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eft meaning: the history & evolution of tapping, the emotional freedom technique

eft meaning: the history & evolution of tapping, the emotional freedom technique

Published: 05-05-2023 - Last Edited: 30-05-2023

EFT meaning

What is EFT Tapping? 

EFT, meaning Emotional Freedom Techniques, tapping is a form of alternative therapy that involves stimulating certain points on the body while focusing on specific thoughts or feelings.

Tapping therapy addresses emotional and physical issues and is based on the idea that unresolved trauma can manifest in several ways within our body and mind. By tapping on specific acupressure points, energy flow can be restored, and emotional distress can be relieved.

Tapping, meaning gently and repeatedly touching a specific area, is a versatile technique for treating various issues, including anxiety, grief, depression, phobias, PTSD, chronic pain, addiction, and more. It is also a popular method of reducing stress. Often it is used as a complementary therapy alongside other forms of treatment, such as talk therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes.

One of the benefits of Tapping meditation is that it is simple and easy to learn, requiring no special equipment or training. The practice can be done anywhere by anyone making it a convenient tool for managing stress and improving emotional well-being.

Key takeaways

  1. EFT Tapping can ease countless physical and emotional ailments including stress, chronic pain and insomnia.
  2. You can do EFT Tapping on your own, you don’t need a trained professional.
  3. Tapping meditation can be done anytime or anywhere.
  4. Tapping is a therapy that stimulates the meridian lines in the body and encourages the clearing of energy pathways.
  5. EFT Tapping is a low-risk alternative therapy that can make life-changing improvements to the practitioner.

How does EFT Tapping work? 

The practice stimulates meridian lines on the brain and body, similar to acupuncture, to release blocked energy and restore balance to the body and brain’s energy system. Tapping is also based on the principles of cognitive behavioral therapy, which emphasizes the connection between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

Focus on a particular feeling or trigger while tapping and you will remove its power and disrupt the panic message being sent to your brain. It encourages your nervous system to move into the ‘rest and digest’ rather than ‘fight or flight’ mode.

EFT Tapping and the fear response 

Long ago, the stress response was necessary for survival. When confronted with physical danger, such as a wild animal, the body would feel fear enter “fight or flight mode.” The amygdala, which detects danger, triggers the stress response causing the release of hormones like cortisol and adrenaline.

Although we no longer face physical threats regularly, the amygdala still cannot distinguish between physical threats and modern stressors like work stress. Thus, many individuals experience anxiety frequently, as their stress response is constantly activated.

This can have immediate adverse effects and potentially serious long-term consequences. Prolonged stress can trigger physical and psychological problems in many of the bodily systems.

By using Tapping, an individual can disrupt the stress signal and instead send messages to the brain saying it is safe, promoting calm and relaxation. Keep in mind Tapping can also be used as a preventative measure to reduce symptoms before they become chronic issues; you don’t have to reach a “breaking point” or maximum fear before giving this practice a go. 

The history of EFT Tapping

EFT, meaning Emotional Freedom Technique, tapping in this form was developed in the 1990s by Gary Craig. However, his teacher, psychologist Dr. Roger Callahan, created its predecessor, TFT (Thought Field Therapy), in the 80s by combining his knowledge of Chinese medicine with psychology. It was based on the same belief that when imbalances are present in the human body’s energy field, they can result in physical and emotional ailments.

Tapping specific energy points in a particular sequence could correct these imbalances, ultimately leading to improved health and well-being. However, the original method was challenging to teach as it offered complex sequences for each individual issue and required a trained practitioner. As a result in the 90s, Craig went about simplifying the practice. He developed what we know today as EFT Tapping, where one specific sequence is taught and used for any number of issues. 

EFT Tapping development 

The practice has undergone significant development and expansion in the last 20 years. While it was initially used for treating anxiety, phobias, and other emotional issues, over time, its applications have expanded to include a range of physical and mental health issues, including chronic pain, PTSD, addiction, and depression.

In addition, there has been an increase in research on the meaning of tapping and its methods, with several studies showcasing its effectiveness in reducing symptoms of various mental and physical conditions. This has led to a growing acceptance of EFT tapping in the medical and mental health communities.

EFT Disease History, Research on Tapping 

Research has proven that this technique has the ability make a real difference to people’s lives. Dr. Peta Stapleton’s 2012 Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease study discovered that Tapping reduced cortisol levels (the stress hormone) to a greater extent than conventional talk therapy or resting.

