What Is EFT Tapping? And Should You Try It?

iEFT, or tapping, is often called “emotional acupuncture.”

What Is EFT, or “Tapping,” and Why Do It?

EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) can reduce stress, anxiety, depression, phobia, PTSD and may help reduce food cravings too.

Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), also referred to as tapping, is a self-help technique in which you use your fingers to tap on certain points identified in traditional acupuncture that land on energy pathways of the body known as meridians. At the same time, you think about a particular issue, problem, memory or event.

This combination of thinking about an issue while tapping on the meridian points is thought to release or reduce the emotional intensity of the issue, enabling you to potentially think about it without feeling emotional distress. For this reason, EFT is often called “emotional acupuncture.”

Energy Disruptions Cause Negative Emotions

The premise underlying the practice of EFT is that disruptions in the body’s energy system cause negative emotions. Specifically, negative thoughts about a troubling event cause energy disruptions, which, in turn, cause negative emotions. To clear the energy block, individuals tap meridian points while thinking about the upsetting event. This is thought to clear the disruption, which releases the negative emotion and restores balance.

What Can EFT Do for Me?

Clinical research studies suggest that EFT may help with food cravings and weight loss. For example, a study showed that participants in an EFT weight-loss program lost an average 11.1 pounds in the year following the program. In another study, EFT helped participants reduce food cravings and maintain decreased food cravings over time. In addition to potential weight loss and cravings benefits, research suggests that EFT may also help reduce stress, anxiety, depression, phobias, PTSD, pain and other physical ailments.

EFT Technique

Although there are tapping sequences that use a variety of different meridian points, a common tapping sequence used by EFT practitioners includes the nine points identified on the graphic above.

To use the EFT technique, follow these instructions in conjunction with the tapping points on the EFT graphic above:

  1. Pick a problem, issue, belief or memory, and for best results be specific. Being specific requires you to pick a particular event demonstrating how your problem manifests itself. For example, instead of using a general phrase like “I never get what I want in life,” use a particular instance (e.g., “I interviewed for my dream job last week, and yesterday they called me and told me I didn’t get the job”). Be as specific as possible about when the event happened, where it happened, the details, the people involved and how the event made you feel.
  2. Determine your current level of distress when you think about the issue. Rate how much it currently bothers you on a scale of 0 to 10, with 10 being extremely bothersome and 0 not bothersome at all.
  3. Start with the setup phrase. Tap continuously on the “karate chop” point while repeating the following phrase three times: “Even though I have this (identify the event by a name), I deeply and completely accept myself.”
  4. Then, tap approximately seven times on each of the other points, starting with the eyebrow point and finishing with the top of the head. While you tap, think about the event and state a phrase to remind yourself of it at each point.
  5. After your initial tapping sequence, think about the event and rate your current level of distress. If it is not yet at a 0, continue additional tapping sequences.
  6. Change your setup phrase so that it reflects that there is still an issue. For example, you might say: “Even though I still have a little bit of this [event], I deeply and completely accept myself.”
  7. Repeat the tapping sequence, tapping on each of the points with a reminder phrase like “this lingering event” until your distress level reaches a 0.

Why Use an EFT Practitioner?

Working with a trained EFT practitioner can not only help a person identify issues to tap on, it may also help him or her move deeper in tapping through issues than he or she would be able to do on his or her own.

How to Find a Qualified EFT Practitioner

EFT Universe is the leading organization that trains and certifies EFT practitioners. Of the numerous EFT programs, the trainings conducted by EFT Universe are the only ones that have been accredited for continuing education by the American Medical Association (AMA), American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), American Psychological Association (APA) and NASWB. If you're looking for a qualified EFT practitioner, make sure you find a practitioner trained or certified by EFT Universe.

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Adams, A., Davidson, K. (2011). EFT Comprehensive Training Resource: Level 1. 1st Ed. Energy Psychology Press: Fulton, CA.

Church, D. (2013). EFT for Weight Loss. Energy Psychology Press: Fulton, CA.

Church, D., Marohn, S. (2013). Clinical EFT Handbook: A Definitive Resource for Practitioners, Scholars, Clinicians and Researchers. Vol. 1. 1st Ed. Energy Psychology Press: Fulton, CA.

Craig, G. (2010). The EFT Mini-Manual: EFT’s Basic Recipe. Energy Psychology Press: Fulton, CA.

EFT Universe. (n.d.). The Benefits of EFT Universe Certification. Retrieved Nov. 8, 2015 from http://www.eftuniverse.com/certification/benefits-of-eft-universe-certification

EFT Universe (n.d.) EFT Certifications. Retrieved Nov. 9, 2015 from http://www.eftuniverse.com/certification/eft-certification

Stapleton, P., Sheldon, T., Porter, B., & Whitty, J. (2011). A randomized clinical trial of a meridian-based intervention for food cravings with six-month follow-up. Behaviour Change, 28(1), 1.

Stapleton, P., Sheldon, T., & Porter, B. (2012). Clinical Benefits of Emotional Freedom Techniques on Food Cravings at 12-Months Follow-Up: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Energy Psychology: Theory, Research, and Treatment, 4(1), 1-12.