How Does EFT Work?
Meridian Tapping Explained

How does EFT work to produce remarkable results from just saying a few words and tapping on meridian points? It seems too easy.

It might be hard to believe, but the ideas behind EFT have existed for thousands of years. EFT is based on the subtle energy system of acupuncture meridians that was discovered by the Chinese about 5,000 years ago.

More recently, Albert Einstein told us that everything is composed of energy. Currently, Quantum Theory supports these discoveries.

The Chinese application of the subtle energy system took the forms of acupuncture and the internal martial arts. EFT is a new Western application.

How does EFT work with subtle energy?

Look around and observe how life grows and is nourished by energy. Energy sustains all life, from plants to humans to the creation of stars. Life-giving energy comes in many forms, not just those considered "essential" to life; such as sunlight, water and food. There is also good music, good feelings, physical touch, words of kindness, good company, an uplifting thought, a smile from a stranger--to name a few.

All forms of positive energy energize us. This energy is transported throughout our body via acupuncture meridians. Sometimes this energy can be disrupted, and we experience its effects: unease, discomfort and pain. With physical tapping at specific points along our energy meridians, EFT "taps" into our energy system to balance it and keep it running smoothly.

How does EFT work at the physical level?

Gary Craig, Founder of EFT, answers the question, "How does EFT work?" by instructing us to think of our bodies as electric. He states in The EFT Discovery Statement:

“The cause of all negative emotions is a disruption in the body’s energy system.”

The acupuncture meridians act like energy circuits conducting currents of energy. If these circuits are disrupted, emotional and physical discomfort is experienced.

Think of energy disruption like a TV with a short in a wire. The effect of this short is a ZZZZT (as described by Gary Craig) on the image seen on TV. The impaired flow of electricity causes the problems with the TV image.

When the flow of energy is disrupted in people, some parts of the body experience a shortage of energy and others too much.

The physical EFT tapping with the tips of the fingers on acupuncture points on the face and body clears this ZZZZT. In this way the energy traveling through these channels is balanced and flows freely throughout the body.

Please note: the strong mind-body connection between illness, emotions and stress is acknowledged by Dr. Gabor Mate in this interview.

How does EFT work with respect to the tapping points?.

These points correspond to acupuncture points on our major meridians. Our finger tips contain points where the three main energy channels (Central, Right Main, and Left Main Channels) meet. According to Taoist Chi Gung Theory, these three main channels come into existence first while still in the womb. Then they create the other acupuncture meridians.

The Central and Right Main Channels flow through the right EFT "sore spot" (a point about 3 inches to either side of the thymus gland, where lymphatic congestion occurs) and the right hand karate chop point. These two points can be used interchangeably during the "Set-up" part of EFT. The Central and Left Main Channels flow through the left EFT "sore spot" and the left hand karate chop point.

How does EFT work at the emotional level?

Our energy meridians form the transportation system that carries energy, or information to its destination. They are information highways.

Every day we absorb huge amounts of information. Everywhere we go we collect impressions of our environment, of other people or of our experiences, just to name a few. We are even subconsciously receiving information from our body's inner workings such as temperature, sugar balance and PH levels.

How does EFT work to help us process so much information?

EFT focuses our attention inward bringing up information associated with what we are tapping on that was hidden from our conscious awareness. Negative feelings provide the link to this information and alert us to energy disruptions.

By tapping to release negative emotions, we clear energy blocks before they have time to affect the corresponding physical areas of our bodies and express disease.

Because dramatic events in our life, like trauma, are loaded with strong negative emotions, it is often difficult to process and release them all. We may feel overwhelmed and unable to handle them.

As a result, many of us developed unhealthy ways to cope with strong emotions. We often stuff them, pretend they are not there or avoid them by keeping ourselves distracted. By not acknowledging them we close the passage out for them to release.

In this manner, we keep short circuiting our energy meridians each time these emotions begin to surface as the memory of the trauma gets triggered into awareness.

These emotions will keep trying to find a way out because this is how our energy system clears the ZZZZT and fixes itself.

