What is Tapping?
Tapping, also known as EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques), is a powerful holistic healing technique that has been proven to effectively resolve a range of issues, including stress, anxiety, phobias, emotional disorders, chronic pain, addiction, weight control, and limiting beliefs, just to name a few.
Tapping therapy is based on the combined principles of ancient Chinese acupressure and modern psychology. Tapping with the fingertips on specific meridian endpoints of the body, while focusing on negative emotions or physical sensations, helps to calm the nervous system, rewire the brain to respond in healthier ways, and restore the body’s balance of energy.
People who use this technique believe tapping the body can create a balance in your energy system and treat pain. According to its developer, Gary Craig, a disruption in energy is the cause of all negative emotions and pain.
Though still being researched, EFT tapping has been used to treat people with anxiety and people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
So How Does It All Work?
Tapping makes full use of the mind-body connection, acknowledging and integrating the concepts that physical pain, disease, and mental wellbeing are intricately connected to our emotional states.
The body is equipped with an energy system that travels along pathways known as meridians. Tapping on these meridian endpoints helps to stimulate this system, and when verbally or mentally addressing the root causes of distress, the areas of blocked energy are able to release and flow naturally.
The basic Tapping technique requires you to focus on the negative emotion at hand – a fear, a worry, a bad memory, an unresolved problem, or anything that’s bothering you. While maintaining your mental focus on this issue, you use your fingertips to tap 5-7 times on each of the 9 specific meridian points of the body.
Tapping on these meridian points in sequence while concentrating on the negative emotions engages both the brain’s limbic system and the body’s energy system, encouraging a sense of safety and resolution. And as the scientific field of epigenetics is proving, when you change your internal environment – your emotions and beliefs – external changes in your mental & physical health will follow.
Similar to acupuncture, EFT focuses on the meridian points — or energy hot spots — to restore balance to your body’s energy. It’s believed that restoring this energy balance can relieve symptoms a negative experience or emotion may have caused.
Based on Chinese medicine, meridian points are thought of as areas of the body energy flows through. These pathways help balance energy flow to maintain your health. Any imbalance can influence disease or sickness.
Acupuncture uses needles to apply pressure to these energy points. EFT uses fingertip tapping to apply pressure.
Proponents say the tapping helps you access your body’s energy and send signals to the part of the brain that controls stress. They claim that stimulating the meridian points through EFT tapping can reduce the stress or negative emotion you feel from your issue, ultimately restoring balance to your disrupted energy.
Tapping is simple and painless. It can be learned by anyone, and you can apply it to yourself whenever you want, wherever you are. It can be used with a specific emotional intent towards your own unique life challenges and experiences. Most importantly, Tapping gives you the power to heal yourself, putting control over your destiny back into your own hands.
EFT tapping can be divided into five steps. If you have more than one issue or fear, you can repeat this sequence to address it and reduce or eliminate the intensity of your negative feeling.
1. Identify the issue
In order for this technique to be effective, you must first identify the issue or fear you have. This will be your focal point while you’re tapping. Focusing on only one problem at a time is purported to enhance your outcome.
2. Test the initial intensity
After you identify your problem area, you need to set a benchmark level of intensity. The intensity level is rated on a scale from 0 to 10, with 10 being the worst or most difficult. The scale assesses the emotional or physical pain and discomfort you feel from your focal issue.
Establishing a benchmark helps you monitor your progress after performing a complete EFT sequence. If your initial intensity was 10 prior to tapping and ended at 5, you’d have accomplished a 50 percent improvement level.
3. The setup
Prior to tapping, you need to establish a phrase that explains what you’re trying to address. It must focus on two main goals:
- acknowledging the issues
- accepting yourself despite the problem
The common setup phrase is: “Even though I have this [fear or problem], I deeply and completely accept myself.”
You can alter this phrase so that it fits your problem, but it must not address someone else’s. For example, you can’t say, “Even though my mother is sick, I deeply and completely accept myself.” You have to focus on how the problem makes you feel in order to relieve the distress it causes. It’s better to address this situation by saying, “Even though I’m sad my mother is sick, I deeply and completely accept myself.”
4. EFT tapping sequence
The EFT tapping sequence is the methodic tapping on the ends of nine meridian points.
There are 12 major meridians that mirror each side of the body and correspond to an internal organ. However, EFT mainly focuses on these nine:
- karate chop (KC): small intestine meridian
- top of head (TH): governing vessel
- eyebrow (EB): bladder meridian
- side of the eye (SE): gallbladder meridian
- under the eye (UE): stomach meridian
- under the nose (UN): governing vessel
- chin (Ch): central vessel
- beginning of the collarbone (CB): kidney meridian
- under the arm (UA): spleen meridian
Begin by tapping the karate chop point while simultaneously reciting your setup phrase three times. Then, tap each following point seven times, moving down the body in this ascending order:
- side of the eye
- under the eye
- under the nose
- beginning of the collarbone
- under the arm
After tapping the underarm point, finish the sequence at the top of the head point.
While tapping the ascending points, recite a reminder phrase to maintain focus on your problem area. If your setup phrase is, “Even though I’m sad that we are going through a deadly pandemic, I deeply and completely accept myself,” your reminder phrase can be, “The sadness I feel that so many people are getting sick.” Recite this phrase at each tapping point. Repeat this sequence two or three times.
