What if there was a tool that could eliminate practically many of the physical ailments that we suffer from?
What if there was a tool that could help erase phobias in minutes, help people stop their suffering, and help them get back to good health?
What if there was a simple exercise that one could do that could help eliminate most of the problems in as little as 5 minutes?
Would you want to hear about it?
I bet you would!
The thing is, Emotional Freedom Technique, or EFT for short has been around since the early 1990's and was developed by Gary Craig.
And EFT is fastly becoming one of the safest and quickest forms of self-healing, due to the interlink between the mind and body. Simply put, if the mind is in poor shape, so will the body, and vice versa.
So what has this got to do with EFT, and ultimately, reducing stress and anxiety?
Well, if we can help the bodies electrical system, we can in turn, help our mind.
You see, EFT is actually a version of acupuncture, which comes from Chinese medicine between 2000-4000 years ago. The Chinese believed that the body had meridian points, a system within the body that distributes the life energy, or Qi.
Now, in a previous article about sleep and stress relief, I mentioned that the body has a non-physical counterpart as well, and this non-physical counterpart would contain around 7 main Vortices or Chakras.
Well, consider the meridians as the system that transports the life energy given by the Chakra to around other areas of the body. (Simply put, the chakras are the main contact points for the Qi to trickle in when we are sleeping, nourishing the main organs, where as the meridians are a network that allow the Qi to other areas of the body and other organs).
The two, in fact, work with each other.
So to get back on track, the Chinese believed that the body had meridian points, and by sending shocks to these points (originally, needles) you would be able to nurture and re-balance these energy imbalances However, acupuncture was used to help physical problems, not emotional ones.
Fast forward to 1962, and Dr G Goodhead had read a book on acupuncture by the President of the Acupuncture Society in the UK. He got excited about the possibilities about the potential, and having studied acupuncture he developed Applied Kinesiology (which uses testing of muscles to establish the appropriate cure or treatment).
Instead of using needles, he discovered that he could add manual pressure on the acupuncture points, or, ‘tapping' them.
This work was developed further around the 1970's by an Australian Psychiatrist called J. Diamond M.D. when he created a variation of it called, ‘Behavioral Kinesiology', but including affirmations, or ‘statements' when the acupuncture points were contacted and was used to treat emotional problems.
But this was only to turn into EFT when a further step was required. It required a structure in order for this treatment to help psychological problems, and Dr R Callahan, who specialized in anxiety disorders, created this structure.
In the 1980's, he learned about Applied Kinesiology and learned about the bodies meridian system. He used the combination of tapping, while focusing on the psychological issues at hand. But after an event involving one of his patients called, ‘Mary' (who had a phobia of water) he made a surprising discovery.
Gary Craig heard about this discovery and developed this tapping method even further, to distinguish it from the methods used by Dr Callahan. He has been teaching his methods since the early 1990's and called it EFT.
Fast forward a few decades, and EFT is now being used by many health practitioners across the world to help people with physical and emotional issues.
Yet, despite the obvious fact that EFT works, and is helping people everyday to help physical ailments as well as psychological ones, why don't we all use it?
- One of the biggest reasons is that we simply don't know where to start! None of us have perfect lives, and as a result, we have not just one issue, but several. So naturally, the question seems to be, ‘Where do I begin?'
The easiest way to answer this is to honestly ask yourself what the biggest stressful thing that is currently facing you right now, and start from there. Think of a thing that you know is going to send your stress levels souring, such as attending a job interview, or going on a date. Anything that you know is going to cause that heartbeat of yours to go higher than usual.
- Another problem to EFT is that while we know what we don't want, sometimes (not everytime) we don't always know what we want. So we do the negative affirmations (which will be explained later) but sometimes forget their positive counterparts.
This creates the tendency to think of all the negative situations in your life, without using EFT in an exciting way in creating a better life for yourself, including ways to developing your psychology to allow you to strive towards your goals and dreams. Put simply, we do the bad stuff first, to create a form of self-healing, but forget that the same tool could help us realize our full potential!
- Another problem is that some critics say that EFT could be new-age rubbish, saying that it is nothing more than a psychological placebo effect! (although this would surely indicate that age old law of mind over matter, for if you think you can become well, and you did become well, if it isn't the acupressure that was directly responsible, your mind is!).
Some critics say that EFT, due to not enough scientific evidence, is nothing more than a patients belief system kicking into gear (although this wouldn't quite fully explain why some physical ailments would be healed) and as a result, has no premise in the main medical establishment or industry, and is nothing more than just an extra cog in the new-age industry.
