EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. EMDR utilizes bilateral stimulation to process distressing memories and events, process blockages to performance, and address problematic emotional, cognitive, and physiological states. Bilateral stimulation comes in the form of eye movements, tapping, vibrating or percussive, as well as audio.
EMDR is an evidenced-based, well-studied therapeutic modality that has been especially effective with post-traumatic stress disorder and trauma. EMDR is effective with all kinds of traumas or distresses that we experience in our lives; you do not have to have PTSD or severe symptoms from trauma to benefit from EMDR. When we broaden the definition of trauma to include any experience that is emotionally overwhelming, then EMDR has application for many sources or outcomes of psychological distress.
Instead of getting stored in long-term memory adaptive memory, psychological distress gets stuck in the nervous system. It is, for this reason, that many of us experience physiological reactions to triggers and memories such as racing heartbeat, difficulty breathing, high restlessness/urge to leave or take flight, etc. EMDR stimulates both hemispheres of the brain (the right hemisphere and left hemisphere) to process past events to their adaptive resolution in the brain, which means the distressing or challenging symptoms and consequences (emotional, cognitive, and physical) are reduced or even sometimes eliminated.