Have you heard of ‘tapping’ or ‘EFT’? It’s an increasingly popular form of therapy that’s really easy to learn and has scientifically proven results. The underlying premise of EFT is that through stimulating the physical body, you can influence your emotional state. But what is EFT, how do you use it and what are its benefits for healing, including regulating your nervous system and bringing you into alignment with your best life?
What is EFT?
EFT, also known as ‘tapping’ uses stimulation of acupuncture points to ease anxiety or distress. It’s performed while consciously focusing on sensations in the body, or the distressing thought or feeling you want to work on.
By associating your somatic (bodily) sensations with your feelings and emotions, you are able to better discover where you hold distress in your body, and then process and transform that feeling. It supports the creation of new neural pathways while at the same time regulating your nervous system. It helps to wire your nervous system towards a feeling of calm and centered presence and enhances your mind-body connection.
It’s gaining popularity as it’s proven to be an effective treatment for stress, anxiety, phobias, self-esteem issues and other emotional and mental disorders.
Science behind EFT
It’s estimated that tens of thousands of professional practitioners use EFT tapping (Leskowitz, 2016). It’s a modality used by psychotherapists, teachers, physicians, athletic trainers, nurses, life coaches, and disaster relief workers (Feinstein, 2023).
Over 100 studies have demonstrated the efficacy of EFT as an evidence-based practice with benefits for anxiety, PTSD, phobias and depression.
Over 300 research studies of clinical EFT have been published in peer-reviewed publications (Church et al., 2022). In one study (Stapleton et al. 2020), it was reported that the levels of the stress hormone cortisol were reduced by one hour of EFT or tapping. In brain imaging scans, the same study reported the deactivation of neural signals in the amygdala related to exacerbating responses to pain in chronic pain sufferers after a six-week EFT intervention. Using repeated sessions of EFT tapping, the deactivating signals were shown to outweigh the activating signals of the stress response (Feinstein, 2019).
HOW TO DO EFT
Step 1. Identify the issue or emotion.
Spend some time zoning in on the thought, emotion, habit, physical discomfort or behavior that you want to transform. Identify the hallmarks of the emotion, including where you feel it in your body.
Step 2. Rate the intensity of emotional distress.
On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being ‘almost nothing’ and 10 being the highest level of distress, rate the intensity of your distress right now. This will enable you to monitor changes from a tapping session.
Step 3. Setup statement and side-of-hand tapping.
The setup statement is made up of two elements as follows:
The statement should be specific, focusing on something like pain, discomfort, emotion, image or belief.
For example, you might say ‘Even though I feel scared about this pain, I deeply and completely accept myself and my feelings’ or ‘Even though I feel angry about this pain, I love and accept myself anyway’. Make it true to how you are feeling, and how you express yourself.
Side-of-hand tapping: Here, you repeat the setup statement out loud a few times while tapping the outside, fleshy side of the hand (the one by your little finger) with the fingertips of the opposite hand.
Step 4. Tapping sequence with reminder phrase
Using two fingertips, manually tap nine acupoints (see below for location) in sequence, while repeating aloud a ‘reminder phrase’. This phrase is a word or short phrase from the exposure statement, and by repeating it, you support your mind to stay focused on the challenge or problem.
Using the same 1 to 10 scale, reassess your level of distress. Repeat step four until the distress rating is 0 or 1.
The 9 acupoints on your body to tap during an EFT session.
What are acupoints?
These are acupuncture points located along energetic pathways called meridians. Each meridian links to certain organs in your body. Because these meridians work as mirrors, on each side of your body. You can tap with both hands on both sides or just with one hand on each side.
How long does it take for EFT to work?
Usually, the benefits of tapping are seen within just a few rounds of following the sequence above. So you could start to feel relief really soon!
However, sometimes transforming the more deeply embedded feelings or behaviors takes longer. EFT is a practice that can be used to regulate your nervous system and change distressing feelings in the moment, and to reach the underlying foundation of that unwanted emotional response or behavior. Usually this leads back to a past trauma or something in your history that triggered the onset of that response you now find unhelpful.
Support with EFT
If you’re keen to try tapping or have already started but need help to go deeper with transforming old beliefs, habits and behaviors, reach out to me for support. I hold a safe space for you to explore healing deeper layers of yourself and can help you find quick relief from emotionally painful situations through tapping.