Personally, I've tried EFT for several years (although admittedly on and off, for various personal reasons) and I can testament to the effectiveness of this, ‘tool'.
For starters, I used it to help rid my nerves of an impending job interview, as well as using it (very recently) to reduce my OCD by up to 60% (which I know doesn't sound much, but that’s most of my bad feelings gone, and my OCD ritual time reduced, allowing me to have more time to go to bed and meditate and image stream;-)
Is this really just mind over matter, once again confirming my belief (and some experience) that your mind does indeed create your reality (forming the basis of the law of attraction, a subject for another article) or is there really a meridian system that allows the distribution of Qi from the Chakras to help nourish the organs and the body including the psychological aspects of your being, to be essentially, ‘reset' when you do nothing more than just, ‘tap it' thereby inducing a mini, ‘shock' allowing you to reset the energy disturbance, the very protocol which EFT is based on?
But then this would ponder another question: Is our feelings, emotions and thoughts nothing more than electrical activity taking place in our body, and as such, we can harness this electrical energy for positive effect, thereby allowing us to some degree, to manipulate our own body, manipulate our own thoughts and as a result (surely) manipulate our reality?
I must confess, even though I'v done as much research as possible in writing this article, I don't have the answers (I wish at times I did!). However, I do know a few things:
Clearly, we have some form of running electrical activity in our body. This is measured by an EEG, (Electroencephalogram) which shows the electrical activity of the brain, and we know that during meditation, this electrical activity substantially varies, between Beta, Alpha and Theta (or, if you are really good at it, Gamma, and Delta) .
This alone can help increase the flood of Qi into your chakras, allowing you to feel refreshed.
But what if it is true that by tapping into this running electrical activity, we can indeed help the healing of some physical and psychological ailments, just be doing a simple exercise like tapping on some parts of your face and your chest, while saying out loud some simple statements?
Using a scan procedure called, Functional MRI (fMRI), which measures signal changes in the brain due to changing of the neural activity, scientists can demonstrate that stimulating points on the skin not only can change brain neural activity, but also can de-activate parts of the brain that is activated when we experience fear and pain.
Research has also shown that EFT can reduce Cortisol, the stress hormone, by as much as 24%, and can reduce stress by as much as 90% in more general cases.
EFT has been know to help help reduce (and in some cases, eliminate) the following ailments:
- Performance Anxiety
- Self Esteem Issues
- Relationship problems
- Childrens Issues
- Pain Management
- Learning and Study Issues
- Sleep/Insomnia issues
- Animal Issues
- Weight loss or eating disorders
- Fears and phobias
So what exactly do you do?
First things first, we need to know the most pressing psychological issue in your life, and work from there!
We need to know the thing that stresses you out, or at the very least, makes you feel very uncomfortable just thinking about it.
Once you have the emotional memory (or your perceived threat, i.e. something you are scared of that could happen in the future) ask yourself: How intense is it, on a scale of 1 to 10. This gives you a nice reference point which you can come back later, to see if you have made any progress.
Also ask yourself if it is a dumb or sharp feeling, as well as where the feeling is located (i.e. around the throat, or stomach area, or perhaps your heart feels clamped.).
Doing this protocol, we get to analyze more effectively the type of feeling we are trying to dislodge (and hopefully eliminate). We need to have some form of measurement guide, so we can effectively see how well (or not so well in some cases ) we are doing.
If done correctly, in most instances, the feeling should begin to reduce, as one tries EFT and practices more and more.
Note of warning. Although EFT has been deemed a fast way of self-healing, the people who have the greatest successes are the ones who do it more than once (or more than 5 minutes). It is said that doing EFT is like peeling the layers of an onion. You peel of one layer, only to discover that a deeper memory is there, so we need to tap that away, only to discover that another subconscious memory is lurking behind that, and so on. People who tap for a good hour are more likely to have more success that the people who tap for just a few minutes. But, of course, each to their own.
Once we have established and analyzed the feeling (to the best of our ability) we need to create a setup point.
‘Even though I am stressed out about this job interview, I deeply and completely love and accept myself'
This is an affirmation, and affirmations are used in EFT to help with the re-framing process in the subconscious. Affirmations need to be said out loud while tapping the parts of your body (and ideally with desire) to help with your subconscious reconditioning.
Do this 3 times
This is called the setup, and is used to prevent Psychological Reversal, which can happen when a part of ourselves wants to change, but another part, either energetic or subconscious, doesn't want to have that change.
After you've done this, we then start tapping the area above the bridge of the nose at the side of the eyebrow, called the Bladder Meridian.
