Emotional Freedom Technique: A Healing Tool That Saved Lives During COVID-19   

The birth of a Live Stream that saved lives

Every time I ask somebody how they are the response is pretty much the same: Busy! We all have busy lives and often don’t stop to take an inventory of how we feel, what is bothering us, what we feel challenged by and what is causing us emotional or physical pain. Most of us live our entire life this way, never addressing any of the emotional issues, and sometimes even the physical pain, that causes us so much suffering. It’s not until the pain become so intense that we become more open to slowing down and exploring options that have the potential to alleviate our pain.

For many of us emotional pain in form of stress and anxiety reached a whole new level when COVID-19 hit. Towards the end of the first quarter of 2020, we all found ourselves facing a global pandemic! At the time of writing this article in early July 2020, the UK government is now taking rapid measures to reintroduce society back to ‘normal’ thanks to consistently declining death and infection rates. In other parts of the world however, such as North and Latin America, the virus is still wide-spread and presents a real danger not only to people’s health but also to their jobs, their housing, and general financial stability – all of which negatively impacts our mental well-being.

To boil it down, COVID-19 has caused us unprecedented levels of stress and anxiety – and it’s not over yet! But unprecedented times call for unprecedented actions in the way we protect ourselves from the intensity of all the stress and anxiety that is circulating the world.

When the UK went into lockdown on 23 March, I knew I wanted to help. I made it my mission to keep us mentally and spiritually fit during these trying times. I had just the right tool in my kit – a tool that has already helped millions of people around the world since it’s discovery in 1979. I felt a strong calling teaching it to others. Not only that, I knew I needed to provide a safe space to people. A space to which they could come back to every day to find relief – fast!

The tool: Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) aka Tapping. The medium: A daily Live Stream on Stress & Anxiety Relief which was aired on multiple social channels.

During the Live Stream sessions, I taught people how to tap and explained the benefits, research and the science behind EFT. More importantly, we tapped together every weekday for 57 days to find relief! The Live Stream was joined and viewed by thousands of people across the globe, many of whom have commented that they were astonished by how fast they were finding relief every day! Some people even showed tremendous amounts of courage by messaging me directly to report how grateful they were to have come across the Live Stream and joining the tapping session as they didn’t know if they could get through the day. And, yes, before you ask, some had suicidal thoughts caused by the anxiety and pressure that the pandemic triggered in them – which they have managed to turn around thanks to what they have learnt, applied, and the action that resulted from it! 

Many of the participants spread the word about tapping – a discipline which is so powerful yet not very well known. The last Live Stream was aired on 12 June when the non-essential retailers in the UK reopened their stores. At this point many of us returned back to work and all of us started returning to a new form of normality. 

You can access the collection of the 57 tapping days for stress & anxiety here. Further below, you can watch the last video of our journey to learn more and experience the power of tapping within your own body – especially if you suffer from stress, anxiety or both! 

If you want to go deeper about the topic keep on reading. I explain in more depth what tapping is, the science behind it, how it was discovered and give you a quick reference guide you can apply anytime when you are looking to find relief to a painful situation – be it emotional or physical.


What is Tapping?

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), also known as Tapping, is a universal healing tool that can provide impressive results for emotional, physical and performance issues. EFT operates on the premise that no matter what part of your life needs improvement, there are unresolved emotional issues in the way. Any kind of emotional stress can impede the natural healing potential of the human body including physical issues, chronic pain or diagnosed conditions. The EFT premise also includes the understanding that the more unresolved emotional issues you can clear, the more peace and emotional freedom you will have in your life.

In many cases, EFT can be applied directly to physical symptoms for relief without exploring any emotional contributors. However, related emotional issues are identified and targeted for the most powerful, longest lasting results.

EFT combines the physical benefits of acupuncture with the cognitive benefits of conventional therapy for a much faster, more complete treatment of emotional issues, and the physical and performance issues that often result.

While related to acupuncture, EFT does not use needles. Instead, it uses a simple two-pronged process wherein the individuals mentally “tune in” to specific issues while stimulating certain meridian points on the body by tapping on them with their fingertips. EFT balances disturbances in the meridian system and thus often reduces the conventional therapy procedures from months or years down to minutes or hours. The basic tapping process is easy to learn, can be done anywhere, and can be used to provide impressive do-it-yourself results. I cover the process further below.


