EFT Tapping: Does Your Recovery Need It?

EFT Tapping (Acupuncture Downshifted)

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), often referred to as “tapping,” is a psychological tool that combines elements of ancient Chinese medicine and modern psychology.

This therapeutic method aims to help individuals manage their emotions, reduce stress, and improve overall well-being by tapping on specific body points while verbally addressing the emotions and thoughts causing distress.

EFT has garnered significant attention over the past few decades as people seek alternative ways to find emotional relief and manage various issues.

EFT Tapping

The technique is based on the concept that negative emotions are the result of disruptions in the body’s energy system.

By tapping on specific points related to certain meridians, or energy pathways, in the body, individuals can help restore balance to their energy system and alleviate emotional pain.

EFT has been applied in a variety of contexts, from reducing phobias and anxiety to improving physical symptoms related to chronic pain and illness.

EFT Tapping

Understanding EFT

I personally find it fascinating how EFT combines traditional knowledge and modern concepts to offer an accessible solution for emotional distress and physical pain.

This therapy was developed in the 1990s by Gary Craig, who believed it could provide relief for a variety of emotional and physical issues.

To understand EFT, it’s important to know some basics of Chinese medicine. In this ancient healing system, there are energy pathways, called meridians, which flow through our body. These meridians are responsible for our overall well-being, and when they get blocked or imbalanced, it can lead to emotional and physical pain.

EFT Tapping

EFT aims to unblock these meridians by employing a technique in which you tap on specific points described in Chinese medicine.

As a tapping therapy, EFT looks a bit unusual at first glance.

In an EFT session, I would use my fingertips to gently tap on specific points on my face and upper body while simultaneously focusing on the problem or issue I want to address. This can help clear emotional and energetic imbalances while potentially providing relief for physical pain.

EFT can be seen as an excellent example of alternative therapy, providing a non-invasive approach to managing emotional and physical distress.

While it may not be the perfect solution for everyone, I believe it’s worth exploring if you resonate with the concepts of energy and meridians in Chinese medicine or if you’re simply looking for a new way to tackle life’s challenges.

EFT Tapping
Woman doing EFT on the underarm point. Emotional Freedom Techniques, tapping, a form of counseling intervention that draws on various theories of alternative medicine.

Basic Principles of EFT

Meridian Points

EFT is based on the idea that our bodies have a flow of energy, which runs through pathways known as meridians. When we experience emotional distress, this energy flow can become disrupted. I learned that meridian points are specific pressure points located on our bodies, which help regulate this energy flow.

By stimulating these points, we can work to release negative emotions and restore balance to our minds and bodies.

Tapping Sequence

The tapping sequence is the core practice of EFT, and it’s what makes this technique so unique for me. When performing EFT, I gently tap on the tapping points using my fingertips, usually starting with the “karate chop point” on my hand. The tapping sequence moves through different points on my face and upper body, and it’s designed to send both activating and deactivating signals to my brain. This helps to release any emotional blockages and promote healing.

EFT Tapping

Reminder Phrase

While I’m tapping on these points, I also use what’s called a “reminder phrase.” This is a short phrase or statement that helps me stay focused on the issue I’m addressing.

For example, if I’m feeling anxious, I might repeat a phrase like “this anxiety” as I tap. By using the reminder phrase, I can better target the specific emotion or problem that I need to work on.


An essential aspect of EFT is the concept of self-acceptance, which I find so important for personal growth and healing. As I tap and use my reminder phrase, I also incorporate statements of self-acceptance that help me embrace myself as I am, even with the challenges I’m facing.

I might say something like, “Even though I feel anxious, I deeply and completely accept myself.” By embracing self-acceptance, I can work toward not only releasing negative emotions but also developing a more compassionate relationship with myself.

Procedure of EFT

So, let me share with you the basic procedure of Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). EFT is a fascinating and easy-to-learn method to help with various emotional and physical issues.

The whole process can be broken down into five simple steps: identify the issue, setup phrase, initial intensity, tapping sequence, and reassessment.

At first, I need to identify the issue that’s bothering me. It could be anything like stress, anxiety, or even physical pain. The key is to focus on one problem at a time to properly address it.

Once I’ve figured out the issue, I move on to the setup phrase.

This is basically creating a specific phrase that acknowledges my problem and asserts self-acceptance despite the issue I’m facing.

For instance, it could be something like “Even though I feel anxious about public speaking, I accept myself and my feelings.”

The next step is to determine my initial intensity. This is where I rate my emotional or physical distress on a scale from 0 to 10, with 0 being no distress and 10 being the highest level of distress. It helps me keep track of my progress and see how effective EFT is for me.

With my setup phrase and initial intensity in place, it’s time to start tapping. EFT involves tapping on specific meridian points on my body while repeating the setup phrase.

The common tapping points include the side of the hand, top of the head, inner eyebrows, side of the eyes, under the eyes, under the nose, chin, collarbone, and under the arm. I tap each point around 7 times while repeating my setup phrase.

Finally, after completing the tapping sequence, I reassess my intensity level.

