How Effective is EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) in Managing Anxiety?

How do you wake up in the morning?

Happy, feeling grateful, hopeful and optimistic that you are going to make today and tomorrow better than yesterday, feeling loved, and feeling fulfilled. Wouldn’t that be a great moment to experience each morning?

There isn’t a better time for us to experience such a blissful morning other than now whilst we are distanced from our ‘normal’ life.

If majority of us accept that moments like that are great to have, the question is why don’t we feel happy, grateful, hopeful, optimistic, loved and fulfilled? Many have many different answers to that questions. In the context of anxiety, it is simple to understand why.

A great quote from Arthur Somers Roche comes to mind. “Anxiety is a thin stream of fear trickling through the mind. If encouraged, it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained”

A certain amount of anxiety is good for us. After all, it is one of our body’s natural processes.

Living in anxiety constantly makes live in the past and/or a catastrophic future and makes us live the emotions that we have experienced in the past or the ones that never happened. Such thoughts govern our behaviour and our body responds accordingly causing us to lose sleep, increase stress hormones and gradually depriving us of a peaceful life. Prolonged anxiety consumes our energy and shuts our immunity system down and causes diseases. The results of anxiety are something that many of us have either experienced or witnessed.

Emotional Freedom Technique has proven to be an effective way of reducing anxiety symptoms since it was incepted in 1995 by Gary Craig. For those who are not familiar with EFT, it is a brief intervention combining elements of exposure, cognitive therapy and somatic stimulation of acupressure points on the face and body by gently tapping on them.

There are many recognised researches to back up the effectiveness of EFT in treating anxiety. The Journal of Evidence Based Integrative Medicine (Volume 24 1-12) published one of the most recent researches conducted by Donna B, Gary G, Peta S, Rebeca S, Katharina B and Dawson C has found the following results.

“Significant decline was found in anxiety (-40%) and improvements were found in cortisol (-37) indicating EFT results in positive health effects as well as increased mental well-being”.

During the research the team has been extensively investigating EFT for anxiety and depression. In the first large scale study of 5000 patients seeking treatment for anxiety across 11 clinics over 5.5 years. They found the following results.

· 90% of patients who received acupoint tapping therapy reduced symptoms of anxiety compared to 63% of the CBT participants.

· Complete relief of symptoms was seen in 76% of people in the acupoint tapping group compared with 51% of people in the CBT

· One year later, improvement was maintained by 78% of the acupoint tapping group compared with 69% of the CBT

· Only 3 acupoint tapping sessions were needed before an individual’s anxiety reduced while an average of 15 was needed for CBT to show results.

Another research published in European Journal of Integrative Medicine (Volume 32, December 2019) has found that ‘three EFT sessions administered in a group setting, reduced and helped them better cope with exam anxiety’.

From my own experience having found EFT as a therapy and then becoming a practitioner myself is one of the best experiences I have had in my life. I have had CBT, counselling, medication in the past to manage my anxiety coupled with exercise, good diet and many other self-help approaches and I am grateful to all of them for helping me in time of need. Nevertheless, anxiety crept crawling back into my life more often than I liked until I discovered EFT as a form of therapy. I was astounded by how effective and fast the results were.

I questioned how such a simple approach can have such a significant impact. My naïve, cynical mind was soon put to rest when I studied into the science behind EFT. It made perfect sense. In essence, with tapping, we verbally and energetically tune in to an issue, emotional, physical, mental or spiritual – and tap on several different acupoints on the body whilst repeating a reminder phrase about the issue. This then reduces the fight or flight signal from the brain and results in emotional and cognitive shifts.

On the other hand, as a person whose life was constantly put on hold due to anxiety, it didn’t matter how it worked. It simply did work and I embraced it with open arms!

I would like to share two stories from two of my most recent clients.

Meet Anne, (let’s call her Anne to protect the identity of the client) who felt extremely anxious about speaking in front of people. She had already missed many opportunities in her life due to her anxiety of public speaking. She trained to become a coach and was unable to make herself visible because of that. I worked with her over a couple of sessions and tapped on those feelings. Few weeks later, she had launched her website, launched a workshop and now attracting paid clients and feeling extremely confident”.

Meet Rose, another client I am currently working with (let’s call her Rose to protect the identity). She felt extremely anxious due to lock-down. She lost her sleep constantly waking up drenched in sweat. We worked on that anxiety and after one session she sent me a text thanking me that she’s not had a sleepless night since.”

If you haven’t tried EFT before, attempting to do something different itself may cause anxiety and that’s completely normal. I would like to reassure you that EFT is not a substitute to other forms of therapy. EFT is something you can practice alongside other therapies, except you will feel a reduction of your symptoms faster. In such an event, please speak to your GP or therapist and re-evaluate your support plan.

It is cliché to say that there’s light at the end of the tunnel. With EFT, you will see the light at the end of the tunnel faster. I have shared my own personal experience, my clients’ experiences and science to back it up.

If you would like to explore how EFT can help you, please do contact me.