What Is EFT tapping, and how does it work?

EFT Emotional Freedom Techniques Tapping

Emotional Freedom Techniques, or EFT tapping for short, is an alternative treatment for physical pain and emotional symptoms. It is also called “tapping” or “psychological acupressure” since you tap on specific pressure points over the body.

What is EFT?

EFT is an application based on the ideas of its developer, Gary Craig, with the philosophy that the technique of tapping on the body can restore a balance in your energy system and reduce pain. According to Gary Craig, a disruption in the body’s energy flow is the cause of all negative emotions and pain.

Although Western science has still not fathom what works behind EFT tapping, countless people have been successfully treated with EFT, ranging from anxiety to even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Emotional Freedom Techniques roughly fits in with treatment methods such as EMDR, hypnosis, NLP, and meditation to reduce unwanted behavior.

How exactly does EFT tapping work?

Like acupuncture, EFT focuses on the meridian points and energetic hotspots on the body to restore balance to the body’s energy flow. It is believed that restoring this energy balance can relieve symptoms that a negative experience or emotion may have caused.

The operation of meridian points has its origins in Chinese medicine, where they are seen as “the energetic highway where chi flows through the body. These pathways help balance the flow of energy and are closely related to our health. Obstruction in an energy flow usually means that health problems will develop.

In acupuncture, the practitioner uses needles to apply pressure to these energy nodes to get the energy flowing again. In Emotional Freedom Techniques, one taps around these points with their fingertips to stimulate this energy flow.

EFT Practitioners say that tapping helps to access the body’s energy and that signals are sent through the technique to the part of the brain that controls stress. They claim that stimulating the meridian points through EFT tapping can reduce stress or negative emotions and restore disturbed energy balance.

EFT Tapping in five steps

We can break down the process of EFT tapping into five steps. If you have multiple symptoms, such as anxiety or trauma, you can repeat a series of techniques to reduce or even eliminate the negative feeling’s intensity. You can see it as peeling the layers of an onion. Step by step, you reduce the pain or trauma.

1. Name the problem you want to address.

In order to effectively address the symptoms with Emotional Freedom Techniques, it’s important to identify them before you start working with the EFT techniques. Name the specific psychological symptoms or fears as you tap the focus point. Focusing on only one symptom at a time is best to improve results.

2. Test the initial intensity.

After identifying what to focus on, establish a reference of intensity. This intensity level is rated 0 to 10, with being the worst or most difficult. This benchmark is used to assess the experienced emotional or physical pain and discomfort.

By setting a benchmark, you can track your progress after performing a full EFT sequence. If you start with an intensity of 8 and end up with a 6 after EFT tapping, you will have reduced your symptoms by 25% (like 25% of the onion layers)

3. The setup.

Before you start tapping, you need to identify the goal you want to tackle. Here you focus on two main goals:

– Acknowledging the problem

– Accepting yourself despite the problem

The usual outline is, “Even though I have this fear/problem, I deeply and completely accept myself.”

You can modify the sentence as appropriate to the situation. However, the sentence must apply to yourself and not to someone else. So, for example, should you find yourself unpleasant at the hands of someone else, don’t put the “blame” on someone else.

4. The EFT tapping itself.

Tap 5-7 times on each of the 8 EFT tapping points while repeating the sentence from under point 3 aloud to yourself. The counting is secondary. The point is to focus on the issue you want to resolve. Also, the tapping of all the points itself is not that important. Should you skip or forget a point, there’s no harm. Also, it is not essential in what order you go down the points. The most important thing is to combine the intention with the tapping.

At first, tapping the points on your face can feel strange and uncomfortable, but once you’ve done it a few times, it soon feels less uncomfortable.

5. Test the final intensity

At the end of the tapping session, assess how the intensity feels. How is the intensity of the symptoms on a scale of 1 to 10? Compare the results with the initial intensity. You can repeat this process until you reach intensity level 0.

For who is EFT?

You can use EFT for anyone with psychological as well as physical symptoms. People with PTSD, anxiety disorders, or stress symptoms may benefit from EFT tapping. In a 2013 study, researchers studied the impact of EFT tapping on veterans with PTSD compared to those who received standard care. Within a month, participants who received EFT coaching sessions had significantly reduced their psychological stress. In addition, more than half of the EFT test group even no longer met the criteria for PTSD.

There are also some success stories of people with anxiety using EFT tapping as an alternative treatment. A 2016 study examined the effectiveness of EFT tapping with anxiety symptoms. The study concluded that there was a significant decrease in anxiety symptoms compared to participants who received other kinds of care. However, further research is needed to compare EFT treatment with other types of cognitive therapy.


EFT tapping is an alternative to acupressure therapy that is used to restore balance in the energy flow through the body. In particular, people with traumatic symptoms such as PTSD and anxiety, stress, depression, and insomnia can benefit from EFT treatment.

As mentioned above, Western science is still in the dark about how EFT works, but of course, most important is that it can help many people relieve their symptoms. The video below explains how you can help yourself to reduce emotional and psychological symptoms.

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