This is where I gauge if my distress level has gone down, stayed the same, or even increased. If it hasn’t decreased significantly, I can repeat the process until desired relief is achieved.

And there you have it! That’s the basic procedure of EFT I use to help me with various issues that come up in my life.

EFT and Acupuncture

Emotional Freedom Technique, or EFT, is often compared to acupuncture because both techniques involve the stimulation of meridian points. However, there are some important differences between the two, as well as similarities. In this section, I’ll discuss how EFT and acupuncture relate to each other, and what sets them apart.

EFT Tapping

EFT vs Acupuncture

EFT, sometimes referred to as “tapping”, is a self-help technique that involves tapping on specific meridian points while focusing on an emotional issue.

It combines elements of cognitive and behavioral therapy with fingertip tapping on acupuncture points.

You can learn more about EFT in this systematic review.

On the other hand, acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine practice that involves the insertion of thin needles into specific points on the body.

These points are located on meridian lines, which are believed to be channels through which vital energy, or “qi”, flows. Acupuncture aims to balance the flow of energy and promote overall well-being.

EFT Tapping

Similarities and Differences

Here’s a brief comparison of the two techniques:


  • Both EFT and acupuncture work on meridian points, aiming to balance energy and address emotional issues.


  • EFT is a self-help technique, while acupuncture is a therapy performed by a trained professional.
  • EFT involves tapping, whereas acupuncture uses needles for stimulation.
  • EFT focuses on emotional issues by integrating elements of cognitive and behavioral therapy, while acupuncture works on the underlying energy imbalances.

One key difference between EFT and acupuncture is the method of stimulating meridian points.

In acupuncture, needles are used to stimulate acupoints, while in EFT, tapping is used for the same purpose.

In fact, one of the reasons behind the popularity of EFT is that it’s a non-invasive alternative to acupuncture.

You can perform EFT on your own without any professional assistance.

So, while there are some similarities between EFT and acupuncture, the two techniques have distinct applications and methods. If you’re considering trying either of these techniques, I’d suggest looking further into the specific needs you want to address and which method might suit you best.

EFT Tapping
Woman doing EFT on the eyebrow point. Emotional Freedom Techniques, tapping, a form of counseling intervention that draws on various theories of alternative medicine.

Applications of EFT

EFT, or Emotional Freedom Techniques, can be applied to various emotional and physical issues. In this section, we’ll explore how EFT can help with anxiety and depression, PTSD, chronic pain, phobias and fears, and cravings and addictions.

EFT for Anxiety and Depression

I’ve found that EFT can be an effective tool for managing both anxiety and depression. By tapping on specific meridian points while focusing on negative emotions or traumatic events, it’s possible to release these emotions and reduce their impact on our emotional well-being. One study revealed that after a two-hour EFT self-application, there was a significant reduction in anxiety, depression, and other symptoms.

EFT Tapping
Woman doing EFT on the side of eye point. Emotional Freedom Techniques, tapping, a form of counseling intervention that draws on various theories of alternative medicine.


EFT can be especially useful for people dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Applying EFT techniques to address unresolved emotional trauma, often helps to alleviate PTSD symptoms. There are even guidelines for using Clinical EFT in treating PTSD symptoms, which can be beneficial for both practitioners and patients alike.

EFT for Chronic Pain

Chronic pain can also be addressed through EFT. I’ve discovered that by working with the emotional aspects of chronic pain, it’s possible to significantly reduce pain levels. EFT practitioners often help their clients address the emotional issues faced by chronic pain patients, which in turn can have a positive effect on their overall well-being, as mentioned in a study.

EFT Tapping
Woman doing EFT on the karate chop point. Emotional Freedom Techniques, tapping, a form of counseling intervention that draws on various theories of alternative medicine.

EFT for Phobias and Fears

I’ve noticed that EFT can be particularly helpful for those dealing with phobias and fears. By tapping on specific points related to the fear, as well as exploring the root cause of the phobia, it’s possible to diminish the intensity of the fear and even eliminate it completely.

EFT for Cravings and Addictions

Lastly, EFT can offer support in dealing with cravings and addictions. I’ve seen people use EFT to reduce and even eliminate cravings for substances like food, drugs, and alcohol. By addressing the emotions behind these cravings, it’s possible to gain control over them and make healthier choices.

Effectiveness and Research

So, after I stumbled upon this concept called the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), I decided to dig into its effectiveness and research supporting it. As already noted, EFT is basically a blend of Eastern and Western therapeutic practices, focusing on tapping specific points on the body to relieve stress, anxiety, and other emotional issues.

I found a 2013 study that examined EFT’s capability in decreasing fear levels. The results showed a substantial reduction in participants’ fear, which got me impressed with EFT’s potential benefits.

EFT Tapping
Woman doing EFT on the under the collarbone. Emotional Freedom Techniques, tapping, a form of counseling intervention that draws on various theories of alternative medicine.

In another 2016 review, I discovered that EFT was being investigated for treating posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This review provided some evidence supporting its use in reducing PTSD symptoms effectively.

