A relatively recent discovery, the energy therapy known as Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) combines principles of both mind/body medicine and acupuncture. The goal is to positively influence energy flow.
EFT is described by its founder, Gary Craig, as an emotional version of acupuncture. No needles are involved. Instead, fingertips are tapped on specific sites to clear blocks and rebalance energy disrupted by negative emotion.
EFT can be used to dissipate fear or eliminate obstacles that are hampering efforts to overcome it. Here's how to apply a simplified version of the technique.
Begin by deciding on a reminder phrase that will keep you focused on your problem. You might choose "this fear" or "this doubt that I can't overcome my fear." You'll repeat the phrase as you tap on the endpoints of certain acupuncture pathways (meridians). Use two or three fingers of your dominant hand to tap each site seven to 10 times. Tap firmly enough to get a little bounce.
For the purposes of this exercise, we'll use eight points:
- the eyebrow point, where the inside edge of your eyebrow meets the bridge of your nose
- the outer edge of the eye socket
- under the eye, the spot on the socket directly beneath your pupil
- under the nose, just above your upper lip
- under the lower lip on the crease between it and your chin
- under the collarbone one inch to the side of the indentation at the base of your throat
- under an arm about four inches below the armpit
- the crown of your head. As you tap, make a small circle about two inches in diameter.
Now let's focus on a fear, specifically the dread of getting bucked off your horse. Complete the steps that follow. The process will take about 30 seconds.
1. Rate your fear on a scale of zero (neutral, no emotional charge) to 10 (you're immobilized by panic).
2. Now adopt this sentiment as a set-up phrase: "Even though I have this fear of getting bucked off, I deeply and completely love and accept myself." Repeat it three times as you tap continuously on the karate-chop point of one hand--the outer edge that you might use to break a board a la Chuck Norris or Bruce Lee.
3. Tap seven to 10 times on each of the eight points previously mentioned. Repeat your negative reminder phrase "this fear" with every tap.
4. Take a deep breath.
5. Rate your fear again on a scale of zero to 10.
Perhaps it has subsided from 9 to 7. Now repeat the process, but add the word "still" to the set-up phrase and the word "remaining" to the reminder phrase. Here's how you'll proceed:
1. Tap continuously on the karate-chop point as you say three times "Even though I still have some fear of getting bucked off, I deeply and completely love and accept myself."
2. Tap seven to 10 times on the eight points as you repeat the reminder phrase "this remaining fear."
3. Take a deep breath.
4. Rate your fear again on a scale of zero to 10.
Go through the process as many times as necessary to reduce your fear to 1 or zero.
Occasionally, you'll find that your fear stays the same or grows worse. What this means is there are different aspects to your fear that need to be cleared using the tapping technique. For example, you may fear that you'll land badly and break your leg or be embarrassed in front of your friends. It's also possible that you worry your loose horse will run around wildly, slip, fall and hurt himself. Addressing these issues will allow you to eventually overcome your fear.
For additional information about EFT, go to www.emofree.com. To read about more ways to increase your confidence, see "5 Easy Ways to Build Confidence" in the April 2010 issue of Practical Horseman magazine.