Is EFT Tapping the Same as Acupuncture?

Is EFT Tapping the Same as Acupuncture?

Is EFT Tapping the Same as Acupuncture?


Emotional Freedom Techniques, generally referred to as EFT, is an alternative therapy or a tool that is clinically proven to be effective in helping with issues like anxiety, PTSD, etc. It is one of the most powerful healing techniques in the world today.

Gary Craig, the developer of Emotional Freedom Techniques and the person who brought it to prominence in the 1990s when he first put his work around the therapy on his website, describes EFT as a technique wherein you tap on different parts of the body to help balance energy systems and reduce physical and emotional pain while verbalising the truth of the situation or condition. (1)

To put it simply, Emotional Freedom Techniques is a talk and touch therapy that helps with issues like:

  • Stress
  • PTSD
  • Chronic pain
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Anger
  • Nervousness
  • Weight issues

EFT is also helpful if you:


Want to learn about emotional wellness or therapy


Heal from within and become free from limiting beliefs


Want to help yourself and others


Are seeking a new profession to help others heal and transform


Want to improve your personal and professional life.

EFT Tapping


As mentioned above, EFT Tapping is an alternative therapy that involves two primary aspects- talk and touch. 

Emotional Freedom Techniques -Talk Therapy


The first aspect of EFT Tapping like several other therapies or healing techniques, is talk. 

Talking is an essential part of psychotherapy, which is why we also call it Talk Therapy. It's a mode of communication between the therapist and the distressed individual. 

Talking about emotions and feelings can actually help shift perspectives and even make you feel differently.

Techniques like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) also involve this aspect of talk in its practice. (3)

Emotional Freedom Technique - Touch Therapy


One of the five love languages, touch is a necessary aspect of EFT Tapping.

Touch can be an extremely important factor in healing as it communicates care, affection, and presence—all of which a troubled person needs.

Research shows that babies who are touched and held soothingly are less likely to face psychological challenges later in life than the babies who did not receive enough or any safe touch.

EFT Tapping, as the name suggests, involves tapping on specific points on the body known as Tapping points.

So, does that mean EFT Tapping and acupuncture are the same?

Let’s dive into some themes of acupuncture that may help us understand this stance better!


Acupuncture is a form of alternative medicine that is exclusively considered a Chinese therapy as it was codified and extensively used as medicine in the Chinese subcontinent. It is one of the oldest practices in traditional Chinese medicine.

Essentially, acupuncture may be understood as a clinical practice wherein an appropriately trained practitioner uses clean needle technique and single-use needles to stimulate acupuncture points or meridians on the body.

It is a form of energy therapy that is based on philosophy, intuition, and scientific research. (3)

What is acupuncture


Acupuncture finds its roots in Chinese medicine and has a history that dates back to 1000 BCE. An emergent documentation and consolidation of the principles of acupuncture seem to take place between 475 and 221 BC in a book known as The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Medicine.

The book not only talks about the use of metal needles as a means of stimulation but also affirms that sharp stones and splinters of bamboo were used earlier to stimulate meridians.

Further developments in the therapy could be conceived from another more sophisticated and organized text titled A Classic of Acupuncture and Moxibustion that appeared around 400 AD.

This text describes the what's and how's of acupoints and meridians in detail. The text is still considered one of the most detailed and reliable sources of study in the field of acupuncture.

Another descriptive account of acupuncture can be found in a book known as The Illustrated Manual on the Points for Acupuncture and Moxibustion and it dates somewhere between 960-1368 AD.

With detailed illustrations and figures, the book managed to launch the traditional medicine into practice as they made therapy easy to understand and accessible to a wider audience.

Over the centuries, this alternative medicine crossed continents and was introduced to the West. Acupuncture has managed to survive in its pure form and has also been adopted by Western Medicine.

New to EFT? Learn how Emotional Freedom Technique Tapping heals.

Emotional Freedom Techniques (tapping) is clinically proven to lower stress, tension, anxiety, past-trauma to enable health, happiness and vitality.


Modern Energy therapies can be referred to as fruitful fusions of Eastern and Western ideas that involve the concept of meridians and intuitive healing.

In the 1960s, a chiropractor by the name Dr George Goodheart began his investigation in the domain of body's muscle strength, organs, and meridians. His investigation resulted in the engineering of  a diagnostic therapy which was based on muscle testing and drawing on the same supplied by Kendall & Kendall, Chapman & Owen's work on neuro-vascular reflexes and research by Mann on Acupuncture meridians.

Such extensive work was further developed into the science of Applied Kinesiology by John Thie, a colleague of Dr Goodheart.

In the mid 1970s John Diamond, a psychiatrist, applied his studies of Applied Kinesiology to his work in psychotherapy, naming this new field Behavioural Kinesiology.

Around the same time, Dr Roger Callahan, a psychologist, was becoming dissatisfied with the therapeutic models available to him to help patients solve their psychological problems. 

He had studied Kinesiology with Diamond and was also investigating Eastern health practices, specifically those that involved tapping on meridian points.

In the 1980s he used meridian therapy on a patient named Mary who was suffering from a deep and intractable water phobia and had been receiving therapy without result for some years.


