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Articles & Ideas


EFT methods: Questions, One-Point-EFT and Mental EFT

Important Note: This article was written prior to 2010 and is now outdated. Please use my newest advancement, Optimal EFT. It is more efficient, more powerful and clearly explained in my free e-book, The Unseen Therapist™.  Best wishes, Gary

This thought provoking article by Miranda Sterling should be of high interest to those looking for shortcuts and seeking ways to uncover core issues. Note that she uses a form of "mental muscle testing" that would likely take a fair amount of practice before mastery could be obtained.

By Miranda Sterling

Dear Gary,

I enjoyed your Steps to Becoming the Ultimate Therapist series very much, and during the section on shortening the protocol, was moved to ask my own body if there were "one point that would get it most of the time." The answer turned out to be yes. I wanted to share that short form with everyone, and also my "mental muscle testing" technique, just to give back some of the wealth I have benefited from so richly. Thank you, Gary, for all your efforts, generosity and inspiration!

Mental Muscle Testing

I do lots of Q&A during the day. I ask myself just about everything. Do I want this food? Do I want to phone this person now? Do I need EFT for anything? Especially I use it for hunting down my issues. Sometimes there will be long strings of yes/no questions while I attempt to track an old memory that may be feeding a present-day issue.

When you have a lot of muscle testing to do, or you are working out in public, as I often am, any physical muscle-testing (or physical EFT, for that matter) can seem a little too cumbersome, even if you're just using one of the smaller finger methods.

One day I realized I could do it in my head. It occurred to me that since I am very auditory, if I were willing to be neutral, I could hear "yes" as a high, flutey tone and "no" as a low, booming tone. Another person might experience them differently, but I found these two extremes work for me. Just as with the physical version, I ask myself a question, and then just "listen" for the answer.

I find I can even get shades of meaning, medium-grade tones that say "sort of," which is a great help in directing my questions. A medium tone might tell me, "you're not quite asking the right question here, but close."

You're not so auditory? That's okay! If you're visual, maybe imagine a set of colors, or intensities of light, bright for yes, dark for no, perhaps. Or if you are kinesthetic, imagine a lever, up for yes, down for no. I'm sure you can think of many possibilities. What you use matters not. The important elements are intention and neutrality. A certain degree of playfulness is also very helpful, as this frees up creativity and communication with the spirit. The more you practice this Q&A with yourself, the smoother, faster and more relevant your work will become.

Some useful questions are: Is this a physical issue? An emotional issue? or Do I need to address this first as a physical issue? If something is bothering you or is causing another trouble and you don't know what it is, you might try, Is it an incident? Is it an incident that happened recently? Did it happen when I was a child? An infant? Ages 0-5? Did it happen with my mother? Did it happen when I was in school? Was it something said to me? Done to me? Is it about anger? About guilt?

These types of questions can help you narrow down an elusive issue. They are particularly helpful when there are painful incidents from childhood that the person cannot remember.

Another very useful question is "Have I adequately defined the problem?" This is a great question, I find, helps me avoid tapping on stuff that really isn't an issue.

One Point EFT

Actually, as I use it, it is two points, doing first the "Set-Up", using the sore spot, or the karate chop point as you prefer, and then "the point," which is not in the original EFT protocol. This point is on the xiphoid process of the sternum, which is the lowest bit of cartilage on the breastbone, the last bone before the softer part of the belly, right on the center line of the body.

You want to be gentle with this spot, because it is possible to break the xiphoid, but ordinary tapping should be fine. Just tap this spot and say the name of your issue. I find it helps, in most cases.

If it does not seem to be addressing the issue, you can always use your muscle testing to ask, "do I need any other points?" I usually just ask, "face? chest? hand? gamut?" in that order and see if any other points are needed, if the xiphoid point doesn't seem to be doing it. Usually, if another point is needed it is, as Gary says, "my point," the one or two that most often seem to come up for me.

My friend who studies Ohishiatsu says that there is an acupressure point on this spot, but she doesn't think it's anything much. Perhaps this area is important in some other way. As it is, I don't know why, but so far, I've had this one point offer complete relief for about 75-80% of things I've tried with it, and my normal rate of complete success with EFT as I've been practicing it (mentally muscle testing for which points to use on every issue, and usually doing mental EFT alone,) my results with myself are something closer to 95%.

When I've used this one point with others, we've obtained at least some relief in 100% of the cases, and full relief in most. This is a small number of people, however.

Mental EFT

This is the way I've been doing EFT for almost a year now. I seldom do it physically anymore, except on other people, or when showing others how to tap. Most frequently, I will simply imagine the point in my mind, or imagine touching it, or just put my energy on that point, and take a breath. Some issues seem to want more "energy" or "movement" from me, so I might mentally tap or vibrate the point.

It may seem surprising, but I honestly find this imaginary EFT more effective than doing it physically, especially when I have a lot of ground I want to cover. It seems to me the points get a little tired when I tap physically. I feel a bit enervated, jangled. When I do it in my mind, the energy seems to flow more smoothly.

I have muscle tested on this issue quite a bit, asking myself many different times, which way is more preferable, and over and over, my body prefers to do it mentally. At the same time, I feel pretty sure that many people must prefer it the other way, might need more physical stimulation, or might be less inclined toward the active imagination required to keep track of this process in your head.

Still, I think the combination of mental EFT and muscle testing is very powerful, and also offers a great deal of promise for remote work, testing and tapping others who might be far away. At the very least, it's much safer to do in traffic!


Miranda Sterling


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