The History Of EFT

Learn about the history behind the Emotional Freedom Technique
Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) or tapping, as it is more commonly known, is a technique where you tap on acupuncture points around the body as a way of releasing stress, anxiety and negative beliefs.

The body is composed of energy pathways or meridians that connect in with your cells, organs, thoughts and emotions. EFT is based on an important discovery that a thought or memory from trauma or stress can cause a disruption and blockages in the electromagnetic energy system of the body.

EFT works by tapping with your fingertips on various meridians/acupuncture points around the body.

This tapping serves to balance energy meridians which become disrupted when you think about an emotionally disturbing circumstance or memory. With tapping, the actual memory stays the same, but the emotional charge is gone.

The History of Meridian Therapies

The roots of EFT come from acupuncture which was developed thousands of years ago. However it was in the last 50 years or so that the system really evolved.

Dr. George Goodheart

Dr. George Goodheart


The development of “emotional acupuncture”, as tapping is sometimes referred to, started with Dr. George Goodheart, a well-known chiropractor in the United States.

Goodheart studied acupuncture and soon introduced it into his own work as one of the bases of a new method he was developing called Applied Kinesiology (which uses muscle testing to determine the appropriateness of any form of treatment).

He found that he could obtain the same beneficial results as acupuncture by simply applying manual pressure, or by “tapping” on the acupuncture points.

John Diamond

John Diamond


Building on the work of Goodheart, an Australian psychiatrist called John Diamond, M.D., took this discovery a step further by creating a variation of Goodheart’s work which he called “Behavioral Kinesiology”.

This derivative of Goodheart’s method used affirmations (positive self-statements or thoughts) when the person tapped on selected acupuncture points.

This was done specifically to treat emotional problems.

Dr. Roger Callahan

Dr. Roger Callahan


In the early 1980’s, Dr. Callahan, an American psychologist, learned Applied Kinesiology and studied the meridian system of acupuncture in an effort to find better answers to some of the problems his patients faced, particularly those of anxiety and phobias.

Callahan had been working for over two years with a patient of his who had such an overwhelming fear of water that she could not even get into a bath without this causing an anxiety attack. Although Callahan had tried many anxiety reduction techniques with her, the progress had been slow and discouraging.

One day however, his client told him that her fearful feeling was located in her stomach.

There is an acupuncture point located directly beneath the eye which, according to traditional acupuncture, is linked to the stomach meridian and Dr. Callahan asked her to tap on that point.

She tapped under her eyes and when she did so a totally unexpected thing happened.

Instead of merely experiencing relief from her stomach symptoms, she said that her fear of water was suddenly gone! Callahan didn’t take this too seriously at first because it seemed so unlikely, but when he watched her get up and run toward the swimming pool he changed his mind.

Callahan then decided to explore the possibility of using strategic tapping on certain meridian points to treat other phobias as well.

Using muscle testing to develop his treatment, Callahan hit upon the plan of using specific sequences of different acupressure points for different emotional problems.

The system was called “Thought Field Therapy” or “TFT”.

Gray Craig

Gray Craig


Gary Craig is a Stanford trained engineer and personal performance coach who studied TFT intensively with Roger Callahan.

Craig felt however that TFT was quite a complicated system.

In order to use TFT successfully, you had to know how to muscle test (using kinesiology) and learn up to 200 different sequences of meridian points, as each sequence of points treats a different emotional condition.

To simplify the procedure, Craig developed a technique where you tap on a small number of points which means that you are tapping on most of the major meridians in the body. No matter what the condition or issue is, you always tap on the same points.

This greatly simplified the process and made it easily accessible for people to use for themselves.

The technique that Craig developed is called Emotional Freedom Techniques, and is the technique that I use today.

My training was under the AAMET (Association For The Advancement of Meridian Energy Therapies), which follows Gary Craig’s original teaching.

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