Emotional freedom techniques (EFT)

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Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), also called tapping, is a psychological, or emotional, version of acupuncture that does not involve needles. This therapy is based on the idea that unresolved negative emotions contribute to many physical pains and illnesses. Supporters of EFT claim that stimulating the acupuncture points helps get rid of emotional blockages from the system, thus restoring the mind and body's balance.
EFT is based on the same philosophy as traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). According to Chinese medicine theory, the human body contains a network of energy pathways through which vital energy, called "chi," circulates. These pathways (also called meridians) contain specific points that function like gates, allowing chi to flow through the body. In acupuncture, needles are inserted into these points to regulate the flow of chi. Illness and symptoms are thought caused by problems in the circulation of chi through the meridians.
Unlike acupuncture, EFT does not involve needles. Instead, a person taps his/her fingertips on specific meridians on the body along. This is combined with positive voice affirmations. The tapping supposedly stimulates chi and corrects the negative emotions that have detrimental effects on the body's flow of energy. In this way, proponents believe that practicing EFT helps return the body's system to balance and reduces physical symptoms.
People can practice this therapy themselves. However, EFT should not delay diagnosis or treatment with more proven techniques or therapies, and it should not be used as the sole approach to illnesses.
EFT was developed by Gary Craig in the mid 1990s to treat a variety of health problems, including depression, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), stress, common cold, cancer, phobias, and various types of addictions. According to Craig, EFT can be used to treat just about any physical or mental ailment. EFT is a simplified version of Roger Callahan's bodywork techniques, which were part of the energy psychology movement.
A variety of books have been published by EFTs founder and others on tapping. Instructional videos and DVDs are also available. A number of Web sites are devoted to tapping. Many practitioners advertise their services online.
Three human studies on EFT have been published in three peer-reviewed journals. These studies evaluated the emotional and physical effects of EFT in humans. These small studies found that EFT might have positive effects on people who have phobias and stress. However, these studies were not well-designed and did not discover a definitive mechanism of action. Additional research is needed to determine if EFT is an effective treatment.
As a procedure that is usually self-administered, healthcare professionals may be interested in learning more about tapping because it is inexpensive and non-invasive.

Related Terms

Acupoints, acupuncture, affirmations, body tapping, chi, EFT, emotional freedom technique, Gary Craig, meridians, meridians, Roger Callahan, tapping, TCM, traditional Chinese medicine.