I accidentally began doing Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT or tapping) in a coaching program.
First, my coach told me it’s emotional acupuncture, without the needles. That made me raise an eyebrow…
Then, she explained that illness and pain often have an emotional component. And that the cause of all negative emotions is a disruption in the body’s energy system.
I squinted at her, my lips pressed together. I couldn’t wrap my mind around the concept.
But when my coach demonstrated how to do EFT?
My jaw dropped. She smiled and kept tapping gently on different points on her face and body.
What’s more, studies show that this absurd energy healing modality helps relieve anxiety, depression, trauma, PTSD and chronic pain.
EFT has turbocharged my own healing process. To my great surprise, stubborn childhood issues that constantly plagued me vanished. No more waiting for years to see results.
I had to know more.
What exactly is Emotional Freedom Techniques?
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, practitioners work with meridians, a network of energy pathways in our body.
Twelve main channels of energy animate our body, mind, emotions and spirit. Each meridian corresponds to an organ. Energy, blood and information regularly flow through our organs.
When energy circulates freely through our meridians and organs, our body stays healthy and we feel at peace with ourselves.
But when energy gets blocked—due to factors like trauma, excess stress or poor diet—we may experience illness and pain. Emotional issues may stagnate and transform into anxiety, negative thinking and addictions.
Our mind, body and spirit fall out of alignment, wreaking havoc in our lives.
That’s why practitioners use acupuncture to readjust and unblock meridians. Similarly, in EFT, we stimulate certain acupuncture points by tapping on them with our fingertips.
These modalities focus on the root cause of problems (instead of just treating symptoms) and help us realign our body, mind and spirit.
Gary Craig, a Stanford-trained engineer who specialized in personal development, created EFT in the 90s. Dr. Roger Callahan’s work called Thought Field Therapy inspired Craig’s simplified method.
A growing body of scientific research attests to EFT’s effectiveness. Read my blog article: How Does EFT Tapping Work? Here’s the Science Behind It
Nowadays, all kinds of professionals use tapping, including:
- mental health practitioners
- life coaches
- massage therapists
- social workers
The list of issues that EFT can help is extraordinary:
Can you see why I felt excited to learn more about EFT? I love it so much that I became a certified EFT Practitioner!
How to do basic tapping
The Karate Chop point cracks me up.
It’s the fleshy side of your hand. Just imagine if you were to shatter a pile of bricks with a karate chop!
When we start tapping, we use 3 or 4 fingers of one hand to stimulate the Karate Chop point on the other hand. It doesn’t matter if we use the left or right hand.
Then, when we tap on points 2 to 9 (see the photo), we use 2 fingers to accommodate the smaller spaces.
The goal is to tap 5 to 10 times on each point. We want to tap just firmly enough so that we can feel it.
Different EFT techniques and additional tapping points may be necessary to heal specific issues. But the basic structure of tapping looks like this:
- Choose the issue. It can be physical, mental, emotional or spiritual. If you’re doing EFT on yourself, it’s best to work on minor issues, like a headache or a small upset.
- Determine the level of intensity. On a scale of 0 to 10 (10 being the highest), how intense is the issue for you?
- Create a Set-Up Statement. The basic phrase is Even though I have ____ (name the issue), I deeply and completely accept myself.
- Tap on the Karate Chop point, while saying or thinking the Set-Up Statement 3 times.
- Tap on points 2 to 9, while saying or thinking a Reminder Phrase at each point. For example, This headache. Or, This disappointment.
- Reevaluate the level of intensity. Compare with your previous number to measure progress.
- Pause and tune in. What thoughts, emotions or physical sensations arise? Tap on whatever comes up. Repeat steps 3 to 7 until you get a 3 or less.
Why do we tap on these acupuncture points?
Each tapping point is the endpoint of a meridian. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, these energy pathways are generally linked to an organ, which detoxes specific emotions.
- Karate Chop/Side of the hand point (small intestine): sadness, disconnection, feeling stuck
- Top of the head point (governing vessel): shame, powerlessness, fear
- Eyebrow point (bladder): frustration, shock
- Side of the eye point (gall bladder): anger, resentment, indecision
- Under the eye point (stomach): fear, anxiety
- Under the nose point (governing vessel): shame, powerlessness, fear
- Chin point (central vessel): confusion, guilt, shame
- Collarbone point (kidney): resistance, inner conflict
- Under the arm point (spleen): insecurity, self-doubt
When You should work with an EFT practitioner
You’ll notice that EFT helps you quickly relax and hush your mind. Some people even feel sleepy or repeatedly yawn.
Strong emotions, laughter and tears can arise too. You might actually experience more distress before feeling better.
Did you know some people burp during EFT?
It’s all part of the process. These are positive signs that the energy has been unclogged.
For complex or chronic issues, it can take several sessions of EFT to resolve. One issue may have lots of different parts that need to be addressed.
Working with trauma without appropriate training and experience can cause retraumatizations and worsen symptoms.
An EFT Practitioner helps you find the core issue, which is often hidden in the most unsuspecting places. (Our unconscious mind is like an endless jungle with many confusing paths.)
Personally, I resisted doing EFT on myself for a long time.
I knew how to do it, but acknowledging heavy emotions alone daunted me. Years of self-inquiry and meditation helped me arrive at a cozy bed and breakfast on my spiritual journey.
I generally felt peaceful, enjoyed good health and thrived in my relationships. But certain self-worth issues and financial blocks stayed as uninvited guests.
Accepting these problems in my mindfulness practice didn’t seem to make a difference. I couldn’t take a step back to see the bigger picture.
That’s when I reached out for help.
My EFT Practitioner gently guided me to my blind spots and helped me release stifled emotions. I learned how to more fully heal from past wounds.
Sometimes, tapping revealed long-forgotten memories, trauma that I didn’t even know I had and repressed grief.
As I like to say, shadow integration isn’t for the faint of heart.
But on the other side, I found my true nature and am now embodying it with joy.
It’s like tuning a piano
Our body has a brilliant energy system that orchestrates our well-being.
But excess stress, negative experiences and emotional wounds can sabotage our potential.
Ignoring these issues doesn’t make them go away. Our subconscious mind still remembers them. Left unhealed, they can cause cravings, illness and pain.
We must shine a light on the traumatic memory or limiting belief.
Once we unblock the stagnant energy, we return to our natural state:
Health, abundance and bliss.
P.S. I’m offering free EFT Tapping sessions in exchange for a short interview. Learn more and book your session.
Annie Moussu is a certified EFT Tapping Master Practitioner helping women build confidence, set boundaries & enjoy healthy relationships. Get her free EFT meditation & guide for people-pleasing.