how does emotional freedom technique work

How Does Emotional Freedom Technique Work?

Exploring the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), also known as tapping or psychological acupressure, unveils a method that melds ancient Chinese acupressure points with modern psychology to address physical pain and emotional distress. This alternative treatment, rooted in the belief system of Chinese medicine, focuses on meridian points to recalibrate the body’s energy system, aiming to restore balance and enhance emotional well-being. It offers a non-pharmacological approach to manage emotions, lessen stress, and alleviate symptoms associated with psychological disorders, making it an invaluable self-help technique for individuals seeking relief from depression, anxiety, and stress.

how does emotional freedom technique work

As we delve into the intricacies of how the Emotional Freedom Technique works, this article will provide readers with a comprehensive understanding of the science behind EFT, its therapeutic application, and its efficacy in clinical practice. Highlighting the ease with which EFT can be learned and applied, the content underscores its viability as a treatment modality for reducing stress, enhancing mental health, and improving physical performance. Through tapping on specific acupressure points, individuals can engage in a transformative process of emotional healing, addressing issues ranging from anxiety and depression to physical pain and burnout.

Understanding EFT

Key Components of EFT

  1. Integration of Multiple Therapies: EFT is a holistic approach that amalgamates elements of cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure therapy, and acupressure. This integration helps in managing a spectrum of psychological and physiological issues by addressing both the mind and body.
  2. Tapping Technique: Central to EFT is the tapping process, which involves tapping on 12 specific meridian points on the body. This method is designed to target the energy hot spots to alleviate stress, anxiety, and other emotional burdens.
  3. Self-Acceptance and Focused Attention: While tapping, individuals are encouraged to vocalize affirmations of self-acceptance, which aids in confronting and accepting their emotional experiences. This process not only helps in reducing emotional distress but also promotes a deeper level of psychological healing.

EFT’s Mechanisms of Action

  • Neurological Impact: EFT tapping may alter brain activation patterns, particularly in areas associated with fear and pain, leading to reduced anxiety and discomfort.
  • Physiological Changes: Regular tapping has been linked to muscle relaxation, lower cortisol levels, and improved heart rate and blood pressure, contributing to overall stress reduction and emotional regulation.

EFT in Practice

  • Versatility of Application: EFT is applicable for a variety of conditions including anxiety, depression, PTSD, and physical pain. Its versatility makes it a valuable tool for both self-care and clinical settings.
  • Accessibility: Tools like “The Tapping Solution” app make it easier for individuals to practice EFT independently, enhancing its accessibility and convenience for everyday use.

By tapping into the body’s meridian system while focusing on emotional acceptance, EFT serves as a powerful method for managing stress and fostering emotional freedom.

The Science Behind EFT

Neurological and Physiological Impacts of EFT

Recent research has significantly advanced our understanding of the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) and its efficacy in treating a range of psychological and physiological issues. A 2023 study highlighted that EFT could reduce anxiety and stress among healthcare professionals during challenging times, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. This is partly due to EFT’s ability to lower the activity of the amygdala, known as the brain’s stress center, which fosters a calmer state and enhances cognitive functions. Moreover, systematic reviews and meta-analyses have confirmed EFT’s effectiveness, showing significant decreases in anxiety, depression, and PTSD symptoms, alongside physiological improvements like reduced cortisol levels and lower blood pressure.

Clinical Efficacy and Comparative Studies

Clinical trials and comparative studies have further validated the effectiveness of EFT. For instance, a systematic review by researchers from Bond University in Australia assessed EFT’s impact on PTSD, revealing significant improvements comparable to established therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Additionally, a series of randomized control trials conducted by the same team demonstrated that EFT significantly reduces cortisol levels, although these biochemical changes did not always correlate with subjective psychological symptom relief. This suggests that EFT’s benefits may extend beyond immediate emotional relief, potentially influencing long-term health outcomes.

Comprehensive Research Findings

The body of evidence supporting EFT’s benefits is robust, with over 300 research studies published in peer-reviewed journals. These studies consistently show that EFT helps reduce symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression, and it has been recognized as an “evidence-based” practice for these conditions. Importantly, research has also shown that EFT can lead to physiological changes such as decreased heart rate and blood pressure, further underscoring its potential as a comprehensive treatment option for both mental and physical health challenges.

how does emotional freedom technique work

How to Perform EFT Tapping

Step-by-Step Guide to EFT Tapping

  1. Identify the Issue: Choose a specific emotional or physical issue you wish to address. This focus helps in directing the tapping effectively.
  2. Measure Intensity: Rate the intensity of your distress or discomfort on a scale from 0 to 10, with 10 being the most intense.
  3. The Setup: Begin by tapping on the karate chop point (side of your hand) while stating your setup phrase three times: “Even though I have this [issue], I deeply and completely accept myself.”
  4. Tapping Sequence: Proceed to tap on the nine key meridian points approximately five to seven times each while focusing on your issue. The points include:
    • Top of the head
    • Eyebrow
    • Side of the eye
    • Under the eye
    • Under the nose
    • Chin
    • Beginning of the collarbone
    • Under the arm
    • Back to the top of the head
    • Repeat the phrase that addresses your issue at each point to maintain focus.
  5. Test the Final Intensity: After completing the rounds of tapping, reassess the intensity level of your issue. If it remains higher than desired, repeat the tapping sequence until the intensity decreases satisfactorily.

