EFT tapping is a treatment that requires tapping acupoints on your body to treat pain and ease symptoms of negative experiences and emotions.

EFT tapping is a method for managing pain, emotions, and troubling thoughts. It can help calm anxiety and stress while allowing you to think clearly and calmly.

This technique is based on the thought that tapping acupoints on your body can promote energy balance and ease pain. When your energy system gets disrupted, it can cause negative thoughts or feelings and physical pain.

This technique may help with that issue, improving your overall well-being.

EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) tapping is also called psychological acupressure and comes from ancient Chinese medicine and modern psychology.

This technique helps restore energy balance after it’s been disrupted. It involves tapping on areas of the body that reduce physical and emotional pain while balancing energy.

It can help treat:

EFT tapping can also help prevent or heal disease or illness. EFT tapping is believed to calm the amygdala, the part of the brain responsible for your stress response.

This method uses fingertip tapping to relieve symptoms of negative experiences or emotions. It involves nine of your acupoints, or the places your life-force energy flows, located in the following areas:

  • on top of your head
  • eyebrow
  • at the side of your eye
  • under the eye
  • beneath your nose
  • on your chin, at the crease before your bottom lip
  • beginning of your collarbone
  • under your arm
  • on the side of your hand, like where you would karate chop

There are five steps of EFT tapping, including:

1. Identifying the issue

Determine the issue you’re dealing with or the fear you’re experiencing. This step is essential because it helps identify your focal point.

It’s recommended that you choose one problem as your focal point during each phase because it supports better outcomes. You can go through the steps as many times as you want and choose a new focal point each time.

2. Rating the intensity

Testing or rating how intense your physical pain or negative feelings are is necessary for knowing your next steps.

This step seems easy as it involves rating them on a 0 to 10 scale, but it requires reflection and deep thought. It allows you to monitor your progress so you can compare after completing a cycle of EFT.

3. Setting up

This step requires finding a phrase to repeat that acknowledges the issue you’re addressing and encourages you to accept yourself. It’s called a setup statement and is the foundation of your experience.

You’ll say the phrase while tapping the point on the side of your hand to set up the intention.

Start the phrase by stating the issue and then finish it with an affirmation of acceptance. It should focus on how your problem makes you feel so the tapping relieves your distress. Ending the statement with acceptance also helps turn negative thoughts into positive ones.

For example, you may say “Even though I have this [problem], I deeply accept myself and my feelings.”

4. Tapping sequence

This sequence begins when you tap the side of your hand point while repeating your setup phrase. Repeat it three times, then, moving to the eyebrow and traversing down your body, tap the other points seven times each.

After you tap the acupoint beneath your arm, wrap the sequence up by tapping the point at the top of your head.

So, once you start by tapping the side of your hand, you’ll move in the following order:

  • eyebrow
  • side of your eye
  • beneath your eye
  • under your nose
  • on the chin
  • at the place where your collarbone begins
  • beneath your arm
  • top of your head

Repeat a reminder phrase related to your setup each time you tap a point. It helps you maintain focus so you can experience the benefits. Once you complete the sequence, start over and do it another two or three times.

5. Testing the results

During this step, you’ll rate the final intensity using the same 0 to 10 scale. Consider how you feel after EFT and if your negative thought has eased. Repeat the five steps until your rating becomes a 0.

One study comparing EFT tapping for anxiety showed positive results over standard treatment options. Another study shows that it increases self-esteem for nurses, although it wasn’t indicative of a wide range of people.

Additionally, a 2023 study indicates that healthcare professionals who practiced EFT experienced less anxiety and stress during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A promising 2020 study details how those who practice EFT tapping experience decreased cortisol levels. The results indicate it can be effective in lowering stress and anxiety.

But licensed counselor and practice owner Amy Braun explains, “EFT is not an evidence-based, scientific approach to healing.

There are many ongoing studies looking into the healing impact of this method, but none have been substantiated. There may be a strong placebo effect to this method that reduces stress and promotes healing.”

Not all experts agree on the effectiveness of EFT tapping, and while research has increased, there’s still work to do. Further support is necessary for supporting current research and determining the science-backed benefits.

EFT tapping can help restore balance to disrupted energy and ease physical pain or emotional turmoil. It has many benefits for improving your emotional and physical well-being, but skeptics aren’t convinced yet.

There are successful cases of EFT tapping, but more research is necessary to know for sure. If you try EFT tapping, consider sticking to traditional treatment options, as well, unless a professional tells you otherwise.

You can find information to accompany EFT tapping by reading Psych Central’s article on the benefits of therapy.