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Published on November 22, 2019

What Is the Emotional Freedom Technique And Its Benefits?

What Is the Emotional Freedom Technique And Its Benefits?

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is a type of psychological acupressure that anyone can practice on themselves. In fact, practicing on yourself is the preferred method, as this technique is not something done by others, in a way that a massage would be, for example.

By tapping specific pressure points on the body, it is believed that negative energies causing pain (whether physical or emotional) are disrupted, and therefore balance is restored to the physical and emotional body.[1]

The Origin of the Emotional Freedom Technique

EFT has close ties to acupuncture, in that it physically touches on specific points on the body, believed to hold epicenters of energy. With acupuncture, these points are picked with acupuncture needles to alleviate pain, tension, and combat illness. Over the years, however, researchers and healers alike have realized that tapping on these pressure points of the body offers similar results to that of acupuncture.

One such psychologist, Roger Callahan, used the idea to treat one of his patients who was deathly afraid of water. Through the course of her many treatments, all of which proved ineffective, Callahan almost accidentally stumbled into the tapping technique when his patient complained about feeling anxious in her stomach at the thought of water. He asked her to tap underneath her eye, knowing that this location had a direct connection to the acupuncture meridian in her stomach.

Unknown to him, he was building the idea that tapping could ease his patient’s anxiety. That’s exactly what happened – after tapping under her eye, the patient experienced a sudden release of stomach sensation, almost immediately.

To make matters even more surprising, the patient’s fear vanished so quickly and profoundly, that she was able to run to the nearest swimming pool and stand on its edge without the deathly anxiety that used to plague her.[2]

Eventually, Callahan coined the tapping technique as Thought Field Therapy (TFT), where the client would tap specific points while thinking of the problem or anxiety they were struggling with.

Many years later, a student of Callahan’s would take this notion, and add to it elements that we see and use in Emotional Freedom Technique today. Gary Craig, a former student of Callahan’s, added to his teacher’s already widely-used TFT tool. By asking clients to tap on specific points in sequence, and repeat a phrase out loud while tapping each one, he essentially became the developer of EFT; but not without years of foundational work laid down by his predecessors.

How Does the Emotional Freedom Technique Work?

The energy centers of the body can best be thought of as meridian points. These are like energy channels connecting the highways of the body, and therefore connecting us to our sensations – which can often be rooted in physical pain and emotional fear. When these negative sensations come up, they disrupt the balance of the body, and we feel off in some way.

By lightly tapping each of these meridian points in sequence, and repeating how we feel and what we’re struggling with, out loud, we cut the chain of negative reactions and sensations from continuing to plague us.

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Whatever we’re dealing with – whether it’s a bad memory, a struggling relationship, a moment of intense fear – we can use tapping to concentrate on accepting and resolving the negative emotion, so that we can allow the body to restore itself to order and balance. [3]

The video below offers an overview of the tapping points, and their significance in the EFT technique.

How to Find the Right Points

It is generally advisable to tap with one hand (it doesn’t matter which), and specifically with your index and middle fingers together.

Tap solidly for approximately 5-7 taps, but not so hard that you hurt or injure yourself. You want to feel the pressure on the meridian points as you tap; this will come naturally with practice.

The following tapping points are done in sequence every time, and are repeated until the tapping session is over (generally until you start to feel better). [4]

Top of the Head

The first point is on the top of your head, tapping the crown of the head. This can be done with either hand, depending on your preference.[5]

    Eyebrows

    Then, move into tapping the very beginning of your eyebrow, where it’s closer to the nose. Again, this can be done with either hand.[6]

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      Side of the Eye

      Move over to the side of your eye (whichever one), and tap on the bone bordering the outside corner of the eye.

        Under the Eye

        Then, move under the same eye and tap the bone directly underneath.

          Under the Nose

          Move down slightly to the area between the bottom of your nose and your upper lip, and tap solidly there.

            Chin

            Then, move down to the area between the bottom of your lower lip and the bony part of your chin, and tap solidly there.

              Collar Bone

              From your chin, move down to the U-shaped notch directly below the throat (generally where a man would fix his tie); move over to the collarbone and slightly below, where it’s not on the bone itself. Tap this area solidly with either hand.

              Under the Arm

              From your collarbone, reach down under the arm and solidly tap the area even with the nipple. For women, this is the middle of the bra strap.[7]

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                The Outside of the Hand

                Lastly, tap the outside of the hand, slightly below the pinky finger, on the cushion of the side of the hand.[8]

                  What To Say While You Tap

                  Once you know where and how to tap, it’s time to tune into what you’re struggling with.

                  Bring to mind an issue or an emotion that you’re dealing with, and tune into how this feels, and what it is. The more attuned you are to it, versus simply trying to push it away, the more it can rise to the surface to be processed and worked through with the help of EFT.

                  The typical EFT phrase template is:

                  Even though I have this _______, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.”

                  By filling in the blank as to whatever you’re struggling with, repeat this phrase as you tap onto each meridian point.

                  The benefit of saying this phrase is to not only release it from your physical and energetic body by saying it loud, but also by accepting the problem you’re with.

