"Acupuncture without the needles." That's how the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), in which emotions are used to heal certain ailments, can be described. Health24's Amy Henderson caught up with a practitioner to put the technique through a "road test".
At its most basic, the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is an emotional version of acupuncture, where certain meridian points are stimulated by tapping them with the fingertips, according to the World Centre for EFT. This, the Centre says, addresses a cause for emotional issues: unbalanced energy meridians.
Proponents say that since emotional stress can contribute to pain, disease and physical ailments, EFT can provide astonishing physical relief.
In fact, Andrew Robertson, a practitioner from Craighall Park, Johannesburg, is so confident in the success of EFT that he actually guarantees success within one session if you're being treated for pain, phobias, emotional traumas or arthritis. However, he notes on his website that long-term physical problems and diseases, such as infertility or multiple sclerosis for example, will require more sessions.
What to expect
During an EFT session, the practitioner will tap with his fingertips on certain meridians in your body.
It's non-invasive and totally painless, and once you learn how it works, its proponents say you can actually use it on yourself at home. On the World Centre of EFT website, a video that shows how the technique can be used at home can be downloaded.
"It often works where nothing else will," says Robertson, adding that he has had an almost 100% success rate, working on mild back pain, emotional eating, extreme nausea and severe pain. "I'm currently working on fertility issues with a client."
EFT is said to be effective in treating a number of different ailments and conditions, including:
- Weight loss
- Emotional eating
- Self-esteem issues
- Anger management
- Back pain
- Morning sickness
- Arthritic pain
- Phobias and fears
- Eye-sight problems
- Emotional traumas such as abuse
- Fertility issues
EFT put to the test
As a relative newcomer to the EFT phenomenon, Andrew was at first the "biggest skeptic". That is, until he tried the technique on himself. After just two five-minute sessions, he claims that a rather strange phobia of his – a fear of kidney stones – was cured.
"It's a powerful tool that's so easy to learn and I have seen such great results from people with nausea, to migraines," he says. "It works on just about everything".
I admit I was a bit apprehensive about trying EFT, although fortunately Robertson quickly put my mind at ease.
He began our session by showing me a video that explained how EFT works. He also showed me some rather convincing testimonials from people who had suffered from a range of different conditions.
Since I'm a migraine sufferer, I had hoped that EFT could be used to treat, or at least relieve, my symptoms. Unfortunately however, my migraines are as unpredictable as they're painful and at the time of my EFT session, I didn't have a migraine.
I did, however, have a niggling headache, most likely due to tiredness and mild stress, and so we decided to use this as a way of exploring the benefits of EFT.
Tapping used to ease the pain
Robertson quizzed me about what I believed the cause of my headache might be and once we established that, he proceeded. He tapped me on the side of my head where the headache was, on my chest and on my fingers while I had to repeat after him, "Even though my head hurts and I'm stressed, I deeply and completely accept myself."
Admittedly, I did feel a bit silly repeating the line after him, especially since he made sure that I was saying it loud and in a very strong voice. Although once the initial awkwardness had passed, and I focused more on what he was doing, I didn't even notice that my headache had eased.
Before I can say for sure that this is a treatment that works, I would have to see it ease or even rid me of a real migraine or other ailment. It could simply have worked because I was distracted from the source of my stress and subsequent headache.
Yet, I would try it again. The less invasive a treatment, the better as far as I'm concerned. And since this one is something I can try at home, I'll definitely give it another go.
For more information, visit Robertson's website at www.eft4health.co.za or visit the World Centre for EFT and download their free videos at www.emofree.com. Contact Andrew Robertson on 084 223 4247.
(Amy Henderson, Heath24, April 2009)