Live EEG monitoring of brainwaves, before, during and after EFT tapping have shown interesting results.
My first therapy teacher said: “don’t give ‘em an explanation, give ‘em an experience” and I have found this to be excellent advice to follow when introducing anybody to anything that is new to them.
So often the words of explanations go right over our heads but what gets our attention is the evidence of our own senses and once we have an experience we can make better sense of an explanation. When introducing EFT I seek to keep the words to a minimum and find the quickest means possible to start tapping. This does not mean launching in and tapping with no words of preparation: that is an easy way to lose rapport!
We simply need enough words to gain permission to do something that looks strange and feels silly. I often say something like “could I show you a simple acupressure balancing technique that has helped many people to feel calmer and think more clearly? It only takes a couple of minutes so rather than me give you a long explanation now, how about if we just give it a go and afterwards you’ll be able to ask better questions and I’ll be able to give better answers?“ And you all know what generally happens next. We do a few rounds of tapping, within minutes they look and feel calmer, emotions or memories emerge and clear and they gain a fresh cognitive perspective. At this stage there is rarely a request for explanation because they have had the experience and drawn their own conclusions but some do ask “how does it work?”
Now that is the question I really struggle to answer. I say there are several explanations but modern science has not caught up with EFT yet; one is that we are moving chi energy within the meridian system of traditional Chinese medicine whilst tuning into the problem; another is that this is a neuro-physiological response to physical stimulation that has an effect something like EMDR. I tell them that what I teach is “how to do it” not “how it works”.
This is not to say that I don’t wonder what is going on but in the absence of scientific evidence any explanation is conjecture. What does fascinate me however, is how we are starting to understand more about what goes on when we tap and what changes. Biofeedback technology, in use since the 1970s, allows us to watch on a screen what our brains are doing through the balance and intensity of our brainwaves. “Like seeing your brain on TV” is how one person described the experience.
What you see are four groups of moving lines, faster beta brainwaves are thinking, worry and anxiety, alpha waves are sensory experience and relaxation, slower theta waves show subconscious emotion and the very slow delta waves are a sign of healing and spiritual connection. When we are being the best of ourselves all of these four ranges are present and in balance with each other and between left and right hemispheres.
When we monitored and displayed brainwaves whilst using EFT we see that typically the alpha of calm increases with a corresponding decrease in the worry thinking of beta, the theta of emotion flares and then reduces and the delta may also increase with the overall result of a more balanced pattern of healthy thinking and feeling.
So though this does not answer “how does it work” in exploring “what is going on” I believe we are taking steps towards useful knowledge that will give us something to say in response to those questions and inform our art of delivery to be even more effective.