How does EFT work to clear traumas and disruptions in our meridians and acupuncture points?

When we experience an overwhelming situation, an intense surge of energy in the form of thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations surges through us. The energy meridians and acupuncture points do their best to transport and hold the excess energy generated.

Sometimes, this creates an overload to our energy system and cause it to "crash" the way a power surge or too much information can cause a computer to crash. EFT comes in to help release the burden of this excess charge trapped in the memory of the trauma with the tapping techniques.

During the EFT tapping, emotions are given attention and acknowledgement and gradually released, until the excess energy is cleared helping to restore balance in our energy system.

Another way to understand energy disruption or blockages is to think of a river with many tributaries. If there is pollution or small avalanches that wash debris into the water, the current can continue to flow and carry it away. But if it continually gets washed in there, or if there is a massive avalanche (trauma)--the current won't be able to keep up.

Over time stagnation can occur or debris can settle, blocking the water flow. Water backs up in some areas (excess energy) and some areas don't get water at all (energy deficiency). This is equivalent to continual stress accumulating over time or dramatic unresolved emotional trauma hitting us.

If these blockages are strong enough, they may even reverse our energy, so that we feel like we are working against ourselves.

How does EFT work in unblocking emotions?

The "set-up" statement in the Emotional Freedom Techniques allows the emotion to simply be, without resistance or rejection of our self. This acceptance, along with the "tuning in" that occurs when giving the problem an intensity rating, brings the emotion into the present moment.

Under these conditions, the emotion can be safely felt and expressed because we are making the distinction that though the emotion/problem may not be acceptable, we are.

By focusing on the problem/emotion the underlying energy disruption is activated. In this way, the timing of the tapping coincides with the energy disruption and can help push the energy through, to restore the flow of energy.

During the tapping we are able to observe the tapping target as it diminishes and/or changes during the process. This brings clarity in recognizing our self as the observer and not under the control of the emotion. This makes it easier to let go of the emotion.

How does EFT work with painful traumas?

Emotions are packed with energy. It is easy to feel their "charge" (if we allow it), whether it be positive or negative. With EFT it is not necessary to submerge one's self in these strong currents of unreleased pain. It is not recommended we jump into the deepest part of the pain to release the charge. The intensity of the charge surrounding the issue is first diminished before continuing step by step with the other emotions and going deeper.

The approach is like peeling an onion. We start with what is on the outside and go layer by layer. Please note, sometime we are unexpectedly taken into the center of a deep trauma or emotion. These new memories or emotions may take us by surprise, having forgotten about them or believed they were already resolved. This process can happen so quickly we are not able to "sneak up on it" gradually. In this case, continuous, quick tapping through all points is done until the emotional energy is released.


How does EFT work with severe trauma like PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)? Buy the DVD and watch EFT in action for yourself in The Answer.


How does EFT work at a deeper level?

As we begin clearing one issue with EFT, we find that other related emotions and/or issues unexpectedly show up. EFT acts like a dredger, pulling sand and muck from the river bed that we were not aware of. As it begins clearing emotional debris stuck in our rivers of energy, more debris is stirred up to the surface of our consciousness.

To beginners, this can feel overwhelming like a never ending process. Just as you thought you were finished, up come more issues to tap on. But rest assured, that with practice and persistence, you will learn to find the core issues that anchor the pile of debris.

Once these core issues are dismantled, the current will be free enough to clear the rest of the debris (specific events) on its own. Deep emotional freedom follows.

How does EFT work at the Spiritual level?

EFT helps us see that things are not always as they appear. It corrects perception and opens the way for new possibilities. Major changes in thinking and life experience become possible.

As our perceptual system receives information from an event in our life, that information contains distortion. Think of it as running clean water through a dirty filter you did not know was there. The water that we get is not pure--but because we didn't realize there was a filter, we have become accustomed to the taste.

We no longer remember what pure water tastes like. We just assume that what we get is pure water because that is what we've been drinking for so long.