A number of stories have tried to describe the incident that led to Mary’s cure, some more spectacular than the others.

However, it is recorded that tapping below her eye while she focused on her fear of water completely and rapidly removed that fear and the phobia never returned.

Callahan spent the next ten years developing his therapy, which he called the Thought Field Therapy or TFT. A number of therapists who studied with Callahan went on to develop further therapies from his ideas.

Some of these remain proprietary therapies subject to copyright restrictions and many others require extensive (and sometimes expensive) training before they can be effectively used.

However, one therapy stands out as both simple and freely available to all: Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), developed by Gary Craig, a Stanford engineer turned personal trainer who trained with Callahan in the early years of Thought Field Therapy.


The ancient Chinese healing therapy of acupuncture is founded upon the concept that there are specific points present in the human body which when stimulated correctly can bring about healing on a physical as well energetic level.

Basically, these specific points are sites of energy accumulation and are known as meridians. EFT Tapping is based on the principle of acupuncture as it involves stimulating these meridians by the use of slight pressure or tapping to unblock or reallocate energy. (4)

But what are these meridians really?

Meridian is a tube, like blood vessels, which have energy flowing in them. They can also be understood as subtle channels of energy. Sometimes they get blocked.

Therapies, like acupuncture, work on these blocks. EFT is based on therapies like acupuncture. We have meridians on eyebrows, under the eyes and we have the ends of meridians on the chin. 

Touch is a great healing factor and that’s why when parents touch infants and toddlers, by holding them or hugging them, they feel safe and loved.EFT combines both- touch and talk. It unlocks your meridians.

Nadis are the Indian equivalent meridians in the Chinese system of medicine. In traditional Indian medicine, the body's energy channel is referred to as Nadi. In Chinese medicine, these Nadis are referred to as meridians.

EFT Tapping allows the mind and body to work in sync to take the edge off the negative emotions and feelings. All one needs to do is tap on the meridians while focusing on the pain, discomfort, or any psychological challenge one is facing.

Tapping palliates blockages and releases pent up negative energy the same way metal needles do during acupuncture.

Acupuncture and EFT Tapping


Even though both the clinical practices share the same underlying principle, there is indeed a difference between the two.

The difference lies in the fact that acupuncture makes use of needles to stimulate the meridians while EFT Tapping makes use of fingertips to apply pressure and that makes EFT Tapping a non-invasive method.

However, the effects of practicing acupuncture can be more obvious when compared to that of gentle tapping since acupuncture involves penetrating the needles and that makes it more direct.


Clinical Studies

In his abstract to a clinical paper titled Is Acupoint Tapping an Active Ingredient or an Inert Placebo in Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT): A Randomized Controlled Dismantling Study, published on Energy Psychology Journal, Louis Fox talks about EFT Tapping borrows its basic principles from acupuncture such as applying slight pressure on acupoints or meridians. He states, “EFT or Emotional Freedom Techniques is the most widely used energy psychology method. It combines psychological exposure with the stimulation of acupuncture points (acupoints)”. (5)

Another paper by James R Lane titled The Neurochemistry of Counterconditioning: Acupressure Desensitization in Psychotherapy strives to explore the “neurochemistry of the types of acupressure counter-conditioning used in energy psychology and provides explanations for the mechanisms of actions of these therapies, based upon currently accepted paradigms of brain function, behavioural psychology, and biochemistry”. (6)

A collaborative study under the title Traditional Chinese Medicine as a Basis for Treating Psychiatric Disorders: A Review of Theory with Illustrative Cases talks about how “integrative medicine is becoming increasingly accepted in the global scheme of health care and traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is often included among integrative medicine modalities such as EFT”. (7)

These are some of the clinical data that reveal a rather obvious relation between acupuncture and Emotional Freedom Techniques.

EFT Tapping and acupuncture are two alternative healing methods that share the same underlying principle and are a beacon of light for  thousands of people today.

EFT Tapping may be a newer concept but it is rapidly gaining popularity as it’s easy to learn and practice, and gets quicker results while avoiding the hassle and resistance of getting needles penetrated into the skin.

You can learn EFT Tapping for yourself and others, become a professional EFT Practitioner and help people alleviate physical and emotional pains.


Dr Rangana Rupavi Choudhuri (PhD)

How To Self-Heal & Become An EFT Practitioner

Discover how EFT Tapping can help you to self-heal or to become professionally qualified as a Certified EFT Practitioner. Emotional Freedom Techniques (Tapping) is clinically proven to lower stress, tension, anxiety, past trauma to enable health, happiness and vitality.

In summary, Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) is an alternative therapy that is used to overcome physical and mental issues that people experience. It involves tapping on specific energy points on the body, primarily on the head and the face. Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine that involves stimulating meridians by the means of metal needles. While acupuncture and EFT aim to improve the flow of energy and balance the energy flow in our bodies, they are different from each other. Acupuncture makes use of needles, while EFT uses fingertips gently to apply pressure on certain energy points in the body.

Disclaimer: The information on this website is purely for educational purposes and does not in any way replace the requirement for medical and psychological diagnosis and treatment. Please seek professional medical and psychological diagnosis and advice for all medical and mental health conditions. It is advised to always book any consultations with qualified professionals.

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