able to flee rather than being eaten by a tiger for lunch. Good for them then, and for us; we’re still here, after all.
You might wonder how this relates to your exam. After all, you are not running from a beast. Interestingly, however, this primitive portion of your brain, the amygdala, cannot detect real “tiger” danger from imagined “stress” danger. Your body senses exam stress as a danger and releases the same fight or flight hormones our ancestors needed to stay alive. Keep in mind that our ancestors did not have stress on a daily or even hourly basis like we do. The brain reacts to
this modern-day stress just as it did to the tiger stress; it causes adrenaline and cortisol to be released.
Cortisol has been deemed public enemy number one. When cortisol floods our bodies, we have to physically move to get rid of it. But when there is no tiger to fight or flee from, when the danger is, instead, exam stress, all the stress hormones in our bodies have nowhere to go. The cortisol hangs out and wreaks havoc on our minds and bodies, weakening our immune system, causing damage on a cellular level, leaving us vulnerable to infection. Tapping on the meridian points calms the fight or flight response, allowing our bodies to relax and cortisol levels to drop.
Dr. Dawson Church has done several studies on how tapping affects our bodies. In one randomized controlled study conducted by Dr. Church and his peers, cortisol levels and psychological symptoms of eighty-three patients were tested before and after treatment. The patients were divided into three groups. One group received no therapy but only an hour of rest. Another group received one hour of conventional talk therapy. The third group had a one-hour session of EFT tapping. Subsequent testing revealed that the symptoms in the EFT group
decreased more than within the other groups and cortisol levels also dropped
significantly. The group which received talk therapy had a reduction in cortisol
of 14% while the group receiving EFT had an average reduction in cortisol of
Another interesting study was released in Energy Psychology Jour- nal in 2013.
In this study, a group of college students was divided into two groups to work
on various emotional responses using either mindfulness techniques or EFT. The purpose of this work was to determine whether EFT worked or was, instead, simply a placebo effect. The research found that the students using EFT
experienced a greater increase in positive emotions and a greater decrease in
negative emotions.The students did not experience any significant change in
emotions using mindfulness techniques. The conclusion of the researchers was
that EFT is not a placebo and can be effective for students experiencing
EFT has been shown to be effective time and again in scientific studies. It is not
a placebo but is an effective energy psychology technique that calms your
amygdala, causing a reduction of the stress hormones in your body. Reducing
stress may result in relief from physical pain and emotional suffering because
stress is often an underlying part of any problems you are facing.
As you tap on the meridian points used in EFT, you will be saying negative
statements. You may feel that saying something nega- tive only reinforces its
negative power. Actually, that is not true. Imagine that you fail your most
important exam of the year. Of course, this has an impact on your GPA and you
know you and your parents will not be pleased. So, you decide not to tell your
parents about this grade and hope that it all goes away. After all, you are an
adult and no one is going to send a note to your folks tattling on you.
Your plan works fine until, somehow, the truth comes out. Maybe you never recovered from that grade. Perhaps it had further reach- ing repercussions than you had anticipated. Whatever the reason, your parents find out. Now what do you do? Perhaps you are relieved. After all, a secret is a big burden to carry. That is how it is with stress and negative emotions we hold inside. They don’t go away
until we face them. There is a sense of relief when the secret, or the emotions, are finally revealed.
Tapping is a little like revealing the secret. You cannot feel truly good inside until you face the negative emotions holding you back. Once you recognize and
acknowledge the negative it can finally go away.
We follow the expression of our negative emotions with a state- ment of
acceptance. This statement could be as simple as “I accept myself.” The
acceptance statement is important because, in order to heal you have to accept,
or be okay with yourself, right where you are at the moment. This can be a
difficult statement for some people to make. If you are having a tough time
saying “I accept myself,” use a different statement, one that may be less
triggering, such as “I am okay” or “I am open to accepting myself ” or “I
accept the situation and am open to change.”
EFT works energetically by releasing the disruptions in your ener- gy system to quickly and easily reduce stress, ease pain, and return you to a calm state. EFT is an energy therapy and, as such, allows your system to heal naturally and easily.
It’s time to learn how you can use this technique in your life.
How to Use EFT to Tap It Out!
EF T is easy to master. It doesn’t require any special tools, just your fingers
and your words. With a little practice, you’ll be tapping away emotions like
stress, anger, sadness and fear as well as physi- cal sensations, like pain or
butterflies in your stomach, in no time. This part of the book is designed to
give you an introduction into the mechanics of tapping. Here, we’ll show you
where you tap, called the tapping points. We’ll talk about how you measure your
tapping success. And we will tell you what to say by providing sample tapping
scripts. When you are ready, you can add your own words. This is easy and we
will take you through the process step- by-step. Soon you will be tapping it
out, on your own, like a pro, whenever and wherever.
The BESD: Because, Emotions, Sensations, and Distress
There are four quick steps to follow before you tap; 1) Discover the Because,
the situation that has triggered a response or emotion; 2) Identify the Emotion
associated with the Because; 3) Notice any physical Sensations associated
with the Emotion(s) you’ve identi- fied; 4) Assess your current level of Distress.
