Tapping into Placebo Power with EFT

This article is about tapping into our body’s natural ability to heal itself and overcome mental, emotional, and physical problems. Daily, thousands are being set free from the pain of PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), grief, anger, frustration, self-limiting beliefs, physical ailments, addictions, fears and phobias, anxiety, stress, and a plethora of problems that most of us have to frequently face. They are being helped by EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), which is also called or referred to as Tapping (short for Meridian Tapping), Energy harpy, Energy Psychology, Acupoint Stimulation, and Aacupressure Technique.

EFT originated from Thought Field Therapy (TFT), which was created by psychologist Roger Callahan (died Nov. 4, 2013). Dr. Callahan’s student, Gary Craig, simplified and popularized the practice, renaming it Emotional Freedom Technique in 1995. EFT is now widely practiced in many variations.

The theory behind EFT is that emotional and physical problems are caused by ‘blockages’ or ‘disturbances’ in our body’s electrical or energy network, and is based on Chinese medicine. A synopsis of the theory is as follows:

There is a universal life energy (called ki, chi, or Qi) that flows throughout our body. This energy circulates throughout the body along specific pathways called “meridians”. When this energy flows freely throughout the meridians, health is preserved, but when this flow is disrupted or blocked, pain and illness occurs. When acupuncturists insert needles into the selected points in the meridians, or EFT practitioners tap those points with their fingers, the normal flow of energy is restored, and health returns.

If this is the first time you have heard of EFT, it would be a good idea to watch this four before proceeding with this article, as you will have a better understanding of what I am writing about.

When it comes to EFT’s, or acupuncture’s, ability to heal, it’s not needles, tapping, and acupoints that elicit healing; rather, it is merely the placebo effect that brings about the cure. When I write it is merely the placebo effect, I am not dismissing the value of EFT. Quite the contrary, as you will learn, I am singing its praises, but more about that later.

First, for the benefit of any reader who is not familiar with the placebo effect, I will offer a short description. It is a form of self-healing that is done unconsciously. For example, Tom has amental, emotional, or physical problem, sees a doctor or therapist and receives fake (sham) medication, treatment, or surgery; yet he completely recovers. In other words, the recovery was not brought about by the treatment, but by Tom’s subconscious. The cure was triggered by his belief and expectation.

As long as we believe a particular treatment will work, it will. This phenomenon (the placebo effect) is identical to that of a patient in a primitive part of the world that sees a witchdoctor. The differences are just window dressing. Here, the treatments often take place in temples called hospitals, and the priests are called doctors, therapists, and all sorts of healing practitioners. No matter how elaborate the healing ritual is, it’s the subconscious of the patient, not the treatment, that determines whether the patient will recover.

Why have I stated that EFT works because of the placebo effect and not because of tapping on the so-called meridian points? Because it has been clearly demonstrated that one can tap on non-meridian points, tap on any arbitrary point, tap on a doll instead on oneself or patient, or even tap in one’s mind, all of which bring about the same degree of success. So, it is not tapping or meridian points that bring about a cure, but the body’s own powerful self-healing system, which I call Placebo Power.

But the problem is, how do we access Placebo Power? We have been conditioned to believe that if we wish to achieve something, we have to take action. We have to do something. We cannot access self-healing by just sitting there, closing our eyes, and saying, “Placebo Power, heal me!”

So, what do we do? Well, our mind loves rituals. When we engage in one it appears to us that we are actually doing something. EFT is a ritual, a procedure, a routine that is perfectly suited for a placebo. After all, there are certain points to tap, a certain number of times to tap, a tapping order to follow, certain phases to say, and steps to take before and after tapping. EFT, then, creates a powerful argument for healing. The elaborate ritual tells our mind and body, “Look at all I’ve done. I’ve done my part; now it’s time for you to do your part. Heal my mind, emotions, and body! And do it quickly!”

The purpose of this article is to let you know that you can tap into your Placebo Power by practicing EFT. 

“But wait a minute! Didn’t you say EFT is a placebo! If that’s so, it means that it doesn’t really clear ‘blockages’ in our ‘meridian network’. I can’t get myself to believe in a fake system, so EFT won’t work for me. You said earlier that placebos work when people believe in the treatment. Well, I don’t believe in the pseudoscience of EFT, so it won’t work for me!”

