Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)


Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is a unique form of “psychological needle-less acupuncture” that uses the tapping of acupuncture energy pathways to relieve psychological stress and physical pain. Restoring the balance of the energy system neutralizes emotional conflicts at their source, which then allows the body and mind to resume their natural healing abilities, and physical symptoms are relieved.

Neurophysiology of Emotional Freedom Technique:

Of all the emotional states we experience, fear is the most primitive and powerful. Studies of conditioned fear suggest that glutamate agonists enhance learning and glutamate antagonists inhibit learning of the fear response (Myers & Davis, 2002). These genes alter the wiring and firing of neurons. This implies that glutamate is released locally where learning takes place. GABA inhibits glutamate and GABA agonists inhibit fear conditioning while GABA antagonists accelerate it. Dr. Ronald A. Ruben, M.D., Ph.D., in his article “Why Tapping Works: Speculations from the Observable Brain” published in Volume 6, Issue 2 of The Energy Field, Summer, 2005, states that “We believe that “affect activation” is the critical aspect for success of the tapping method and propose that during “affect activation”, glutamate is locally released in areas corresponding to the neural circuit that initially encoded the conditioned fear. Tapping causes a global, non-specific release of serotonin via ascending pathways. He speculates that serotonin decreases the inhibitory signal from the prefrontal cortex to the intercalated neurons and allows for GABA release, thus inhibiting the outflow from the central nucleus of the amygdala and the patient experiences a decrease in distress.

The benefits of decreasing or removing the intense fear/anxiety response for patients are numerous. By leading my patients through EFT, I have seen a significant compliance in accepting with ease, surgical procedures without anxiety, and an increase in doctor-patient compliance related to the taking of medications, keeping appointments, facing chemotherapy and radiation with optimism, and compliance with blood work schedules. I have witnessed increased post operative mobility and decrease in the need for post operative analgesia. I have practiced EFT in hospital pre-op waiting areas, in the ICU, in Oncology Clinics, and in my own office.’

Why Tapping Works – A Sense for Healing: The Neurobiological Basis of Peripheral Sensory Stimulation for Modulation of Emotional Response

Ronald A. Ruden, MD, PhD.

March, 2005

Research for EFT:
Does EFT seem to be "too far out"? Here are some research results that are quite dramatic.

Phobia Relief: The first peer reviewed research study on the effectiveness of Emotional Freedom Techniques have been published in the September 2003 issue of the prestigious Journal of Clinical Psychology. The complete study is now available. Wells et al concluded: "The findings are largely consistent with the hpyothesis that EFT can reduce phobias of small animals in a single treatment session..."

Anxiety Disorder: Approximately 5,000 patients diagnosed at intake with an anxiety disorder were randomly assigned to an experimental group (tapping) or a control group (Cognitive Behavior Therapy/medication). The results are included by Joaquin Andrade, MD and David Feinstein, PhD in Preliminary Report of the First Large-Scale Study of Energy Psychology. At the close of therapy:

63% of the control group were judged as having improved.
90% of the experimental groups were judged as having improved.
(43% better than control)
51% of the control group were judged as being symptom free.
76% of the experimental group were judged as symptom free.
(49% better than control)

Brain Scan Shows Changes for Generalized Anxiety Disorder: These DRAMATIC images show actual changes in the brain waves when 'Manual Acupoint Stimulation and Image Activation" is used for GAD. The pattern shown in these images was typical for GAD patients in the South American Study (above) who responded positively to the stimulation of acupoints. The brain scans for the medication group did not show noticeable changes in the wave patterns,e ven though the symptoms of anxiety were reduced while the drug was being taken. This suggests that the medication was suppressing the symptoms without addressing the underlying wave frequency imbalances.

79% Reduction on 692 Negative Events: 98 different participants at an EFT training conference logged 692 negative events before and after each stage demonstration of "Borrowing Benefits" (Tapping as if issue of the person on stage was theirs.) They rated their Subjective Unit of Distress (SUDs) level before and after the session. The SUDs level before the session: Mean = 7.33, Median = 7.46. SUDs level after: Mean = 1.54, Median = 1.35! That is a 79 and 82% improvement! Read complete study recap.

Helping Students: This study discuss how EFT and NLP techniques can be combined for a 66.7% improvement in students' performance in high school.

2nd case: Research on Anxiety Disorder treated with EFT or Medication

In preliminary clinical trials involving more than 29,000 patients from 11 allied treatment centers in South America during a 14-year period, a variety of randomized, double-blind pilot studies were conducted. The largest of the sub-studies, conducted over a five-and-one-half year period, followed the course of treatment of approximately 5.000 patients diagnosed with anxiety disorders. These patients were randomly assigned to an experimental group (imagery and statements paired with the manual stimulation of selected acupuncture points -- as in EFT and TFT) or a control group (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy supplemented by medication as needed). Half of them received the energy therapy treatments and no medication. Interviews at the end of treatment, along with follow-up interviews at 1, 3, 6, and 12 months, showed that the energy therapy was significantly more effective than the CBT/medication protocol in both the proportion of patients showing some improvement and the proportion of patients showing complete remission of symptoms.