Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), also known as tapping, is based on the ancient practice of meridian tapping. EFT is the modern form of this ancient therapy and has developed over a period of several years to become what it is today. Gary Craig, a trained engineer from Stanford University, is credited with the ultimate development of the EFT practice. Craig was a student of Roger Callahan, a psychologist and student of Applied Kinesiology, who originally discovered the benefits of tapping on specific meridian points to treat phobias. This train of thought led Craig to discovering EFT.
The foundation of this technique is in the body’s meridian system. The body’s meridians are a network of energy channels within the body. There are a total of 12 meridians and they are each ultimately linked to a different body system or organ; the lungs, large intestine, stomach, spleen/pancreas, heart, small intestine, bladder, kidney, heart, triple heater, gall bladder, and liver are the twelve meridian channel locations. The energy that flows through these channels is much like the blood of the circulatory system. It is referred to as the life-energy, or Qi (Chi). The Qi is studied by Eastern medicine practitioners just as much as the anatomy is studied by practitioners of Western medicine.
What is treated with EFT? This therapeutic technique is a holistic healing technique used to treat stress, phobia, emotional disorders, anxiety, chronic pain, addiction, weight issues, and limiting beliefs about self. This technique is based on the combination of acupuncture and psychology. When the correct location (meridian channel acupoint) is tapped with the fingers (rather than needles) to address a specific issue and the root cause is either mentally or verbally addressed the area of blocked energy are able to flow again. For maximum benefit the patient must focus on the negative event while tapping takes place. This removes the negative energetic charge that is connected to that event or memory.
Blockages in these energy channels can lead to a wide variety of negative outcomes raging from physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual associations. Thinking of the negative root cause is essential as this system relies on the link between the mind and body. The tapping engages the limbic system and it also engages the body’s energy system. Engaging both of these at the same time creates possibility to unblock what is causing the restriction of energy flow.
The patient taking part in an EFT tapping session should expect to first undergo a period of questioning to help the practitioner determine the most pressing issue in the patient’s life. The client also has the freedom to voice what he or she believes is the biggest issue in their life at the moment. This can be physical or emotional in nature. Once the issue is properly identified the patient will be asked to become in tune with their body while thinking of the issue and will be asked to rate their emotion on a scale from 1 to 10. This rating will be placed on a Subjective Units of Distress score (SUD) and will be used in the current and future sessions to help determine whether the treatment is being effective.
The patient will tap with the practitioner on the end points of the meridians located on the face and torso. The patient should not fear being in any pain during a session or being expected to dwell on painful past experiences. The number of sessions required is unique to each patient and their individual issues being resolved. Some emotional and physical issues can be addressed and resolved in just a couple of sessions while more deep rooted problems take more sessions to properly address and find healing.
While 12 meridian points exists the practice of EFT focuses on 9 of those. The locations of these nine are the small intestine, the top of the head, the eyebrow, sides of the eyes, under the eyes, under the nose, the chin, the collarbone, and the underarm.
One 2016 study showed that anxiety was significantly reduced by using EFT methods over standard methods of care for anxiety. The overall goal of EFT tapping is to bring balance and flow back to the body’s energy system.
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