How Tapping was discovered – A true story

Dr Roger Callahan was in a bind. He had been in this position before, but that didn’t make it any less frustrating. A traditionally trained psychologist, he was working with his client Mary, who had struggled with a severe water phobia since she was a child. Mary wasn’t just afraid of swimming, she was afraid of water in all forms – from bathtubs to rain to oceans to swimming pools. Her level of fear was so extreme that she couldn’t even bathe her two children, and she was plagued by nightmares about water. This had been going on for as long as she could remember. Now in her 40s, she had sought Dr Callahan’s help.

Dr Callahan was doing this best, but it just wasn’t working. He had been treating Mary for the past year, using all the traditional psychotherapy techniques in his tool belt: cognitive therapy, hypnosis, relaxation therapy, rational-emotive therapy, systematic desensitisation, biofeedback, and more. They were all he knew, and they were the techniques that were accepted by psychologists, psychiatrists and the public at large.

This wasn’t the first time those techniques had failed. Dr Callahan had been disappointed with the lack of concrete results and the length of time it took for change to happen for many clients. He and Mary had made only minimal progress in the year they had worked together. She was able to sit on the edge of Dr Callahan’s swimming pool and put her feed in the water, but she was full of anxiety when she did. After sessions near the pool, she left with a pounding headache from the stress of the treatment!

Dr Callahan, ever curious about the functioning of the body and mind, had around that time been studying the body’s meridian points. Meridians, the end points of the ancient Chinese medical system of acupuncture, are defined s energy channels that carry the vital life force, or qi, to the organs and other systems of the body. Running up and down either side of the body, each meridian is associated with a different organ – stomach, gallbladder, kidney and so on. Each meridian also has what’s called an ‘endpoint’, a specific location on the surface of the body where you can access the energy channel. This point can be manipulated using acupuncture needles or simple touch (acupressure) to balance or unlock the energy flow through that particular meridian.

In one therapy session, Mary revealed that thinking about water caused a terrible feeling in the pit of her stomach. In a flash of insight, it came to Dr Callahan that tapping on the stomach meridian endpoint, just below the eye, might alleviate Mary’s pit-of-the-stomach sensation. So he asked her to tap that spot with her fingertips.

Mary did as she was asked. To their mutual surprise, after just a few minutes of tapping, she exclaimed “It’s gone! That horrible feeling I get in the pit of my stomach when I think about water is completely gone!” She went to the edge of the swimming pool to see if her fear had changed as well and discovered that she felt no anxiety at being close to the water.

From that day forward, her water phobia and her nightmares about water were gone. That was almost 40 years ago, and Mary is still free of her fear today.


How Tapping evolved

As a result of the experience with Mary, Dr Callahan deepened his study of meridian points, exploring the combination of traditional psychotherapy with tapping on different parts of the body. He developed a set of “algorithms”, or sequences of tapping to address different issues. If you had a phobia, such as a fear of heights, you would use one sequence of tapping points (under the eye, under the arm, and at the collarbone, for example). If you were angry about something – e.g. if your boss said something that just set you off – you would use a different sequence (eyebrow, under the eye, under the arm, and at the collarbone). 

After learning and using Dr Callahan’s algorithms, one of his students – a man named Gary Craig – determined that the sequence of the tapping isn’t as important as simply doing the tapping. To make tapping easier, he created a single sequence, which is the basis of what he later termed EFT, short for ‘Emotional Freedom Technique’. The EFT sequence was designed to hit all the major meridian endpoints, regardless the issue.


The science behind Tapping

Dr Callahan had his breakthrough with Mary in 1979. In the three decades that followed, no Western scientific explanation for Tapping could be found. How was it that Mary and so many others lost their phobias, anxiety, and other problems simply by tapping certain acupoints? In the past decade, however, much has been learned about the science behind tapping.

When you are experiencing a negative emotional state – angry, upset or fearful – your brain goes on alert. It prepares your body to enter a full-blown fight-or-flight response. This response evolved to mobilise the body to face an external threat – think of a tiger coming after your ancient ancestor. All the body’s defence systems are turned on to support either fighting or fleeing from the danger. Your adrenaline pumps, your muscles tense, and your blood pressure, heart rate and blood sugar all rise to give you extra energy to meet the challenge.

