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The Science of EFT

Understanding EFT

EFT (Tapping) Emotional Freedom Techniques, is a method of tapping or applying cognitive acupressure (along the meridian lines of Chinese medicine) primarily on the head, face and hands and top of body. By doing so, the individual focuses on the problem they want to deal with, whether behavioural, physical or emotional.

EFT Tapping allows us to connect into the negative thought patterns that our unconscious creates around our unpleasant thoughts, feelings or troubling experiences. When taking the feelings or impulses into consciousness, we tap into that vibrational current and release the trapped discomfort. The goal is to find comfort, happiness and encourage healing around the physical or emotional challenges that drag us down.

It was created in the 1990s by Gary Craig who learnt from Roger Callaghan TFT and clearly saw a simpler recipe, he then made it available to 1000s of people at an affordable rate. It has gradually proliferated beyond conventional clinical channels and has taken on new refinements, such as Matrix Reimprinting Using EFT

Under this principle, blocks and imbalances contribute to ill health in the distribution of electricity. Tapping these meridian points with the fingertips maintains the energy balance to overcome emotional and physical issues, according to EFT supporters. Without using words or using it on its own, it can also act in a similar way to meditation, and at its most basic it can serve as a distraction from the problems which cause anxiety or stress.  However, that simply undermines the powerful elegance of this modality which when used as an art form assists the empowerment of self-healing.

Classical Chinese Medicine (CCM) and EFT

CCM arose from the philosophy of Taoism, which merely observes the natural world and the balance of all its phenomena. There are also certain inherent rules of our human bodies. Health is a body product which replicates cycles, rhythms, energies and universe powers. Whether it’s the hormone fluctuation on a diurnal cycle, the men and the moon cycle, the dropping equinox and the increase in humidity in the body, or the summer solstice and the warmth in body fluids, all these microcosmic cycles reflect the changing forces that permeate our planet. We also make connections in CCM between the body and the metal, wood, water, fire, and earth elements which inhabit our planet. CCM is the study of what safety affects. We look to support the system’s auto-regulatory mechanisms in treating, diagnosing, and understanding pathological processes. We are not treating illness. Now we are restoring wellness.

Acupuncture stimulates the intrinsic healing capabilities of the body by activating certain points on the body along an energetic circulation path called meridians. Each point of acupuncture is like a tunnel to the stronger circulatory channels inside. Another interesting metaphor is to picture the point of acupuncture as an entry road that covers a mega highway. They are easy access points to a more efficient and much wider pathway. Through making minor changes to the energy flow around an access path you can quickly and substantially affect the general health of the body.

The rest of the EFT points on their respective platforms are exit and entry points. We increase the body’s life-force energy for the entry points; by stimulating those access points on the meridian. By tapping on those points you might think of it as waking up the machine. You are increasing the transfer of energy through the model. The energy is said to “erupt into the outside” for the escape points. Essentially, this ensures that we can clear the channel heat and inertia and the related organs. Think of a fireplace heat- and soot-releasing chimney. This allows us to release the unwanted condition, symptom or feeling. Activating these points produces a whirlwind that pushes the Wei or protective energy into a deeper layer of the body. Wei energy is similar to the reactions of the body’s immune system, think of white blood cells, red blood cells and anti-inflammatory particles.

The Types of EFT

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is a self-help therapy approach based on evidence, and its efficacy is shown by over 100 studies. Several recent researches indicate that EFT for some disorders, such as anxiety and PTSD, support its efficacy.

1. EFT/ Tapping for Self-Care 

Tapping, touching or even imagining tapping on the meridian points of the face, body and hands when focusing into a question or emotions or even an event, allows you to relieve discomfort and feel comfortable in the moment. It can be self-administered, however the deep healing comes from the art of an experienced practitioner who can hold the safe space, guide the person to the actual cause.  However, there are borrowing benefits to tap along with other people tapping or watching a video where they are tapping or even in a session, this will help you soothe yourself easily and calm down. Through more instruction, preparation and mentoring, EFT can also be self-administered as an important method for spiritual development in ways similar to the Practitioner-Assisted EFT.

