EFT – the basic recipe:

EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique or Meridian Tapping) is a method of tapping on a series of acupuncture points while focusing in on a specific issue that holds an emotional intensity for you as you think or talk about it.

Here’s an introductory video with a demo of the tapping points, and there’s also a diagram with these points below, and a step-by-step guide.

I love EFT as much as I love yoga and meditation – it is the cutting-edge self-help tool at your fingertips. Once you learn the basic recipe and the tapping points (which is relatively easy), you can DIY for free whenever you want and it is endlessly adaptable.

Or you can work with a coach if you want to go deeper; and just as with yoga, it works best when you do both.

The Tapping Points

Here’s a diagram of the main EFT tapping points.

[ EFT Tapping points diagram ]

(You may like to right-click on this image and save it to your computer and print it out to refer to while you’re learning.)

Below is the basic EFT ‘recipe’. But please remember to take full responsibility for your own health. EFT is not a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment, although it can be a very useful complement. Furthermore, if you have a very deep issue or severe trauma in your past, it is always best to seek professional help from a skilled practioner, at least at the start. Or you could begin with a smaller issue just to give it a try and get the hang of it. If strong feelings arise, keep tapping. And if the feelings persist, please take whatever action you need to get help. Most of all, have fun with it, and be kind to yourself.

The Basic Recipe:

1. Begin by thinking of something that is creating distress for you in your life at the moment.

It could be an uncomfortable emotion regarding something or someone, a difficulty achieving a goal (big or small) and a negative belief about this (eg ‘I’m no good at this’ or ‘money is a struggle’ or ‘I’ll never get this done’), or a physical symptom of some kind (eg pain, digestive problems, etc).

People have reported EFT working for a huge range of issues and problems, so give it a try on whatever is bothering you at the moment. You might like to write down a list of things that are a problem for you, or a list of things you wished had never happened, and then pick one of them.

2. Make a statement about this problem or memory. eg “I feel powerless to do anything about [this issue]” or “I feel really angry about this [issue]” or “I will never be able to get over what happened that day” or ‘I feel hopeless when I think about [this goal]”. The more detailed and specific you can be, the better, and just use your own language.

3. Next, give this statement a rating on a scale of 0-10, where 0 is ‘doesn’t feel true for me at all’ and 10 is ‘feels totally true’. If you can, come up with a few statements until you hit on one that really triggers a 9 or 10 rating for you, and then use that one in the tapping set-up in the next step.

This is called the SUDS rating — ‘subjective unit of distress scale’. The best way to measure your SUDS is just to ask yourself how true this feels on a scale of 1-10, and then accept whatever number pops into your head. Don’t try to consciously reason it out, just let your subconscious do the work.

It’s best if you can write down that number, and the statement, so you don’t forget it.

4. Start tapping on the Karate Chop point while you say your set-up phrase aloud.

The formula for the setup phrase is: ‘Even though ….. [I have this issue/feeling/belief/][this happened][etc]… I deeply and completely love and accept myself.”

For instance, ‘Even though I am so angry about the way she lied to me, I deeply and completely love and accept myself’ or ‘Even though I am so fed up with having this pain in my shoulder, I deeply and completely love and accept myself anyway’ or ‘Even though I will never be able to speak up about this and say how hurt I am, etc’.

By the way, with the formula for the set-up phrase, if it feels difficult to say ‘I love and accept myself’ at this time or with regard to this issue, then say ‘I am open to loving and accepting myself.’

The main thing is to be as specific as you can, and to only say what feels absolutely true to you so you can really tune in and feel it.

Tap with about the same force as if you were tapping your fingers on a table. Repeat this phrase aloud 3 times while tapping on the Karate Chop point.

5. Then use reminder phrases as you tap around the meridian points on your face and body. (See the diagram above.)

“This [feeling/issue/etc].” Or ‘this remaining [feeling/issue]’ if it’s starting to shift. Tap for around 5-7 times on each point.

For instance, ‘this anger’ or ‘this burning pain in my left shoulder’.

You can repeat the same phrase on each of the points. Or if your set-up was a bit more complex, you might like to alternate a few different phrases.

