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What Is Emotional Freedom Technique & How To Practice It

emotional freedom technique

What Is Emotional Freedom Technique.  

Similarly to acupuncture, emotional freedom technique, or emotional freedom tapping, is a therapeutic technique that works to release blockages in the energy system.  

For some 5000 years (or more,) it has been widely recognized that energy in the body directly affects both mental and physical wellbeing.  

In the practice of energy-based medicine, there are points in the body called 'energy meridian points'; these are places in the body in which energy can get congested and blocked, affecting the flow of energy through the body.  

It is believed that blockages in energy flow can lead to many mental health issues, including stress, anxiety, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.  

The emotional freedom technique is a method that is used to release these blockages in energy through tapping.  

How to do Emotional freedom technique.  

Sometimes considered "Psychological acupressure," emotional freedom technique works in the same way that acupuncture does, but without the need for invasive needles.  

Because the technique requires little skill or training, it can be learned easily, and by literally anyone.  

The technique is incredibly simple to learn, can be done by yourself, and is a quick and easy way to improve mental health.

1. Recognize the problem and focus on it.  

The first step in recovery through the emotional freedom technique is to identify the issue and to focus on it.

By recognizing your problems and paying close attention to them, your feelings of stress, anxiety, depression, etc. should increase.

This is a deliberate and crucial step in the process, as it allows you to recognize that these feelings are under your control.  

2. Rank the intensity.   

Ranking the severity of your negative feelings on a scale of 1 - 10 is used as a place marker for yourself.

An initial ranking of your emotions will allow you to have an impartial, 'outsiders' perspective of your thoughts and you will also re-rank your emotions several times throughout the therapy so that you can see your progress and improvements.  


A mantra can be a word, phrase, even a whole sentence that is continuously repeated.  

In terms of EFT, a mantra is repeated when on the first tap of the sequence, the 'chop.' The chop point refers to the soft side of the hand, in between the wrist and the pinky finger.  

The mantra used should be directly related to the problem, and portray both recognition and a positive outlook, for example:

"My feelings of anxiety are temporary; my positivity energy is eternal."  

4. The tapping sequence.  

  • Inside of the eyebrow — on the side of the nose when the eyebrow starts.
  • Corner of the eye — right the bone, not as far as the temple.
  • Under-eye  —  approximately inch down from the pupil.
  • Under the nose  — in between the upper lip and bottom of the nose
  • Chin — in the crease between the bottom lip and the chin.
  • Collarbone — the space between where the collarbone meets the sternum and the first rib. 
  • Underarm — at the side of the body, a hands width below the armpit
  • Very top of head —  center crown on top of the head  

The sequence is carried out in that order, and you can repeat your mantra with every step, or by saying out loud a different mantra, such as "I'm letting my troubles go free."  

Tapping should be done with 2 or more fingers and should be repeated approximately 5 times on each point.

emotional freedom technique tapping

5. Re-evaluate.  

The final step is to re-evaluate your emotional or physical feeling on a scale of one to 10. Has your tension improved, has it got worse? It can be good practice to write down how your feeling, and to repeat the tapping sequence until feelings reach zero or have plateaued.  

What Does EFT Do?  

There are a lot of claims surrounding EFT, ranging from solving mental health issues to weight loss to even helping with financial issues.  

True practitioners do not 'upsell' EFT to be a cure-all wonder therapy, but they do strongly believe in its application, and its effectiveness as a therapy technique is scientifically backed.  

Essentially what EFT does is:

  • It prompts you to address your problems.  
  • It allows you to recognize that you have control over your emotions.  
  • It gives you an opportunity to look deep inside yourself and resolve issues that you may have unintentionally buried deep down.
  • It releases energy blockages in meridian points through methods similar to acupressure and acupuncture.
  • reduces tension in both the body and mind from a constant state of 'fight or flight.'  

In terms of what EFT can be used for, it can be an effective method for successfully treating mental health issues as well as physical pains.  

There countless accounts of EFT providing long term pain relief and the practice is widely recognized as an effective treatment for mental health disorder including PTSD 

eft tapping

Why It Has Become So Popular.  

The emotional freedom technique is still overshadowed by practices such as yoga and meditation, but it is quickly gaining popularity and a devote following by a committed community.  

The reason why could be because the effects can be felt almost instantaneously, which encourages people to stick with it. Being able to feel that something is working right away definitely builds confidence in a technique.    

Another reason is because of the real success stories and the claims that are scientifically backed.

One recent study found that war veterans who had multiple sessions of EFT with a professional practitioner reduced long term PTSD related symptoms by an average of 80%.

Common Signs of Blockages.  

Blockages in your energy system might not be something that you've ever considered to be affecting your mental or physical health, but it is definitely a possibility.

Everything in the universe is made up of energy, and if energy can not flow through the body, it's easy to see why this might be a bad thing.  

Sights of blockages in the energy system include:

  • Increased levels of stress, anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.
  • Mental tension, such as trouble thinking clearly and being confused.  
  • Headaches.
  • Neck tension.
  • A generalized feeling of being 'under the weather.'
  • Changes in appetite.
  • Fatigue.
  • Lowered mood for no apparent reason. 

Self massage techniques for stress.  

As well as EFT, there are other natural ways to reduce tension and stress in the mind and body.  

Self massage techniques can be used effectively to physically massage out pains, but also to work out full-body tension that may be leading to or worsening your stress.  

It is commonly accepted that the mind and body are interconnected, so when we're feeling stressed, our body can reflect this by tightening up, 'knotting' muscles and generally feeling tense.

An effective way of relieving mental stress is to relieve physical tension, which can be done through self-massage.  

self massage techniques for stress

You can try:  

  • Rolling a small hard ball such as a golf ball around the soles of your feet.  
  • Giving yourself a hand massage by laying one hand flat on a table, and gently massaging it with some lotion and the other hand.  
  • Using a foam roller to 'roll' out tension across the whole body.
  • Giving yourself a head massage when next washing your hair.

Boosting confidence and self esteem.  

Something that is not spoken about very often in comparison to other mental health issues is difficulties with confidence and self esteem.  

Having low confidence, self-esteem, or both can often be seen as being just shy and a little quiet, but it can an incredibly isolating mental state to have.  

The best way to boost confidence and self esteem is to learn your worth and to recognize your merits.  

Often it can be easy to lose confidence when it seems like everyone around you is more successful, better looking, happier, and so on, but it is important to remember that this is just your opinion – they might be looking back at you and thinking the very same thing.

You can boost your confidence and self esteem by:

  • Being kind to yourself and looking after your health
  • Being mindful and practicing mindfulness
  • Avoiding comparisons of yourself with others
  • Finding your path in life and not following the crowd
  • Staying positive and trying to have a good outlook on life
  • Keeping a journal of things you are grateful for
  • Giving back by helping others, or taking an active role in your community
  • Putting yourself in situations that are out of your 'comfort zone.'