2. Practitioner-Assisted EFT 

This is client-centered, 1-to-1 treatment guided by an experienced EFT practitioner. During a sequence of 1-to-1 EFT meetings, a therapist helps a client “hack” into their own individual understanding with a current problem (or challenging issue/s) with a view to achieving insight and resolution. It lets the client make improvements (emotional and/or physical), transfer restricted cognitive patterns, overcome past traumas, open up meaningful opportunities to move forward and much much more..

3. Surrogate

There are various ways to do this either by imagination that we pretend or imagine that we are that other person. So effectively we are taking on that person’s energy and tapping for them. Or we can tap for them.  Either way it is more effective if the person that is doing the tapping is not attached to the outcome. Sunita Pattani has done a research paper as part of her MSC

Common Issues and How EFT can help with Them

The original or “classic” EFT has remained relatively intact following some accelerated growth in the early years. It is this variant of EFT which comprises the pattern of EFT. The technique, can be useful for people with problems such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • PTSD
  • Chronic pain
  • Stress
  • Weight loss issues

Quantitative effectiveness in the cure of different mental and physical health issues recorded after multiple researches on EFT are shown below. Some of notable research work done in the field is also shown.

EFT for Anxiety:

The bulk of the EFT work applies to psychological management. A retrospective review of 14 EFT trials showed a substantial reduction in anxiety in people who used tapping. Nevertheless, the reviewer suggests more trials, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), to equate EFT with conventional therapies. In the first large-scale study of 5,000 people receiving anxiety care in 11 hospitals over a 5.5-year period, patients either sought conventional anxiety treatment in the form of CBT, with medication as appropriate, or acu-point treatment without medication.[1] The increase in 90 percent of people undergoing acu-point tapping therapy was observed compared with 63 percent of CBT participants. It took only 3 acu-point tapping sessions before an individual’s anxiety was reduced, while CBT required an average of 15 to produce effects. For 76 percent of participants in the acu-point taping community, full pain improvement was seen compared to 51 percent of people in the CBT group. One year on, 78 per cent of the acu-point community retained the changes observed relative to 69 per cent of the CBT group. These therapies greatly decreased depressive symptoms, which resulted in anxiety gains, according to the findings. Other findings also point to CBT equivalence or dominance.[2]

Most recently, 203 persons interested in study have examined the physical responses and neurological effects of those attending EFT seminars. The majority of those who participated were women over 50 years of age.[3]

The study reported that participants experienced substantial decreases in symptoms of anxiety, depression and PTSD, as well as in rates of pain and cravings. They have also registered increases in happiness.[4]

Health tests demonstrated decreases in heart rate, blood pressure, and stress hormone cortisol rates in a group of patients.

In another study, nervous students indicated that EFT made them feel more relaxed and calmer.[5]

EFT for Depression

The study of health care employees showed a substantial decline in stress following EFT. Following six 1-hour EFT sessions, a randomized clinical study of a group of 59 veterans successfully diagnosed with PTSD has observed a substantial decrease of depressive symptoms.

Dawson Church et al recorded that, following a brief intervention in a study using EFT for depression in 18 college students, those who received EFT were shown to have slightly less depression than those who did not receive it, with an overall depression score in the “non-depressed category” following treatment compared to the control group who showed no difference in depressive symptoms. Among 10 patients diagnosed with major depressive disorder, a more recent study compared EFT to CBT showed after 8 weeks of group therapy (16 hours), both approaches achieved substantial decrease in depressive symptoms. A substantial decline in post-intervention was demonstrated by the CBT community, although this was not sustained over time. However, the EFT group showed a delayed effect of substantial symptom decreases at 3- and 6-month follow-ups.

A study involving 30 students with mild to extreme depression found that those attending four group EFT therapy sessions had slightly less depression than those having no care in the control group [6].

Such results showed that EFT can be useful as a fast, cost-effective and efficient therapy according to the researchers.

As a review article of 20 studies reported, EFT has been highly successful in reducing depression symptoms. The results indicate EFT is equal to or greater than other traditional depression therapies[7].

EFT for PTSD

According to some reports, military personnel suffering PTSD can benefit from EFT. In a research trial, 30 veterans who sought therapy with EFT along with traditional care showed slightly fewer signs of psychiatric trauma and PTSD than those on a waiting list for medication.

Moreover, 60.0% and 85.7%  of these patients respectively no longer met the therapeutic requirements for the PTSD after three and six months. 79.5% of patients did not follow the criterion at 6 months after the procedure, which the researchers said showed the long-term effects of EFT.

