Instead of an Advil, Try EFT

In my continued exploration of the mind body connection, I have been fascinated by the human body’s energy fields and pressure points, especially as it relates to healing. Recently, I was introduced to Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) Tapping for relieving emotional and physical pain. Eastern medicine has recognized the benefits of releasing blocked energy through Chinese Meridian acupressure and acupuncture for centuries. Over the past 50 years, Western society has also adopted acupuncture and now most insurance carriers cover it as a medical service.

At the most basic level, EFT releases blocked energy with finger-tapping the body’s meridian points, instead of injecting needles, while focusing the mind on specific areas of pain and suffering.

While in no way am I an expert on the subject, I feel compelled to share what I have learned today at a high level so that you may dig into it more on your own if interested.

EFT was born from Dr. Roger Callahan’s Thought Field Therapy (TFT), which is a set of algorithms (each for a specific ailment) for tapping on acupuncture points. As a clinical psychologist, Dr. Callahan had dedicated more than 40 years to finding ways to heal his patients’ phobias, traumas and stress disorders. His breakthrough on TFT was attributed to a particular patient whose debilitating fear of water completely disappeared simply by tapping on her stomach meridian point under the eye.

In 1991, Gary Craig participated in Dr. Callahan’s TFT training and subsequently applied the technique to his patients. He learned that one didn’t need to use a complicated algorithm, or specific sequences of tapping, to be effective. In 1995, Craig created EFT, which is a simplified method for utilizing “energy psychology.” Since then, he has made EFT information, training and manuals available through Many more have taken his work and proliferated it in various forms. It’s a growing trend in self-care, therapy and life coaching. Some acupuncturists have added it to their practice as well.

I tried acupuncture for the first time a few weeks ago. Immediately after the session I felt a bit like I had drank one too many cocktails. It took about 15 minutes for the hazy and lightheadedness to dissipate, and otherwise I didn’t feel much different that night. However, when I woke up the next morning I felt like I could do jumping jacks and cartwheels throughout the house. I was energized and my whole body felt loose and free.

I was curious if EFT would provide the same effects, so I decided to try it this afternoon on a sever headache. First, I listened to a podcast walking through exactly where the tapping points were in the basic model. It also suggested getting very specific about the sensation and location of the pain or emotional issue — including identifying my “subjective unit of pain” on a scale of 1 to 10 — to frame up for a mantra:

“Even though I have this (Pain/Emotion), I deeply and completely accept and love myself.”

For example, my pain level was a 5 and my mantra was: “Even though I have this pulsating pressure pain behind my eyes and nose, I deeply and completely accept and love myself.”

This mantra was repeated three times while tapping on the fatty outer side of my hand, which this technique refers to as your karate chop spot.

Then I tapped 7 to 8 times on each of the following pressure points starting from the crown of my head, working my way down my face, collarbone, sides of my chest and finally my fingers.

EFT Diagram
Found on Google images and copied from homepage.

For each location, I repeated the phrase “this pressure headache.” I noticed a sharp sensitivity in these areas, which if I missed and hit elsewhere didn’t feel as such. It felt relieving simply to hit these areas and I found myself lingering a little longer than the required 7 to 8 taps because it lessened the headache.

After the first sequence, my pain level went from 5 to a 3. Since it was not gone, I repeated this whole sequence and revised the mantra to, “Even though I still feel pressure behind my eyes and nose, I completely love and accept myself.”

After the second round, my pain was a 2. Testing to see if I could fully eradicate my headache, I conducted a third round. While not completely gone, the pressure behind my eyes and nose felt greatly reduced. I didn’t conduct a fourth round because I wanted to see if my acupuncture experience of waiting would have similar affects.

It’s an intriguing, new experience that has so many applications. Especially since it’s so simple and relatively quick. If it works as I have heard, I will start to incorporate it into my coaching practice.



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