EFT: A Revolutionary System for Stress-Free Living

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At its deepest level, the process of EFT is one of healing, releasing, and learning from past traumas and negative experiences. Only from there can you create the life you’ve truly dreamed of. – Nick Ortner

A bit longer backstory: It was sometime around the year 2013, just a few months after the passing of my father, when I chanced upon The Tapping Solution documentary film. “Tapping Solution?” I wondered what it was about.

Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), it says, and I thought it could help me with the grief I was dealing with. Truth is I didn’t know how to deal with the loss. I didn’t know how to process my emotions. Add to that my deteriorating physical health due to the hyperthyroidism I’ve had 5+ years prior. I was at the lowest point in my life and I felt like I reached a dead end.

Ironically, oftentimes, dead ends are where new beginnings take place. In my case, it paved the way for me to get started on meditation practice and, not long after, to be introduced to EFT. So, one was for my spiritual and mental health, one for the emotional.

Around that same time, I was also in a network monitoring shifting work schedule, rotating bi-monthly: morning, mid, and graveyard – so you could imagine the overall stress I was “carrying,” which manifested as this searing pain in my right shoulder.

Done with the routine tasks for the night shift, there I was tapping along (only 2-3 staff were on duty so I was spared from the woo-woo looks) in the middle of watching the documentary hoping to, at least, get some relief from the shoulder pain.

Lo and behold! Just as I finished the film, the pain in my shoulder was gone. Stoked, I forwarded it right away to my closest friends and shared about my initial EFT experience.

Though it was a temporary pain relief (because it was merely a symptom of a deeper issue), I knew that something clicked. EFT worked.

Because it did, I continued practicing EFT and went deeper as I could with all the issues, dating back to my childhood experiences, to early adulthood, up until that year.

More on my EFT experience later as we go along, including the most memorable one I’ve had.

For now, without further ado, I’ll let you have it for yourself.

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Science Agrees, Evidence Confirms

Tapping seems to turn off the amygdala’s alarm—deactivating the brain’s arousal pathways. Tapping on the meridian endpoints sends a calming response to the body, and the amygdala recognizes that it’s safe. What’s more, tapping while experiencing—or even discussing—a stressful event counteracts that stress and reprograms the hippocampus, which compares past threats with present signals and tells the amygdala whether or not the present signal is an actual threat.

We start off from a scientific perspective so we can quiet down the noise of our rational thinking since we’ll be dealing mostly with our emotions.

In fact, that’s what EFT (tapping) does – it retrains our brain processes when dealing with emotions.

For a quick refresher, our notes on Essential Living and The Body Keeps the Score provide us a better understanding of our brains.

Drawing on that knowledge, Nick relays the research at Harvard Medical School that the stimulation of selected meridian acupoints decreases activity in the amygdala, hippocampus (also part of the limbic system), and other parts of the brain associated with fear. The fMRI and PET brain scans show that the amygdala’s red alert (the alarm) is turned off when acupoints are stimulated.

Also dubbed as “acupuncture without needles,” EFT was proven as an equally effective method in a double-blind study. It’s even found to work better in the treatment of anxiety disorders.

In a randomized controlled trial (the gold standard of scientific research) conducted by Dawson Church, author of Mind to Matter and a leading proponent of EFT, 83 subjects were assigned differently to an hour of EFT tapping session, an hour of conventional talk therapy, and no treatment (the control group). Those in the EFT group have shown a 24 up to 50 percent reduction in cortisol (“stress hormone”) levels, which correlated to reduced levels of anxiety, depression, and overall psychological symptoms.

Take note, that was after just an hour of tapping.

If you wish to dig more on the science of EFT, go to thetappingsolution.com/research

EFT Tapping Points

You can trust your instincts; as long as you follow the process as it is laid out, it’s nearly impossible to get tapping wrong.

