I don’t often allow people to guest post here on A Balanced Belly-but I’ve known Sarah for a while as part of my Healthy Living with IBD facebook group. Sarah is extremely knowledgeable about EFT so when she offered to write a post for A Balanced Belly all about her experiences, I was more than happy to have her contribute. I’ve been meaning to explore more alternative therapies on here for a while now (after my acupuncture disaster!) so this seemed a great place to begin! Take it away Sarah!
An introduction to EFT
EFT is a gentle, effective therapy which uses tapping on acupuncture points on the face and hands to clear negative emotions away Being in a state of stress has been shown to worsen the inflammation response (read ‘how stress affects your digestion‘ for more info) in the body due to certain chemicals that are created like adrenaline and cortisol. Our emotional state affects our health. Being stressed and unhappy is not good for IBD!
As well as clearing day to day or “conscious” stresses, EFT can help clear subconscious patterns and beliefs which cause us stress on a deeper level. Clearing old emotional patterns can improve our emotional wellbeing and can often improve our pattern of poor health too.
My Journey with EFT
10 years ago, I was a mess. I had aggressive Crohn’s Disease which had caused me to lose a lot of my bowel in several operations, but I still couldn’t get it under control. I was mainly bedridden, and could seldom eat solid food, instead, I was living for most of the time on prescribed liquid food – Modulen or elemental diet.
Believe it or not this was an improvement on how I was previously – cutting out certain foods from my diet and leading a more balanced healthy life meant that I hadn’t needed surgery for a few years. However, I kept getting rectal ulcers and my quality of life and my ability to care for my kids and have a good relationship with my husband was very much compromised.
I reacted badly to all the drugs the doctors had tried and I was really in despair when I came across a holistic self-help book that recommended some therapy called EFT to help IBD. I had no idea what it was but by this stage was willing to try anything as I was so desperate. I googled my nearest practitioner and booked an appointment.
When I first went for EFT, I felt incredibly anxious and very depressed and hopeless. Even getting to my appointment was an ordeal as my diarrhoea was so bad I was afraid I was going to have an accident on the bus!
The practitioner tapped gently on a few points on my face, neck and hands as I repeated how anxious and depressed I felt all the time. To my surprise, the negative feelings started to lift, and I actually got the giggles! In subsequent sessions, we tapped on all my fears and sadness about having Crohn’s and how it affected my family life. I felt more and more calm and positive. The amazing thing was, as I began to relax and feel happier, my blood tests began to improve, too, with inflammation markers going down.
Can I prove that this was due to the EFT? No. But studies show a strong link between the hormones and chemicals released when we are in a frequent state of anxiety, such as adrenaline and cortisol, and the inflammatory process. As I calmed down emotionally, my immune system seemed to calm down too, and my health improved. I was so intrigued that I began to train in EFT myself, in order to help myself further.
My health was better, but still gave me problems. Experienced EFT practitioners helped me to realise that although I wasn’t feeling anxious and depressed about my health any more, certain life experiences had led me to behave in ways which still created an underlying stress for me, which was harming my health. My self-esteem and confidence weren’t great, I tended to drive myself hard, I was resentful and hurt about some things that had happened to me and I tended to put a lot of energy into pleasing and looking after other people rather than myself. I worked on clearing away old emotional baggage and negative patterns I had, and began to feel happier, and more deeply at peace with myself than I ever had before. And my health followed this upward trend.
Did it solve my IBD problems completely? No. I can still have symptoms and go out of balance if I get stressed or don’t look after myself well enough, by eating rubbish or skimping on relaxation and rest. Three years ago I let something get on top of me to the extent that I had a flare and decided to try biologics again.
I reacted very badly and ended up having an emergency temporary stoma op. The whole experience shook me up but also gave me renewed motivation to care for myself holistically – and keep using EFT myself instead of just telling others about it!
But how does it work?
- EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques), sometimes known as “tapping”, involves tapping gently on certain points on the body, (acupuncture points), whilst thinking and talking about an issue that bothers you.
- It’s thought to ‘ clear away’ negative emotions such as anxiety and depression and helping you feel clearer and more centred.
- It is hard to say exactly how it works, but it has been shown to be so effective that it is taught in many medical schools in the USA now, used in war veteran programs for PTSD, and offered on the NHS here in the UK in a few areas – sadly not all yet.
What to do if you want to learn more about EFT.
I believe that using EFT, such a simple and effective way to clear stress and negative emotional patterns, has been a life-changer for me. I now run my own EFT business helping people with all sorts of problems – many of them have IBD and have found EFT helpful in improving their state of mind, and their physical symptoms, which I have come to believe are deeply bound up with our emotional state.
The great thing about EFT is that you can learn to tap on yourself, so you don’t need to spend endless money seeing a practitioner. Having said that, I did find it very supportive and helpful to work with a good practitioner at times. If you want to find out more about EFT and how to do it, you could look at this site created by its inventor: or find a fully qualified, certified practitioner on