                  For many of us, denial and dismissal of problems and struggles leads to the festering of that problem, until we’re sick and diseased with trying to keep it all in. What EFT does is give that problem an outlet and a recognition, reminding us that we are not defined by our struggles. In the face of them, we still accept ourselves as we are.

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                  Some examples of phrases that you may use are:

                  • Even though I am scared of this test, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.
                  • Even though I am scared to be judged, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.
                  • Even though I am angry at her, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.
                  • Even though I feel this pain in my body, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.

                  How long you tap is entirely up to you. For some, 10-15 minutes is an average amount of time spent tapping. Doing it when you wake up first thing in the morning can help you set the tone of the day, and enter your tasks at hand with a little more space and ease. However, when you tap is still generally up to you.

                  When you’re done, simply sit in stillness and notice how you feel – both physically, emotionally, and energetically. You will likely start to notice a bit more rest and relaxation, as well as disconnect from the problem or struggle that you’ve been dealing with.

                  This is the energetic shift of the energy in the meridian points, and the true magic behind the EFT technique. Come back to it in practice whenever you need it.

                  Final Thoughts

                  The Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), also known as Tapping, is an alternative and holistic method by which to tap onto meridian points of the body, to restore balance in the wake of negative emotions or physical pain.

                  By giving your problems a voice and an outlet, and by tapping while speaking, you’re cutting off the negative chain of reactions in the body, and bringing yourself back to homeostasis – all with the simple power of a finger tap.

                  Long rooted in the history and power of acupuncture and Eastern medicine, EFT is a tool free to use by anyone, with healing effects proven to be simple and profound.

                  More Calming Techniques

                  Featured photo credit: Noah Silliman via unsplash.com

                  Reference

                  [1] Healthline: What is EFT Tapping?
                  [2] Thriving Now: History of Tapping (Including EFT)
                  [3] The Tapping Solution Foundation: What is Tapping and How Does it Work?
                  [4] EFT: Basic Steps to your Emotional Freedom
                  [5] Body Wisdom Nutrition: What are the EFT Tapping points?
                  [6] Harper’s Bazaar: A beginner’s guide to Tapping, a self-help tool to help manage anxiety
                  [7] Hopes Holistic Health: Emotional Freedom Techniques
                  [8] Beth Tuttle: EFT Tapping Points

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                  Aleksandra Slijepcevic

                  Accredited and Certified Vinyasa Yoga Teacher writing for Health & Fitness

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                  Last Updated on February 17, 2020

                  5 Reasons Why You Should Always Be Who You Are

                  5 Reasons Why You Should Always Be Who You Are

                  When it comes to being yourself, there can be a lot of pressure from the outside world as it tries to influence who you are. Living in a society that is constantly developing, it’s important for you to always be yourself from the inside out.

                  When you deeply know yourself and the boundaries that you have set, you are more likely to experience a fulfilling and rewarding life. Without knowing yourself and establishing those boundaries, you can easily be pushed around and end up on a dirt path.

                  So how to be who you are and always be yourself?

                  “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” – Matthew 7:13-14

                  You have the option of taking the path that is broad or taking the path that is narrow. You can either conform to what life wants you to be, or have the courage to remain true to yourself throughout the years. It’s definitely a challenge to have a strong sense of self when we are constantly getting distracted and being influenced by the media and society’s way of life. But if you want to reach your fullest potential in life, it all starts with being yourself.

                  Why should you always be yourself? Because you will:

                  1. Live in Alignment With Your Values and Beliefs

                  Being yourself is all about knowing what you believe in and the values that you live by. When you are not yourself, you will take on the values and beliefs of others. This is when you start conforming to other people’s expectations and way of thinking.

                  When you know your values and why you do what you do, you will live according to your own values and beliefs.

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                  2. Establish Your Own Identity

                  When you are able to have a solid foundation of being you, you are establishing your own sense of identity. No matter what happens in your life, you will always know who you are.

                  There will be times where you may feel lost or distracted, but if you have your own identity you’ll be able to get back on the right path. Without establishing your own identity, you may easily conform and lose yourself.

                  3. Build Courage

                  It takes a great amount of courage when you decide to take the path that goes against the crowd. The reason why the majority of people take the broad path is because it’s easy.

                  It’s easy to just follow the crowd. It’s more of a challenge when you stay true to yourself and establish your own identity. This challenge of always being yourself takes courage and inner strength. No matter what comes your way, you’ll know how to handle it.

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                  4. Establish Boundaries

                  When you are always yourself, you know what your limits are and the boundaries that you have set for yourself. When people cross your boundaries, you will know.

                  But if you don’t establish boundaries, people may very well walk all over you and take advantage of you. If you are always yourself and you establish boundaries, you are more likely to be aware when people start taking advantage of you.

                  Create and establish your boundaries.

                  5. Find Focus and Direction

                  When you are always yourself, you are more likely to have focus and direction in your life. Imagine someone who is constantly conforming to other people’s expectations, do you think this person has focus and direction? I don’t think so.

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                  When you stay true to who you are, you are more likely to know the goals you want to accomplish and how to go about accomplishing them. You are able to stay focused and know which direction to take in order for you to accomplish your goals.

                  No matter what you experience in life, the only person that will always remain constant is you.

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                  Featured photo credit: María Victoria Heredia Reyes via unsplash.com

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