Tips for Effective Practice

  • Regular Practice: To maximize the benefits of EFT, integrate it into your daily routine. Set reminders or allocate specific times of the day for tapping.
  • Utilize Resources: Engage with various materials such as instructional videos, specialized apps, or blogs that offer guided tapping sessions. These resources can provide additional support and enhance your practice.

Adaptability of EFT Tapping

EFT tapping is not only a tool for emotional regulation but also complements other therapeutic practices. It can be used alongside medical treatments or psychological therapies as recommended by healthcare professionals. This flexibility makes EFT a valuable addition to personal health and wellness strategies.

EFT for Anxiety and Stress Relief

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) has emerged as a transformative self-help tool and a therapeutic method for managing anxiety and stress. It’s particularly effective for individuals experiencing symptoms of anxiety, stress, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), offering a non-pharmacological and cost-effective solution. The technique combines tapping on specific acupressure points with cognitive interventions, making it a holistic approach to emotional health.

Efficacy in Reducing Anxiety and Stress

  1. Immediate Relief: EFT provides quick relief from stress and anxiety symptoms, making it ideal for acute stress management.
  2. Long-term Benefits: Regular practice of EFT can lead to sustained decreases in anxiety and stress levels, enhancing overall emotional resilience.
  3. Comparison with Other Therapies: Studies have shown that EFT can be as effective as established treatments like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and exposure therapy, particularly in reducing cortisol levels and improving other biological stress markers.

Practical Application and Accessibility

  • Ease of Learning and Use: EFT is simple to learn and can be practiced independently, anywhere, requiring only a few minutes to complete a session.
  • Versatility: It’s applicable for various conditions, including test anxiety, chronic stress, and burnout, making it a versatile tool in both personal and clinical settings.

By integrating EFT into daily routines or clinical practice, individuals and healthcare professionals can harness its benefits to manage and alleviate anxiety and stress effectively. This approach not only aids in immediate emotional relief but also contributes to long-term health improvements, making EFT a valuable component of modern stress and anxiety management strategies.

how does emotional freedom technique work

EFT Tapping in Clinical Practice

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) tapping is increasingly recognized in clinical settings for its versatility and effectiveness in managing a spectrum of conditions from psychological disorders to physical pain. In clinical practice, EFT tapping, administered by licensed therapists, is particularly beneficial for patients dealing with chronic pain conditions, such as arthritis and migraines, and for those experiencing psychological disturbances like PTSD. This method helps patients focus on negative thoughts, uncomfortable feelings, or disturbing memories, making such intrusive thoughts more manageable and less overwhelming.

Furthermore, EFT’s application in healthcare settings extends to improving various physiological markers that indicate stress and overall health. Clinical studies have shown that EFT can significantly reduce anxiety, depression, PTSD symptoms, and even physical pain. The technique has also been linked to notable improvements in resting heart rate and blood pressure, which are critical factors in long-term cardiovascular health. These benefits suggest that EFT could reduce the need for medical interventions, potentially easing the burden on healthcare systems.

EFT’s adaptability allows it to be used as a self-help tool or alongside other therapeutic interventions, making it a valuable addition to both personal and clinical practice. For individuals who do not notice significant improvements, or for those dealing with more severe issues, the guidance of a mental health professional can be crucial. This ensures that EFT is used effectively, maximizing its benefits while providing a supportive framework for emotional and physical health management.


Through this comprehensive exploration of the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), we have unfolded the extensive benefits, both psychological and physiological, that EFT offers as a holistic treatment approach. From reducing the symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression to managing physical pain and improving overall well-being, EFT’s integration of ancient Chinese acupressure points with modern psychological principles has proven effective. The science behind EFT, grounded in both neurology and physiology, provides a solid foundation for its efficacy, demonstrating significant impacts on mental health conditions and offering a promising complementary method to conventional therapies.

As we move forward, it’s clear that the potential of EFT in clinical practice and self-care deserves further exploration and wider recognition. The versatility and accessibility of EFT make it a valuable tool for anyone looking to enhance their mental health or navigate emotional challenges. It fosters a deeper understanding of the body’s energy system and its connection to emotional health, encouraging a proactive approach to self-healing. As we continue to uncover the layers of EFT’s effectiveness, sharing your experiences and questions in the comments becomes an invaluable part of this journey. Together, we can build a more profound collective understanding of EFT and its role in modern health and wellness.

What is the Emotional Freedom Technique and how does it function?

The Emotional Freedom Technique, or EFT tapping, is a holistic approach that involves tapping specific acupuncture points on the hands, face, and body with your fingertips. While tapping, you focus on a specific issue or emotion you wish to address. This technique is believed to alleviate stress and anxiety, enhance performance, reduce cravings, and help overcome fears.

How quickly can one expect results from EFT tapping?

Results from EFT tapping can be noticeable within just a few minutes of practice. According to Curtis, many people experience relief after just one round or three minutes of tapping, noticing changes in their energy, emotions, and thoughts.

What scientific principles support EFT tapping?

EFT tapping is grounded in its ability to regulate the nervous system by stimulating specific acupoints. It is recognized for its flexibility, serving both as a complementary tool in therapeutic settings and as an effective self-help technique for managing symptoms of distress outside of a clinical environment.

What are appropriate statements to use during EFT tapping?

When practicing EFT tapping, it’s helpful to articulate a statement that pinpoints your issue, coupled with a declaration of self-acceptance. Examples include, “Even though I feel anxious about work tomorrow, I deeply and completely accept myself,” or “Even though my partner broke up with me, I deeply and completely accept myself.” These affirmations help in focusing the mind and facilitating emotional relief.

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