First off, what is EFT?
EFT’s acupressure roots go back to the ancient Chinese who describe universal life energy called Chi, which circulates throughout the body along specific pathways called meridians. As long as this energy flows freely, health is maintained. But if the energy flow is blocked at any point in the body, the disruption causes discomfort and is the basis for disease. Acupuncture was developed to release these blocks and restore the free flow of Chi. Although acupuncture is traditionally performed with fine needles, recent scientific research has shown gentle tapping or acupressure to be just as effective.
EFT’s psychology roots go back to Sigmund Freud’s work with the unconscious mind. His discoveries laid the groundwork for our understanding that even though we might consciously wish to change, there may be hidden mental material that could be blocking our good intentions and perpetuating old patterns. Freud believed change came about through insight. While this is true to some extent, cognitive neuroscience has now shown us that our deepest patterns are often held in place through feedback loops playing over and over again in the brain. Talking alone is often not enough to break these feedback loops and ultimately produce the change we wish to see.
In the 1960s and 1970s pioneering clinicians experimented with the mind-body connection for deeper psychological change. By integrating the wisdom from ancient Chinese acupuncture into their practice and stimulating certain points along the meridians during cognitive restructuring, they were quickly able to break the feedback loops that held old psychological problems in place. Fine-tuning the work of his teacher Dr. Roger Callahan, Gary Craig developed EFT in the 1990s.
Why does tapping along these points while saying certain phrases break the feedback loops so much more effectively than talking alone?
There is a part of our brain called the amygdala whose job is to determine whether or not something is a threat. When any kind of threat is perceived, the amygdala raises a red flag and the stress response is initiated.
The amygdala is part of the limbic system, which pre-dates the frontal cortex by a couple of million years – which means it is in the part of our brain that is non-verbal. Simply telling yourself to relax or to change your thoughts often does nothing because the spoken language does not register with the amygdala. Tapping on the meridian points, however, sends a direct signal of peace and calm that the amygdala can understand.
This has now been confirmed by scientific research from Harvard Medical School. Over the last decade researchers there used MRI and PET scans to prove that tapping decreases activity in the brain associated with fear. In their research, it is easy to see the amygdala’s red alert being called off when acupoints are stimulated.
EFT is a magic combination of tapping on these meridian points while energetically and verbally tuning into an issue. This directs the amygdala to lower the red flag of distress for that issue and release stress and trauma from the body’s energy system. This eventually allows the body and mind to return to a healthy physical and emotional state.
In summary, EFT is so effective because it communicates directly with the part of the brain that keeps subconscious fear and stress patterns locked in place. It in essence rewires the brain to experience less stress and trauma and more peace and freedom. There are now over 55 published and peer-reviewed studies showing the effectiveness of EFT and other Energy Psychology modalities on a variety of issues including anxiety, depression, pain, physical symptoms, weight loss – and insomnia.
If you have experienced night after night of what I call that “tired but wired” feeling, you know your body is stuck in a stress pattern. If that is you, EFT can literally turn your life around in a very short time.