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EFT Tapping: An effective non-drug therapy for anxiety, depression and chronic pain

Mainly, EFT Tapping involves using the fingers to gently tap on the body's acupuncture points while the person focuses on a specific issue.

The benefits of EFT Tapping for treatment of mental health disorders, including anxiety, depression and PTSD have been validated in several clinical trials. But what actually is EFT Tapping and how does it work?

Written by Longjam Dineshwori |Updated : March 17, 2021 12:57 PM IST

Emotional Freedom Techniques, also known as Tapping, EFT Tapping or psychological acupressure, is an alternative treatment for physical pain and emotional distress. It has been shown to improve the symptoms of several mental health disorders, including anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Developed by psychotherapist Gary Craig in 1995, EFT Tapping is a non-drug therapy that uses a combination of cognitive therapy, exposure therapy and physical touch. Mainly, it involves using the fingers to gently tap on the body's acupuncture points while the person focuses on a specific issue he/she wishes to treat.

According to Craig, a disruption in the body's energy system is the cause of all negative emotions and pain. Tapping on the body' meridian points while concentrating on the negative emotion helps restore this energy balance and relieve distress. "EFT can assist physical healing by resolving underlying energetic or emotional contributors," Craig wrote in his website.

In conversation with TheHealthSite, Dr Rangana Rupavi Choudhuri, EFT Master Trainer, and founder of Vitality Living College, tells more about this alternative treatment method and how it helped her beat her migraine problem. Watch the video here:

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EFT Tappingvs acupuncture

Both acupuncture and EFT focuses on the meridian points areas of the body through which energy flows. However, instead of needles, EFT tapping uses fingertips to stimulate the meridian points on the body while mentally "tune in" to specific issues. Typically, EFT focuses on these nine meridian points: Karate chop (side of the hand); Eyebrow point (EB); Side of eye (SE); Under eye (UE); Under nose (UN); Chin point (CP); Collarbone point (CB); Underarm (UA); and Top of the head (TH).

The basic Tapping process is learnable by almost everyone, and can be done anywhere, Craig said.

According to the proponents of EFT Tapping, the technique can be helpful for treating:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Chronic pain
  • Stress
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Weight loss issues
  • Phobias
  • Headaches

Research on EFT Tapping

The benefits of EFT Tapping have been validated in several clinical trials. Its efficacy for treatment of anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has been found to exceed those of both psychopharmacology and conventional psychotherapy.

In one study, 5000 patients with anxiety were given either cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) with or without medication or tapping with no medication. As many as 90 per cent of the patients who received tapping therapy reported reduced anxiety symptoms compared to 63 per cent of the CBT participants.

In a study published in 2012, students with moderate-to-severe depression experienced significant improvement in their condition after receiving four group sessions of EFT treatment.

A 2016 study that analysed the results of 14 randomized controlled trials of EFT for anxiety disorders found a significant reduction in anxiety scores following this non-drug treatment. In the same year, a pilot study involving 10 participants found that both EFT and CBT helped reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety.

According to a 2019 study, individuals who attended EFT workshops (majority of whom were women over the age of 50 years) reported significant reductions in anxiety, depression, and PTSD symptoms, pain levels and cravings, as well as improvements in happiness. Some participants also experienced improvements in heart rate, blood pressure, and levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

Some studies have suggested that EFT may benefit military personnel who experience PTSD. While many people who practice EFT have reported positive results, it is advisable to speak to your doctor first before using this technique to treat your physical pain or emotional issues.

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