Tapping – Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT)
EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques also known as “Tapping”) is a simple yet powerful healing technique that works with the mind-body connection. It combines the ancient art of acupressure with modern psychology.
EFT’s acupressure roots go back over 3,000 years to the ancient Chinese who describe a universal life energy called Chi, which circulates throughout the body along specific pathways called meridians. Health is maintained as long as this energy flows freely. 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 the less invasive 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 1960’s and 1970’s, pioneering psychology 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, these clinicians were quickly able to break the feedback loops that held old psychological problems in place, and clients could consistently achieve better, faster, longer-lasting results. In the 1990’s Gary Craig, a Stanford engineering graduate specializing in healing and self-improvement, fine-tuned and streamlined the work of his teacher Dr. Roger Callahan, and developed the practice of EFT.
What is the Stress Response?
Most people have heard of the stress response, better known as the fight or flight response. Over the course of our evolution our bodies have developed this response to protect us from physical danger. When the limbic system in our brain detects a threat to our safety it immediately initiates a series of involuntary physiological changes which include increased heart and breathing rates, increased muscle tension, faster brain waves, and increased production of stress hormones and blood sugar levels. All of these shifts are designed to maximize alertness and strength and minimize fatigue so that our ancestors could either fight a small threat or run away as fast as possible from a larger one.
This is really helpful when you come face to face with a saber tooth tiger!
Consequently, over time these defense systems evolved to become hypervigilant, often perceiving threats when there were none.
This leaves the modern human being in somewhat of a predicament. We have these magnificent defense systems always on ready alert sitting right in the middle of our brains, but hardly any true objective threats to focus on. Our brains then focus on threats to our well-being — ongoing psychological threats such as those involving relationships, work, or money. The part of the brain that controls stress cannot tell the difference between a large growling dog threatening to bite, an eviction notice posted on the door, a remembered trauma from the past, or even an imagined scenario in the future that may not ever happen. All of these can trigger a stress response. Our ancestors were able to dissipate the stress response for acute situations with immediate physical action. Yet, there often is no logical physical action to dissipate psychological threats.
The result is chronic, inappropriate, excessive activation of the stress response, which contributes to poor sleep, anxiety, physical pain, inability to lose weight, and countless other unwanted physical and emotional conditions and circumstances.
Why is EFT so effective for relieving stress related conditions?
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 predates the frontal cortex by a couple 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 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 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 stress patterns locked in place. It in essence rewires the brain to experience less stress and trauma and more peace and freedom.
If you would like to experience less stress and more peace in your life, schedule a free consultation with Jennifer today!
EFT Related Research
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, insomnia, PTSD, and more. To learn more about EFT related research, please visit http://www.efttappingtraining.com/eft-research/ or http://www.eftuniverse.com/research-and-studies/eft-research.