My professional EFT practice focuses on offering support to people who are ready to embrace change. A long-time educator of diverse populations in special education and academic classrooms at the elementary, secondary, and college levels, I have experienced the empowering nature of Emotional Freedom Techniques as a self-regulation tool supporting clarity, trauma resolution, and improved self efficacy. The image at right shows a great starting position when ready to do some personal work. One hand is placed over the heart chakra while the first-two fingers of the other hand tap gently or massage the gamut point. Gentle tapping or massage on this point can restore equilibrium after unsettling experiences at work or at home. As far-fetched as this may sound to people new to EFT best practice, tapping on the body engages the ancient meridian system employed by Traditional Chinese Medicine healers for more than two-thousand years. The TCM approach to healing is a holistic one, and, radically, doctors using it would not be paid if their clients fell ill. Wellness was the emphasis, a state achieved by balancing bodily rhythms and systems. Today, we use this same meridian energy system to soothe the nervous system and assure the fore-brain, the place of executive function, that all is well. Many clients like to know why we tap on specific places. I know that when I was first feeling the effects of this energy psychology tool, I wanted to understand why specific points had such remarkable effects. Below is a brief introduction to the meridian points we use when we tap on our specific issues.
The side-of-hand point engages both Heart and Small Intestine meridians and helps to clear conscious and unconscious resistance to change and make space for “a change of heart.” EFT is about safety as well as clarity regarding resolving the issues we feel ready to address. Our gently tapping fingers’ messages to the body – the storage place of present and past traumatic events – suggest that respectful attention is being paid to a part of us that may have been feeling discounted, belittled, troublesome, or even exiled. The physical engagement of the body through tapping on this powerful point creates the spaciousness required to receive fresh insights. Like any conscious physical movement, it supports our desires to move beyond the impulse to continuously seek safety and to create instead a welcoming attitude to joy.
The inner eyebrow point sits on Bladder meridian; it helps us to shift fear – of not having enough or being enough – and create space to see our challenges as opportunities for growth. After trauma, much of our energy can be hi-jacked by unhealed hurts. Tapping gently and persistently on these points as we name our fears and feelings or simply experience the current distressing sensations, supports a shift in perspective, making space for the possibility of optimism where before there may have been depression and even despair. If tapping on this or any other point feels too invasive, it is also effective to simply touch these points gently as we feel our feelings, especially the critical and negative feelings that suggest we are not okay and never will be. Often people are surprised by the EFT practice of acknowledging and expressing the negative, but inflammation, chronic anxiety, and even addictive behaviors are frequently the result of denying the pain we are experiencing. Acknowledging the worst is very much like cleaning a festering wound. The cleaning must be done before the body’s natural healing energies can engage.
The side-of-eye points are very useful for calming the fight or flight response that is engaged by sudden noises, frightening headlines, or family conflicts and the like. This tapping point engages Triple Warmer meridian, an energy involved in exaggerated startle responses. Many people who have never heard of EFT engage these points when stressed by massaging their temples. The body, always eager to return to well being, utilizes the muscle memories we have gained across cultures and time periods so that these healing responses are a part of everyone’s return to center after stress. Even when tragedy suggests that such a state may no longer be possible for us or our loved ones, the body knows the truth and our hands reach for those places on the body we instinctively know will provide comfort.
The under eye point is on Stomach meridian. It helps us to ground and to dispel worries that threaten to tip us into co-dependence. This is another point that is often massaged without any conscious intention to do so. When our fingers are engaged in a conversation with the body, we are less likely to become focused on thoughts that might prevent the healing that comes when we learn to soothe the nervous system. This is one of the most empowering aspects of EFT. The somatic nature of tapping helps us to shift out of hypervigilance and into a calm receptivity regarding how we might resolve our challenges and concerns.
The under nose point works with the chin point to provide the self soothing we learn as babies when we suck our thumbs or the corner of a special blanket. In fact, we frequently sit with a finger crooked over both these points as we listen carefully to a lecture containing new information we are eager to take in. These points, separately and together, instill a sense of mastery and calmness when we are learning something new or are re-framing a previous experience. The under nose point is the last point on Governing meridian; it begins at the coccyx and is Yang in nature.
The chin point marks the end of Central meridian; tracing it up the front of the body from the pubic bone to the chin point helps to keep our vital energies in and others’ energies out. In these times of “energy vampire” fears, tracing this meridian daily is a highly useful practice, one that is both energizing and protective. Tapping on the chin point while expressing fears regarding “energy raids” is a great self-regulation tool that taps into the Yin forces in the body.
The collar bone point, known in acupuncture circles as K-27, is the last meridian point on Kidney meridian, the body’s main Yin meridian. This point connects to an energy source that connects us to our Earth Home. This rejuvenating point can supply a second wind when one is necessary and is often named as the “favorite” point by people who have used EFT for some time. The relationship of our hands to our well being has been documented by research into the laying-on-of-hands phenomenon researched by Dr. Dean Radin and other scientists. Adding the conscious intention of healing to our tapping work supports the tapping motion further.
The under arm point is the last point on Spleen meridian. Stimulating this point supports our ability to metabolize food, ideas, and emotions. Donna Eden, creator of the Eden Method of Energy Medicine, refers to this meridian as our “Inner Mom.” When in balance, Spleen helps us to feel strong and supported in all we do. Tapping on the under arm point throughout the day strengthens Spleen meridian in its work of nurturing us at the very deepest levels. Many EFT practitioners find this point quite painful. Donna Eden explains that pain indicates that spleen – often overworked in our stressful environments – needs the attention of tapping and massaging.
The Top-of-head point was added after Gary Craig had worked out his simplified algorithm inspired by Dr. Roger Callahan’s Thought Field Therapy (TFT). Because TFT uses a specific algorithm to address each challenge, it requires the skill of a therapist to utilize. Gary Craig experimented to see if a single set of tapping points might have the same results and discovered that they did. At one of his Emotional Freedom Techniques presentations to health-care providers, an acupuncturist suggested a point at the top of the head be added to the simplified version. Called the 100 Convergences or Meetings in acupressure, tapping gently or massaging this point on the crown of the head is often chosen as the beginning or the ending point for a round of EFT. Because of its location, it is known as a powerful clarity support, especially after a period of worry and/or the prolonged chatter of “monkey mind.”
While there are several other points sometimes engaged in tapping rounds, the finger points are easily accessible when we are in meetings or attending social events. Using the fingers of one hand to tap on these points on the other hand, or using the fingers and thumb of the same hand to tap on these points one-by-one, we engage Lung Meridian (thumb point), Large Intestine meridian (index finger point), Circulation Sex / Heart Protector meridian (middle finger point), Triple Warmer meridian (ring finger point), and Heart / Small Intestine meridian (baby finger point.) These points are also useful when we are feeling heart sick over personal and cultural misunderstandings. Massaging the finger that best connects with our emotional distress opens pathways to calming energies and more optimistic points of view.