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Debunking the EFT Therapy Scam

I’m a firm believer in alternative therapies. In fact, the more alternative the better because the farther afield from traditional medicine we go, the closer we get to the mind which is actually in charge of the healing. This is why A Course in Miracles describes everything – from an aspirin to chemotherapy – as magic. What heals us is the mind. If the aspirin seems to work, it’s only because the mind believed that it would and projected its healing powers accordingly.


EFT tapping points can be used for a broad variety of healing – emotional, physical, spiritual. (Image from Gary Craig’s EFT Manual).

One of the great therapies in my life has been emotional freedom techniques – or EFT. EFT blends affirmations (or other language-based statements) with meridian tapping. It’s like a modified acupuncture, with finger tips instead of needles, and an element of dialogue or self-inquiry built in. I’ve used it over the years on everything from biting my nails to headaches to fear of certain people and situations. I’ve shared it with friends and family members and they’ve reported good results, too.

Based on my experience, I don’t believe that there is any EFT therapy scam. After all, the basic information is given away for free. There’s no commitment at all save the willingness to try something new. And Gary Craig, the founder of EFT, as well as the subsequent practitioners have always cautioned that it should be a substitute for other therapies or healing modalities. But since it’s free and noninvasive, why not give it a try?

Craig, by the way, is a student of A Course in Miracles. I think in many respects his great success with EFT is owed in large part to ideas of healing articulated by Jesus in the ACIM text and workbook. There, we learn that healing is not something that we do so much as something that we get out of the way for – Jesus does it and we are, if you will, mere channels.

Sometimes we tap alone and sometimes it is good to tap under the guidance of someone who can take the reins and help us navigate the spaces that we tend to avoid.

Indeed, I had – and still do have from time to time – a lot of success tapping. It works on basic physical ailments like headaches or stomach pains. It works on stress and worry. I have used it to focus before teaching and to stabilize myself in challenging emotional situations. In conjunction with other healing modalities – ranging from flower essences to aspirin to prayer – it has been very effective.

That is not to say that it has always worked well in my life. For example, I used it on one of my deeper psychological issues – questions of abundance and scarcity (which we might summarize as attaining economic freedom) – and it has not been as successful.

I used EFT to explore my money issues – my fears, my doubts, my family legacy on the situation, my dreams, my resistance to success, the harsh divide I place between spirituality and materiality. I tapped on specific money problems of the day, the ones I feared tomorrow and the ones that I had faced in the past.

And nothing changed.

I don’t say that to denigrate EFT. There are plenty of people who have precisely the opposite experience. And, as I’ve said, it has been very effective for me in terms of physical and emotional stuff. It has also helped to clarify both the fear and resistance that surrounds money issues. I’m grateful for that.

Abundance – wealth – prosperity – whatever we want to call it, is an issue whose roots go all the way down to God. I can tap away a headache because really, who cares about it? I can tap away my fear of an important meeting because I’m old enough and savvy enough to know that in the deepest sense there are no important meetings.

But money and work . . . that has always invoked the presence of Heaven and Hell for me. It resists solution at the level of symptom. Instead – if I am serious about healing and peace – one has to follow the spiritual and psychological and emotional threads all the way down to where they begin.

Can EFT help with that? Sure. A lot of good practitioners will tell you that tapping is a great way to explore deep-rooted issues, teasing out narrative threads that are buried deep in our psyche. However, that is more of a sustained inquiry that probably benefits from tapping with someone who has some real expertise to share.


Abundance is not really about money – it is more in the nature of a mindset that refuses to be limited by ideas of scarcity.

I am saying that sometimes we tap alone and sometimes it is good to tap under the guidance of someone who can take the reins and help us navigate the spaces that we tend to avoid. That navigation can be very fruitful, so it’s not to be avoided, but company – good company – can be a real asset.

So is tapping legitimate? Can it really work and facilitate healing?

If you believe in EFT, then it’s going to produce results for you. That may well be the bottom line. There is a lot of work being done right now to validate tapping therapy. There is a long history of the body’s energy fields – Asian medicine in particular has made use of this model in acupuncture. We know through contemporary physics (especially quantum physics) that the mind is more powerful – and its effects more broad-reaching – than we originally understood.

In general, what is given away for free – and what can be applied on one’s own – does not fall into the category of either a scam or a hoax. If you are partial to energy healing in particular, or alternative therapies in general, then it EFT is probably worth exploring. That’s not to say that if you venture into the world of professional practitioners you don’t need to be sensible about who you work with. Caveat Emptor!

But also: have fun. And heal. Healing is good. And tapping can help.


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Vicki Duncan July 30, 2012, 6:44 pm

    Once again, in an internet search I have found Sean Reagan. I guess we think alike. Thank you for your writing about the things that interest me.

    • Sean Reagan August 10, 2012, 1:31 am

      Yes we do think alike! I am a big fan of EFT – I think the tapping community is getting a little bigger and more organized now. There are pros and cons to that. But it is still a resource that we can utilize. I was tapping pretty intensely around the time I discovered ACIM and really feel like it cleared some internal space so that I could be clearer about what I needed. I don’t use eft as often as I once did but I am very grateful for it. My kids loved it – I really felt like it was just a gentle and creative way to get close to what was causing physical/emotional pain and lessen its impact.

      Thanks for visiting and reading, Vicki. I hope all is well with you –


  • Richard Bridgman May 10, 2013, 9:12 pm

    I have tried EFT off and on over 20 years as well as TFT and I have found both to be absolutely worthless as well as several other people I know who tried it. If it works for you fine but that’s only because you believe it will work. The tapping is not at all “Acupuncture as I have had many Acupuncture treatments” and EFT tapping is nothing near true Acupuncture at all. True healing, I have found, comes from Sedona Method, NLP and the teachings of Claire Weekes. Lastly, you only hear or talk to the people who had results from EFT, you have no idea how many people, such as myself got absolutely nothing from EFT.

    • Sean Reagan May 11, 2013, 6:26 am

      Hi Richard. I’m glad that you found some effective healing techniques! Thank you for reading & writing.


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