Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) are really a combination and derivation of two other processes – Thought Field Therapy and Acupuncture. Acupuncture has been studied and practiced by Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners for centuries. Long before the ideas of traditional Western Medicine were conceived, practitioners were healing and empowering others using meridians and energy fields. (1)
Thought Field Therapy (TFT) is an offshoot of this theory, incorporating tapping at the meridian points accompanied by affirmations or statements. For close to 30 years now TFT has provided relief and assistance to balance the body’s energy system. Unfortunately, TFT requires intensive knowledge and training to use correctly.
Dr. Roger Callahan, American psychologist specializing in the treatment of anxiety disorders, learned Applied Kinesiology and studied the meridian system of acupuncture. He was the physician who combined the use of tapping for emotional problems and simultaneously focusing on a specific fear. The process was discovered quite by accident with a patient who had significant fear of the water. In an effort to help her calm her stomach pain from the anxiety he inadvertently changed her behavior and eradicated her phobia.
In the coming years Gary Craig studied with Roger Callahan to learn his Thought Field Therapy techniques. Dr. Callahan was devoted to the development of this new technique that could produce ‘one minute wonders’ in patients who had suffered for years with phobias and fears. In an effort to delineate it as much as possible, he used muscle testing to determine the exact area that required the ‘tapping’ to achieve success.
But this muscle testing made the use of the process cumbersome and time consuming. And, it wasn’t clear that this type of precision was necessary to effect the results the doctors wanted to achieve. In 1987, Dr. Carrington, psychologist, and Gary Craig, Stanford engineer and performance coach, came to the same conclusion at the same time. They could attempt a single-algothrim method in order to simplify the approach and potentially achieve the same results.
Their methods didn’t rely on muscle testing but simply used the acupuncture end points during tapping rounds. Dr. Carrington began achieving excellent results with her patients using her Acutap methods and Gary Craig separated himself from Dr. Callahan in order to pursue his goals. Dr. Callahan didn’t approve of the new method that Craig called Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT).
Gary Craig has been teaching EFT since the early 1990s and it has become one of the most influential Energy Psychology methods in the world. After investigating the methods that Gary Craig developed Dr. Carrington switched her patients from Acutap to EFT and began using it exclusively.
In 2000 Dr. Carrington expanded the EFT method and named it “Choices” which was endorsed by Gary Craig. Today, psychologists use Choices in their clinical practice to help patients move past their negative emotions related to stress and anxiety and have been experiencing positive benefits and results for their patients.
This historical journey for EFT was put in motion decades ago when Chinese Medical practitioners discovered and used the energy fields, called meridians, in the body to help the healing process. In the movement forward Dr. Callahan, Dr. Carrington and Gary Craig have all been pivotal in the development of a process that can be used by professionals in the office or individuals at home to improve their overall health and mental well being.
(1) Oxford Journals; Rheumatology: A Brief History of Acupuncture
Emotional Freedom Technique, also referred to as EFT, is a means of accessing energy meridians within the body that have long been a part of acupuncture in Chinese medicine. (1) However, EFT is noninvasive and can be used by the individual without the aid of a practitioner anywhere, any time and for any reason the individual feels it is necessary.
EFT is a powerful way of combining the established sciences of Mind Body Medicine and acupuncture without the use of needles. The history of the use of Emotional Freedom Technique lies in ancient Chinese medicine and is now becoming recognized by traditional Western medicine practitioners, mostly for its use as an anesthetic in hospital settings. However, Emotional Freedom Technique has been discovered to be a powerful way of accessing and erasing negative emotions in the human psyche.
In essence, Emotional Freedom Techniques are a way of stimulating certain points within the body through the use of tapping. Where an acupuncturist may have used needles or an individual practicing acupressure may use deep tissue pressure, those who practice Emotional Freedom Techniques take advantage of the immediacy in their environment by “tapping” into their meridian points and essentially breaking a negative emotional path.
Many of the tapping points that are used by Emotional Freedom Technique practitioners are those we automatically use ourselves when we are under stress. Think back to a time when you were recently stressed, had a headache or were thinking deeply. Most of us automatically reach for in the area on our face above our eyes, at our temples, below the eyes at the top of the cheekbone or at the base of the chin. Each of these are tapping points used in Emotional Freedom Techniques. In essence, the practice takes advantage of those points which we normally use to relieve our stress.
The interesting thing about emotional freedom techniques is that, when done at the correct places on the body, they work whether the individual believes in the practice or not. Think of it like a medical practice that your primary care physician would recommend to you. Whether you believe a medication can lower your blood pressure or not, the medication, for the most part, will work on the large majority of individuals for whom it is prescribed. Whether you believe that setting a fracture and placing it in a cast will work or not, when done correctly by a skilled practitioner, the leg will heal well and you will regain full function without pain. The same is true for emotional freedom techniques. When they are done at the correct position, whether you agree with the practice are not, it will work.
Critics of emotional freedom technique describe the theory as pseudoscientific and suggest that it stems from a cognitive component, such as a placebo effect where the individual recognizes the end result which should occur and makes it occur through the power of his own mind. There have been several scientific studies which purport to have found both negative and positive findings. Interestingly, the areas of the body which emotional freedom technique practitioners use, are those the same areas which are used for acupressure and acupuncture. And, while there has been the same degree of variety in scientific research for the use of acupuncture or acupressure, the basis of Emotional Freedom Technique is found in traditional Chinese medicine which has been functional for thousands of years.
Emotional Freedom Techniques are very easy to learn at home and help an individual to remove their negative emotions surrounding a specific event, reduce their food cravings and can be used to eliminate pain and help a person implement positive goals. Essentially, those who use EFT are inputting kinetic energy and short-circuiting and emotional block from the internal balance of the mind and body.
Despite its critics and the belief of traditional Western medical practitioners that the underlying scientific theory for the use of Emotional Freedom Techniques is flawed, the practice continues to grow as more individuals report significant positive results.
(1) Shen Nog: What is the Meridian System?