Most (63%) indicated in a survey of EFT practitioners conducted in 2017 that EFT could overcome even complex PTSD in 10 or less sessions. Nearly 90% of respondents said less than 10% of their clients made little to no improvement[8]. It is essential to know, however, that those findings are self-reported by individuals who practice EFT. Furthermore, clinicians also incorporate EFT with other strategies, including cognitive therapy, which may be influential in the effectiveness of the procedure.

EFT for Chronic Pain

Evidence on the effect of EFT on reducing chronic pain and somatic symptoms is less well developed. In one study, 50 people with chronic pain took part in a three-day workshop to learn how to use EFT. Pain was assessed just before and after diagnosis on the Pain Catastrophizing Scale (PCS) and the Multidimensional Pain Inventory (MPI) and 1-month and 6-month follow-up. Significant decreases were observed for each PCS element level (rumination, exaggeration, and helplessness) and overall PCS level (43%, p < .001). Significant changes in pain intensity, intervention, life control, affective disorder and composite impairment were observed on the MPI. Reductions were observed on the PCS at 6-month follow-up (42 percent, p < .001), but only on the MPI life cycle element. Findings show that EFT helps alleviate pain severity rapidly while also improving the capacity of the patients to cope with their discomfort. Although pain level decreases were reported at 1 month follow-up but not preserved in the long term, participants tended to show an increased sense of control and ability to deal with their chronic pain[9].

EFT for Stress

Clinicians use the EFT and related methods extensively. A recent method-critical survey called for responses from licensed psychotherapists using such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, the Clinical Psychology Society for a Science, and the Behavioral and Cognitive Therapy Association. It found that 42 per cent of therapists used these methods[10].

The Veterans Stress Program is a National Institute for Integrative Healthcare educational initiative which has acted as a recruitment tool for many reports. The website (www. StressProject.org) allows veterans to find professionals as a clearinghouse. The Veterans Stress Project now maintains an immersive virtual EFT counseling system named Battle Tap, which archives various testimonials from veterans who have used Battle Tap, therapeutic therapy which group EFT therapy to help their healing from PTSD. And other private and public programs are combined with veterans receiving care with EFT therapists and related clinical approaches[11] [12].

A scientific study undertaken by Dawson Church, one of the top energy science experts in the world and an EFT practitioner in his own right, dealt with how an hour-long tapping session will affect 83 participants’ cortisol levels. For comparative reasons, he also assessed the levels of cortisol in patients who underwent conventional talk therapy, as well as the levels of cortisol in those who underwent no medication at all. The findings were interesting. The average reduction in cortisol for those who had an EFT tapping session was 24 percent, and in some subjects it was as much as 50 percent. On the other hand, there was no substantial decrease in cortisol in people who had undergone conventional talk therapy or no medication at all. In other words, they were just as stressed at the end, while others who wanted to tap came out with significantly less tension[13].

EFT for Weight Loss Issues

Dr. Peta Stapleton, a psychologist at Bond University, performed a randomized standardized EFT study in a sample of 96 people with a weight loss. The weight loss participants moved to the EFT The Degree of food appetite, perceived food strength, resistance ability, and psychiatric effects were measured at pretreatment, posttreatment, and 12-month follow-up for mixed EFT classes. The study isolates subjects’ rates of depressive symptoms, as well as eight other psychiatric disorders. Depression, interpersonal sensitivity, obsessive-compulsivity, paranoid ideation, and somatization (P < 0.05) have found significant decreases from pre- to posttreatment. It was observed that their relaxation levels improved as compared to a control group. After EFT, the influence food retained over the participants reduced, meaning they were more in control than food itself dictating their acts [14]

In a study of the effect, Church and Brooks explored unhealthy cravings of health care employees for products such as candy, snacks, alcohol and tobacco. The 216 subjects enrolled in one of five technical workshops at a day-long EFT party workshop. Clinically and statistically relevant decreases in cravings (−83 per cent, P < 0, 0001) were observed. The same study team also assessed depressive effects in a population attending a two-day community session that focused on certain topics of self-identified hunger and addiction problems. They observed changes in a variety of disorders in mental health from depression and anxiety[15]

Matrix Reimprinting and its Effectiveness:

