I’m pretty open-minded to most types of alternative therapies and treatments, and I am usually willing to try anything. But I am a research Nazi and like to break down and investigate the facts from fiction. So what exactly is Tapping therapy, and is it something that you could easily add to your daily routine?
After being subjected to my fair share of conventional western medicine along the lines of chemotherapy and daily endocrine therapy, the possibility of actually improving my health and wellbeing without the use of drugs and cytotoxic substances piques my interest.
Note: I am not advocating to not seek medical guidance or use conventional therapies; both are my first-line approach but I am also interested in the use of alternative therapies if the individual situation permits
Since turning fifty it has been my mission, quest, goal, or whatever label you want to give it to change my outlook on life.
It became apparent to me on reaching the big 5-oh that I was merely existing on a day-to-day basis with no real goals or intentions.
And I was also struggling under the weight of certain circumstances outside of my control.
Now, for someone with control issues, this was causing me all sorts of stress and sleepless nights.
So I started looking into ways to improve my mental health and wellness and help me regain focus and control over my life.
I researched and looked into a variety of practices and methods but one, in particular, caught my attention – Tapping or EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique).
What is Tapping Therapy?
Tapping or EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) is a psychological acupressure technique widely used to improve emotional health and wellbeing.
According to Nick Ortner, The Tapping Solution, EFT is based on the combined principles of ancient Chinese acupressure and modern psychology.
The human body is a network of electrical circuits that run along a specific network of channels.
These energy channels are known as meridian lines.
EFT uses the same meridian lines as traditional acupuncture, which has been used for over 5,000 years to treat both emotional and physical ailments.
Chinese acupuncturists discovered that by stimulating these meridians they could heal the human body.
Instead of using traditional needles as they do in acupuncture, EFT uses a simple tapping method using the fingertips to tap on the specific meridian points.
Whilst there are numerous meridian points throughout the human body, EFT focuses specifically on nine particular points located on the upper body.
The intention is to tap on these nine meridian points in ascending succession whilst focusing on a specific problem, either physical or emotional.
Tapping on these meridian endpoints, while addressing the root cause of your distress and negative emotions, sends a calming signal to the brain allowing you to feel relaxed and in control.
You start with the negative statements and emotions, then switch to positive affirmations.
“Quiet the Mind, and the Soul will Speak” – Buddha
What is Tapping meant to do?
Tapping is said to have a myriad of positive benefits:
- Tapping regulates the nervous system
- Tapping boosts the immune system
- Tapping calms the brain and boosts brain power
- Tapping eliminates stress and anxiety
- Tapping lowers cortisol
- Tapping improves sleep and reduces insomnia
- Tapping reduces depression
- Tapping reduces food cravings
- Tapping is said to reduce symptoms of PTSD
- Tapping assists with weight loss
- Tapping controls fears and phobias
- Tapping can support grief and loss
- Tapping can curb cravings and addictions
- Tapping can reduce panic attacks
- Tapping can help with abuse and trauma
- Tapping can relieve pain
Wow, that is a very long and comprehensive list of benefits; and if this is starting to sound like a whole lot of hogwash or a shady snake-oil sales pitch, let’s look at the scientific research trials and data-based evidence before we call bullshit.
What is Tapping: The Evidence-Based Data and Expert Opinions
A/Professor Peta Stapleton is a registered Clinical and Health Psychologist and world-leading researcher in EFT, and author of The Science Behind Tapping.
Dr Stapleton claims the mechanisms behind EFT include the deactivation of the amygdala (the stress centre in the brain) and the hippocampus (the memory centre) and vagal nerve improvement.
EFT has been proven as an “evidence-based” practice for anxiety, depression, phobias and PTSD.
One 2012 study showed Tapping lowered cortisol by up to 43% compared to traditional talk therapy.
Whereas another study, published in the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, on PTSD and psychological distress symptoms in veterans, concluded after the trial that 90% of the participants no longer met the criteria for PTSD.
