Monday, August 18, 2008

Qu'est-ce que c'est, le EFT?

This is an intro video from the founders of Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT). EFT is a relatively modern way of accessing the meridian system of acupuncture. In the video it's described as "acupuncture without needles", and that's a pretty good description, except that you may get much quicker results with EFT than with acupuncture.

How is that possible? First, understand that there are as many different styles of acupuncture as there are of cooking. To say that you practice acupuncture is the same thing as saying that you cook "Chinese food" - there really isn't any such thing. Yes, all acupuncture uses needles, but that's like saying all Chinese cooking uses heat. What is the theory behind where you put the needles? How big are the needles you use? Do you even break the skin at all? (Some styles don't.) What names do you have for the points? Do you needle symmetrically or asymmetrically? Every day or once a week? And on and on and on.

The style of acupuncture most people learn in Chinese medicine school in the U.S. is a kind of "herbal acupuncture" - the points themselves get stuck with specific functions that are always the same. But this is not how the points work. It was an herb teacher who told me that acupuncture is actually much more complex and harder to master than herbology, even though there are a limited number of points (about 400) and virtually limitless numbers of herbs (300-500 used in daily practice, but hundreds of thousands of natural substances - animal, vegetable, mineral - have documented medicinal effects in Chinese medicine). Once you learn what each specific herb does and how it combines with other herbs, you can rely on it to have more or less the same action every time you use it, adjusting for individual constitutional types.

Acupuncture points are much more mysterious. What happens when you put a needle into a person's body is influenced more than anything by the state of health of the acupuncturist - and secondarily by the meridian it is located on, how skillfully you locate it, how skillfully you manipulate it, if you get the qi, what you do with it once you get it, the time of day, the weather, geography, the doctor-patient relationship, and on and on. Acupuncture points don't necessarily do the same thing every time, and to pretend that they do is a little silly.

There are other schools or styles of acupuncture that have many followers. For instance, there is the Tung style, about which this website says:
Tung Style Acupuncture uses points different from those found in most present-day TCM acupuncture texts. While many of the Tung points are found on the twelve regular channels they are, however, in distinct locations from the 360+ points presented in the aforementioned TCM acupuncture texts. They are also largely distinct from the miscellaneous 'extra' or 'non-channel' points described in most contemporary TCM acupuncture texts.

The Tung Style Acupuncture points chosen for the treatment of any given malady are located mostly on the extremities and at a distance from the site of the lesion or pathology. Furthermore, the number of points required to successfully ameliorate any given ailment is fewer than that required in most current TCM acupuncture texts to treat the same malady.

The best acupuncturists, in my experience, are those that have a good "eye" for "seeing" blockages in various meridians. Information about blockages can be gathered in many ways - taking the pulse and palpating various body structures is one of the most reliable. When they find a blockage, they unblock it. That's it. Sometimes a diagnosis is not even necessary. Look for blockages, unblock them. Patient gets better.

EFT is a way for people to very quickly assess where the blockages are in their body. Through some admittedly funny-looking techniques (tapping yourself with your fingertips on the face being one of them) you can find blockages and release them.

If you read yesterday's post, you know that blockages can be caused by three things: the weather (traditionally called the six evil qi - wind, heat, cold, dryness, dampness, and something called summerheat), excessive emotion (that's your internal weather - anger, fear, joy, grief, worry, shock, melancholy) and external trauma caused by snake bite or kung fu battling.

With EFT, the cause of the blockage doesn't matter. With the help of an experienced EFT practitioner, you can find and eliminate the blockage very quickly.

Yosan alum Yang-chu Higgins is an EFT practitioner and is leading a workshop this Wednesday in Los Angeles called Enhancing Self-worth with Tapping. For more information, call 310-397-8523.

For more information on non-mainstream acupuncture, see these books:

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