Since we know that most disease and illness is either caused or made worse by stress, addressing stress can help reduce symptoms. There is a simple acupressure approach called the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) that is proven to help reduce stress, pain and other symptoms of illness with no side effects.

EFT works on the same principle as acupuncture. In addition to its circulation system and the nerve system, your body has a meridian system. Meridians have been charted and used in Chinese medicine for over 5000 years. Each meridian is connected to various parts of the body. An acupuncturist uses tiny needles to stimulate the appropriate meridian for relief of pain and symptoms. EFT allows you to stimulate meridians without the use of needles.

A Stanford engineer named Gary Craig discovered that if you stimulate the junctions of the meridians by tapping you can often get relief. Just tapping the acupressure points relaxes the body. Research has shown that EFT reduces cortisol levels.

When you also tap on the points, while focusing on a specific pain, area of the body, thought, or emotion the results can be even more powerful and direct.

The tapping process is simple. I have outlined the steps below.

The Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)

There are four parts to the EFT technique –
• Identify the specific symptoms of the issue and its intensity,
• Set up the issue,
• Tap on the acupressure points,
• Integrate the resolution.

There are two factors that are vital to your success with the technique, being specific about the issue and staying focused on the symptoms throughout the process.

Step 1 - Identify the specific issue – for example, sharp pain in the right shoulder, shakiness in the abdomen, fear of making a mistake in (specific situation), anger at (specific person) for saying (specific words). Assign a number on a scale of 0 (low)-10 (high) indicating the intensity level you feel.

Step 2 - Set up the issue - While tapping on the edge of your palm on either hand, (where you would chop a karate board), say (aloud if possible), "Even though I have this (name the specific issue), I deeply and completely accept myself." Repeat the phrase 3 times.

If you are uncomfortable saying you accept yourself, you can say “I want to accept myself” or “I’m OK” or some other variation. The point here is that YOU are not the issue. Once the issue is resolved you will still be here. Think about it - You cannot be anything that changes. You were a baby, child, adolescent, adult. Your body, thinking, emotions and situations changed continuously through all those stages of your life and you are still you. You are the being that moved through all those changes. You have a feeling, thought, behavior; you are not those things.

Step 3 - Tap on the Points - Stay focused on the issue by using a word or two to remind yourself “this (thought, feeling, situation)” while tapping the top of the head (baby soft spot area), Eye brow (near the nose), side of the eye, under the eye (all eye points are on the orbital bone), under the nose, in the chin groove, on the collar bone, on the side of the body (about 2 inches below the armpit). The intensity of the issue is often reduced or may be gone just tapping the face & body points. If not, go on to tap the finger points (the side of the finger on the cuticle facing toward you) the thumb, first finger, middle finger, baby finger. Use either hand - either side of the body. Reassess your intensity level.

Often the original symptom is gone and another issue or symptom may appear, or you may find that the pain moved to another location. Keep doing the tapping process with whatever thoughts, feelings, sensations or memories appear until the overall intensity is low or gone.

Step 4 - Integrate the Resolution – This part of the process activates the left and right brain to integrate the change. Using four fingers tap in the groove on the back of your hand between the knuckles of the ring finger and baby finger while you do these movements: Close your eyes, open your eyes, without moving your head - look down hard to the left and right, roll your eyes clockwise and counterclockwise, hum briefly, count to 5 and hum briefly again. Reassess your intensity level.

You can see a video demonstrating these steps at

EFT is not a substitute for appropriate medical treatment. Always check with your practitioner before changing or discontinuing your medication.

Disturbing traumatic or lifelong patterns of stress are difficult to release on your own. Find a qualified EFT practitioner to guide you through the additional tapping techniques that work safely and effectively on these deeper levels.

When you are experiencing stress and symptoms of pain or illness that might have stress or emotional causes EFT can provide some relief. This simple acupressure tapping technique requires no prescription and has no side effects. It is a safe tool that you can use any time to calm your body and ease your mind. A tool that is as close as your fingertips.

Author's Bio: 

Aila Accad, RN, MSN is an award-winning international speaker, bestselling author and certified coach and EFT advanced practitioner & trainer, specializing in quick ways to release stress and empower your life. A member of the National Speakers Association, she is a popular keynote speaker and radio and television guest. Her bestselling book "34 Instant Stress-Busters, Quick tips to de-stress fast with no extra time or money" is available at Sign up for De-Stress Tips & News at and receive a gift, "Ten Instant Stress Busters" e-book.