Last Revision Date: 03 October 2013
What is EFT? - Theory, Science and Uses
A Refreshing New Use of An Established Process.
If You Are Looking for Something Conventional,
First, if you haven't seen our EFT intro video, please view it below.
Emotional Freedom Techniques, or EFT, breathes fresh air into the emotional therapy process by borrowing from the Chinese meridian system. While acupuncture, acupressure and the like have been primarily focused on physical ailments, EFT stands back from this ancient process and points it directly at emotional issues. These, in turn, often provide benefits for performance and physical issues. It is dramatically different from conventional therapy practices and that is why it often works where nothing else will. If you are looking for something conventional, you came to the wrong place.
The Body's Energy System
Our bodies have a profound electrical nature. Any beginning course in anatomy covers this and it is essential in understanding what is EFT. Shuffle your feet across a carpet and then touch an item made of metal. Sometimes you can see the static electricity that is discharged from your fingertip. This wouldn't be possible unless your body had an electrical nature to it.
If you touch a hot stove you will feel the pain instantly because it is electrically transmitted along the nerves to your brain. The pain travels at the speed of electricity and that is why you feel pain so quickly. Electrical messages are constantly sent throughout your body to keep it informed of what is going on. Without this energy flow you would not be able to see, hear, feel, taste or smell.
Another obvious bit of evidence regarding the existence of electricity (energy) in the body are the electroencephalograph (EEG)and electrocardiograph (EKG). The EEG records the electrical activity of the brain and the EKG records the electrical activity of the heart. These devices have been used by medical science for decades and are the ones you see in TV hospital dramas hooked up to dying patients. When the screen stops "blipping" the patient is dead.
Our electrical systems are vital to our physical health. What could be more obvious? When the energy stops flowing ... we die. Ask your doctor about this. No one disputes it.
About 5,000 years ago, the Chinese discovered a complex system of energy circuits that run throughout the body. These energy circuits ... or meridians as they are called ... are the centerpiece of Eastern health practices and form the basis for modern day acupuncture, acupressure and a wide variety of other healing techniques.
This energy courses through the body and is invisible to the eye. By analogy, you do not see the energy flowing through a TV set either. You know it is there, however, by its effects. The sounds and pictures are your ever present evidence that the energy flow exists.
In the same way, EFT gives you striking evidence that unique energy flows within your meridians because it provides the effects that let you know it is there. By simply tapping near the end points of your energy meridians you can experience some profound changes in your emotional and physical health. That's what EFT is all about. It is the central concept in the What is EFT question.
Western medical science tends to focus on the chemical nature of the body and has not paid much attention to these subtle, but powerful, energy flows until recent years. However, they do exist and are attracting an expanding group of researchers.
Scientific Validation of EFT
EFT's foundation comes from a common sense blend of Acupuncture and Mind-Body Medicine, both of which have decades of scientific studies supporting them. Their effectiveness has been so profound that prestigious institutions such as Stanford, Harvard and many other universities, clinics and hospitals have chosen to use and/or study them. Just do an internet search for terms such as "Mind Body Research" and "Acupuncture Research" and you will be exposed to the huge warehouse of scientific studies that validate EFT's underpinnings.
Further, many peer reviewed EFT studies have been completed. Some of these studies are based on a longer form EFT protocol that was popular prior to this Tutorial. This Tutorial has divided that protocol into easy to use parts but, overall, there is no substantive change in it. One need only put the parts back together to arrive at the original protocol used in previous research. Thus all research using the previous protocol is still valid even though that protocol reflects "Old EFT." Future research, however, should be based on the protocols advanced in this Tutorial. You may wish to read this excellent article summarizing the research on EFT and similar methods written by David Feinstein, PhD.
To me, however, the real proof of EFT's power is not to be found in the laboratory. Rather, the true evidence lies in how well it works for you. Accordingly, this Tutorial is designed so you can put EFT through its paces yourself and come to your own conclusions. Obviously, the more skillful you become at EFT the better will be your results and the more thorough will be your understanding of "What is EFT."
The Discovery Statement
One of the beautiful features of EFT is that its mechanism can be elegantly stated in one sentence. We call it The Discovery Statement and here it is.
In some circles, it is the accepted practice to "treat the memory" and, in the process, ask the client to repeatedly relive some emotionally painful event. EFT, by contrast, respects the memory but addresses what I believe is the true cause ... a disruption in the body's energy system.
People have called me from all over the world for help over the telephone. Without my asking, they usually start telling me in detail about their past traumas. That's because they mistakenly believe I need all these details to help them. To them, these memories are the cause of their problems.
I care deeply about helping people who needlessly carry around all these emotionally charged memories. That's why I created EFT. But it always seems strange to people when I tell them they don't need to painfully relive all those horrid details for EFT to help them. These memories may contribute to an unwanted emotion (you'll see how later), but they are not the direct cause. Accordingly, we don't need to spend time painfully dwelling on them. It is superfluous, if not damaging, to do so.
