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EFT: A Hands-On Approach to Healing

By Chrisi Spooner

Emotional Freedom Technique, or EFT, is an alternative treatment considered useful for a range of issues, from minor physical aches and pains to complex emotional and psychological issues and conditions and disorders at the confluence of those things.


EFT: What it is

EFT combines aspects of various alternative medicine disciplines, including acupuncture, neuro-linguistic programming, and energy medicine. Founder and developer Gary Craig said that “a disruption in energy is the cause of all negative emotions and pain.”

Craig’s EFT Manual, considered the authoritative course on the process, provides detailed information about the technique, its uses and benefits, and the “Basic Recipe,” which is EFT’s foundational healing routine performed in specified order with a script that can and should be modified to meet specific needs. 


The process itself is quite simple. Practitioners tap on certain acupressure touchpoints, known as energy meridians, in a prescribed sequence that does not change, regardless of the ailment. So whether the problem is social anxiety, arthritis, or phobias, the program is the same. Only the script changes to address the need.


Carol Henderson, Certified Hypnotherapist and EFT Practitioner at New Day Hypnotherapy, LLC, trained with Craig and knows the process and its results quite well. 

“EFT is a technique that can quickly reduce or eliminate worries, negative thoughts, traumas, including post-traumatic stress, sadness, grief, resentment, anger, and more,” says Henderson. “It is also used for physical ailments caused by underlying stress or emotions, like back pain or headaches. It has been proven to enhance and improve performance in sports, music, acting, singing, writing, public speaking, sales, school work, and so on.”

According to Henderson, Craig’s mantra was: “Try it on everything. It can't hurt and it might help." 

What the Science Says

Developed in 1995, EFT initially met with scrutiny and skepticism. Critics charged that the technique had no scientific basis and provided no real benefits beyond the placebo effect. The technique was viewed as a fringe and largely considered a discredited practice. 

Henderson herself was skeptical at first.

“I had seen it mentioned for years and thought it was just silly. I didn't even try it, because I couldn’t understand how it could possibly work,” says Henderson. “But I tried it on a client, whom I was treating for another issue and used it to address her fear of spiders. I was just trying it out, but it eliminated her fear in about 15 minutes. I then tried it on my own fear of heights. I wasn't even doing it right, and yet it still diminished the fear.”

That’s when Henderson became convinced there was something to it…that maybe EFT was real. In 2002, she took the training and then joined an EFT group in Kansas City, where she and others practiced and learned as much as they could. 

Along the way, Henderson gained experience and saw first-hand how EFT works. She now contends its benefits are very real, and scientific studies back her assertion.

Indeed, a number of well-structured studies have changed the narrative around EFT. These studies, conducted with scientific discipline and rigor, have demonstrated that EFT does indeed yield real benefits. 

Consider one study, published in the US National Library of Medicine/National Institutes of Health. The study, entitled Clinical EFT Improves Multiple Physiological Markers of Health, says EFT is “an evidence-based and novel self-help therapy that combines both cognitive and somatic elements and over 100 studies demonstrate its efficacy.” 

According to this study, review of research that included 31 studies and 16,922 patients clearly identified an association between physiological and psychological symptoms. That study found that objective physiological measures of health as well as medical diagnoses were strongly correlated with anxiety and depression.”

The study included 203 participants at six EFT workshops conducted using a clinical approach. The workshops were facilitated by trained instructors certified in Clinical EFT, the evidence-based form of the technique. Researchers measured physiological change by giving 31 participants at one of these workshops a comprehensive series of medical tests. Psychological testing, similar at all workshops, included pre- and post-measures, and a follow-up during the next year.

They found that in the group of participants in whom physiological indicators of health were evaluated, psychological measurements, including anxiety, depression, PTSD, pain, and cravings all improved.”

Practical Applications and Case Studies

Henderson has helped clients with all manner of issues, ranging from smoking cessation, phobias, pain, cravings, relationship issues, public speaking, academic performance, and much more. Her website for New Day Hypnotherapy provides an abundance of success stories. 

“EFT provides unbelievable rewards every day,” says Henderson. “People who have been in pain for years feel pain free. People who have been raped – one out of three of my clients – get peace for the first time, even though they have been through therapy before. People with fears become free of that fear. People look at things differently.” 


 Still, she recognizes and acknowledges the challenges. 


“The primary challenge with EFT is that it seems so weird to people. It is different because you work on the negative thought, unlike other therapies that have you look more on the bright side,” says Henderson. Rather, she explains that EFT is good for eliminating negative thoughts or limiting beliefs. “Once you tap something away, it will stay away, but there can be other aspects of the fear or anger or whatever that may show up, and those issues can be dealt with as they arise.” 


In the next installment about EFT, we look at some success stories, and the author of this article gives EFT a try in a session led by Henderson and then reports her experience. 

Evolving Magazine

Kansas City

Spooner Headshot 2.jpg

Chrisi is a writer and editor with 20 years of experience that spans industries, disciplines, and genres. Her portfolio of work includes feature stories, investment writing, thought-leadership pieces, and technically oriented content. She has long been interested in well-being, holistic health, and metaphysical and spiritual matters, and she recently published a personal essay entitled “Expect Good” in Unity Magazine. She is happy to support Evolving Magazine and its readers.

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