These dirty filters that pollute our perception are the old unexamined beliefs and self images of ourselves and others that no longer serve us. They guide our perception to selectively find information that supports them.

Gary Craig calls our dirty filter, "writing on our walls". Much of this writing was given to us in childhood by our family, teachers, schools, religions, culture, even our ancestors. This writing may have served us well at one time. However, upon examination of this learning, we may find that many conflict with one another and actively work against our well being.

It can be very difficult to change these non-serving beliefs, attitudes and images for several reasons. First, we may not even be aware we have them. Second, they are anchored down by past experience/trauma that has not been cleared.

These antiquated information is hard to detect because all we see of it is the effects on our lives. It acts like an old computer program that react to new events with an automatic pilot reaction. For this reason we may sometimes find ourselves confused about why we reacted in a particular manner.

Often we assume that anyone else in the same situation would have reacted in the same way--but would they have?

How does EFT work with programmed reactions ?

Pretend you are driving. There are "rules of the road" written in your driver's manual put there by driver's education, law enforcement, by your parents, and by other drivers.

Think of a situation where you feel violated because your "rules of the road" were broken by another driver. Maybe they cut you off or ran a red light when you had the right of way.

What are your reactions? Anger? Indignation? Fear? These negative emotions can arise anytime someone doesn't follow the "writing on our walls".

Imagine an awkward social situation where you feel someone was rude to you--they spill your drink without saying sorry, or cut in front of the line at the supermarket. We use the "writing on our wall" to interpret and give meaning to what just happened. The writing on our walls makes a judgment and says, "cutting in line is rude" and we assume that we have been offended by a rude individual.

In this case our anger is fully justified and reinforced by the same judgement that gave rise to it. In short, the "writing on our walls" is a personal filter that interprets and judges our life experiences according to our beliefs, definitions and values and distorts our perception.

How does EFT work to help us change the "writing on our walls"?

According to Joseph Chilton Pierce in a presentation given to a Waldorf school in my area, our heart receives the distorted interpretation and then sends it to the brain. The brain responds with emotion.

Negative emotions are instructions to our heart to PROTECT.

At the same time, the brain releases appropriate chemical and/or hormones into the bloodstream to prepare the body for survival reactions such as fight, flight or freeze(playing dead).

Once fear takes over, according to Keith Sherwood, in his book, Chakra Therapy For Personal Growth & Healing", the fear "causes a person to contract on every level, it disrupts the energy system."

The heart receives negative emotions and broadcasts them as waves of energy back out to the environment. Our negative reactions/experiences themselves further reinforce and attract more experiences that fit in with the distorted information received.

This is how dysfunctional patterns of looking at ourselves and life get established, entrenched and reinforced deeply within.

EFT helps us to see that the same situation for an individual with different "writing on their walls", will yield a very different interpretation and reaction than ours.

By tapping on our upsetting reactions we release blocked energy, thereby clearing the stuck negative emotions and becoming free to reinterpret these events. It helps us to see we have the power to change how we feel and what we attract into our life by choosing to see difficult situations differently.

How does EFT work to create big shifts?

EFT chips away at non-serving energy systems of beliefs, negative self-images and unresolved past events, cleaning our filters of self-deception ("writing on our walls").

It helps to purify our hearts through forgiveness so we can see things in a clearer light. Dr. Wayne Dyer, in his lectures on The Power of Intention, often says, "When we change the way we see things, the things we see change."

Gary Craig teaches practitioners working with clients how to use "re-frames" to help shift stuck interpretation of reality that keeps people stuck in unhappy and unhealthy places. This takes skill, however, because the client has to be ready to make the shift. This requires clearing related trauma and negative emotion first because these are the glue that keeps our filters clogged up and our perception from changing.

How does EFT work in bringing a deeper connection to Spirit? Consistent and persistent use of EFT cleans out our connection to Spirit/Chi. Receiving energy through a clean filter will nourish us with Living Water or Spirit.

Feel free to contact me with questions

or consider doing an EFT hone session.

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