TAP YOUR TROUBLES AWAY
The Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)
has become a popular, mind-body healing modality that’s slowly
transitioning into mainstream acceptance. EFT is a form of
acupressure-assisted exposure therapy, where you tap on various
acupressure points while focusing on troublesome emotional issues.
Basically, the technique catalyzes the release of negatively
charged, stuck emotions that compromise - like an albatross around
our necks - the fullness of our potential. Through EFT, we let go
energetically of the emotional baggage that keeps us from moving on.
The memory is still there, but the charge is gone.
EFT has successfully treated issues that have
yielded reluctantly, at best, to years of psychotherapy or
medication. Furthermore, because virtually all chronic disorders
have mind-body correlates, EFT has the potential to lessen physical
symptoms and pain, and pave the path to healing. EFT is a
self-healing and -empowerment technique that people can learn to do
by and for themselves. It has no negative side effects.
The problem for many, however, is that the
technique seems too simple to generate the stunning results often
observed when more involved, time-consuming, costly approaches have
fallen way short. We don’t believe it can be that easy; we want a
therapy that conforms to our expectations and biomedical
EFT falls under the umbrella of energy
medicine (specifically energy psychology) a very different way
of looking at healing and wellness than conventional medicine. In
fact, energy medicine, which includes, for example,
acupuncture/acupressure, therapeutic touch, homeopathy, light and
sound therapy, is the fastest growing subfield in medicine today.
Conventional medicine’s reductionistic
viewpoint essentially believes that we are a “meat” machine with
component body parts, whether they are tiny molecules like
neurotransmitters, cells such as neurons, or anatomical structures
like our spinal cords. If the body breaks down, we need to fix or
replace constituent parts, an example being transplanting stem cells
into an injured cord.
In contrast, reflecting healing philosophies
that prevailed throughout the ages until modern times, energy
medicine believes that our biochemistry is affected by and
interactive with our subtle energy fields. If you attempt to fix
dysfunctional physiology without addressing this superseding
influence, healing will be inherently limited. It is like trying to
push a car in one direction when the steering wheel is cranked
another way. A good conceptual example is that restored function
after stem-cell transplantation (i.e., replacing a part) has been
shown to be greater when it is combined with acupuncture (i.e.,
energetically pointing the stem cells in the right direction).
EFT is based on two key energy-medicine tenets.
First, we have an acupunctural system of points and meridians that
regulate the flow of life-force energy throughout our bodies. As an
analogy, view the meridians as a pipeline through which the energy
flows, the acupuncture points as periodically placed,
flow-controlling valves, and the acupuncture needles as the socket
wrench that opens the valves. [With EFT, instead of needles, the
pressure of tapping fingers regulates the flow.] Overall, each of us
has a unique energy flow that is optimal for our health, and when
this flow gets off-kilter for any mind-body-spirit reason, we become
Secondly, emotions are a function of our
internal energy flows. When our energy flows are weak or blocked, we
may feel tired, cranky, irritable or easily triggered. When our
energy flows are strong and open, we feel more fresh, present,
alive, loving, and joyful. By crimping energy flow and distribution,
negative emotions become psychosomatic baggage. Although we may not
appreciate the influence of these, often pushed-down, emotions in
everyday life, they are there, gnawing away at our ability to
function optimally. EFT releases the energy behind these emotions.
The heavy emotional suitcase we have been dragging through the long
concourse of life becomes a light carry-on of non-charged memories.
Overall, EFT-generated benefits include 1)
desensitizing negative emotions and associated physical reactions;
2) releasing mood-altering neurotransmitters and hormones; 3)
triggering the relaxation response; 4) interrupting stuck or
limiting behavioral patterns/mind-sets; 5) resetting the body’s
internal electrical system; 6) initiating energetic, perceptual,
cognitive, and physical shifts; and 7) inducing feelings of joy,
satisfaction, relaxation, peacefulness, and well-being.
EFT can blunt the impact of many of life’s
“slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” that chip away at our
spirit, ranging from the minor to the all-consuming. If you are
uptight due to traffic, being chewed out by your boss, or arguing
with your spouse, EFT can put you back on an even keel. So to speak,
EFT is the lint brush that wipes away the unneeded clumps of
emotional lint that cling to us and cumulatively drag us down over
At the other end of the spectrum, the
suffering, anguish, or anxiety associated with major issues, like
addiction, intense phobias, childhood abuse, trauma, or
post-traumatic stress, often let up in response to EFT. On occasion,
deep-seated, life-compromising issues have been quickly resolved
with EFT. The emotional balloon swollen with negative charge is
punctured and deflated. However, numerous issues require persistent
practice to dissipate the energies due to the many problem aspects
that need to be peeled away layer by layer.
Underlying our negative behaviors, such as
irrational anger, acting out, addictions, and psychosomatic
conditions often lies trauma. In addition, studies have shown a
direct correlation between adverse childhood experiences and later
In my case, I’ve incorporated ETF tapping into
everyday life. If I wake up at 3 am, fretting about life’s concerns,
I tap and go back to sleep. If I’m irritated from a perceived
slight, I tap it away, keeping it from festering under the surface.
In another example, I recently gave a lecture on alternative
medicine to mainstream health professionals, who are often not
receptive to the topic. Given my concern about the audience and
public-speaking in general, I tapped before my lecture. It released
my speaking angst, and, as a result, “the force was with me.”
Various EFT applications are listed listed
below; try it on any issue.
Given their often profound results, the basic EFT
procedures are amazingly simple and can readily be picked up after a few
short demonstrations. However, because it is more difficult to show
their simplicity through a brief, introductory article, interested
readers are encouraged to check out the resources listed below. Although
procedures are easy, it is helpful to be guided initially by an
experienced EFT practitioner when it comes to major issues.
As summarized in Table, you tap on key acupuncture
points while focusing on a specific issue. These points are specifically
selected because they are located at the end of various acupuncture
meridians. If you have limited finger mobility, use your hands or just
visualize the tapping.
Part 2 will focus on post-traumatic-stress disorder
(PTSD), a problem experienced by many veterans returning home from