It is equally important to be as specific as you can. Tapping on a more general issue can certainly improve your mood and make you feel better. But adding details that create specificity—particulars that pinpoint an experience, such as when it happened, who was involved, what you felt in your body, and so on—draws the focus more clearly to that particular issue. As a result, you’ll have a better ability to rewire the brain’s response to it.

If you ever get stuck on the exact language, just focus on the feeling. Or visualize a picture of what happened (or is happening) and then describe it. Do whatever it takes to get a clear memory or feeling, and that will do the job.

You know what’s more convincing than science? Your personal experience. So, let’s get straight to the tapping exercise!

I’ll hand you over to Nick’s sister, Jessica, for the demo:

Again, here are the EFT tapping points in case you need a visual guide:

EFT tapping points

As you do the tapping, what you say is not as important as how you feel. Express yourself freely and without judgment. Remember, we are freeing the emotions so let them be.

Begin with what Nick calls the Most Pressing Issue (MPI), which is usually a physical symptom you’re having. As you go through each round, another issue might come up, so you can tap on it as well during the next round.

Start with something general, then go as specific as you can in the succeeding sessions.

The Tapping Tree

Whatever issue is being tapped on in any given round is called the “target.” As you tap, different layers or aspects of that target will arise. Often you start with one target and then find something else underneath it—a layer!

Working through these layers might seem tedious at first; but the reality is, emotional, physical, and spiritual experiences are often multilayered.

Have you heard of the expression “you are a multi-dimensional being”? Truth is, you are. One of its manifestations is in the aspect of health.

And so if we are to view health, we must look at not just our physical bodies, for that would only pertain to the physical dimension. If we are to go through complete healing, we must see it holistically, including its emotional and spiritual dimensions. Recall that among the 9 factors in Radical Remission, only 2 of them are physical-related.

To help us gain that perspective, Nick’s friend and EFT expert, Lindsay Kenny, uses a visual called “The Tapping Tree.”

eft the tapping tree

The parts of the tree are what you’ll be tapping around on: symptoms (the most pressing issue); emotions (what emotion could be related to that symptom?); events (because every event creates an emotional experience); and limiting beliefs (you got it, events are a reflection of our beliefs).

Keep them in mind as you tap around your issues, starting with the most pressing one all the way down to its “root” cause. There are no fixed sequence or pattern. It could come up in a random fashion, so just tap on whatever comes up.

As the docufilm’s subtitle suggests: “Try It On Everything.”

EFT for Reprogramming Your Mind

The other important point to note about EFT is that it’s not a mind eraser. We are not erasing memories of the past; we are not erasing emotions. We are processing them. That is a vital distinction. After processing, we still have the lessons, insights, and growth from our experience. If, on the other hand, we bury an experience, trying to erase it without processing it, it stays stuck right where it is.

As with anything, it’s important to be clear about our intention when using EFT. It’s not to make us forget what happened, or deny what’s happening in the moment. Because that would be another form of resistance to healing.

Often, when we have a painful experience, we only experience the pain but we’re not able to process it. Why? Simply because our brain is designed to protect us from anything that would cause pain. That is its default program. The brain processes the experience and stores it as a memory.

So what then happens to the unprocessed pain? It also gets stored – in the body. Eckhart Tolle has coined a rightful term for it: “pain-body.”

This is where EFT helps us reprocess the experience. We keep the experience and the gems we gain from it, but we let go of the pain. And when it’s gone, the associated symptoms also go away with it.


Change in Perspective

When you change your perspective, often your feelings, reactions, and the situation itself naturally change, too—most of the time for the better.

A life free of shoulds is a life full of choices. When we choose, we are at our most empowered, free and joyful.

When we use EFT to reprocess our experiences, what we’re doing is changing our perspective.

And Nick says that one significant change in perspective we have to take is the story we tell ourselves.

If we run the same script in our minds over and over, the storyline will just keep on repeating itself. It might be a different scene involving different characters, but the story remains the same.

What’s one script we’ve learned to memorize? “I should

I should work harder. I should market more. I should look good. I should be more spiritual. Life should not be like this!

