Mental Health, Well-Being

Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT): 5 Basic Steps of the Tapping Technique

Tapping on the body’s acupuncture meridian points stimulates the nervous and cognitive systems to clear away negative energy trapped in the body.

Emotional Freedom Techniques, or simply EFT is work with the body’s energy system, clearing the negative emotions and installing positive ones by stimulating the processing of new positive beliefs.

EFT has provided relief from hundreds of emotional physical symptoms, such as trauma, stress, anxiety, fears, depression, grief, aches and pains and breathing difficulties.

EFT often clears an emotional issue in 5-10 minutes and works where nothing else will, with no side effects.

You may not feel anything different until you revisit the issue you “tapped” on, only to find it much less distressful and even gone altogether.  

In this article, you’ll learn the basics of EFT and how you can apply it to heal yourself.

Ready? Let’s get started!

What Is Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT)?

Emotional Freedom Techniques, or simply EFT, is evidence-based energy psychology method that can be described as “emotional acupuncture without needles.”

In acupuncture, meridian points on the body are stimulated using needles, pressure or even heat.

Those meridian points are energy pathways with a meridian starting point and a meridian end point.

EFT stimulates these points by tapping or applying pressure on major meridian points to stimulate and balance the left and right brain hemispheres, resulting in a healing effect.

E.F.T. Basics: How to Tap?

EFT tapping follows a sequence of 5 steps.

#1. Define The Issue or Fear You Have

Begin with identifying clearly and specifically the feeling, or problem you want to tap on and release.

Focus on one problem at a time.

Try to be as specific as possible. For example, rather than saying “I’m stressed,” try saying, “I’m stressed about paying the bills.”

#2. Test the Initial Intensity Level

After you define the problem, rate the intensity level of the emotional or physical pain and discomfort you feel on a scale from 0 to 10, with 10 being the most difficult.

This will help you monitor your progress after completing each EFT sequence.

#3. Define the “Setup Phrase”

Before you begin tapping, you need to define a phrase that:

(1) acknowledges the issue

(2) Communicates that you accept yourself despite this issue

For example, “Even though I have [this problem], I love and accept myself.”

You may alter the phrase so that it fits your issue, but it should not always focus on your own problem and not someone else’s.

For example, instead of saying, “Even though my partner is sick, I completely accept myself,” try saying, “Even though I’m sad because my partner is sick, I completely accept myself.”

#4. Perform the Tapping Sequence

There are 14 major meridians end point, each corresponds to an internal organ. However EFT mainly focuses on these 9 in ascending order:

  1. karate chop (small intestine meridian)
  2. eyebrow (bladder meridian)
  3. side of the eye (gallbladder meridian)
  4. under the eye (stomach meridian)
  5. under the nose (governing vessel)
  6. chin (central vessel)
  7. beginning of the collarbone (kidney meridian)
  8. under the arm (spleen meridian)
  9. top of head (governing vessel)
About EFT — Crystal EFT

Use the first two fingers (tap with the pads of your fingers) of either hand to tap. It matters which side, to tap on or which hand you use.

Begin by tapping the karate chop point while simultaneously reciting your setup phrase 3 times.

Then, move on to the other point, taping each point 7 times while simultaneously reciting a “reminder phrase” to maintain focus on your problem area.

For example, if your set up phrase is, “Even though I am stressed out, I love and accept myself,” your reminder phrase would be, “I am stressed out.”

Finish the sequence by tapping at the top of the head point.

Repeat this sequence two or three times.

#5. Test the Final Intensity

At the end of each sequence, rate the intensity level of the problem you feel on a scale from 0 to 10.

If you haven’t reached 0, repeat the process until you reach 0.

Gamut Spot Procedure

To further soothe yourself, before closing your sequence and tapping on the crown of your head, try rubbing the Gamut spot – a point on the back of the hand about an inch or so down from the knuckles between the little finger and the ring finger.