Matrix Reimprinting (MR) is a recently evolved tapping strategy that allows participants to view and change negative the perceptions of these events of a stressful perceived stressful experience in order to enhance health and wellness by finding the core belief that is made.  MR developed from Strategies for Relational Liberation from the limiting belief. It is an energy psychology methodology that integrates EFT, imaginary parts / inner child labor, referred to as Energy Consciousness Holograms (ECHOs) , and also combines new knowledge of quantum and epigenetic theory. Using MR, the client interacts with ECHO to alleviate tension or anxiety in a dissociated manner by seeing himself talking to ECHO and helping ECHO release the freeze response. The person will also use EFT to assist the ECHO in reframing or revising the painful incident. A fresh and positive vision is then produced and illuminated, and is combined with the new knowledge to reprogram the subconscious, implying that the stress is over so that the body can start the healing process

A review was undertaken to determine the effectiveness and efficacy of Matrix Reimprinting (MR) in the treatment of post-traumatic stress syndrome in Bosnian civilian war survivors. Two Network of Healing Hands Centers in Sarajevo and Hadzici in Bosnia. Clients using the Bosnian Healing Hands Network were encouraged to take part in this pilot study. The qualitative review (through a four-week follow-up assessment form) defined the following four topics: Theme 1: Physical and relational improvements Theme 2: Capacity to step forward and to self-care Theme 3: Speaking to MR Practitioners Theme 4: Suggesting it to others. Given the small sample size there have been major changes. The qualitative and quantitative findings affirm MR’s role as a therapy for signs of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)[16].

Conclusion:

With the rising awareness in mental health issue and chronic illness, the techniques of EFT tapping are just what we need. More research based evidence is coming to light supporting this technique along with deeper understanding for everyone.  EFT does not profess to offer a replacement for medical treatment nor offers a cure and at all times it is advocated to work alongside professional medical care.

You can read more about EFT tapping here! [17] [18] [19] [20] [21] [22] [23] [24] [25] [26]

[1] https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2004-13949-000

[2]  http://digitalcommons.uconn.edu/dissertations/377

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4898279/

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6381429/

[5] https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02615479.2017.1297394?tokenDomain=eprints&tokenAccess=WN4HcPSMSRU8IBACYXkf&forwardService=showFullText&doi=10.1080%2F02615479.2017.1297394&doi=10.1080%2F02615479.2017.1297394&journalCode=cswe20

[6] https://www.hindawi.com/journals/drt/2012/257172/

[7] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27843054/

[8] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5499602/

[9] https://energypsychologyjournal.org/abstracts/abstracts-volume-6-number-2-november-2014/effects-emotional-freedom-techniques-eft-reduction-chronic-pain-adults-pilot-study/

[10] https://doi.org/10.1177/1049731512448468

[11]  www.stressproject.org

[12] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5499602/

[13] https://www.thetappingsolution.com/research/

[14] http://www.journaljsrr.com/index.php/JSRR/article/view/21175

[15] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3747476/

[16] https://www.researchgate.net/publication/312266449_THE_IMPACT_OF_EFT_AND_MATRIX_REIMPRINTING_ON_THE_CIVILIAN_SURVIVORS_OF_WAR_IN_BOSNIA_A_PILOT_STUDY

[17]   https://doi.org/10.4236/psych.2013.48092

[18]  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.explore.2016.10.001

[19]  https://doi.org/10.1097/NMD.0000000000000483

[20]  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.explore.2016.08.001

[21]  https://doi.org/10.1097/nmd.0b013e31827f6351

[22] https://doi.org/10.1097/nmd.0b013e31821cd262

[23] https://doi.org/10.1177/1049731512448468

[24] https://www.researchgate.net/publication/341276788_Emotional_Freedom_Technique_in_Cancer_Patients_OPEN_ACCESS

[25] https://www.researchgate.net/publication/339532887_Comparison_of_the_Effectiveness_of_Two_Modalities_of_Group_Delivery_of_Emotional_Freedom_Technique_EFT_Intervention_for_Food_Cravings_Online_versus_In-Person

[26] https://www.researchgate.net/publication/342402228_Portion_perfection_and_Emotional_Freedom_Techniques_to_assist_bariatric_patients_post_surgery_A_randomised_control_trial