Clinical research trials show that Tapping calms the amygdala in the brain, regulates the nervous system and reduces stress and anxiety, and Dr Stapleton conducted the World’s 1st MRI study on the effects of EFT on the brain to reduce food cravings.
A/Professor Stapleton has been involved in multiple evidence-based EFT studies but if the research papers are a bit hot and heavy to digest, watch her Tedx Talk “ Is Therapy Facing a Revolution?” for an insightful summary on Tapping Therapy.
What are Meridian Points?
In traditional Chinese medicine, a meridian is a channel through which qi (energy) flows.
They can also be known as acupuncture meridians, acupoints and energy vessels.
The meridians are believed to be energy channels that function like a pathway through the entire body.
Meridian lines are said to connect the surface of the body with the internal organs.
9 EFT Meridian Points:
- Karate chop (side of hand) – small intestine
- Top of head – governing vessel
- Eyebrow – bladder
- Side of the eye – gallbladder
- Under the eye – stomach
- Under the nose – governing vessel
- Chin – central vessel
- Collarbone – kidneys
- Under the arm – spleen
5 Simple Steps to Successfully Start Tapping
The steps to follow on How to Tap are really quite simple and straightforward:
1. Identify your Issue (physical or emotional)
2. Rate your Initial Intensity on a scale from 0 – 10
3. Tap on the Karate Chop point 3 x times while reciting your set-up phrase
4. Tap on each of the nine Meridian points 7 x times while moving down the body in ascending order:
- SIDE of the HAND (Karate Chop)
- SIDE of the EYE
- UNDER the EYE
- UNDER the NOSE
- UNDER the ARM
- TOP of the HEAD
5. Rate your Final Intensity on a scale from 0 – 10
What is Tapping? Watch Nick Ortner, The Tapping Solution, demonstrate the technique.
What are Set-Up Phrases?
One of the baffling parts of Tapping is “what is a set-up phrase” and what do I say when I tap?
And for me personally, it was also how not to feel like a right twat sitting there hitting my face whilst muttering to myself!
My simple solution to this dilemma – do it in private behind closed doors! And to avoid being carted away in a straight jacket, probably best not Tap in a public place or at your office desk.
Anyway, back on track.
A set-up phrase is a statement you recite whilst tapping on each of the 9 meridian points.
You always start with the negative emotions or physical pain points first.
Be as specific as possible.
The most common statement to start with is:
“Although I have this (fear/issue/problem), I deeply and completely accept myself”
You can adapt your phrase to suit your personal situation but always keep it in the first person and don’t reference others i.e. don’t say:
“Although my husband has lost his job, and our financial situation is worrying, I deeply and completely accept myself.”
“Although I am worried and anxious that my husband has lost his job, I deeply and completely accept myself.”
What are the Benefits of Tapping?
- It is simple to learn
- Anyone can do it
- There is no need for a therapist
- It is inexpensive
- It’s fast and effective
- It can help calm your mind and promote a sense of mindfulness
- It is a gentle and relaxing technique
- It has proven benefits that may assist your emotional and physical wellness
If Tapping is something that has piqued your interest as well there is a great app you can download, The Tapping Solution by Nick Ortner.
This guided app has lots of free Tapping sessions to help start you on your Tapping journey. The paid version has a huge variety of sessions to cover lots of different scenarios, but for beginners, the free version is a great resource.
After a few weeks of Tapping, I can confidently say that I really enjoy it.
Tapping has helped calm my mind and has definitely enabled me to relax and destress.
It is early days yet, but my initial takeaway is I find Tapping much easier and more enjoyable than sitting in silence, trying to meditate. I think the movement and mantras keep me focused, instead of my mind racing off on a tangent like it does when I try to meditate.
Tapping is definitely a quick, easy and effective technique that I can, and will, continue to include in my daily routine.
If this article has encouraged you to try Tapping leave a comment below.
Disclaimer: Tapping can trigger strong feelings and emotions. If you intend to use Tapping for a traumatic event, it’s best to seek the assistance of a qualified therapist.