According to creator Gray Craig: "Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) is an emotional, needle free version of acupuncture that is based on new discoveries regarding the connection between your body's subtle energies, your emotions, and your health. EFT has been reported successful in thousands of cases covering a huge range of emotional, health and performance issues. It often works where nothing else will."
EFT combines two well studied approaches to produce a new approach to the treatment of illness:
- Mind-Body Medicine - therapies based on the knowledge that thoughts and emotions can affect physical health, and vice versa.
- Acupuncture/Acupressure - based on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) philosophies that incorporate the idea that the body has its own energy system that flows along meridians. Disease is said to result from disturbances in the flow of energy and therapies such as acupuncture aim to restore it, returning the body to health.
The theory behind the Emotional Freedom Techniques is that negative emotions are caused by disturbances in the body's energy field and that tapping on specific points on the meridians while thinking of a negative emotion provides a powerful method for restoring it to "balance" and treating any symptoms or illness associated with such disturbances.
The basic EFT technique involves holding a disturbing memory or emotion in mind and simultaneously using the fingers to tap on a series of 12 specific points on the body that correspond to meridians used in Chinese medicine. While those sceptical of the approach state that any success is based purely on the resolution of negative emotional states as might be achieved through traditional psychotherapy or counselling, proponents of EFT propose that it is the simultaneous correction of energy imbalances through tapping the energy meridians that makes it effective.
EFT is used to treat a variety of conditions, most commonly of a psychological nature such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), general stress, addictions and phobias. Research published in peer-reviewed medical journals has found it to be effective for phobias and PTSD. Numerous testimonials on the web and in the printed media also atest to the effectiveness of EFT in a wide range of conditions, both psychological and physical in nature.
EFT is becoming particularly popular in the treatment of chronic conditions for which there is no traditional medical help available such as chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), fibromyalgia, multiple allergies, multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), and environmental illness.
As EFT does not require the use of needles as acupuncture does it can be used for self-treatment and the official EFT website provides a 79 page manual for free download so anyone may learn the basic technique for use on themselves or others. More advanced training is available for those who wish to become certified EFT practioners.