Emotional Freedom Therapy

Many individuals are seeking alternative ways of managing stress and anxiety without turning to pharmaceutical solutions; yoga, mindfulness, or even acupuncture could offer relief.

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), commonly referred to as tapping, has been shown to be effective at relieving stress, phobias and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Also referred to as psychological acupressure it shares similar characteristics to acupuncture.

What Is EFT?

Emotional Freedom Therapy, commonly referred to as tapping, is an alternative stress management technique designed to ease anxiety and other symptoms of stress. The technique involves gently tapping on various parts of the body, including eyes, nose and chin, until you find relief. You can visit an EFT practitioner for treatment or practice the technique yourself at home.  The main principle behind EFT is that it balances energy by clearing away blockages in its flow, similar to acupuncture and other alternative treatments.

An EFT session allows you to focus on an issue or feeling that is bothersome ,while being guided through tapping techniques on specific points along your meridian system. This includes the top of your head, eye brows, under eyes, chin and collarbone. While tapping, you may repeat a short phrase or mantra in order to keep yourself focused during tapping process and identify emotions fuelling stress and anxiety.

EFT practitioners assert that tapping your fingertips on these acupressure points activates the brain’s relaxing parasympathetic nervous system, thus invoking its relaxing properties to calm the fight-or-flight response.   Decreasing the release of stress hormones into your body may help it relax and heal itself. EFT can also restructure neural circuits that maintain phobias, fears, or other negative thoughts and emotions. Cortisol, as a stress hormone, may be reduced during these sessions.

If you want to give EFT a try, locate a certified practitioner near you or watch online videos of the procedure. Speak with your therapist about it and seek their opinion. EFT can be an effective way of relieving stress and anxiety in daily life.  Just make sure to avoid this therapy before or during events that could prompt panic attacks or stressful reactions.

How Does It Work?

Emotional Freedom Therapy (EFT) is a holistic body-oriented therapy, drawing elements from cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), exposure therapy, and acupuncture. EFT tapping requires placing pressure on certain points on your hands, head, and torso; specifically those linked to your nervous system which regulate emotional states.

While experts do not fully comprehend how EFT taps work, it is believed that stimulating certain areas of the body with EFT tapping may help alleviate stress, anxiety, and negative emotions such as headaches or heart palpitations. Furthermore, tapping may reduce physical symptoms that accompany these emotions or thoughts such as headaches and palpitations.

A typical session involves verbalizing what’s causing distress, making statements of self-acceptance, and tapping on various meridian energy points until your distress has diminished.

Your therapist may pose several questions during the tapping process to gain a greater understanding of your situation and to identify any emotions or memories linked to the cause of your issue. EFT tapping techniques can then be used to alleviate these emotions, ultimately alleviating symptoms.

EFT addresses emotional isolation, which is often at the core of many problems in relationships and life. Couple’s counseling uses EFT to break negative cycles that develop over seemingly minor issues and become detrimental to a relationship.  These may include blame-shifting, criticism, defensiveness or silence which stem from unmet emotional needs.

Researchers studying 203 individuals participating in EFT workshops reported significant decreases in depression as well as improvements to resting heart rate, blood pressure and cortisol levels.  However, additional research needs to be conducted in order to validate these results and fully understand how and why EFT tapping works.


EFT has been shown to be beneficial in numerous studies. One such research paper published by Psychological Trauma found that EFT decreased participants’ cortisol levels.  This can be a biological indicator of stress.  There may be significant decreases in anxiety, depression and PTSD symptoms, pain levels and cravings, while simultaneously seeing increases in happiness levels and salivary immunoglobulin A (SigA).

EFT tapping may help quiet the amygdala, an area of your brain responsible for stress and anxiety. By focusing on breathing exercises and body sensations instead, EFT has proven its efficacy with veterans suffering PTSD as well as trauma related accidents or life events.

EFT tapping offers a profound way to regulate and manage emotions. By acknowledging and addressing negative emotions through the tapping process, individuals can experience a significant reduction in emotional intensity. This emotional regulation technique can be particularly helpful in dealing with anger, sadness, fear, and other challenging emotions that may hinder personal growth and well-being. 

Another notable benefit of EFT tapping is its positive impact on self-esteem and confidence levels. By addressing and releasing limiting beliefs, negative self-talk, and self-doubt through tapping, individuals can cultivate a more positive self-image. This newfound self-acceptance and self-assurance can empower individuals to pursue their goals, take risks, and live a more fulfilling life.

Potential Risks

One of the risks of EFT tapping is the potential for emotional intensity during the session. As EFT aims to address deep-rooted emotions and traumatic experiences, it can sometimes trigger intense emotional responses. This may lead to temporary distress, heightened anxiety, or even emotional overwhelm for some individuals. It is crucial to approach EFT tapping with a qualified therapist who can provide appropriate support and help manage any emotional intensity that may arise.

EFT tapping may uncover unresolved trauma or deeply buried emotions that an individual may not be ready to confront. While the intention is to heal and release these emotions, it is essential to proceed with caution. Unresolved trauma can resurface unexpectedly, causing distress and potentially retraumatizing the individual. Engaging in EFT tapping without proper guidance or support can be risky, particularly for those with a history of severe trauma or mental health conditions.

Although EFT tapping has gained popularity and anecdotal evidence suggests its effectiveness, there is a lack of robust scientific research supporting its claims. The limited number of high-quality studies available makes it challenging to assess the true benefits, risks, and long-term effects of EFT tapping. It is essential to approach this therapy with a critical mindset and not solely rely on it as the sole means of addressing emotional issues.

EFT tapping should not be considered a substitute for conventional medical or psychological treatment. Relying solely on EFT tapping without seeking appropriate professional help may delay necessary interventions or treatments. It is important to consult with healthcare professionals to ensure that a comprehensive approach is taken towards healing emotional issues or traumatic experiences.


EFT is a natural and noninvasive treatment. It’s widely available and affordable, making it an attractive option for many patients. Practitioners of EFT can be trained in cognitive-behavioral therapy or prolonged exposure therapy as clinical tools.  However, not all EFT practitioners are created equal.  Some possess more experience and training for clinical EFT, which is used in research on its efficacy.

People typically form opinions about EFT through anecdotal evidence from friends or family who have used it successfully and found relief for symptoms. This cognitive bias, known as the consensus heuristic, assumes that if something works for one person it will also work for them.

The key takeaway is to consider the use of alternative therapies, but recognize the need at times for qualified mental health care from licensed therapists.

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External Link: EFT Tapping