What is the Emotional Freedom Technique?
The Emotional Freedom Technique, or EFT, is the psychological acupressure technique I routinely use in my practice and most highly recommend to optimize your emotional health. Although it is still often overlooked, emotional health is absolutely essential to your physical health and healing – no matter how devoted you are to the proper diet and lifestyle, you will not achieve your body’s ideal healing and preventative powers if emotional barriers stand in your way.
EFT is very easy to learn, and will help you:
- Remove Negative Emotions
- Reduce Food Cravings
- Reduce or Eliminate Pain
- Implement Positive Goals
EFT is a form of psychological acupressure, based on the same energy meridians used in traditional acupuncture to treat physical and emotional ailments for over five thousand years, but without the invasiveness of needles. Instead, simple tapping with the fingertips is used to input kinetic energy onto specific meridians on the head and chest while you think about your specific problem – whether it is a traumatic event, an addiction, pain, etc. — and voice positive affirmations.
This combination of tapping the energy meridians and voicing positive affirmation works to clear the “short-circuit” – the emotional block — from your body’s bioenergy system, thus restoring your mind and body’s balance, which is essential for optimal health and the healing of physical disease.
Some people are initially wary of these principles that EFT is based on – the electromagnetic energy that flows through the body and regulates our health is only recently becoming recognized in the West. Others are initially taken aback by (and sometimes amused by) the EFT tapping and affirmation methodology, whose basics you will learn here.
But keep in mind that, more than any traditional or alternative method I have used or researched, EFT works. I have witnessed the results in my patients since deciding to use EFT exclusively in June of 2001. Indeed, because of its very high rate of success, the use of EFT has spread rapidly, and medical practitioners employing EFT can now be found in every corner of the country and world.
This manual will provide an overview on how and where to tap, and the proper affirmation techniques, so that you can begin using EFT immediately to help yourself and others. It will also provide an introduction to some advanced EFT techniques and principles you can employ.
Tapping Locations & Technique
There are two basic areas to learn in order to use EFT: the tapping locations and technique, and the positive affirmations. These areas, as well as some advanced EFT principles and techniques, are covered in the following sections.
You should be able to successfully treat many problems by diligently applying the following instructions.
If you are not getting the results you would like, or you have a particularly traumatic issue, please do not give up! Instead, consider consulting with an EFT professional. Dr. Patricia Carrington has some guidelines on selecting an EFT therapist, followed by a list of EFT practitioners throughout the U.S. and world. Many of these therapists even offer a free 15-minute phone session in which you can ask them questions to see if you connect.
Proper EFT Tapping
The basic EFT sequence is straightforward and generally takes my patients only a few minutes to learn. They have the slight advantage of me personally showing them the tapping points, but you should be able to pick up these points relatively quickly. With a little practice, you will be performing each round in under a minute.
NOTE: While it is important to tap the correct area, you need not worry about being absolutely precise, as tapping the general area is sufficient.
It’s All in the Fingertips
The first thing to understand is that you will be tapping with your fingers. There are a number of acupuncture meridians on your fingertips, and when you tap with your fingertips you are also likely using not only the meridians you are tapping on, but also the ones on your fingers.
Traditional EFT has you tapping with the fingertips of your index finger and middle finger and with only one hand. Either hand works just as well. Most of the tapping points exist on either side of the body, so it doesn’t matter which side you use, nor does it matter if you switch sides during the tapping. For example, you can tap under your right eye and, later in the tapping, under your left arm.
I modified this approach slightly by having you use both hands and all your fingers, so that they are gently relaxed and form a slightly curved natural line. The use of more fingers allows you to access more of the acupuncture points. When you use all your fingers you will cover a larger area than just tapping with one or two fingertips, and this will allow you to cover the tapping points more easily.
However, many obtain quite successful results with the traditional one-handed two-finger approach. You can use either method, but I tend to use my modified version in an effort to be more complete.
Ideally, you will want to use your fingertips, not your finger pads as they have more meridian points. However, if you are a woman with long fingernails you should of course use your finger pads (otherwise you may end up stabbing yourself).
You should also remove your watch and bracelets, as that will interfere with your use of the wrist meridian tapping.
Tap Solidly – But Don’t Hurt Yourself!
You should tap solidly, but never so hard as to hurt or bruise yourself.
If you decide to use both hands, I recommend slightly alternating the tapping so that each hand is slightly out of phase with the other and you are not tapping with both hands simultaneously. This provides a kinesthetic variant of the alternating eye movement work that is done in EMDR and may have some slight additional benefit.
When you tap on the points outlined below, you will tap about 5-7 times. The actual number is not critical, but ideally should be about the length of time it takes for one full breath. There is probably a distinct benefit for tapping through one complete respiration cycle.
Please notice that these tapping points proceed down the body. That is, each tapping point is below the one before it. That should make it a snap to memorize. A few trips through it and it should be yours forever. However, unlike TFT, the sequence is not critical. You can tap the points in any order and sequence, just so long as all the points are covered. It just is easier to go from top to bottom to make sure you remember to do them all.