Before you begin a tapping session, it’s helpful if you can take a couple of minutes to sit quietly and evaluate what’s going on. Relax and take a deep breath. Ask yourself what’s troubling you right now. It is possible that you will be in a public place and your circumstances may not lend themselves to this part. And some- times the situation and the associated emotions are easy to figure out and you can start tapping immediately. This is especially true once you’ve tapped a few times. But if you aren’t quite sure what’s bothering you, try to find a place to be still and tune into yourself.
Maybe the first thing that comes to mind is the fight you had with your significant other or your roommate. Or maybe you have a test coming up and you have no idea how you’re going to get all the studying done that you know you need to do. You’ve identi- fied what’s bugging you. We call this the because, the situation that triggers an emotional response. Once you know the because,
you can find the emotion that relates. Let’s break this out further.
As an example, we will use the upcoming exam as the because. This examination is big; it counts for fifty percent of your grade. It is the one covering a million chapters and pages of notes. Yikes. The test is the because, but what is the emotion you feel when you think about that test? Maybe the emotion is fear. Maybe it’s stress or ten- sion and a resulting sense of overwhelm. All of this is important information to have before you begin to tap.
Let’s talk a minute about the physical sensations that might accom- pany the
emotional reaction to your because situation. Maybe you don’t associate
your pounding headache or sore shoulder muscles with your emotions, but guess what, they are definitely related. Mel Pohl, MD, FASAM, has found that
emotional pain contrib- utes to the chronic pain his patients experience. He
believes that approximately 20 percent of chronic pain is sensory but 80
percent of the pain is actually emotional.13 So pay close attention to any
physical sensations that arise before or during your tapping. Also,
notice if any physical issues get better after EFT. You might recog- nize that
your shoulders feel looser or that nasty headache is gone. Yep. EFT can take
care of that and more.
We’re almost ready to tap, but before we get started let’s assess the level of distress you feel associated with the exam and the corresponding emotion. Because stress is a common emotional re- sponse to test-taking, let’s use stress in this example. To assess your level of distress, once again take a moment
to tune in to your body and ask yourself how bad the stress is on a scale of 0
to 10. Zero equals no stress, which is the goal you would like to achieve
through tapping. Ten equals intense stress, as intense as it can get. This
scale is called the Subjective Units of Distress or SUD in EFT. In this book,
we will simply refer to it as Distress.
No two people respond to something in the same way. Plus, you may feel like your stress is a 5 one moment and it bumps up to an 8 in the next. Additionally, you may feel something is an 8 while someone else may feel it is a 3. EF T empowers you to take control of your emotional response to any situation. It’s okay. Be honest, acknowledge your feelings, and tap them out. Your goal with tap- ping is to reduce your distress level to a point that it’s no big deal.
I Have So Much Homework
Homework and studyi g can become overwhelming, especially when something is due in every class. Below we’ve designed a general script that you can use to release the stress you’re feeling around homework. If you want, add in the class that is worrying you or the specific homework or exam that you are concerned about. Being more specific is always best.
Take a deep breath in and a long breath out. Tune into how you are feeling about all the work you have to do for your classes. Focus on the emotions and body
sensations that you feel. Rate the distress level and begin tapping.
1. Because: I have so much homework and I don’t know how I’m going to get it all done (add in specific class or home- work)
2. Emotions: Stress, feeling overwhelmed
3. Sensation: Tension in my neck, headache
4. Distress: 0-10 ______
KC: Even though I am stressed and overwhelmed because I have so much work to do, I accept myself.
KC: Even though I am so stressed because I have so much work to do and I have no idea how I’m going to get it all done…it’s overwhelming, I accept myself.
KC: Even though I have so much work to do, I am so stressed out…my neck and head hurt, I accept myself.
EB: I have so much work to do
SE: I don’t think I’ll get it all done and I’m so stressed
UE: All this work (specify class or homework)
UN: I just can’t keep up, it’s overwhelming
CP: I’m never going to get it done on time
CB: All this homework and studying makes my neck and head hurt
UA: How do other people get it all done?
TH: All this work…(specify
class or homework)
EB: How in the world will this apply in real life?
SE: I’m so stressed, I just can’t do it all
UE: So much homework
UN: What if I fail?
CP: What if I do it all wrong?
CB: What if I work so hard and still get a bad grade?
UA: This sucks! My neck is so tight and I have a headache from all this stress…
TH: I’m never going to get through all this homework…
Take a deep breath in and a long breath out. Tune into the feeling and reassess your distress level. Let’s try getting more specific and tune into where you feel
the stress in your body. Again, add in your specific class, homework, exam or
EB: All this work…(specify class or homework)
SE: I feel the stress in my body
UE: I feel tension my neck
UN: All this stress and tension give me a headache
CP: I’m never going to get all this work done
CB: All this homework and studying for (specify class or homework)
UA: I just want to relax or hang out with my friends
TH: All this stress, I feel the tension in my body
EB: I feel tension in my neck and it’s causing a headache
SE: All this work to do; I’ll never get it done
UE: This sucks so much!
UN: My body is really feeling this
CP: I’m never going to get this work done (specify class or homework)
CB: And I won’t get to hang out with my friends with all this work to do
UA: Sometimes I just hate college and all the work I have to do
TH: All this homework, I feel the stress in my neck and head
Take a deep breath and assess your level of distress. If it is higher than a 2 keep
tapping through the script above.