You can either tap with one hand, or you can use both hands. You are essentially tapping the area where your eyebrows meet. This is a meridian end point, and by tapping, you are sending mini shock-waves to try to balance any energy imbalances in your body, that was caused when you thought of an unpleasant emotion or feeling.
Tap this around 7 times, saying out loud, ‘This feeling'
The next meridian end point is to the side of the eyes, and corresponds to the Gall Bladder meridian.
Tap this about 7 times, saying out loud, ‘This feeling'
The next end point is under the eye called the Stomach Meridian (where bags under your eyes are formed, if that helps). Tap that around 7 times, saying out loud, ‘This feeling'
The next end point is the spot just below your nose and above your mouth, the place where your mouth tends to curve downwards slightly, and is called the Governing Vessel. Tap that about 7 times, saying out loud, ‘This feeling'
The next meridian end point is the place below your mouth and above your chin. The spot where your skin goes inwards and is called the Central Vessel. Tap this about 7 times, saying out loud, ‘this feeling'
The next point is the patch or area just under your collar bone. This is called the Sore spot, and is the Neurolymphatic point. Tap that using one or both hands, saying out loud, ‘This feeling'
The following point is the place just about 4 inches under your armpit, and is called the Spleen Meridian. Tap this about 7 times, again saying out loud, ‘This feeling'
Then go to the top of your head, also called the Governing Vessel, and tap that about 7 times, saying, ‘This feeling'
Then we repeat this process, but with the fingers, as they also include meridian points. The first one is the thumb, called the Lung Meridian. Tap just right next to the nail, about 7 times, and say out loud, ‘This feeling'
The index finger is called the Large Intestine Meridian. Again, tap about 7 times right next to the nail, saying out loud, ‘This feeling'.
The middle finger, or Heart Protector is next, and you need to tap next to the nail again, about 7 times, saying, ‘This feeling'.
You miss the next finger, and go straight to the Little finger, called the Heart Meridian. Tap this around 7 times, again near the nail, saying out loud, ‘This feeling'.
Take a deep breath, try to get the feeling back, and see how it feels by now. Sometimes it's still there, sometimes it's been reduced. In some cases, it may even have gone (although that's rare on the first occasion).
Try to bring the image in your mind back, or the feeling, and again feel how intense it is. Going by the initial protocol, which should be able to establish whether the feeling is still profound, if it has shifted position (i.e. gone somewhere else in the body) and (more importantly) whether there has been any positive effect caused by the tapping.
In most cases, the feeling/emotion will still be there, so what you do is to tap in the area between the little finger and the ring finger behind the knuckles (that triangular part between the bones, roughly 15 mm behind the knuckles).
It's called the Gamut point, and will replace the karate chop point for the setup. Like before, say your problem out loud, but include the ending statement, ‘I love and accept myself).
Repeat as before, starting with the main part of the body, and finishing with your fingers.
Some techniques say that you can change the wording of your statements to fit your particular problem, so instead of saying, ‘this feeling' you could say alter your statements to address the issues directly, and ask for help instead (e.g. while tapping your chin, you could say, ‘Being in a bar is no longer socially stressful' and then tap on the part below your collar bone saying, ‘I love being around people').
Change the wording where needed, and experiment. It's perfectly safe.
If you say something out loud, and the feeling intensifies, it could mean that you're saying it inaccurately, so test, experiment, and change where appropriate. Difficult it may be for some people, but try to have fun with this.
Although some people believe EFT is nothing more than a clever NLP trick to reduce (or collapse) a mental anchor that is created when a negative event takes place (i.e that is stimulas = response), it is generally regarded as a great, free tool to help not only overcome stressful and anxiety ridden circumstances, but also many other psychological and some physical ailments.
I personally have used EFT to help reduce my OCD, ‘routine'. I was able to reduce it and go to bed earlier (although admittedly, it took me several attempts. But then , I've had this OCD for many, many years).
This is still an incredibly fast form of self-healing, and many more people are using it to richly empower their lives and break through many barriers.
Although there is still some scientific research needed to see it it can, indeed' heal other physical ailments (only some ailments can be reduced with EFT, although the symptoms of autism, interestingly, has been reported as being reduced in encouraging degrees using EFT on a child. You can read about it here).
EFT is fast becoming more and more popular as a treatment to help nearly all psychological symptoms, including anxiety and depression.
Of course, it doesn't work for everyone, and in future articles, I will talk about other therapies, such as IST and PSTEC…so stay tuned.
But what do you think of EFT? Has it worked for you? Please let me know below, I would love to hear of your experiences.