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EFT (Tapping) for Depression

Emotional freedom technique (EFT) is also known as tapping. The practice has been shown to ease stress and anxiety within minutes. It is also used in more long-term treatment for conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression.1,2

You can use tapping on yourself immediately and at no cost.

What is EFT?

EFT blends:1,2

  • Traditional therapy techniques
  • Exposure therapy
  • Acupressure (applying pressure to specific points on your body)

The practice combines verbal recognition of the object of your stress (for example, "Even though I have depression,") with a self-accepting statement ("I deeply and completely accept myself"). The first part of the sentence exposes you to your stress. The second part of the sentence reframes your stressor by connecting it to self-acceptance.

You repeat the sentence (or a shorter version) while tapping on different points on your body (acupressure points).1-3

EFT can help with depression and other conditions

Other conditions that EFT may improve include:1,2

  • Fibromyalgia, chronic pain, and tension headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Seizure disorders
  • Frozen shoulder
  • High blood pressure
  • Psoriasis

The EFT tapping points

There are 9 tapping points in EFT. You tap them in the following order:3

  1. The edge of your palm, below your pinky finger.
  2. The top of your head.
  3. The inside edge of one eyebrow.
  4. The outside edge/temple of one eye.
  5. The bone underneath one eye.
  6. Between your nose and upper lip.
  7. Between your lower lip and chin.
  8. Beneath one collarbone (in the notch under the inside edge of the collarbone).
  9. Around 4 inches below one armpit.

Steps for practicing EFT

First, identify the issue you want to address. This could be anything that is causing you difficulty. It could be:1-3

  • Emotional
  • Physical
  • Immediate (acute)
  • Ongoing (chronic)

Next, make a sentence using this template or a similar one:1-3

  1. "Even though I have (the issue that is bothering you),"
  2. "I deeply accept myself and how I feel."

Then, repeat the sentence 3 times while tapping on each of the 9 points listed above. You can also shorten the sentence (for example, "feeling anxious").1-3

After you finish the last tapping point, check in with how you feel. Repeat the tapping and sentence if you need to.1-3

Who can benefit from EFT?

There is a large body of research that indicates tapping is effective for both psychological and physical symptoms. One study used brain imaging to look at the effects of EFT on pain and emotional state. This study found that EFT helped to decrease:1

Another study found that tapping helped lessen stress-linked markers in:1

  • Heart rate
  • Blood pressure
  • Hormones
  • The immune system

EFT tapping for depression

At least 2 studies have shown that people practicing EFT feel happier.1

Many people are able to benefit from tapping. For example, EFT has been shown to be effective for:1,2

  • College students
  • Athletes
  • People with chronic pain
  • People staying in a hospital
  • People undergoing chemotherapy
  • People with phobias
  • Veterans

There are many different resources available online to help people starting to practice EFT, including videos on YouTube. There are also websites or blogs that explain and guide you through EFT, including the Tapping Solution, EFT Universe, and the American Nurses Association.

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