1000 characters left

EFT Science - Andrew W. Lukonis

7835 Silverthread Ln. Raleigh, NC 27617

Learn how Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) or Tapping is on the cutting edge of science. Get to know your limbic system and its relation to stress, emotions, and memory.

While much of today's scientific research is aimed at maintaining the status quo of the established order of academia, there are still pioneers out there who are using science to explore the vast unknown universe within our own bodies.  To understand how EFT works on a biological level, you must first become acquainted with the limbic system.


The limbic system is a combination of brain structures that regulate specific stress hormones and is the part of the brain associated with emotions, behavior, and memory formation.  In regards to EFT, the main structures of the limbic system are the amygdala, the hypothalamus, and the hippocampus.  The amygdala is the almond-shaped part of your brain that triggers the famed "fight or flight" response.  Think of it as your body's smoke detector that alerts you of a perceived danger.  One of its main purposes is to trigger the release of certain stress hormones that prepare your body to either combat a threat or run from it.  The hypothalamus is the main controller of the natural homeostasis of our bodies, regulating things such as body temperature, hunger, thirst, sleep, and certain social behaviors.  It also links the nervous system to our endocrine system, which produces a variety hormones.  The hypothalamus is like the foreman in our brain that receives input through our senses and commands the release of certain chemicals in response.  Lastly, we have the hippocampus.  This structure of our brain plays an important role in learning, memory, and contextual association. 


Now that we've identified the main players of our limbic system, let's talk about some of these essential hormones.  Epinephrine, or more commonly known as adrenaline, is a hormone that acts on nearly all body tissues and is released by your nervous system when the amygdala is stimulated by a perceived danger.  In other words, adrenaline is produced in your response to fear.  The main function of adrenaline is to prepare the body to either fight or flee this threat through specific biological actions such as increasing blood sugar level, increasing blood oxygen levels via respiration & cellular absorption, and constricting blood vessels to redirect blood flow to major muscle groups.  While this certainly is beneficial when encountering a wild animal or scaling a cliff, the world of today is no longer this primitive.  Our modern woes have been replaced with complex forms of worry, stress, fear of criticism, financial distress, and not getting home in time for our favorite TV show.  Regardless of the type of fear, adrenaline is still being produced, which can lead to such adverse effects as anxiety, panic attacks, headaches, tremors, hypertension, and increased heart rate just to name a few.


Cortisol is another hormone that is released under stress.  Its main function is to increase blood sugar levels, suppress the immune system, and aid in metabolism.  Generally speaking, it's designed to keep the bodily systems in check so that our immune system does not get overstimulated in response to a sudden event.  For example, cortisol helps to reduce certain substances in the body that cause inflammation.  Prolonged exposure to higher levels of cortisol, however, have been shown to have detrimental effects on the immune system.  It can affect the production of T-cells which fight infections, decrease bone formation, prolong wound healing, decrease amino acid uptake in the muscles, and can act as a diuretic which encourages dehydration.


It has also been found that these stress-related hormones help to encode emotional long-term memories.  In essence, they can recreate an emotion at the same level of intensity as when the original memory was imprinted on the brain.  Obviously, this can have adverse effects on our entire organism, manifesting in a number of detrimental and intrusive disorders, fears, and anxieties.  This is from where many of our modern ailments and diseases are originating.  Whereas opposed to running across wild bears and angry clansmen a few times a week, the industrialized human is now contending with the constant stress of work deadlines, scheduling conflicts, stock prices, and social acceptance.


With just this fraction of information provided about our body's complex systems described above, are you beginning to understand how our emotional state has a direct impact on our physical state?


Now let's look at how these "meridian lines" that we keep hearing about fit into the scientific picture.  In the 1960's it was discovered that the human body contained a microscopic thread-like system of information transmitters called Bonghan channels.  Think of them like a fiber-optic network throughout your body, capable of carrying even greater amounts of information than your nervous system.  It was later discovered that these Bonghan channels directly corresponded to the meridian lines used in traditional acupuncture, which were intricately mapped out by the ancient Chinese over 5,000 years ago!  It seems Western medicine is just catching up to what Eastern practitioners have known for millennia.


Enter EFT - Emotional Freedom Techniques!  While studies are still pouring in, science is continuing to prove the effectiveness and efficacy of EFT.  Over the last decade, research at Harvard Medical School has shown that stimulating the meridian points on the body calms the activity of the amygdala and other fear-responding parts of the brain.  Brain scans using fMRI and PET machines actually showed these limbic system components decrease in activity when certain acupoints were stimulated.  Other pioneers in the study of EFT, such as Dr. Dawson Church, are making great strides as well.  In a randomized controlled trial, Dr. Church recorded a staggering 24-50% reduction in cortisol levels after just an hour of tapping!  Combine these studies with statistical data on the dangers of chronic stress from the CDC, NIH, and WHO, and you can see just how much a technique like tapping is needed, especially in the workplace.


Strictly from a biological & scientific perspective, tapping calms the limbic system, reducing the levels of stress hormones released.  This is the immediate effect, which instantly lowers anxiety levels and allows for the modification of more appropriate behavior in response to an event or situation.  When you use EFT when recollecting traumatic or emotionally charged memories from the past, it acts in very much the same way.  In essence, it recodes that memory in a more suitable context by disconnecting it from the negative emotions associated with it.  For example, imagine as a child that you dropped your freshly scooped ice cream cone onto the ground.  You might cry for awhile because you lost your delicious treat, but the emotion and memory would process through your limbic system naturally.  However, now imagine that the ice cream cone fell onto a hill of fire ants and your young self was suddenly swarmed by these horrific insects, causing immense fear and pain.  If the emotional trauma was strong enough, it would be instantly encoded with this memory and could manifest into a phobia of ants or even ice cream cones!  What happened is that your limbic system recorded this memory as a danger and now every time you see an ant (or even anything that may be associated with the original event), your amygdala will blare its waring signals.  While it was a rational fear at the time of the event, this inappropriate response to all ants could remain indefinitely, even throughout adulthood.


What EFT does is decouple the negative emotions linked to this event by talking through its varying aspects while tapping on the meridian points, essentially communicating to the amygdala that you are safe and that there is no longer any threat of danger.  It doesn't erase the memory or otherwise alter your biochemical makeup, it simply facilitates the emotional healing behind the event so that your past traumas no longer initiate a negative stress response in your current life.


The future of science & biology is changing as more and more people begin to explore the reasons "why" things work, as opposed to trying to explain "how" things work.



EFT, otherwise known as Emotional Freedom Techniques, is a form of energy meridian tapping that has been used to dramatically improve, relieve, or heal...