Published in InterAction 70, Winter 2009
Alex Caine continues our A-Z series on complementary treatments. Please note that the articles in this series are intended to offer an insight into the therapies featured, not a critical review or endorsement.
The World Centre for EFT says that the techniques are, in essence, an emotional version of acupuncture, where specific meridian points on the body are tapped using the fingertips. A practitioner can perform it, or you can learn to use it on yourself as a self-help tool.
Gary Craig, founder of EFT describes himself as neither a psychologist nor a licensed therapist. “I have been intensely interested in personal improvement via psychology since I was 13. That was when I recognised that the quality of my thoughts was mirrored in the quality of my life. Since then I have been self-taught in this field, seeking only those procedures that, in my opinion, produced results. EFT is my latest finding.”
What does it involve?
EFT practitioner Clare Peacock says that as these meridian points are tapped, the client simultaneously focuses on an issue, be it a physical or emotional one. “This technique sends pulses of energy to rebalance our system, clearing blockages/disruptions in our energy system.”
Various EFT websites say that the technique can be used for a wide variety of conditions such as emotional issues, pain, disease, weight loss and performance.
What about M.E.?
Clare says that EFT can be used to help the physical symptoms of M.E., such as pain, fatigue, insomnia, brain fog and allergies. In addition it can also aid the emotional effects of chronic illness such as anxiety, fear, anger and sadness.
“Imaginary EFT is useful for those who are feeling particularly fatigued or unwell and involves imagining going through the whole process, without actually tapping.
“EFT works on many levels, including the conscious and unconscious mind. M.E. is a complex illness which affects many systems in the body and I have found this technique invaluable in facilitating my recovery. Consequently I have gone on to train as an EFT practitioner.”
What do readers think?
“Although severely affected by M.E. I gave EFT a really good try,” says Wendy. “I bought the book Joyful Recovery from M.E. and a set of DVDs by Karl Dawson which were very interesting to listen to although I am not able to watch TV. I had three visits from a well qualified practitioner and also e-mail support and I worked very hard at practising the EFT and delving into past emotions that might have contributed to my illness.
“However, it has not helped me with either my M.E., anxiety or depression. I still tap away when something stressful is going to happen or I feel very low and it is a distraction but I don’t think it has been of any great benefit.”
Kelly decided to buy a book on EFT as she had always been interested in self-help methods. “I didn’t know what it was at the time, but after reading it for two hours solid and having a bash at applying the tapping technique myself, my symptoms had dramatically reduced and I couldn’t believe it. I enrolled on a course to become a practitioner around six weeks later, although not completely recovered. Over the next three months, I regained complete strength and health. It was incredible.”
Jennifer was introduced to EFT by a reiki healer and then later by a hypnotherapist. “Unfortunately I did not always achieve the hoped for results. I was told to continue the tapping process until I had greatly reduced the level of the emotion or pain. Sometimes, on the emotional level, one thought would lead to another and so I’d have to start the process all over again. This I found to be quite enlightening but the original ‘problem’ did not always disappear, though it did sometimes reduce in intensity.
“If I cannot get off to sleep I sometimes use it to reduce stress or pain, but I only do it once or twice – never more. Generally speaking, I would say I have mixed feelings about EFT but I have not given up on it altogether. I did not take to one of my therapists as he was too insistent and the whole experience was not very relaxing. The one thing I do like about EFT is that we accept ourselves (despite our problems/pain, etc) which is often a difficult thing to do while living with M.E.”
Where can I find a practitioner?
The World Centre for EFT contains a searchable database of practitioners.
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