L' Origin of the Method: TFT –Thought Field Therapy
This Method, known the world over today as EFT – Emotional Freedom Techniquc – took off during the 1990’s thanks to research carried out by an American psychotherapist, Roger Callahan. In an attempt to help a female patient blocked by a serious fear of water and seemingly immune to every other approach or technique, Callahan decided to focus on the meridian points beneath his patient’s eye. By tapping his fingers delicately on this particular point, he immediately got his patient to respond on an emotional level; thanks to the state of peace and relaxation induced, she was soon completely healed of her fobia.
Already an expert practitioner of Chinese medicine and acupuncture, Callahan continued with his research, going on to discover new meridian points that proved useful in the releasing of emotions. Instead of inserting needles in these given points, as Chinese acupuncture calls for, he discovered that it was actually enough to tap on these points with two fingers. Through a process of trial and error he arrived at a series of complex algorhythms and procedures which proved effective in the treatment of virtually any complaint, eventually giving his technique the acronym TFT – Thought Field Therapy. Subsequently, he realized that the points stimulated produced positive results regardless of the sequence used.
The Evolution of the Method – EFT – Emotional Freedom Technique
Despite arousing a certain amount of interest in the scientific community, Callahan’s technique did not develop in any particular direction until Californian engineer Gary Craig, an expert in NLP – Neuro Linguistic Programming - learned of the existence of this method and asked its author to teach it to him.
After years of research in collaboration with Callahan, Craig reworked the original procedure. As well as defining a sequence of points using 14 meridians, he extended the treatment to include the use of thoughts and memories tied to specific events all expressed aloud. To this he added the finger-tapping technique already in use. His knowledge of Neuro Linguistic Programming led to his application of the method not only to symptoms of a psychological nature, but also as a way of bringing to the surface and eventually solving negative, underlying beliefs which had caused people to fail in their jobs, careers, finances, interpersonal relationships, etc. Today, EFT is used not only by doctors and therapists but also by trainers and life coaches. The extraordinary results are undeniably useful and successful.
The Brain’s responses to Stress
The spontaneous dissemination and success of EFT have recently served to spur on extensive research on the subject using orthodox scientific methods. The Harvard Medical Institute has carried out research on the brain’s response to the meridians involved in Tapping. Research has shown a significant reduction in the activity produced by the amigdala, which is situated at the center of the hypothalamus. It is this small, almond-shaped gland that triggers off the body’s reactions to stressful events. It also supplies both the nerve- and endocrine-systems with the impulses necessary for the release of the stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisole, both of which play a decisive role in preparing our body to brace itself and ward off impending danger.
Our ancestral fight-or-flight response to a life-threatening situation makes our blood pressure rise and our muscle fibres dilate, allowing us to absorb greater quantities of oxygen from the bloodstream. These processes together help us prepare to face the fight- or-flight situation at hand. Consequently, our heart-beat quickens, our breathing becomes more intense, and our whole body tenses up. The Harvard research team has demonstrated how Tapping effectively reduces the reaction set off by this gland. Result: an instantly induced state of relaxation far superior to that obtained by other antistress therapies.
The reduction of Cortisole
Dr. Dowson Church, an expert in the psychology of Energetics and master of EFT, has led research on three groups of volunteers. This has involved testing levels of cortisole (Stress hormone) in the blood in three separate groups: before and after administering EFT to the first group, verbal therapies aimed at relaxation in the second group and no particular therapy to the third one.
The result showed a reduction of 25% to 50% in cortisole levels in subjects treated with EFT – Tapping as compared to all the other patients: proof that by starting with abstract, intangible, energy-oriented principles, such as those which form the basis of Chinese medicine, certain biochemical transformations at a biological and material level definitely do take place. A simple blood-test coupled with the practical evidence now available can show us just how potent "Tapping Therapy" is when used as an anti-stress device.