Rub the Gamut Spot with one finger while doing the 9 brain-balancing actions:

  1. Close your eyes
  2. Open your eyes
  3. Look hard down to the right
  4. Look hard down to the left
  5. Look up as if it were 12:00 on a clock, roll your eyes around clock-wise, to the 3, then down to 6, then to 9, then back up to 12. Stay there and
  6. Roll your eyes counter clock-wise back over to the 9, down to 6, then to 3 and then up at 12.
  7. Hum any song (singing activates the left brain)
  8. Count from 1 to 5 out loud (counting activates the right brain)
  9. Hum again. Return to tapping

Remaining Round

Remaining round addresses any remaining issues.

It is similar to the basic tapping sequence. The only difference is the setup and reminder phrase.

For example, the set-up phrase for a Remainder Round is: “Even though I STILL HAVE SOME of this stress about paying my bills, I love and accept myself.”

The Reminder Phrase for the Remaining Round is: “this remaining stress”.

Adressing Psychological Reversals

A Psychological Reversal or PR is refers to resistance or self-sabotage.

This self-sabotage is often unconscious. Even though the deep-held belief is negative and limiting you, you may find it hard to let go.

For example, people who have been in depression for so long can find it especially hard to force themselves up out of bed and to move.

When practicing EFT, keep in mind that deciding that EFT won’t work without even trying is a form of resistance and is a normal reaction to change.

Acknowledge your feelings of resistance and practice anyway.

You may start with one sequence of tapping to address your doubts. A good setup phrase could be, “Even though I don’t think EFT will work for me, I love and accept myself.”

Similarly, if you have negative thoughts about releasing an issue, such as “It’s not okay to get over this problem,” or, “It’s not safe to get other this problem,” or, “I’m not ready to get over this problem,” try a sequence of tapping addressing these doubts.

Setup phrases could be:

  • “Even though it’s not ok to get over this problem, I love and accept myself”
  • “Even though it’s not safe for me to get over this problem, I love and accept myself”
  • “Even though I’m worried others will get mad at me, I love and accept myself”
  • “Even though I’m not willing to get over, I love and accept myself”
  • “Even though I’m not ready to get over, I love and accept myself”

Related: How to Challenge and Change Your Negative Core Beliefs?

EFT In Practice: Tapping on Codependency Negative Beliefs

Even though I feel that I’m not worthy or deserving of love, I love and accept myself.

Even though I feel responsible for others, I love and accept myself.

Even though I believe others need me because they are incapable, I love and accept myself.

Even though if I believe I am a failure if others were not happy, I love and accept myself.

Even though my self-worth is dependent on someone else, I love and accept myself.

Even though without others’ approval I cannot feel worthy, I love and accept myself.

Even though I believe others are responsible for my happiness, I love and accept myself.

After tapping on the above issues start tapping on your new decisions such as:

Even though I have been codependent, I now decide to move from caretaking, to healthy self-love.

Even though I’ve been dependent on my partner, I now decide to cease to depend on him for my happiness, and self-esteem

Even though I didn’t feel worthy unless I had approval from my partner, I now decide not to need her approval.

Make Tapping a Daily Practice

5 Minute Evening Tapping

At the end of the day, give yourself 5 minutes to do continuous tapping while venting out loud or thinking of all the day’s anger, pain, fear, and anything you want to dump out of your brain.

This will help soothe you, keep stress away, and improve your sleep.

5 Minute Morning Tapping

Start your morning by tapping while saying your morning affirmations, prayers, or simply stating your goals for the day.

Related: The Power of Positive Affirmations: Daily Affirmations for Healing, Wealth, and Happiness


What If You Needed to Tap When You’re In Public?

When you are in distress somewhere and you need to soothe yourself, try pressing on one point for 20 – 30 seconds until you calm down.

Try pressing on the spot under your nose, or rubbing your chin or collarbone as if you were “thinking”.

You may also excuse yourself to the restroom and tap there.

Talk to a therapist anytime, anywhere

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Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) 5 Basic Steps of the Tapping Technique


  • Portions of this article were adapted from the book Emotional Freedom Techniques for Codependency Recovery, © 2013 by J.P. Bailey. All rights reserved.

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