One of my clients, after consulting many specialist doctors over the years, came to me to try and resolve issues with an overactive bladder and urinary incontinence. The client was also experiencing high levels of anxiety due to the condition. The sessions were first focused around the anxiety, which was overwhelming at the beginning of the treatment. Once the anxiety was resolved the work shifted towards a number of issues the patient was experiencing during the treatment. Then it was finally possible to focus on specific episodes when the client had negative experiences, thus emotional blocks, with the incontinence issue. After the treatment the patient experienced complete healing from the urinary incontinence and is now enjoying an anxiety-free life.
A self-healing tool
Tapping is a client-centered approach that aims to alleviate the most pressing issues first, after which the focus can be shifted to more specific issues. Another advantage of this technique is that it can be taught to the clients, thus becoming a self-healing tool. This way clients can feel more empowered. The approach can be used in everyday life, for example, when feeling anxious before a job interview, clients can tap on themselves to ease the anxiety.
Releasing emotions trapped in the body
It is also interesting to note that the emotions that are blocked are often held in the body, thus causing discomfort and in many cases chronic pain. For instance, one of my patients came to me to resolve emotional issues around different subjects. At one of the sessions the focus was on the patient’s difficult relationship with a close relative. After that specific session the patient reported having no more back pains. A few months later the client revealed that there was no need to seek monthly physiotherapy sessions, as the chronic back pain had subsided completely. He had blocks around the relationship with that family member and these emotions were being held in his back, causing chronic back pain that required monthly physiotherapy treatment. Although the client wasn’t looking to alleviate his back pain, it was a pleasant surprise to find himself free from a long-term physical discomfort.
EFT AND EPIGENETICS
There is a growing field of research linking EFT’s efficacy in influencing gene expression. Epigenetics is the science that studies modification of gene expression and how environment influences these changes. There is an array of studies10,11,12,13 showing the effects EFT can have on genes linked to overall health. According to Dr Bruce Lipton, a quantum biologist and proponent of EFT, thoughts and beliefs are the biggest environment for our cells. Lipton suggests that emotions can turn genes on and off (can send a signal to the genes, thus determining if these genes will be read or not). Therefore, it’s imperative to clear emotional scars, traumas and limiting beliefs. EFT can correct these limitations, which will in turn regulate genetic expression.
As Lipton succinctly puts it: ‘The moment you change your perception is the moment you rewrite the chemistry of your body.’
- Church D., Yount, G. et al. The effect of emotional freedom technique (EFT) on stress biochemistry: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease. 2012; (200): 891-896.
- Church, D. Reductions in pain, depression and anxiety symptoms after PTSD remediation in veterans. Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing. 2014; 10(3): 162-169.
- Schulz, P. Integrating energy psychology into treatment for survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Energy Psychology: Theory, research and treatment. 2009; 1: 15-22.
- Stapleton, P., Sheldon, T. et al. A randomised clinical trial of meridian-based intervention for food cravings with six-month follow-up. Behaviour Change. 2011; 28(1): 1-16.
- Brattberg, G. Self-administered EFT (emotional freedom technique) in individuals with fibromyalgia: A randomized trial. Integrative Medicine: A Clinician’s Journal. 2008; 7: 30-35.
- Bougea, A.M., Spandideas, N. et al. Effect of emotional freedom technique on perceived stress, quality of life and cortisol salivary levels in tension-type headache sufferers: A randomized controlled trial. Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing. 2013; 9: 91-99.
- Llewellyn-Edwards, T., and Llewellyn-Edwards, M. The effect of emotional freedom technique (EFT) on soccer performance. Fidelity: Journal for National Council of Psychotherapy. 2012; 47: 14-21.
- Jones, S., Thornton, J., et al. Efficacy of EFT in reducing public speaking anxiety: A randomized controlled trial. Energy Psychology: Theory, Research, and treatment. 2011; 3: 19-32.
- Boath, E., Stewart, A., et al. Tapping for success: A pilot study to explore if emotional freedom technique (EFT) can reduce anxiety and enhance academic performance in university students. Innovative Practice in Higher Education. 2013; 1(3): 1-12.
- Maharaj, M.E. Differential gene expression after emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) treatment: A novel pilot protocol for salivary mRNA assessment. Energy Psychology: Theory, Research and Treatment. 2016; 8(1): 17-32.
- Church, D., Yount, G., et al. Epigenetic effects of PTSD remediation in Veterans using Clinical Emotional Freedom Techniques: A randomized controlled pilot study. American Journal of Health Promotion. 2016 (in press).
- Church, D. Your DNA is not your destiny: Behavioural epigenetics and the role of emotions in health. Anti-Aging Medical Therapeutics. 2011; 13: 35-42.
- Feinstein, D., and Church, D. Modulating gene expression through psychotherapy: The contribution of non-invasive somatic interventions. Review of General Psychology. 2010; 14: 283-295.