Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is a form of energy psychology, a technique used to shift brain patterns, according to David Feinstein, PhD, the author of a fact sheet for the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee. Dr. Joseph Mercola, the director of the Optimal Wellness Center in Chicago, wrote that he’s had the most success with EFT for helping people overcome emotional blocks and achieve weight loss. Mercola states that dysfunctional childhoods, abuse, depression, anxiety, using food to self-medicate and other blocks lead to self-defeating behavior. Performing EFT requires tapping energy points while speaking affirmations about the target emotion.
Sit down in a quiet place where you’ll be free from interruptions. Read the EFT steps so you’ll be familiar with the pattern of points to tap. Relax by taking three deep breaths. Some of this may feel awkward or embarrassing, so be aware that any feelings that come up are part of the process. If you feel overwhelmed at any point, feel free to stop. Participants in a 12-month study by psychologist Dr. Peta Stapleton at Australia’s Griffith University experienced long lasting reduction in food cravings from only four two-hour EFT sessions. Dr. Stapleton’s study results, presented at the International Congress of Applied Psychology in Melbourne in July 2010, showed that EFT helped the participants lose weight.
Focus on feelings about food and losing weight. Notice what you think holds you back the most. For example, "I feel out of control when I have food cravings." "I eat too much when I’m lonely." "I need sweets when I’m upset." Pick one of the strongest feelings that comes up.
Say an affirmation that addresses the feeling. A phrase often used in EFT is "Even though — I have this food craving — I deeply and completely love and accept myself." Use the feeling that came up for you in place of "food craving." Repeat this affirmation aloud as you tap each point gently.
Tap along your forehead above your eyebrow with the index or middle finger of either hand. Some people tap with multiple fingers. You can tap the points on either side of your face, using either hand.
Tap at the side of your eye, in the indentation next to your eye socket.
Tap under your eye, in the middle, on your cheekbone just below your eye socket.
Tap under your nose, in the indentation under your nose.
Tap the top of your chin.
Tap lightly along the top of the collarbone.
Tap under your arm, on the opposite side of your body from your tapping hand. The point is often tender to the touch. Reach directly across your chest to locate it in the center of your side. For women, it’s usually right below the bra.
Breathe quietly for a minute, allowing your thoughts and feelings to settle. Repeat the EFT technique, honing in on different feelings that block you from losing weight, such as craving second helpings, eating when you’re angry, fears about losing weight and other feelings that arise. Complete as many repetitions of the EFT technique as feel comfortable for you.
Write down any changes in your thoughts, feelings and eating behavior at the end of the day.
Practice EFT daily, focusing on your feelings about eating and weight loss and on any memories or emotional issues related to your weight that arise during your EFT sessions. Keep a notebook to support the changes you make as you become free of blocks to losing weight.
Follow a sensible diet and exercise program to achieve your weight loss goals. Cutting 500 to 1,000 calories from your usual daily food intake will help you achieve a healthy weight loss rate of one to two pounds a week. Take a few minutes to practice EFT during the day when you experience cravings or have difficulty sticking to your food program. For example, if lunchtime at work is challenging for you, find a private place and practice EFT to clear any feelings or cravings that might undermine your weight loss success.
- Consider working with a psychologist or therapist trained in EFT. You may feel tenderness or a slight indentation at the location of some points. This helps you know you’re on the right point. Tapping is effective even if your aim isn’t exact. Tap on one emotion at a time, rather than trying to combine issues in a long phrase.
- Seek professional help for facing traumas. Old memories and deep feelings may surface while you do EFT. Plan to take a break before driving or performing tasks that require full concentration.