Emotional Freedom Therapy
What Is EFT?
EFT is short for Emotional Freedom Technique. It’s a self-help technique that is sometimes referred to as “Tapping”, or “Tapping Therapy.”
The tapping of specific meridians within the physical body is just one of the aspects of EFT. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Diseases describes EFT as “combining elements of cognitive restructuring and exposure techniques with acupoint stimulation.” In layman’s terms this form of therapy combines aspects of acupressure, neuro linguistic programming (NLP), energy medicine, thought field therapy and mindfulness.
The underlying principle of EFT is that all emotions and thoughts trigger forms of energy. The energy, both positive and negative, has a physical effect on the body as it’s “energy system” is made up of circuits that run throughout the body. These energy circuits are referred to as meridians, and although they cannot be seen or measured, many believe they exist and have powerful effects
What Is EFT used for?
EFT can be used to manage both psychological problems and physical ones.
It is commonly used for:
Social Anxiety and Fear (Panic)
Emotional Eating or Cravings
Although we all have natural healing potential, there are times when stress and emotional problems can hinder this. EFT enables the release of negative energy and encourages the flow of positive energy, as well as providing a feeling of calm and relaxation.
People who experience benefits from practicing tapping techniques have reported that find it helps clear their mind and focus their attention on the present as it helps to train the mind for an overall positive effect, much like meditation does.
Why should you try EFT or “Tapping”?
Easy to learn
Easy to administer
Can be done numerous times a day
Can be done anywhere
Can be done without assistance
Can be used to compliment other treatment or therapy with no contra-indications
Improvement is rapid
Can be used for more than one issue
High success Rate
No known side effects
How can you use EFT?
The term “Tapping” has become freely adopted due to the practice of tapping fingers on specific points on the body. It can be self-administered, or as a service provided by a trained therapist.
Trained therapists may also include Progressive Emotional Release, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, Neuro-Emotional Technique, or additional methods that compliment sessions.
It may also be better to use a therapist for tapping as individuals typically target a specific emotion that they wish to release. A therapist can help identify the emotion which may be an underlying one and not obvious to the individual.
The client simply focuses on a positive affirmation while the practitioner begins tapping on the corresponding point to enhance emotional healing. They provide guidance verbally through the session to administer any additional therapeutic techniques that become evident as helpful.
A therapist may also give training to individuals to continue therapy in between appointments using a basic five to seven step process as noted below.
Identify the issue
Create a reminder phrase
Rate the issue
Set up your affirmation
Perform a tapping sequence
Repeat the process if needed
It is important not just to perform the tapping sequence, but to understand the techniques and apply them correctly.
You do not have to have sessions with a therapist, but your chances of effective benefits are increased from 75% to a massive 95% if you do. It is also important to note that self-treating a chronic condition such as depression, addictions, terminal illness with tapping and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences.
If you are considering using EFT and have an existing condition, make sure to talk with your doctor first. Your health practitioner will probably be happy to include it as a part of your treatment as it has no drugs or side effects, but he/she will also ensure that your needs are being met.
A good EFT practitioner will ask about any existing medical issues and if necessary, get a referral from your primary doctor if needed.
Does EFT Really Work?
While research on the health effects of EFT is limited, there are some sources that indicate that tapping and associated methods may offer certain benefits.
Here are the summary of results from a few of the available studies, click on the name of the publication if you'd like to view the source.
The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease is the world's oldest independent scientific monthly in the field of human behavior. It has published many articles and study results on EFT.
It suggests that tapping may help reduce stress, according to a study published in 2012.  For the study, researchers assigned 83 people to either an hour-long EFT tapping session, an hour-long psychotherapy session, or no treatment at all.
The results revealed that those assigned to EFT tapping experienced a significant decrease in their levels of the stress hormone cortisol, as well as significant improvements in anxiety and mood compared to those who did not have the EFT session.
The Journal of Evidence-Based Integrative Medicine (JEBIM) is a peer-reviewed open access journal which focuses on hypothesis-driven and evidence-based research in all fields of integrative medicine.
In a 2019  article it was stated that: “EFT is an evidence-based self-help therapeutic method and over 100 studies demonstrate its efficacy...........Positive trends were observed for HRV (heart rate variability) and HC (heart coherence) and gains were maintained on follow-up, indicating EFT results in positive health effects as well as increased mental well-being."
The National Center for Biotechnology Information advances science and health by providing access to biomedical and genomic information.
In a 2013 a study by the psychology department at Bond University stated the following:  " Ninety-six overweight or obese adults were randomly allocated to a four-week EFT treatment or waitlist condition. Waitlist participants crossed over to the EFT group upon completion of wait period. Degree of food craving, perceived power of food, restraint capabilities, and psychological symptoms were assessed at pretreatment, posttreatment and at 12-month follow-up for combined EFT groups.
Significant improvements in weight, body mass index, food cravings, subjective power of food, craving restraint and psychological coping for EFT participants from pretreatment to 12-month follow-up...........Significant decreases from pre- to posttreatment were found for depression, interpersonal sensitivity, obsessive-compulsivity, paranoid ideation, and somatization (P < 0.05).
(There were) Significant decreases from pretreatment to 12-month follow-up were found for depression, interpersonal sensitivity, psychoticism, and hostility.
The results point to the role depression, and other mental health conditions may play in the successful maintenance of weight loss ...(and help)... people with anxiety disorders. Out of the therapies provided in the study group, researchers found that participants treated with Thought Field Therapy (too) experienced significantly greater improvements in anxiety symptoms than study members assigned to no treatment.
You can click through to each of the sources to find out more about them.
1. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease. 200(10):891-896, October 2012.
2. Bach, D., Groesbeck, G., Stapleton, P., Sims, R., Blickheuser, K., & Church, D. (2019). Clinical EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) Improves Multiple Physiological Markers of Health. Journal of Evidence-Based Integrative Medicine. https://doi.org/10.1177/2515690X18823691
3. Department of Psychology, School of Humanities (Psychology), Bond University, Gold Coast, QLD 4229, Australia. Stapleton P1, Church D, Sheldon T, Porter B, Carlopio C. PMID:23984182 PMCID: PMC3747476 DOI:10.1155/2013/573532