The meridians are energy channels 'transporting' life energy, also known as Chi, Qi or life force, to the organs and throughout the body. These energetic pathways have been a focus in traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years. If the flow of Chi is disrupted, then ill health can result.
There are 12 main meridians in the body. Running up and down either side of the body each meridian is associated with a different organ – stomach, gallbladder, kidney and so on. Meridian affect every organ and every physiological system including the immune, nervous, endocrine, circulatory, respiratory, digestive, skeletal, muscular and lymphatic. Each system is fed by a least one meridian.
In the way an artery carries blood, a meridian carries energy. The meridian system brings vitality and balance, removes blockages, adjusts metabolism, and even determines the speed and form of cellular change. The flow of the meridian energy pathways is critical – no energy = no life.
Energy blockages in the meridians can occur because of stress, injury or trauma, or through lifestyle choices such as poor diet, addictions, lack of exercise. Blockages are thought to be at the root cause of all health problems – physical, mental and emotional.
In EFT we work on the meridians by tapping on the end points of the meridians. The taps send electrical impulses along the meridians back to the amygdala control centre in the brain, which controls our fight or flight response. This helps rewire neural pathways and reduce negative emotional charges.
Chakra translates to wheel or disk. In yoga, meditation, and Ayurveda, this term refers to wheels of energy throughout the body. There are seven main chakras, which go up the spine, starting from the base of the spine (Root Chakra) through to the top of the head (Crown Chakra).
These swirling wheels of energy correspond to massive nerve centres in the body. Where the meridians deliver their energy to the organs, the chakras bathe the organs in their energies.
Each contains bundles of nerves and supplies energy to the major organs. An imprint of every emotionally significant event is believed to be recorded in your chakra energies.
Each Chakra is related to different beliefs we hold, our self-esteem, capacity to feel and express emotions, how balanced our relationships are etc. They are expressions of ourselves in energetic and emotional output.
It’s essential that our seven main chakras stay open, aligned, and fluid because if there is a blockage, our energy flows are restricted.
The conscious mind operates our behaviours 5% or less each day.
The subconscious mind runs the show, our learned patterns of behaviour, which form our habits, run the day to day functions of the body.
Intentions to change, our desire to be happy and healthy come from the conscious mind and these won’t be effective unless the subconscious mind is in sync.
Self-sabotage may be conscious, but more likely not. It is a block to healing and exists when something is holding us back from achieving what we think we want to achieve.
Protection is a central issue for all of us. Anything that feels like a safety risk activates the limbic centres of the brain, kicking off the flight or fight response. Our mind is weighing the risks associated with doing, having or getting something new ie managing change and subconsciously we may be refusing to take the risk. The brain is hardwired to look for danger and to focus on the negative – its our inbuilt safety mechanism. Because of this we may be sabotaging what we think we want in our conscious minds.
Change can be fearful, and healing may not seem so attractive if it means letting go of a ‘victim status.’ People who are sad, ill or depressed can get a lot of attention and they may subconsciously be unwilling to let go of that ‘support.’ Sometimes it’s easier to blame something else rather than take responsibility for ourselves. Or we believe something is our identity, not a choice for us, or simply too overwhelming to try and change.
This subconscious unwillingness to let go of an issue is by far the most prevalent reason why EFT may not initially work or be effective.
In order to address this, in EFT we start with the set up statement which focuses on psychological reversals.
Psychological reversals involve unconscious resistance to the consciously desired outcome. A part of you seems to want the reverse of what you consciously desire, or you do the reverse of what you intend. The harder you try the more powerful the resistance that counters your efforts become. Your efforts produce the opposite of the result you intend. All effective therapies seek to address psychological reversals in one way or another and until these are resolved any interventions are unlikely to have a deep or lasting effect.
The set-up statement acknowledges that the problem that you want to change exists and at the same time you accept yourself even though you have this problem. This simple act seems to help resolve the psychological reversal most of the time.
This is the reversal protocol where you’re speaking to your subconscious, the part of you that doesn’t want to let go. It needs acknowledging and to know its ok to feel that way.
The start of most EFT sessions begins as follows:
Pick the issue, memory or belief
Give it a SUDs rating
Set your reversal set up statement – Even though this -------------- causes me to feel --------------------- there’s a part of me that doesn’t want to let it go. I still love and accept myself.
Repeat 3 times whilst tapping on the karate chop point.
Do two or three times whilst focusing on the issue.
Stop and reassess the intensity.
Do the set up statement again three times, whilst tapping, keeping it the same or modifying it if something has come up.
What are affirmations?
Affirmations in the context of EFT are , or set up phrases, that we say through the tapping process.
They are used to keep the brain focused on the MPI and to keep the stress response ignited. In EFT we tend to start with negative affirmations to bring the emotions and responses to the surface. Through the tapping session, and once the more negative emotions have been reduced or cleared more positive affirmations may be used to enhance wellbeing.
MPI – Most Pressing Issue
This is what a person perceives to be their greatest concern or worry at this point in time. It’s the issue, challenge or problem they would most like to address – ‘’ They may have many but it’s important to focus on one and to be as specific as possible. What has happened, when, who was involved, how does it feel, where do you feel it in your body.
To help identify targets for MPIs it may be useful to create a Tapping Tree. This is a visual representation of what’s going on in our lives.
The leaves represent
How does your physical body feel? Do you have any pain? If anyone asks what’s wrong what do you usually say?
The branches represent
Eg. What emotions do you feel on a regular basis? When you make up in the morning, how do you feel?
What significant events have happened, or are happening, in your life?
And The roots of the tree correspond to
What beliefs do you have about yourself? For example I’m not good enough, I’m not confident, I’m not worthy, I don’t deserve to be happy.
SUD – Subjective Units of Distress
Think about your MPI and on a scale of 1 -10 rate how you feel about it. What level of distress does it bring up?
10=the maximum amount of distress they can imagine.
It’s purely subjective but an important measure to determine how a client feels and relates to their MPI before and after a round of tapping. It enables them to determine if they notice any change. A shift will help demonstrate to a client that they have the capability to change the way they feel.
The sequence of tapping in the basic routine
KC: Karate Chop (Small Intestine Meridian)
Why we use it: Releases feeling stuck and promotes ease in moving forward, letting go, healing from grief, and ability to be happy in the present moment.
EB: Eyebrow (Bladder Meridian)
Why we use it: Releases trauma, hurt, and sadness and promotes peace and emotional healing.
SE: Side of the Eye (Gall Bladder Meridian)
Why we use it: Releases resentment and anger and promotes clarity and compassion.
UE: Under the Eye (Stomach Meridian)
Why we use it: Releases fear and anxiety and promotes contentment, calmness, and the feeling of safety.
UN: Under the Nose (Governing Vessel Meridian)
Why we use it: Releases shame and powerlessness and promotes self-acceptance, self-empowerment, and compassion for self and others.
CH: Chin/Under the Mouth (Central Meridian)
Why we use it: Releases confusion and uncertainty and promotes clarity, certainty, confidence, and self-acceptance.
CB: Collarbone (Kidney Meridian)
Why we use it: Releases the feeling of being stuck and promotes ease in moving forward, confidence, and clarity.
UA: Under the Arm (Spleen Meridian)
Why we use it: Releases guilt, worry, and obsessing and promotes clarity, confidence, relaxation, and compassion for self and others.
TH: Top of the Head (Crown Chakra)
Why we use it: This is not one particular point, rather its a collection of many meridian points. Tapping on the top of the head opens the crown chakra and promotes spiritual connection, while “anchoring in” the new balance and alignment from the completed tapping round.