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E is for EFT

Author: null null Published: 4th August 2012 18:55

EFT tapping pointsEmotional Freedom Techniques, or EFT as it's popularly known, is often characterised as the ‘tapping therapy'.

Developed in the 1990s by Gary Craig, an engineer and personal development coach, EFT was based on ideas pioneered by Dr.Roger Callahan on Thought Field Therapy in the 1970s.

The roots of EFT are in acupuncture, kinesiology and psychology, and the idea is that tapping on certain energy meridian points of the body help to unblock emotional ‘logjams' and release fears and anxieties, even phobias.

I rather liked this exploration from a practitioner in the addictions field of how EFT may be effective from a scientific point of view:

"It is still not clear how EFT achieves results, which are often rapid and dramatic (though by no means all cases are a "one-minute wonder", some require persistence and hard work). Most EFT Practitioners rely on the explanation based on the meridian system, and balancing the chi in relation to a specific issue/problem, as in acupuncture, but for many health professionals I work with and come into contact with this sounds like a lot of mumbo-jumbo.

There are a number of other theories, none of them proven, how EFT may work. For example, Argentinean Dr Andrade who conducted EFT trials with thousands of anxiety patients with some promising results, and David Feinstein proposed a neurological explanation (Feinstein, 2008a[1]).

The acupuncture/acupressure points have a particularly high concentration of mechanoreceptors and free nerve endings. It appears that the signal that is generated when tapping eventually reaches the amygdala, hippocampus, and other parts of the limbic system where the emotional problem "resides" (and which plays such an important part in addictions), whilst the problem is "activated" through imaginal exposure (with the individual focusing on the issue in their mind) - with the tapping signal seemingly disrupting established patterns, and the hyper-arousal is thus reduced. Enhanced serotonin production is also associated with tapping the acupressure points."[2]


EFT is known as a ‘complementary' or ‘alternative therapy' in the UK and arouses considerable controversy about it's scientific credibility. Advocates believe it's a very practical, user friendly and effective practice, relieving the effects of past trauma in a way that doesn't require the experience to be talked about or relived.



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[1]Feinstein, D. (2008a) Energy psychology: a review of the preliminary evidence. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training, 45 (2), 199-213.

[2]http://wiredintorecovery.org/articles/entry/2708/eft-emotional-freedom-techniques-background-and-applications

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