My Introduction to EFT (Tapping)

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There are many websites that explain the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) or “tapping,” so I’m only going to briefly explain what it is. I’d rather talk about the intricacies of EFT, comparisons of EFT to other healing modalities, and the impact EFT has had on my life. EFT is sometimes called “acupuncture without the needles.” This is because it involves lightly tapping on the same meridian points on the body that acupuncturists would use to place needles. The idea is that the energy can be maneuvered just as easily by gently tapping as it can by needling. Many scientific studies have been conducted that show EFT’s effectiveness in treating ailments, particularly phobias, anxiety, and PTSD.

I had heard of EFT tapping over the years, but it wasn’t until I attended a few live sessions on the meditation app Insight Timer with two different teachers—Andrew Johnson and Ruthi Cohen Joyner—that I began to take a real interest in this unusual and amazingly simple technique. At the time, I had been suffering from chronic headaches for well over 20 years, and in just one short session, the pain diminished, and I was amazed. How could something so easy as tapping on my face, collar bone, and side of my hand decrease headache pain that I’d had for so long?

The idea behind EFT tapping is that to release the emotional charge that can accompany an emotional or physical disturbance or pain, we must first acknowledge the issue. We must actually conjure up the very thing that is disturbing us. Then we begin tapping on key points on our body, called energy meridians, which opens up blockages, much like acupuncture does. After a few rounds, we measure our level of anxiety surrounding the issue. A successful tapping session will lower the pain or emotional charge associated with that issue.

The placebo effect? I don’t think so. Here’s why.

The placebo effect is powerful. It works. It’s why many who receive sugar pills instead of real medication experience the same, or nearly the same, healing as those who took the actual medication. It’s why people who are convinced something will or will not work are usually right either way. The mind is the most powerful instrument we have.

But when I tuned into my first EFT session on Insight Timer, I never expected it to work. In fact, I thought, “This is ridiculous. Why am I even doing this?” But here’s what actually happened . . .

My first EFT session

The practice of EFT requires a set-up phrase that says, “Even though I have (name your issue), I deeply and completely love and accept myself.” This is said three times while tapping on the side of the hand, just below the pinkie (the “karate chop point”). Then we continue to keep naming the issue (in my case, “this headache pain”) while tapping on various parts of the face, the collar bone, under the arm, the top of the head, and the fingers. Here is a video of a simple tapping session.

My headache improved

EFT asks you to rate your pain or anxiety on a scale of 0 to 10 before you begin tapping. When I started my first session, I rated my headache a 5. After three rounds of tapping, which took only a few minutes, my headache was a 3. I was shocked. I have since learned that shock is a common reaction because EFT is so simple that it doesn’t seem like it could possibly be effective.

My second experience with EFT

I was so impressed with EFT’s results on my headache that I began to research it like crazy. I learned that it is highly useful for anxiety. So, just before I was about to step into the oral surgeon’s office for a procedure, I sat in my car and tapped on “this anxiety” and alternated that phrase with “nervousness about this procedure.” Anyone who witnessed me tapping in my car probably thought I was nuts, but I didn’t care. I then endured a complicated two-hour procedure without an iota of anxiety. It was another shock for me.

Getting certified in EFT

This skeptic was now impressed enough to take the next step, which was certification in EFT. I never had any intention of teaching it or becoming a practitioner. I just wanted to learn more. So I am now pending certification as of June 2021.

I will soon post more blogs about EFT, including comparing it to other healing modalities.