Yes, it is generally thought that placebos work because of one’s belief in the treatment. But the role of ritual is equally important. In clinical tests, subjects were told in advance that they were given placebos. Yet, the placebos remained equally effective as the group that was not told.

Also, our subconscious has a gatekeeper that will not permit certain thoughts of our conscious mind to enter the subconscious, which controls our goals. For example, Ralph has a procrastination problem, and his conscious mind realizes that it is holding him back, so he takes courses on how to overcome procrastination and he plans to change his behavior. But his intention to change is thwarted by the gatekeeper of the subconscious, refusing to let his good intentions to pass. Why? Well one of the jobs of the subconscious is to protect us. In Ralph’s case, he has a fear of success (“If I succeed, I will lose my friends and be given lots of work to do, both of which are painful”), so the subconscious continues to use procrastination to protect him from possible pain.

What has this got to do with EFT? Well, while performing the elaborate ritual, the gatekeeper is distracted; its guard is down, and our intention to heal ourselves slips through. Done often enough (and it could be a small number of times), the intention will finally be recognized by the subconscious and carried out. 

Why I consider EFT as the perfect tool to access our Placebo Power:

  1. Its elaborate ritual makes it a perfect candidate for the placebo effect.
  2. Although the ritual is elaborate, it is easy to do.
  3. EFT has a huge history of success.
  4. It can be applied to virtually any psychological, emotional, or physical problem.
  5. Compared to most forms of therapy, EFT delivers fast results.
  6. There are no side effects.
  7. There is a wealth of information and videos available on the Internet.
  8. Other placebo modalities (Reiki, Acupuncture, etc) require a practitioner and cost money, but EFT can be self-administered and costs nothing.

8 Steps to Accessing Your Placebo Power

  1. Prepare to believe.
    If we care to, we can learn how to tap into and apply the amazing power of self-healing. Where and how do we begin? We first need to undo the brainwashing, propaganda, and pharmaceutical sales pitches we have been subjected to. But before we can begin, we have to be willing to challenge our assumptions and beliefs. You have to be willing to believe the truth rather than what makes you feel comfortable. Whenever researching a new subject, we are tempted to believe what we like and reject the rest. But when we act in such a manner, it is not the research we believe, but ourselves. So, if a new subject raises doubts in your mind, follow the example of Gareth Stubbs and ask yourself, “What will happen if I doubt this doubt?” Unless you change your beliefs, your life will remain unchanged. Is that what you want?  
  2. Believe in Placebo Power. Yes, I know, you already know about the placebo effect. You believe in it. But what kind of belief do you have? How deep is it? Is it intellectual or experiential? That is, do you believe it because of something you read or something you experienced? There is a big difference. If your understanding of the placebo effect is just a scrap of information stored in your memory, it’s not very effective. You must assimilate that belief, making it a part of you that affects how to see life and how you behave. If you’re not sure how to make your belief that powerful, don’t worry because by the time you finish watching the following two must-see videos, you will be a firm believer.
  3. Learn EFT. A great way to begin is by visiting Janet Hilts page and signing up for her free EFT Starter Kit (17 page pdf manual with links to video demonstrations). After you are comfortable with what you have learned, incorporate affirmations to turbo-charge your tapping experience. Next, explore the videos found in Janet’s blog. Finally, take a look at my References section at the end of this article. 

    William James said, “The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes.” I would like to paraphrase what he said by saying, The greatest discovery of our generation is that a human beings can alter their lives by applying EFT to tap into their self-healing (placebo) power!

  4. Practice. Once you have learned how to do EFT, it is time to practice, not sporadically, not on certain occasions when you feel a need, but every day. This is the only way to become a master practitioner and master of your life.
  5.  Keep an EFT journal to record all your successes, no matter how small. Also use your journal to brainstorm all the areas of your life that you wish to work on.
  6. Persist. Some of the issues that you work on may be resolved quickly, others may take more time. Don’t make the mistake of giving up too quickly. Some problems are multilayered. That is, what at first may appear as one problem may be made up of four or five separate ones, and you won’t be able to resolve the main issue until you first resolve all of its components. You will learn how to do this, and a lot more, in further study.
  7. Use it on everything; no problem is too big or too small. Remember, there are no harmful side effects, so you have nothing to lose and more experience to gain.