So for the next round, that’s the script we’re going to tap on: “Even though I should <insert your shoulds here>, I deeply and completely accept myself.”

Then as you move through the tapping points, repeat the should statements: “I should meditate more… I should eat organic only… I should stop my bad habits…”

Now, for a change in perspective, we will start replacing the should with a more empowering, freeing statement: “I choose

Try tapping on your collarbone several times with a new script:

I choose to be easy on myself. I choose to work at my own pace. I choose to love myself in the process.

Sound better, don’t they?

Of course, they should!

EFT for PTSD Therapy

We all have stories to tell that need healing. We can use EFT to finally let them go, to heal and create a new future for ourselves and for our loved ones.

And let’s not forget having compassion for ourselves and for our journey. Instead of beating yourself up for reacting a certain way, for not being perfect, for not being able to have the control in your life that you want, ask yourself, “What happened?” and give yourself love and compassion in response.

Truly, when we heal the past, our whole experience of life can change.

When you’re going through your healing process, compassion will naturally grow in you. When you see the same suffering you’ve had in other people, you will begin to respond differently.

You will see past the behaviors and look beneath to find what’s driving them. You will understand that their actions are not because of who they are, but because of what they’ve been through.

Trauma, as we learned in detail from The Body Keeps the Score, is something we all experience in one way or another on varying levels. Nick’s friend and EFT expert, Carol Look, says there’s trauma with a big T – the major events, and trauma with a little t – the recurring events that accumulate over time. Both health-damaging and life-altering.

In November 2013, just around the time I was immersing deeper into EFT, super typhoon Yolanda made landfall in my beloved country, Philippines, and left massive devastation in its wake. While I took part in the relief efforts here in Manila, I know that much-needed help must be carried out in the affected areas.

Thank God for sending the Good Samaritan in Sebastian who demonstrated the power of EFT. Here’s his personal account of the traumatic event and its healing:

In the Veterans Stress Project, it was shown that there’s a 52-63% reduction in PTSD symptoms among war veterans using EFT tapping treatment.

When dealing with trauma, please refer to the clinical guidelines and seek professional assistance. Click here to find a certified EFT practitioner.

EFT for Phobia Treatment

Overcoming a fear or phobia can be a massive personal victory, leading to even greater success in other areas of our lives, such as relationships, finances, and even personal health. And the reason is that these fears and phobias inherently signal to the rest of our consciousness that we don’t have full control over our lives.

Did you know how EFT got discovered? It came as a flash of insight to psychologist Dr. Roger Callahan while treating a woman with water phobia. That monumental discovery was then later on refined by one of his students, Gary Craig, that led to what is now called EFT.

Fast forward to early 2015, I had my own breakthrough experience with EFT. While I was halfway through writing The Path to Awesomeness book, I got briefly involved in a holistic healing center where I was invited to train their staff on juicing (we were running Friggies, a juicing company/social enterprise back then).

One day, a woman, probably in her late sixties, came to visit the center to attend a seminar hoping to address her problem – fear of death. You might say that’s pretty normal for any person. Well, yes, but it wasn’t for her. Hers was a full-grown phobia, known as “Thanatophobia.”

You could tell by how anxious and restless she was seated while talking to the staff members. The talk doesn’t seem to help. When they were through, I was intuitively guided to approach her and do tapping together. It was my first 1-on-1 EFT session with another person.

Much to the surprise of everyone in the room, her fear of death vanished in just about 2 rounds of tapping! You can feel that she became fully present in the moment (because fear only exists outside of the present moment) while telling me that she will continue to do the exercise when she returns home. She asked what was the technique called. “EFT,” I said in awe.


If EFT did that, consider what it can do to other areas of our lives once fear is gone. In the book, Nick lays out how EFT can clear other challenges, such as insomnia, addictions (e.g. smoking, alcohol, drugs), sports performance, children and teen issues, eyesight, allergies, creativity and productivity, and almost anything else we wish to address.

For EFT to work, Nick says it only requires one thing from us: we must be willing to change.

