the science of tapping
EFT stands for Emotional Freedom Techniques. It combines elements of modern psychology (including exposure therapy and cognitive therapy) with somatic stimulation (tapping on acupressure points). It can be done with a trained practitioner, or used as a self help tool. It can easily be taught to children to help calm down worried thoughts.
EFT is also commonly referred to as “Tapping” or “psychological acupressure” because we use our fingers to tap on the acupressure points on the face and upper body, whilst stating the problem we wish to release. This could be a negative thought, an emotion or a physical problem like a pain in the neck.
Check out this 5 minute video created by my mentors Craig Weiner and Alina Frank, which will teach you more about the Science behind tapping.
EFT has been shown to be effective in reducing stress, anxiety, PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), depression, chronic pain and phobias. Australian research by Dr Peta Stapleton has also demonstrated EFT to be highly effective for weight loss and in reducing food cravings.
EFT has been researched in more than 10 countries, by more than 60 investigators, whose results have been published in more than 20 different peer-reviewed journals.
It is becoming recognised as a fast, effective, gentle and safe way to work with stress and trauma in the body.
For more on the research click here.
EFT For Stress and Anxiety
EFT is a fabulous stress reduction tool, because when we are tapping on the acupressure points, we are sending a calming signal to the amygdala - the part of the brain responsible for our stress response - or the “Fight, Flight or Freeze” response. The amygdala works in conjunction with the hippocampus (the memory centre of the brain) to decide if a situation, person or environment is safe, or poses a threat.
When the amygdala is very “activated”, it is difficult for us to feel safe or calm. Instead we feel anxious, and our heart might be racing. We may have trouble breathing, our stomach might feel sick, our throat might be tight. The head can feel like it’s going to explode.
Your body lets you know when it is stressed, or if it thinks you need to get away quick! It pumps lots of cortisol and adrenaline (the stress hormones) into your system. All the blood leaves the pre-frontal cortex (the thinking part of the brain) travelling to the limbs, to prepare your body to fight, run away, or freeze, in order to survive.
This is an unconscious process. You don’t actually decide whether you will fight, run away or freeze; your unconscious mind decides for you in a split second. That’s why lots of people think they would run or fight if they were attacked or abused, but when it happens, often they may not even be able to speak or move or do anything at all.
It is hard for us to THINK when we are very stressed or anxious, because the part of our brain responsible for thinking and problem solving is low on blood supply, and is basically “off line” when we are stressed or anxious. In EFT terms we say the amygdala is being “hijacked” by trauma or stress.
The problem is, our brain can turn on this “Fight, Flight or Freeze” response by thought alone, even though nothing “bad” is happening now, if the body is triggered in the present to remember an unsafe situation from the past, it will think the unsafe situation is happening now, and your body will act accordingly.
This can happen quite randomly, and people often do not even know what has “triggered” them to feel anxious. They may feel embarrassed about this.
People with anxiety or PTSD can feel like this constantly and it’s exhausting!
When we do some tapping to calm down the amygdala, we can then think more clearly, feel safe in our body again, and make better decisions about how to help ourselves.
EFT is a fabulous self help tool, which can easily be taught to young children and adults alike. By learning to tap down our negative thoughts, and manage our own emotions, we can reduce the stress hormones in our body, and our brain and body can balance itself. Once all the stress has left the body, we find that more positive thoughts and feelings float to the surface quite naturally.
EFT is brilliant for improving self-esteem, confidence and resilience, as it empowers people to take charge of their own emotional well-being.
If you know that you have experienced significant trauma in your life, it is best not to try to tap on those issues and memories by yourself. Always seek the help of a professional certified EFT practitioner, who has appropriate experience and qualifications in working with trauma.
They will assist you in processing the traumatic memories in your EFT sessions, then teach you how to tap for yourself in a safe way at home.