The short answer to the question, is EFT o.k. for Christians to use ?, is in my opinion: yes. I understand and appreciate that discernment in these matters is important, so I'll address this as well as I can, and I suspect in time we'll grow in our understanding of this method and how it works.
In fact, I believe using EFT was very helpful in helping me to let go of or remove enough emotional darkness to allow me to understand and embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ and truly realize that the Bible is the Word of God.
Since the body's meridian network may not (yet) be a mainstream scientific concept, and it's at least nominally related to acupuncture and the whole concept may be seen by some as 'new age-y' or unscriptural, Dr. Callahan notes that in 1995, Pierre de Vernejoul provided concrete evidence that the meridian network does exist. The bottom line: the meridian system is an actual, clearly defined network. Thus, the energy system used in Thought Field Therapy [and by extension, EFT] is genuine, and not some mystical notion. [fn]Callahan, Roger J.,PhD with Robert Trubo,Tapping the Healer Within © 2001 by Roger J. Callahan, published by Contemporary Books, Chicago IL 60712, pg. 27-28.[/fn]
Bob Larson writes the following in the book Larson's book of Spiritual Warfare, in reference to acupuncture:
Acupuncture – Knowledge of acupuncture goes back nearly three thousand years in Chinese literature. Primitive societies practiced it hundreds of years earlier.
One legend claims that acupuncture arose when villagers noticed that a warrior's long-standing maladies were mysteriously cured by spear wounds suffered during a battle. [He then discusses the use of different materials for the needles over time.] Their use is based on the philosophy of Chinese medicine, which is rooted in the religious philosophy of Chinese medicine, which is rooted in the religious tenets of Taoism. [Then discusses their belief in 'chi'or 'life force' and yin / yang principles] Both flow through the body in defined pathways known as meridians.
Christians must ask whether the use of acupuncture can be divorced from its pagan and occult background. That depends on the practitioners motives.[fn]Larson, Bob Larson's book of Spiritual Warfare, © 1999 by Bob Larson, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville,TN, pg 224, 225. [/fn]
Possible Scientific Explanations
I also did some research on the internet, and didn't find anything that shows it was or is used in conjunction with religious ritual or that there is any use of 'spirits' in its use, My current thoughts are that they discovered something that worked in some areas for medicinal purposes, and then used their religious or spiritual beliefs to explain why it worked -- but also see updated information below.
"However, other authorities that were asked “how does EFT work?“ suggested more conventional biological mechanisms. Such as:
- Increased regulation of sympathetic-parasympathetic interaction, and of the HPA hypothalamuspituitary-adrenal (Lane, 2006)
- Decreased hyperarousal of the limbic system and other brain structures involved in the fight or flight response generated by exposure to trauma (Feinstein, 2008a)
- Changes in the amygdala and anterior cingulate areas of the brain (Felmingham, et. al. 2006)
- The semiconductive properties of the connective tissue on which the tapping points are located (Oschman, 2005)
- Down-regulation and increased reuptake rates of cortisol and other stress hormones (Church, 2008d)
- Increased expression of the stress-regulatory Immediate Early Genes (Church, 2007) ..."
Later on in the same article it notes: "After EFT treatment there are reductions in cortisol, a primary stress hormone, and these reductions are accompanied by improvements in heart rate variability (HRV).
HRV and cortisol are primary stress markers for a wide variety of genetic, hormonal, and neurological effects of stress. They both correlate with significant changes in the conditions measured on the SA-45 questionnaire (Church, 2008c)."
There are a few other links to research articles in the comments to the blog article linked above for those who are interested.
And all of that fits in with the following passage of scripture:
I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. (Psa 139:14 KJV)
Acupuncture and other 'energy therapies'
However, in the book They Shall Expel Demons , Derek Prince tells of a Chinese doctor in Malaysia as follows, leading to the inescapable conclusion that acupuncture is not something a Christian should engage in or practice:
About eight years ago, at a retreat in Singapore, God spoke to me about the dangers of acupuncture and its link to the occult, especially its inseparable origin with traditional Chinese religion. I immediately renounced my practice of acupuncture - a skill I learned in Hong Kong and practiced successfully for five years.
... I gathered all my machines, needles, books, diploma and charts and made a great bonfire of them publicly. The total cost of the items was about $15,000-- but the blessings after that were priceless because:
1. My wife, who had suffered from chronic migraine and had acupuncture, done by me many times before, was immediately healed without medicine or prayer.
2. My unexplained fear of darkness immediately vanished.
3. My medical practice, instead of suffering a loss, received a doublefold increase in blessings. [fn] Prince, Derek They Shall Expel Demons © 1998 by Derek Prince, Chosen Books, Grand Rapids MI,(Sixteenth Printing March 2008),pg 135. [/fn]
There are 3 more paragraphs of the letter, well worth reading. After reading this (June 2008), I again became concerned about using EFT, since I obviously don't want to be involved in something that would be spiritually dangerous, and it is nominally based on the acupuncture meridian system. So I prayed, being ready to renounce EFT publicly, along with re-doing this article and re-thinking this ministry. Had I been deceived? I slept on it, and when I woke up I remembered my dilemna and prayer, and here's what I believe the Lord revealed to me: 'The training for acupuncture involves many hours of study, and that study involves a good deal of the spiritual basis of the practice. However, one can learn EFT without any particular spiritual basis behind it.' Essentially leading to the conclusion that I can continue with the EFT work. However, I am also open to the thoughts of other believers on this topic.
It's possible that you may look at all of this and still be a bit apprehensive about even trying EFT, which is understandable, and all I would ask is that you pray about it, and also look at the brief instructions available in the free e-booklet on this site on the download page, or the complete manual available from Amazon.com; and see that there aren't any religious rituals or praying to idols or anything, it just looks a little strange if you're not used to it. I no longer think it looks strange, but at one point I did.
EFT is considered or falls under the heading of 'energy therapy', and some of those methods do indeed call on 'spiritual forces' or 'angels' and the like. I don't believe that many of those 'therapies' would be compatible with Christianity, such as Reiki. Several years ago I did study Reiki a bit, and had a 'level 1 attunement'. (There are apparently 3 'levels' before one can be considered a 'master') I have since repented of that, and never did engage in it as a practice. I don't necessarily want to 'stir the pot' with those statements, but I've run across some discernment websites that discuss some of the 'new age' practices some in the Christian faith are embracing, so I wanted to add my perspective.
When I first sat down and thought, and had months of prayer about the whole issue of whether EFT is a Christian sort of thing to do, for me the biggest plus is that it encourages or enhances the 'fruit of the spirit'. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. (Gal 5:22-23 KJV) Lastly, I wanted to add a comment that was left on my blog on Oct 19 2007 [note – I fixed a couple of typos below that were in the original comment.]:
I too am a Christian who uses EFT, not just with myself, but with a number of Christian clients I see at my church. I find that work on stubborn emotional issues, addictions and self-deprecating thought patterns makes a huge difference to how these people run their spiritual lives. It brings people closer to God, improves prayer life, and sets them on the path to becoming more effective disciples. Keep up the good work. Dave