EFT Tapping Therapy: Emotional Freedom Technique
EFT, also known as emotional freedom technique, involves tapping parts of the body as a form of psychotherapeutic acupressure.
EFT cannot only relieve symptoms of emotional distress but it can also help to relieve symptoms of physical pain.
Tapping is a form of complementary therapy and can therefore be learned and practised, as and when you need it.
Here, Recoverlution looks into the science behind EFT therapy, and how it works. We also look at how tapping can bring some much needed healing to your own recovery.
How does EFT Tapping work?
First, let's look at how tapping therapy works. Tapping may seem like one of those new age ‘out there’ practices, yet it has proven and powerful benefits.
Most of us know about acupuncture and its benefits for the body and the mind. Acupuncture focuses on hitting meridian points with the use of tiny needles. Meridian points are essentially energy hot spots. These hot spots map throughout our entire body, they are all interconnected and send signals to the brain.
EFT is a type of holistic medicine that has very similar principles to acupuncture. The main difference is that whilst acupuncture uses invasive needles, EFT uses the external pressure of your own fingertips.
Basically, by practising EFT tapping you stand to gain the same mind/body benefits offered by acupuncture, but without the needles. Great news for those of us that are none too keen on the prospect of resembling a human pin cushion!
Therapists say that tapping helps you to access your body’s energy points and send signals to the parts of the brain that respond to stress. Stimulating the meridian (energy) points through tapping, helps to relieve stress and negative emotions. This helps to restore balance in the body’s energy system.
What does EFT treat?
Emotional freedom therapy is an effective tool for reducing cortisol levels in the body’s biochemistry.
Cortisol is a hormone the body releases in response to stress. In a genuine fight-or-flight scenario, cortisol is very helpful. Adversely, however, overexposure to cortisol has a negative impact on our physical, mental and our emotional health.
Clinical trials into the effectiveness of EFT in lowering cortisol levels found that the application of tapping can reduce the production of cortisol by up to 43%. At the same time, participants that took part in the clinical trials also reported lower levels of anxiety and depression, as well as reduced symptoms of psychological distress.
EFT tapping has been found to be effective in managing and treating the following conditions:
- Panic disorder
- Generalised Anxiety disorders
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Work-related stress and burnout
- Social anxiety
- Chronic pain
- Emotional trauma
- Addiction related cravings
Why is reducing stress in addiction recovery is so important?
In todays society, many of us suffer from stress. Stress has been proven to be a high-risk factor for addiction relapse.
Emotional stress causes the release of high amounts of cortisol within the body. This can then be a trigger, for a person who suffers from addiction, to experience drug and alcohol cravings. The effects that cortisol has on the brain can also cause a person to respond to these cravings less rationally.
Reducing your cortisol levels is important.
But, why is reducing cortisol important through the use of practices such as EFT tapping?
Because negative emotions produce high levels of cortisol, and high levels of cortisol are associated with excessive brain activity and reduced cognition.
Frequent exposure to high cortisol levels, induced by prolonged periods of stress, can actually cause your brain to prematurely age. Along with the ageing of the brain comes a natural decline in memory, emotional regulation and cognitive function.
Therefore, it is safe to say, that by practising tapping to reduce your cortisol levels, you will have a better quality of life during your recovery from addiction.
EFT - Tapping therapy can help to reduce chronic pain
Many people who live daily with chronic pain are unable to find sustainable relief from it. For those of us in recovery who have to manage chronic pain, any natural remedies are always worth a try.
Chronic pain acts differently from acute pain. Acute pain remedies itself once the healing has occurred. Chronic pain on the other hand can cause a continuation of uncomfortable symptoms.
These symptoms can include stiffness, tightness, discomfort and episodes of acute pain. The symptoms of chronic pain can also have a knock-on effect on your mental health, causing you to feel fatigued, stressed, anxious and depressed.
The EFT tapping technique can assist in helping to relieve chronic pain that is worsened by stress. An EFT practitioner can show you how to apply tapping to acupressure points to help find relief from the emotions that are interlinked with your condition.
Emotional well-being has such a huge impact on our bodies. It affects our posture, our tension levels and our sleep. All of these can make a chronic pain condition worse and can prevent physical and emotional healing from happening.
Why you should add EFT to your recovery toolkit
You can learn EFT tapping techniques and then utilise them whenever you need to. Whether you are feeling stressed, nervous or anxious, tapping can bring a sense of immense calm and relief.
When learning about tapping, especially if it is to help you to deal with chronic pain or emotional trauma, it is important to learn the technique from a qualified practitioner.
If you are looking for simple techniques to help you combat daily stress, there are many helpful videos on YouTube. The video below is a great example of how to overcome and change negative thinking patterns using tapping techniques.
Making the most of EFT
An important aspect of EFT tapping being effective is practising it regularly. Therefore, you should practice it even when you are not feeling stressed, anxious or in pain.
By incorporating tapping into your daily life, you are much more likely to have reduced symptoms of stress. Your brain will also adapt to becoming used to the practice, meaning you are much more likely to use it when the need arises.
In times of acute stress the brain naturally wants instant relief. You can avoid making unhealthy decisions whilst emotionally stressed by reaching into your recovery toolbox and using tapping to restore your peace of mind.
It may be that a counsellor, sponsor or therapist has expressed the importance of being able to sit with your own emotions. However, this is all well and good, only if you are taught how!
Once you are familiar with tapping therapy, you can then practice tapping whilst working through a range of different emotions. Emotions that you perhaps, usually find too uncomfortable to sit with.
Tapping can be a self-empowering way to feel emotions, connect with them and defuse them, whilst restoring balance to the brain.
You can find more ways of emotionally freeing your mind and soul within our Wellness Hub.
Author - Sammi
- Re-examining the effect of emotional freedom techniques on stress biochemistry: A randomised controlled trial - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32162958/
- The effect of emotional freedom techniques on stress biochemistry: a randomised controlled trial -https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22986277/
- The role of stress in addiction relapse: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11920-007-0050-6
- Emotional Freedom Technique (Tapping): https://osteopathyforall.co.uk/toolkits/mindbody-toolkit/emotional-freedom-technique-tapping/