Lose Weight Without Trying

I can’t emphasize this enough: the stress you feel about food and weight loss itself can be the very thing that keeps you stuck.

When you lower stress levels (and obviously it’s not just stress about food—that’s what we’ve been focusing on here, but lowering stress about anything and everything is important), then you’ll lose the weight.

That’s why people who use EFT on their general stress and feelings of being overwhelmed, traumatic events in their past, and other problems in their lives often lose weight without even trying!

Did you hear that? Lose weight without even trying? Yup, and it’s not another diet fad. It’s EFT.

Because when you work on the underlying problem behind the weight issue and you get to clear that away, your body naturally returns to its healthy weight – as a side-benefit!

Any idea on what the underlying problem is? You guessed it – stress.

Nick lists how stress affects the body:

  • On average four times less blood flow to your digestive system
  • Less oxygen to your gut
  • Lower absorption of nutrients
  • Less enzyme production in your gut. (As much as 20,000 times less! Digestive enzymes are what break down the food into assimilable form. This is one of the reasons why, when you eat a meal while you’re stressed, you’ll often feel bloated and uncomfortable.)
  • Increase in excretion of important nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals
  • Decrease in gut flora population
  • Increase in cholesterol
  • Increase in cortisol and insulin levels <<< this one, in particular, is highly-linked to weight gain and retention.

EFT for Financial Freedom

It’s important to be aware of the end goal, the grand theme, the big vision. But once that is clear to you, then you just have to take the next step in front of you.

Tapping diminishes the noise we experience around success and finances, and strengthens the mental, emotional, and even physical responses we have to life’s challenges. Tapping is an important and simple tool to quiet that noise and move you to a place of peace. From there, you’ll have the resources to make the best decisions and take the next step.

Tapping won’t give you financial freedom. What it can do is clear whatever is blocking you from having it.

Because similar to other issues, money problem is just another symptom rooted in limiting beliefs or what have you.

And so, it goes without saying that financial success can be manifested once those blocks are eliminated.

Tap Into Love

The opportunity here is to let go of the baggage of past relationships, let go of the baggage and generational patterns from our parents, and create a relationship that is healthy and nurturing at the deepest levels.

Previously, we’ve been working on limiting beliefs or blockages. In dealing with relationship issues, Nick focuses more on what is commonly known as “baggage.”

Two main areas to work with are:

  1. The heavy baggage – those we learned from our parents about relationships and those we carry from our own past relationships
  2. The light baggage – those day-to-day relationship issues we’re having with our partners, families, and other people

Click here for a sample clearing session with Nick.

In your succeeding tapping exercises, he also provides some extra guidelines:

  • Make a list of all the past relationships you’ve had including the less serious ones and the short encounters. (I’d also suggest you include your non-romantic relationships, like your business partners, your colleagues, and friends.)
  • Find the reasons why those relationships didn’t work out.
  • Learn the conclusions you came up with and you believed to be true. Example: “I was too emotional.” Or, “There is something wrong with me.”
  • Use the Movie Technique. Replay in your head the events related to that list, reasons, and conclusions. Tap on the points as you recall them and keep tapping.

And there you have it, my friend. But know that we have barely scratched the surface.

Having firsthand experience, I cannot express enough how grateful I am for having found EFT when I needed it the most. My gratitude overflows that it brings me to tears even now as I write this.

I sincerely hope that this finds you, too. I’d love to hear your story of healing and transformation.

To your freedom!

the path to awesomeness starter kit

The Tapping Solution: A Revolutionary System for Stress-Free Living

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PS: Thank you for taking the time to read. Tell me, what insight most resonated with you?

Let me know by leaving a comment below.
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NICK ORTNER is the creator and executive producer of the hit documentary film The Tapping Solution. He has also produced the annual worldwide online event, the Tapping World Summit, which has been attended by more than 500,000 people. Ortner is a dynamic speaker, presenting breakthrough live tapping sessions around the world. He lives in Connecticut.

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