Remove your Glasses and Watch Prior to Tapping
Glasses and watches can mechanically and electromagnetically interfere with EF, so I advise everyone to remove them prior to tapping. For quick sessions conducted upon yourself, this is not critical, as you can easily tap around them, but I think there is always a benefit to removing them when possible.
Using EFT in Public: Eliminating any Embarrassment
Many people are concerned about embarrassing themselves by using EFT in public, especially when implementing my revision of it, which really makes one stand out in a crowd.
After a while of using and perfecting the technique – in private quarters, if you prefer – you will be able to use only two fingers of one hand, and to say the affirmation softly under your breath or silently. This way you can do EFT in just about any social setting, and if people even notice what you are doing at all, it will appear to them that you are merely thinking.
Finding the Right Tapping Points
The tapping points, and their abbreviations, are explained below, followed by a chart of the points. They are presented below in the exact order in which they should be tapped.
1. Top of the Head (TH)
With fingers back-to-back down the center of the skull.
2. Eyebrow (EB)
Just above and to one side of the nose, at the beginning of the eyebrow.
3. Side of the Eye (SE)
On the bone bordering the outside corner of the eye.
4. Under the Eye (UE)
On the bone under an eye about 1 inch below your pupil.
5. Under the Nose (UN)
On the small area between the bottom of your nose and the top of your upper lip.
6. Chin (Ch)
Midway between the point of your chin and the bottom of your lower lip. Even though it is not directly on the point of the chin, we call it the chin point because it is descriptive enough for people to understand easily.
7. Collar Bone (CB)
The junction where the sternum (breastbone), collarbone and the first rib meet. This is a very important point and in acupuncture is referred to as K (kidney) 27. To locate it, first place your forefinger on the U-shaped notch at the top of the breastbone (about where a man would knot his tie). From the bottom of the U, move your forefinger down toward the navel 1 inch and then go to the left (or right) 1 inch. This point is referred to as Collar Bone even though it is not on the collarbone (or clavicle) per se.
8. Under the Arm (UA)
On the side of the body, at a point even with the nipple (for men) or in the middle of the bra strap (for women). It is about 4 inches below the armpit.
9. Wrists (WR)
The last point is the inside of both wrists.
The abbreviations for these points are summarized below in the same order as given above. It is, again, the order in which they should be tapped:
TH = Top of Head
EB = Eye Brow
SE = Side of the Eye
UE = Under the Eye
UN = Under the Nose
Ch = Chin
CB = Collar Bone
UA = Under the Arm
WR = Wrists
Using EFT’s Affirmation Statements
Tuning Into Your Problem
Now that you understand how to actually perform the mechanical tapping and where you need to tap, you will next need to know what to say while you are tapping.
The traditional EFT phrase uses the following setup:
“Even though I have this _____________,
I deeply and completely accept myself.”
You can also substitute this as the second part of the phrase:
“I deeply and completely love and accept myself.”
The blank above is filled in with a brief description of the addiction, food craving, negative emotion or other problem you want to address.
Examples Using the Traditional EFT Phrasing
While these examples represent a range of problems, keep in mind there really is no limit to the types of issues you can confront with EFT:
“Even though I have this fear of public speaking, I deeply and completely accept myself.”
“Even though I have this headache, I deeply and completely accept myself.”
“Even though I have this anger towards my father, I deeply and completely accept myself.”
“Even though I have this war memory, I deeply and completely accept myself.”
“Even though I have this stiffness in my neck, I deeply and completely accept myself.”
“Even though I have these nightmares, I deeply and completely accept myself.”
“Even though I have this craving for alcohol, I deeply and completely accept myself.”
“Even though I have this fear of snakes, I deeply and completely accept myself.”
“Even though I have this depression, I deeply and completely accept myself.”
Other EFT Phrase Options
You can also try these other phrase variations. All of these affirmations are correct because they follow the same general format. That is…they acknowledge the problem and create self-acceptance despite the existence of the problem. That is what’s necessary for the affirmation to be effective.
You can use any of them, but I suggest you use the recommended one above because it is easy to memorize and has a good track record at getting the job done.
“I accept myself even though I have this_________.”
“Even though I have this ____________, I deeply and profoundly accept myself.”
“I love and accept myself even though I have this_______________.”
Interesting Points About the Affirmation Statements
It doesn’t matter whether you believe the affirmation or not…just say it.
It is better to say it with feeling and emphasis, but saying it routinely will usually do the job.
It is best to say it out loud, but if you are in a social situation where you prefer to mutter it under your breath…or do it silently…then go ahead. It will still likely be effective.
To add to the effectiveness of the affirmation, The Setup also includes the simultaneous tapping on one of the acupuncture meridian points.
Tuning in is seemingly a very simple process. You merely think about the problem while applying the tapping. That’s it…at least in theory.