The stressors in ancient days were very real threats to survival. Today, however, the fight-or-flight response is rarely activated by a physical threat. Most of our fight-or-flight responses today are triggered internally, as in the case of Mary’s fear of water: her body went into a threat response when she even thought of water. For many of us, the internally generated stress response is triggered by a negative memory or thought that has its roots in the past trauma or conditioned learning from childhood. The stress response in the body takes the same form, whether the trigger is the tiger (external) or a negative memory (internal). The adrenaline flows, the heart races and so on.

Beyond prior experience or negative memories, daily life is filled with small fight-or-flight experiences. Your boss sends you an e-mail that upsets you; as you sit down to eat lunch, you stress about your weight; you go home to a messy house and a ton of chores. In all these scenarios, your body is preparing you to fight or flee. You might be saying “My body doesn’t go into fight-or-flight over all these little events”, but in fact it does! It’s not the adrenaline and cortisol rush you’d get if you were chased by a tiger, it’s a lower grade response. But when you add up hundreds or thousands of these responses in a given week or month, the cumulative effect on the body and mind is massive! The ongoing fight-or-flight response leaves us worn down, sick, upset, overweight, stressed out, and just generally unhappy with our life situations.

What tapping does, with amazing efficiency, is halt the fight-or-flight response and reprogram the brain and body to act – and react – differently.

Dozens of studies have now demonstrated the effectiveness of tapping for a variety of disorders and some of the most challenging issues we face as humans incl. PSTD, trauma, phobias and more. If tapping works well on the hardest issues then it stands to reason that it should be just as effective, if not more, on the ‘smaller’ issues we face such as problems in relationships, weight loss, limiting beliefs and trouble with finances.


Tapping process – A quick reference guide

We are all extremely busy. We don’t have time to study a complicated process, hoping that somewhere down the line we might see results. Unfortunately, much of the material in the self-help/personal development world focuses on concepts and ideas – and as much as some of us enjoy the intellectual pursuit of studying, learning and exploring different concepts, what we are looking for is real change.

We want to be less stressed, less anxious, improve our finances, find the relationship we most desire or improve our existing one etc. With tapping you can achieve all of this and more.

Getting started is easy:

    1. Choose your most pressing issue (MPI) and devise a reminder phrase (the reminder phrase is short, just a couple of words that bring to mind your MPI.
    2. Rate the intensity of your MPI on a 0-10 scale. Start with an issue that you rate as 7 or higher.
    3. Craft a setup statement using your MPI to fill in the blank – be as specific as you can: Even though _______________, I deeply and completely accept myself.
    4. Speak your set-up statement three times while tapping on the karate chop point.
    5. Tap through the eight points in the EFT sequence while saying your re-minder phrase out loud. Tap 5-7 times at each point, starting with the eyebrow and finishing at the top of the head.
    6. Take a deep breath.
    7. Rate the intensity of your MPI using the 0-10 scale. Notice by how many points the intensity has dropped.
    8. Repeat, or move on to a different MPI.

By applying the above process, you will experience relief to any issue that is bothering you within the matter of a few tapping rounds. To go deeper and start initiating a permanent healing process, you need to pay attention to what comes up and apply your intuition by crafting your own statements that address the deeply routed issue. A part of this is also introducing your mind to the possibility of a positive and empowering reality for yourself – which whilst saying the empowering messaging out loud whilst tapping reprograms your negative thought and trigger patterns. You can watch and experience a live session of this in the below video – a recording of the final day of Live Stream that has quite literally saved lives.


Tapping points


Live Tapping experience

Once you watch the video, I’d love to hear from you.  

  • Was this your first Tapping experience?
  • What have you learnt that has really surprised you?
  • What have you chosen as the Most Pressing Issue (MPI) to work on?
  • How did you rate the intensity of the emotional or physical pain before the session?
  • What did you notice during the Tapping experience itself?
  • By how many points did the intensity drop once you completed the session?
  • What are your overall thoughts on this technique?

Even just a quick comment will help you to start taking your power back. 

Thank you for reading, watching and adding your voice to the conversation.  

Your contributions mean a lot more than you know.

Sonja Kirschner is an accredited expert coach and Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) practitioner. She is passionate about helping different groups of people to unlock their true potential, increase their confidence and motivation so that their own performance in life, at work and in business feels great to them! Corporate clients include Raytheon, LPA Group Plc, University of East Anglia, University of East London, Cobb-Vantress, Springer Nature Digital and Joanne Webb Studio.

APower 3 – Unlocking Human Potential. Enhancing Businesses. Mind Freedom®

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