Furthermore, I came across a randomized controlled trial that explored the effect of EFT on nurses’ stress, anxiety, and burnout levels during the COVID-19 pandemic. The results demonstrated that EFT helped reduce stress and anxiety in nurses, which made me appreciate EFT’s potential in improving mental well-being, especially during such challenging times.

However, it’s worth mentioning that there’s a need for more randomized controlled trials to establish EFT as a go-to evidence-based treatment. As of now, it does look promising, but in the world of science and evidence, more research is always better!

evidence based versus tradition based therapy

While writing this section, I have learned quite a bit about EFT and its effectiveness.

Researchers have found some promising findings, and it seems helpful in tackling emotional challenges, like fear and stress.

But, there’s still room for more research to solidify its position as an evidence-based therapy option. Keep in mind that I’m just sharing what I’ve learned, so before committing to EFT, you should consult a professional to find out if it’s the best option for you.

EFT Tapping
Woman doing EFT on the chin point. Emotional Freedom Techniques, tapping, a form of counseling intervention that draws on various theories of alternative medicine.

Criticisms and Controversies

So, let me tell you about some of the criticisms and controversies surrounding the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). While some people claim that EFT is an effective method for dealing with emotional issues, there are concerns about its scientific validity and relation to more established therapeutic approaches like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

To start with, there’s the fact that EFT is not widely endorsed by mainstream organizations, such as the American Psychological Association (APA). While some individual mental health professionals might recommend EFT, it’s still not considered an evidence-based practice by significant institutions.

That’s important because relying on therapies that don’t have strong evidence supporting their effectiveness can mean clients potentially miss out on more proven treatments like psychotherapy or CBT.

But speaking of CBT, one argument often raised against EFT is that it’s little more than a rebranded, alternative version of CBT.

To be fair, there are similarities in how both approaches work on challenging negative thoughts and beliefs, but EFT also incorporates those unique tapping techniques on specific meridian points.

Critics argue that if EFT is indeed effective, it could be due to the cognitive restructuring aspects borrowed from CBT and not the tapping itself. However, it’s tough to pin down the actual cause of any positive outcomes.

EFT Tapping
Woman doing EFT on the top head point. Emotional Freedom Techniques, tapping, a form of counseling intervention that draws on various theories of alternative medicine.

Another issue with EFT is the lack of high-quality research supporting its use. Although there have been some studies suggesting its benefits for various problems, these have often been small-scale or methodologically flawed. Consequently, it’s hard for me to fully trust and embrace the technique based on the currently available evidence.

On a more personal level, I’ve come across people who find the entire concept of tapping on meridian points to release negative energy to be a bit too “out there” for their taste.

They’d instead prefer sticking with more traditional therapy modes that feel less mystical or alternative. However, I understand that others may find the uniqueness of EFT to be part of its appeal.

To sum it up, EFT has its fair share of criticisms and controversies, from a lack of institutional endorsement by organizations like the APA to questions regarding its relation to more established therapies like CBT.

EFT Tapping
Woman doing EFT on the side of eye point. Emotional Freedom Techniques, tapping, a form of counseling intervention that draws on various theories of alternative medicine.

There’s also the concern about the quality and quantity of research supporting its effectiveness. But as with most approaches in mental health, what works for some might not resonate with others, and ultimately, I believe it’s essential to choose a method that feels right for you.

Finding a Practitioner

When I wanted to explore the world of Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), the first step I took was to find a qualified practitioner.

EFT practitioners are professionals who have undergone training and certification to help individuals tap into their emotional freedom. They assist in resolving a variety of emotional and psychological issues, including stress, anxiety, and trauma, through the use of tapping on specific meridian points in the body.

Finding an EFT practitioner can be done through various resources. One method I found helpful was to visit reputable websites related to EFT, such as The Permanente Journal, which published a study discussing the evidence for EFT in treating posttraumatic stress disorder in veterans.

This study helped me better understand the potential benefits of EFT and the importance of selecting a qualified practitioner.

Another resource I used was reaching out to local therapy and wellness centers. Many such establishments offer EFT sessions or can recommend qualified EFT practitioners within the community. Engaging with these centers can help you find a practitioner who suits your needs and preferences.

EFT Tapping
Woman doing EFT on the under-nose point. Emotional Freedom Techniques, tapping, a form of counseling intervention that draws on various theories of alternative medicine.

Additionally, joining online forums and communities dedicated to EFT is an excellent way to connect with practitioners and gather recommendations from others who have benefited from EFT therapy. This firsthand experience can provide valuable insights into finding the right fit for your particular needs.

Finally, it’s essential to ensure the chosen EFT practitioner has proper training and adheres to appropriate clinical guidelines. Take the time to research their background, certifications, and experience. This will help you make an informed decision and increase the likelihood of a positive therapeutic experience.

So, whether you’re looking to relieve stress, heal from trauma, or make progress in your emotional well-being, finding a qualified EFT practitioner is a crucial step in your journey. With resources like studies, wellness centers, and online communities, identifying the right professional in your area becomes an achievable goal.

Good luck in finding the perfect EFT practitioner for your needs – I hope you find the emotional freedom and healing you deserve.