“The cause of all negative emotions is a disruption in the body’s energy system.”
Negative emotions come about because you are tuned in to certain thoughts or circumstances, which in turn, cause your energy system to disrupt.
Otherwise, you function normally. One’s fear of heights is not present, for example, while one is reading the comic section of the Sunday newspaper and therefore not tuned in to the problem.
Tuning in to a problem can be done by simply thinking about it. In fact, tuning in means thinking about it.
Thinking about the problem will bring about the energy disruptions involved which then…and only then…can be balanced by applying The Basic Recipe.
Without tuning in to the problem, thereby creating those energy disruptions, EFT does nothing.
Putting It All Together First Round of Tapping
Now you will need to tap on each of the points described above while you are stating the positive affirmation. This will only take a few moments to do.
- Select an appropriate affirmation
- Carefully “tune in” to your problem by actually trying to hold the problem in your thought:
- State the affirmations in a loud voice with great passion, energy and enthusiasm
If you do this while tapping the points described earlier, it is highly likely you will notice a major decrease in the issue or problem that you were tapping on. If your problem or issue resolves completely, you are done with the tapping.
Tips & Tricks for Using Advanced Affirmation Statements The 7-Part EFT Manual:
Using the Reminder Phrase
Sometimes, one round of the tapping sequence while voicing your affirmation is enough to clear up the issue. However, when subsequent rounds are necessary, you can employ a “reminder phrase.” This is simply a word or short phrase that describes the problem and which you repeat out loud each time you tap one of the points in the sequence. In this way you continually “remind” your system about the problem you are working on.
The best reminder phrase to use is usually identical to what you choose for the affirmation you initially used. However, you can use a short cut if the setup is particularly long by simply saying one or several words to speed up the process and do more rounds.
For example, if you are working on a fear of public speaking, the initial, or “setup,” affirmation would go like this:
“Even though I have this fear of public speaking,
I deeply and completely accept myself.”
Within this affirmation, the underlined words “fear of public speaking” are ideal candidates for use as the reminder phrase. Simply repeating this reminder phrase and the affirmation are usually sufficient to “tune in” to the problem at hand.
Lingering Issues: Adjustments for Subsequent Rounds of Tapping
Sometimes the first round of tapping doesn’t completely eliminate a problem because a new issues or issues that prevent further progress show themselves via the tapping. These issues — whether images, conversations, interactions or in some other form — are in some way related to the first problem being addressed — sometimes they are part of or the core of the cause, sometimes they are a result. The barrier restricting your emotional health, in other words, is made up of more than one brick — and you must eliminate all the bricks.
If this is the case, you should do additional rounds of tapping as necessary to eliminate all the issues, but adjust your affirmation slightly as follows for best results:
“Even though I still have some of this __________,
I deeply and completely accept myself.”
Note the words “still” and “some” and how they change the thrust of the affirmation toward the remainder of the problem.
EFT Cautions and Advice
Clinicians and clients should only do what feels right or good to them. You should not enter into emotional or physical waters that seem threatening. It is your responsibility to take care of yourselves in this setting. Remember professional help is easily available. Here are some cautions and advice with EFT:
It is essential for clinicians to be extremely specific with language when using EFT.
The clients need to be totally tuned in to the issue of concern when using EFT. Sometimes, when the material is emotionally painful, clients will want to disconnect from their feelings. Look for any signs that the client is becoming distracted or disengaged and make sure that they repeat the Reminder Phrase as they tap the treatment points.
As with energy movement, it is essential to pay attention to the cognitive shifts that can occur with even a single round of the tapping. A cognitive shift has occurred when you reframe the problem. Seeing the problem from a new angle, you will often express a sense of surprise and insight. These movements can offer valuable connections and associations and may open new pathways for healing. Following a cognitive shift, you often feel less guilt and self-blame, more hope, or a simple sense of relief in an area where there has never been relief before.
It is important to stop after tapping and see if you notice anything different or if something new came up after you tapped. This is frequently the underlying issue that is the real root of your problem.
Energy and Intention
Many clients report that they do not have the same success when using EFT by themselves and on themselves. This likely has to do, in part, with the advantage of combining the energy and intention of two people sharing a single purpose during a session. When clients are less than satisfied with their own results, it is best to find a therapist to help them resolve the issue at a deeper level.
Through Me, Not By Me
This is one of Gary Craig’s other favorite sayings. EFT practitioners are NOT healing their clients. The healing is done through us if our clients are open to receive it.
Many people see themselves as special healers. This, in fact, interferes with the treatment process. The reality is that they are not healing anybody; the clients are actually healing themselves. Witnessing and facilitating this process is humbling as well as gratifying.
Keep Well Hydrated
Water conducts electricity, and EFT accesses the electrical energy that flows through our bodies and minds. It is very important for both you and your clients to be properly hydrated. That would be about one quart of pure water per day for every fifty pounds of body weight.