Thus there is relatively little emotional suffering involved with EFT. It is comparatively painless (see What can I expect from EFT? for possible exceptions). You will be asked to briefly recall your problem (there may be some discomfort in that), but that is all. There is no need to relive the pain. In fact, with EFT, generating prolonged emotional discomfort is frowned upon. This is but one example of where EFT is a radical departure from conventional methods.
As a further aid to your learning, it might help if you compare the energy flow in your body to that of a TV set. As long as the electricity flows through your TV normally, the sound and picture are both clear. But what would happen if you took off the back of the TV set and carelessly probed through its complicated electronics with a metal screwdriver?" You would, quite obviously, disrupt or reroute the flow of electricity and an electric short circuit, or "zzzzzt", would occur inside. The picture and sound would become erratic and the TV would exhibit its version of a "negative emotion."
In the same manner, when our energy systems become imbalanced, we have an electrical "zzzzzt" effect going on inside. Straighten out this "zzzzzt" by properly using EFT and the negative emotion goes away. It's that simple. I'm well aware of how strange this may sound and how difficult it can be to believe ... at least at first. I wouldn't believe it myself if I hadn't seen so many marvelous changes in people after applying these techniques.
The Intermediate Step ... The Missing Piece
Once you accept it, though .... once you "let it in".... its logic becomes undeniable and you begin to see all the weaknesses in other methods.
For example, the "treat the memory" method mentioned above becomes glaringly erroneous in the light of these discoveries. It is assumed, in that method, that the past traumatic memory is the direct cause of the emotional upset in someone. It is not. There is an intermediate step ... a missing piece ... between the memory and the emotional upset. And that intermediate step, of course, is the disruption in the body's energy system. It is that disruption, the "zzzzzt", that is the direct cause of the emotional upset. This is portrayed graphically below.
Please note that if step 2 (the intermediate step) does not occur then step 3 is impossible. In other words, if the memory does not cause a disruption in the body's energy system then the negative emotion cannot occur. That is why some people are bothered by certain memories and others are not. The difference is that some people have a tendency for their energy systems to become imbalanced under such memories, while others do not.
With this in mind, it is easy to see how the "treat the memory" method misses the mark. It addresses step 1 and ignores step 2.
This is why some people tend to get worse when conventional psychotherapy aims for the memory and not its cause (the energy disruption). Addressing step 1 by requiring someone to vividly relive a distressing memory serves to induce more disruption in the energy system (more zzzzzts). And that means more pain, not less. It can, and often does, aggravate the problem. If step 2 was addressed instead of step 1, then there would be relatively little pain. The energy system would be balanced (by appropriate tapping) and internal calm would replace the negative emotion. The result would be rapid relief because the true cause was being addressed. This happens repeatedly with EFT.
In the following video I combine The Discovery Statement with a discussion of the Intermediate Step. It adds an extra dimension to these important topics.
One Cause ... Thus You Only Need One Method
Now back again to the "Discovery Statement." Please notice that it is all inclusive. It says, "The cause of ALL negative emotions is a disruption in the body's energy system." This includes fears, phobias, anger, grief, anxiety, depression, traumatic memories, PTSD, worry, guilt and all limiting emotions in sports, business and the performing arts. That's a comprehensive list and covers just about every restrictive emotion we can experience.
Differently stated, this means that all these negative emotions have the same cause....an electrical "zzzzzt" in the body. It also means...
...that they can all be relieved in a similar manner.
Thus, grief has the same basic cause as trauma, guilt, fear and a baseball player's hitting slump. So the same general method can be used for all these problems. This "one cause" idea is also a blessing for mental health professionals. They are accustomed to an endless, ever changing number of explanations for the seemingly countless emotional concerns of their clients. To learn that there is only one cause greatly simplifies their efforts.
EFT Often Provides Impressive Physical Relief
The medical profession has long known that emotional issues can dramatically affect our body chemistry and that, in turn, can lead to everything from rashes and headaches to addictions, impaired immune systems and cancer. We see consistent evidence of this when we apply EFT. As guilt, anger, fear, trauma and the like become resolved, physical ailments often subside simultaneously. From time to time we also see physical symptoms fade by simply tapping on the meridian system without directly aiming EFT at emotional contributors. In this case, it appears that one of the contibutors to the physical ailment may be strictly energetic and thus merely balancing the meridians can bring about symptom relief. This brings us to another version of the Discovery Statement that says,
"EFT can assist physical healing by resolving
This deepens our probe into What is EFT and to illustrate this, here is a video wherein I discuss the emotional facet of this concept and then follow it up with an actual case with LaVonne and her serious foot pain (neuropathy). As you will see, aiming EFT directly at the pain went nowhere and thus there did not appear to be a strictly energetic contributor. It was only after I addressed a handful of emotional issues (including guilt over the death of her husband via a motorcycle accident) that she achieved major improvement. Also note that, although I am using advanced language approaches here (to be explored in future articles), we are clearly illustrating the fundamental principle of achieving physical relief by moving through emotional doors.
It's often a jaw dropping experience to witness these "impossible" recoveries and I invite progressive physicians to explore EFT as a major healing tool. Many physicians are integrating EFT into their medical practices and one of those is Eric Robins, MD. His views are given in the following video.
Return to Tutorial Main Menu
© Gary and Tina Craig