The Emotional Freedom Technique, otherwise known as EFT or ‘tapping,’ is a method for self-healing that draws on both ancient and modem wisdom.
Tapping with the fingertips on particular points of the body while focusing on emotions and physical sensations helps calm the nervous system and restore the body’s energy and balance.
While many people value and use EFT in their daily lives, people in recovery may find a tapping practice especially beneficial as they build new healthy habits and patterns and release old destructive ones.
You’ve undoubtedly heard of the mind-body connection – it’s a concept echoed in many places. You’ve probably heard it mentioned by a teacher during yoga class or seen it in an article or in the titles of new-age books on the shelves of your favorite bookstore.
The idea of a connection between mind and body is ancient – the father of Western medicine himself Hippocrates, was a philosopher in ancient Greece. And 1,000 years before Hippocrates, in China, people discovered certain channels in the body that energy flows through, and believed that the ability for energy to flow freely impacted both the mental and physical health of an individual.
These energy channels came to be called ‘meridians:with 12 primary ones identified. Early Eastern medical practitioners also identified many energy centers or ‘points’ along each of the meridians and believed the mind and body were affected in different ways when the points were stimulated.
In 1995, a man named Gary Craig combined the ancient knowledge of meridians and mind-body connection with modern healing insights, and EFT was born. Since then, many people have positively integrated this practice into their lives, both personally and professionally. Karen St. Clair, a Maine-based EFT practitioner and reiki master, contends that “the door into working with whatever is bothering you is first through the feeling.” St. Clair’s own healing journey was long and challenging, as she suffered with debilitating sciatica for more than 16 years. She went to countless doctors and chiropractors without finding relief. Finally, she stumbled upon an online EFT training, which helped her trace the source of her pain to feelings and beliefs present at the time of her original physical injury.
St. Clair says she experienced profound healing during that very first EFT encounter as she tapped through her tears for more than 20 minutes. Her pain has never returned, and Karen has a much deeper, personal understanding of the way trapped emotions manifested in her body and led to her physical suffering.”
St. Clair, now an international EFT speaker, has had a Cumberland based private EFT practice since 2011. She also created her own healing modality called ‘Reiki Tap Renewal, a fusion of EFT and reiki another method of energy medicine. Some of the profound realizations Karen has had about EFT are that “it works, even if you don’t believe il will” and it’s not possible to overdo it.
Bettina Blanchard of Portland is another Maine-based EFT practitioner who has found much value in cultivating a personal and professional EFT practice. Blanchard is a professional organizer and former host of a radio program called “Life Simplified.” She is largely self-taught in EFT, and has carved out a niche for herself working with Baby Boomers who struggle with downsizing as they enter the next phase of their lives.
Blanchard says tapping helps release the negative effects of emotional and physical trauma and create space, both mentally and physically, in her life and the lives of those she works with. She thinks highly of the cumulative value of small steps in healing and changing old habits and patterns and says that even small successes are to be celebrated.
Like St. Clair, she says she believes that tapping “can’t be done wrong” and that “it works whether you believe it or not but doesn’t work if you don’t do it!”
“We can’t always process everything in life that’s thrown at us,” notes Blanchard, adding that “tapping helps to calm down any negative emotion.” She has found a lot of benefit in Nick and Jessica Ortner’s work with EFT and has learned a lot by studying their information online, and even more through applying the practice in her life and witnessing her clients’ journeys with tapping.
St. Clair and Blanchard agree that EFT may offer support to someone in recovery who wants to cultivate a new practice in their life, whether it be creative, spiritual, wellness-based or something else. Many of us enter recovery with the belief, on some level, that we are not good enough for healing. This is largely due to the shame and stigma that still exists in certain places in society around addiction and Substance Use Disorder.
Often, when we put down our habit or substance of choice, we discover that there’s a lot more work to do to really find lasting freedom from addiction. The good news is that healing is 100% possible, and we have many options for support along the way as we discover new things that work for us and new ways of finding fulfillment and joy in life.
Tapping is a very accessible, cost-effective option for self-healing that many have found to be of great benefit in releasing old, damaging patterns and helping to foster new, positive ones.