The randomized controlled trial measured cortisol levels in participants’ saliva before and after the 50-minute treatment, while psychological symptoms were also assessed. The Tapping group recorded a 24% reduction in cortisol, while the non-treatment and sympathetic listening groups only showed a 14% reduction. 

Another study working with veterans suffering from PTSD reported a 90% drop in symptoms after six weeks of Tapping. The study took 59 people and gave half weekly Tapping sessions with a practitioner and the other half standard PTSD care. After the initial six-week period, 90% of those who received EFT Tapping no longer met the criteria for PTSD, comparable to just 4% of the standard care group who no longer met the criteria. 

EFT Disease History Beth Murray eft meaning

Can I do EFT Tapping on my own? 

Yes, Tapping can be done alone or with a practitioner. While the technique is simple and easy to learn, some people may prefer the comfort of working with a trained practitioner, especially for complex issues.

It can be challenging to find the motivation but there are many sources are available to learn the techniques once you identify the issue you want to work on and understand the meaning of tapping. You can use a platform such as YouTube to familiarize yourself with the sequence and methods used in the practice. 

What are the benefits of EFT Tapping? 

EFT tapping offers a range of benefits for both physical and emotional well-being. It has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety levels, leading to improved relaxation and an overall sense of well-being. By addressing negative emotions and thought patterns it can improve emotional health and reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, and PTSD.

In addition, the method has been found to be effective in managing chronic pain, headaches, and other physical ailments by addressing underlying emotional issues. Tapping can also be a complementary therapy in addiction treatment programs to help reduce cravings and manage withdrawal symptoms.

Moreover, tapping helps boost self-esteem and confidence by addressing negative self-talk and limiting beliefs. One of the main advantages of tapping is that it is simple and easy to learn, requires no special equipment or training, and can be done anywhere and anytime.

Beth Murray eft meaning

Are there any risks involved in EFT Tapping? 

While Tapping is generally safe and non-invasive, it may not be suitable for everyone. A person with severe mental health issues or trauma history should consult a professional before trying the practice.

It is also worth remembering with tapping means to help, it is not a substitute for medical treatment or direct work with a therapist. It can be used as a valuable tool to support other forms of treatment and promote overall well-being. 

EFT Tapping and grief

This mind-body technique is a helpful method for managing grief and its associated emotions. It can assist in acknowledging and accepting the loss, addressing negative beliefs, reducing emotional intensity, finding peace, and improving self-care. It helps in creating a more patient and forgiving attitude towards the pain.

However, again, it is essential to note that Tapping should not replace professional medical or mental health care. Do not assume the method will allow you to completely accept your loss instantly. The meaning of tapping is to assist in acceptance and improve general wellbeing, not be a full-proof fix.

EFT Tapping sequence

  1. Determine the issue that you want to work on to begin. It could be a physical pain, a negative emotion, a limiting belief, a traumatic memory, or anything else that bothers you.
  2. Rate initial intensity level once you identify the issue on a scale of 0 to ten, with 0 being low and ten being high.
  3. Create a setup statement that combines a self-acceptance affirmation with a reminder of the issue. For example, “Even though I have this (issue), I deeply and completely accept myself.”
  4. Tap on a series of acupressure points while repeating the setup statement and a reminder phrase. The points to tap are:
  • Karate chop point (side of the hand)
  • Eyebrow
  • Side of the eye
  • Under the eye
  • Under the nose
  • Chin
  • Collarbone
  • Under the arm
  • Top of the head
Beth Murray eft meaning

5. Repeat the tapping sequence several times staying focused on the issue and any related emotions, sensations, or memories. Try if possible to relax and not tense up.

6. Repeat this for several rounds using your phrase, then recheck the intensity of the issue and see if it has decreased. If it has not fallen enough, continue tapping until it the intensity has reduced to a comfortable level. Witness the changes as they happen.

7. End the session with a positive affirmation or phrase, such as “I am releasing (issue) and feeling more peaceful and empowered.” Once completed you can assess how you feel, remember you have the ability to return to the method regularly or whenever you need it.