For instance, EB (Eyebrow point): ‘I can never speak up about this’. OE (Outside of eye): ‘Even though I was so hurt’. UE (Under Eye): ‘I can’t say anything.’ UN (Under Nose): ‘But I am so hurt.’ And so on.

6. When you have tapped on all the points, take a deep breath and sigh it out. If you need to or want to, take a sip of water.

Then see how you feel. Think back to your original statement and see if the number has changed at all. Even a seemingly small shift from a ’10’ to an ‘8’ can be quite significant, and shows that you are on the right track.

7. Keep going until you reduce the intensity down to zero.

You may need to use the same statement and phrases again, but modify them a little to say ‘even though I still feel..’ and ‘this remaining [feeling]’.

Or you may need to get more precise and descriptive if it is not shifting at all. (Eg, not just ‘this anger’ but ‘this anger that feels like a knife in my guts’; or ‘the way she lied to me and said she loved me’.) Use whatever words are needed to really get you into that feeling or memory.

You might like to think of it as drawing the emotion up to the surface so you can tap and release it.

Sometimes you’ll find it shifts to a different type of emotion, like peeling the layers of an onion. Often, for instance, an intense feeling of sadness might clear only to reveal a feeling of anger that it was masking. Keep tapping and address this new feeling in your set-up statement and reminder phrase.

Or an earlier memory from your childhood might pop into your head. Go with that, and start tapping on that memory. Your subconscious mind will know how it relates to the issue you began with, even if you don’t. Keep tapping until you can come back to your original statement or issue and feel completely calm about it.

You may also find that as the emotion becomes ‘unstuck’, that new information and insights suddenly come to you about this situation or issue. (It’s a bit like a kink in a hose being removed, or blinders being taken off.)

If this happens, you may like to start tapping on these new insights, and tapping in some positive statements or ‘choices’. For instance, ‘Even though this seemed so difficult, maybe I can do it after-all..’ or ‘Even though I now choose to see this differently…’ or ‘Even though I’ve been so afraid in the past, and that has kept me quiet, I now choose to honor myself and speak my truth to this person.’

Or you could alternate positve and negative ones. (‘Maybe I can speak out.’ ‘No, I can’t.’ ‘Perhaps I could.’ ‘No, never!’)

But it’s important that you don’t start tapping in positive statements — even tentative ones — until your intensity (SUDs) rating on the original issue is down to at least 4 or below. That is, until you can really believe these new statements to be possible. Honor how you are feeling at all times.

So that’s the basics.

EFT is an art as well as a science, and as Gary Craig often said, while you can learn the technique in a few minutes, you can spend a lifetime mastering all its possibilities. It is endlessly creative and fascinating in how it can be used and applied, just as we are endlessly fascinating in all the ways we approach and move through life.

I love working with clients, on whatever issues are presenting for them at the time, and if you think you might like to try working with me, just contact me to arrange for an obligation-free chat over skype or phone. Or (if you live in Australia) give me a call on 0419 580 382.


For more info about Emotional Freedom Technique, look around my blog, or check out these great websites: Thriving Now (Rick Wilkes and Cathy Vartuli), The Tapping Solution (Jessica & Nick Ortner – they have a great DVD available); and EFT Universe (Dawson Church’s website with many of the achives from the original site developed by EFT’s founder, Gary Craig, who is now retired).

Or just google ‘EFT’ (there are over 49 million references to it on the web); or search for ‘EFT’ at Youtube where you’ll find over 50,000 videos.

You can also get Gary Craig’s full manual at Amazon, and there’s a Kindle version now too.

For information about the evidence base of EFT and current research, click here.

But the best proof is in the pudding. Give it a try, and see if it works for you. Many people get quite astonishing results very quickly. Others need to be more creative and persistent. Some get results on some issues tapping by themselves, but need to work with someone else for other issues or for deeper healing.

The great thing is that tapping on your meridian points is completely non-toxic and, when you do it yourself, it’s free. When you work with a practitioner, it’s an investment not only in your health and wellbeing regarding that issue, but working with a practitioner is like having some advanced training. A good practitioner is always aiming to guide you to be your own healer.