Healing on Tap

EFT: Chinese medicine plus psychology equals emotional freedom.

By Lisa James

March 2009


Bernadette had struggled with food issues her entire life. Told that she had blocked arteries, she needed to get her eating habits under control.

Donna had been diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. Six months later she was still plagued by chronic insomnia, once going four whole days without sleep.

Jackie was a real estate agent who had a hard time calling prospective clients for fear that she’d be yelled at or hung up on. As she put it, “My mind is holding me back.”

Bernadette, Donna and Jackie each chose a deceptively simple healing method known as Emotional Freedom Techni­ques (EFT). Also called tapping, this process combines an ancient Chinese understanding of the body with modern psychological insights that claim to help ease a wide array of emotional and physical woes.

EFT “is a mainstay of my practice,” says Patricia Carrington, PhD, a clinical psychologist who teaches at UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Jersey. A certified EFT Master, Carrington is the author of Try It On Everything, companion volume to the DVD of the same name.

Energy Adjustment

Eastern healers see the body as a collection of systems through which qi, or essential energy, passes. Qi moves through channels known as meridians; it is these meridians that guide the placement of acupuncture needles.

The process that would become EFT started in 1962 when chiropractor George Goodheart, DC began using manual pressure on acupuncture points to promote healing. Psychiatrist John Diamond, MD added affirmations—positive, self-generated statements—while patients tapped the points themselves. Psychologist Roger Callahan, PhD gave the fledgling ther­apy a more structured look; one of Callahan’s students, engineer Gary Craig, simplified the system into EFT.

Today the process involves creating a mental picture of a stressful situation—such as getting on a plane for someone with a flying phobia—and then systematically tapping nine acupressure spots, all located on the head and upper body, while repeating an affirmation such as, “Even though I fear flying, I choose to be calm and confident.” (The movie and book provide a detailed program; see www.tryitoneverything.com).

EFT “can be used in privacy without any need to disclose your personal issues to anyone,” says Car­rington, herself one of EFT’s early researchers. She says patients have used EFT to overcome all sorts of fears, including those of elevators, medical or dental visits, flying, heights and public speaking (successfully in Jackie’s case). In addition, EFT has helped ease pain as well as promote weight loss and sounder sleep. Bernadette, for example, hasn’t lost all the weight she wants to, but does have a “different relationship with food—it doesn’t control my life.” And Donna has more energy and no longer wakes in the middle of the night.

Researchers are starting to test EFT, with good results. In September 2003, Australian scientists published a study in the Journal of Clinical Psychology in which EFT produced significantly better results than deep breathing in helping participants overcome their fear of small animals.
Your body possesses a powerful ability to heal itself. EFT lets you tap into that power.

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