Beth Murray eft meaning

Ten example set-up statements to use in EFT Tapping

  1. Even though I am scared, I deeply and completely accept myself.
  2. Even though I am anxious, I deeply and completely accept myself.
  3. Even though I don’t fit in, I deeply and completely accept myself.
  4. Even though I feel like I am not enough, I deeply and completely accept myself.
  5. Even though I am afraid they will not like me, I deeply and completely accept myself. 
  6. Even though I worry about money, I deeply and completely accept myself.
  7. Even though I wish I was smaller, I deeply and completely accept myself. 
  8. Even though I fear I will not be included, I deeply and completely accept myself.
  9. Even though I don’t trust myself, I deeply and completely accept myself. 
  10. Even though I am afraid of being wrong, I deeply and completely accept myself.

Ten examples of positive affirmations to use in EFT Tapping

  1. I am okay as I am 
  2. I am worthy of love
  3. I do not need to lose weight 
  4. I am wanted and loved 
  5. I am open to enjoying life
  6. I know my feelings are valid 
  7. I am capable of creating my own love
  8. I am happy being myself 
  9. I do not have to rely on anybody else
  10. I can overcome my doubts
Beth Murray eft meaning

What are the meridians and why are they important? 

The meridians are a central concept in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and are the foundation of many forms of alternative therapy, including Acupuncture and Acupressure. These are pathways or channels through which energy or “qi” flows, connecting the internal organs and providing the vital energy necessary for life.

The meridians play a vital role in the meaning of tapping and the therapeutic process. The basic premise is that negative emotions and physical symptoms arise due to disruptions or blockages in the body’s energy system.

By Tapping on specific meridian points while focusing on negative thoughts and feelings, we help clear these blockages. This allows energy to flow freely throughout the body and restore balance to the energy system.

How many meridians are there?

There are twelve primary meridians, each of which is associated with a specific internal organ or physiological function. These meridians run along the surface of the skin and can be accessed through acupressure or acupuncture techniques. Tapping means to sti the meridian points without needling, making it a non-invasive and gentle form of therapy.

The meridian focus points used in tapping include the top of the head, the inner and outer eyebrows, the chin, the collarbone, and the side of the hand. Each of these points is associated with a specific meridian and internal organ.

Tapping on them is thought to focus and stimulate the flow of energy in that meridian.

For example, the top of the head point, also known as the “governing vessel” point, and is believed to help with overall relaxation, sleep and stress reduction. The collarbone point is associated with the kidney meridian and is thought to help with the regulation of water metabolism and the elimination of toxins.

Tapping points and their corresponding meridians: 

  • side of hand: small intestine meridian
  • top of head: governing vessel
  • eyebrow: bladder meridian
  • side of the eye: gallbladder meridian
  • under the eye: stomach meridian
  • under the nose: governing vessel
  • chin: central vessel
  • beginning of the collarbone: kidney meridian
  • under the arm: spleen meridian
Beth Murray eft meaning

How can I train in EFT Tapping? 

One of the reasons the practice of tapping and the knowledge around the meaning has become more prominent in recent years is the improvement of technology and accessibility of online resources and training programs.

This has made it easier for people to learn and use the technique on their own, as well as for professionals to incorporate it into their practices and repertoire. There are many options available all over the world for people who want to train either in person or online.

What does the BrainTap App have to do with EFT Tapping?

The BrainTap app and EFT tapping are two different techniques that have some similarities in their approach to stress and emotional regulation.

Braintap is a guided meditation and visualization app that uses audio technology and a BrainTap headset to help reduce stress, improve focus, and promote relaxation. It incorporates binaural beats, guided imagery, and relaxing music to help users reach a state of deep relaxation and mental clarity.

While people may think the techniques are interlinked, they are not affiliated or related. The meaning of EFT Tapping is different, as it doesn’t rely on technology and uses your hands as tools. To practice the BrainTap method, use your mobile device with either the BrainTap Headset or a pair of headphones and select a session from the list of aspirations.

Each session is designed to stimulate diverse neural pathways in your brain and promote relaxation.

Overall, both Braintap and EFT tapping can be helpful tools for managing stress, improving emotional regulation, and promoting overall well-being, but they are unrelated.


EFT Tapping is a valuable technique that is becoming more mainstream and well-known every year. Having a tool at your fingertips to manage stress and anxiety gives you more power to control your emotions and well-being.

You don’t have to have experienced major trauma or pain to benefit from the practice; you just have to be open-minded to a non-invasive technique being powerful enough to make a difference in your life. 

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