5. Test the final intensity
At the end of your sequence, rate your intensity level on a scale from 0 to 10. Compare your results with your initial intensity level. If you haven’t reached 0, repeat this process until you do.
Basic Tapping Sequence for Anxiety
As discussed, Tapping can be used to resolve a variety of issues – so try it on everything! Here’s the method for how to use it. In this example, we’ll focus on general anxiety.
Here’s how a basic Tapping sequence works:
- Identify the problem on which you want to focus. It can be general anxiety, or it can be a specific situation or issue which causes you to feel anxious.
- Consider the problem or situation. How do you feel about it right now? Rate the intensity level of your anxiety on a scale of 0 to 10, with zero being the lowest level of anxiety and ten being the highest.
- Compose a setup statement. Your setup statement should acknowledge the problem you want to deal with, then follow it with an unconditional affirmation of yourself as a person.
Setup statement examples:
“Even though I feel this anxiety, I deeply and completely accept myself.”
“Even though I’m anxious about my interview, I deeply and completely accept myself.”
“Even though I’m feeling this anxiety about my financial situation, I deeply and completely accept myself.”
“Even though I panic when I think about ______, I deeply and completely accept myself.”
“Even though I’m worried about how to approach my boss, I deeply and completely accept myself.”
“Even though I’m having trouble breathing, I deeply and completely accept myself.”
Get ready to begin Tapping!
- With four fingers on one hand, begin tapping the Karate Chop point on your other hand. The Karate Chop point is on the outer edge of the hand, on the opposite side from the thumb.
- Repeat the setup statement three times aloud, while simultaneously tapping the Karate Chop point. Now take a deep breath.
- Now, tap about 5 to 7 times each on the remaining eight points in the sequence described below. As you tap on each point, repeat a simple reminder phrase, such as “my anxiety” or “my interview” or “my financial situation” to help you mentally focus on your issue.
Eyebrow Point (EB)
Where the eyebrows begin, closest to the bridge of the nose.
Side of Eye (SE)
On the bone directly along the outside of either eye.
Under Eye (UE)
On the bone directly under either eye.
Under Nose (UN)
The area directly beneath the nose and above the upper lip.
Chin Point (CP)
This is the area just below your bottom lip and above the chin, right in the crease.
Collarbone Point (CB)
Starting from where your collar bones meet in the center, go down an inch and out an inch on either side.
Under Arm (UA)
On your side, about four inches beneath the armpit.
Top of Head (TH)
Directly on the crown of your head.
And take another deep breath!
- Now that you’ve completed the sequence, focus on your problem again. How intense is the anxiety now, in comparison to a few minutes ago? Give it a rating on the same 0 to 10 scale. Did you notice a shift?
If your anxiety level is still higher than 2 or 3, you can do another round of tapping. Keep tapping through the sequence until the anxiety is gone. You can change your setup statement slightly to take into account your efforts to fix the problem or your desire for continued progress.
“Even though I have some remaining anxiety, I deeply and completely accept myself.”
“Even though I’m still a little worried about this interview, I deeply and completely accept myself.” And so on.
- Now that you’ve focused on dispelling your immediate anxiety, you can work on instilling some positive feelings in its place. This approach is different from traditional “positive thinking.” You’re not being dishonest with yourself. You’re not trying to obscure the stress and anxiety inside yourself with a veneer of insincere affirmations. Rather, you’ve confronted and dealt with the anxiety and its corresponding negative emotions, offering deep and complete acceptance to both your feelings and yourself.
After you’ve cleared the emotional dirt away, you can then turn your thoughts and vibrations to the powerful and positive. That’s what makes Tapping so much more effective than the “positive thinking” techniques that many of you have already tried. It’s not just a mental trick. You’re actually changing your body’s biochemistry and energy into a more positive direction.
Here are some example phrases to guide you:
“I have faith in my ability to change.”
“I am joyful about these positive changes.”
“I am accomplishing so much.”
“I enjoy the calm and peace that I have.”
“I love the person that I am.”
“I am becoming a more relaxed and joyful person.”
You can use these positive phrases with the same sequence of Tapping points described above.
- Here are some tips to help you achieve the correct technique.
You should use a firm but gentle pressure, the same as if you were drumming on the top of your desk or testing a melon for ripeness.
You can use all four fingers, or just the first two (the index and middle fingers). Four fingers are generally used on wider areas, while just two can be used on sensitive areas, such as around the eyes.
Tap with your fingertips, not your fingernails.
You can tap one side of the body or both at the same time. The meridian points are symmetrical on either side of the body.
Does EFT Tapping Work?
EFT has been used to effectively treat war veterans and active military with PTSD. In a 2013 studyTrusted Source, researchers studied the impact of EFT tapping on veterans with PTSD against those receiving standard care.
Within a month, participants receiving EFT coaching sessions had significantly reduced their psychological stress. In addition, more than half of the EFT test group no longer fit the criteria for PTSD.
There are also some success stories from people with anxiety using EFT tapping as an alternative treatment.
A 2016 reviewTrusted Source compared the effectiveness of using EFT tapping over standard care options for anxiety symptoms. The study concluded there was a significant decrease in anxiety scores compared to participants receiving other care. However, further research is needed to compare EFT treatment with other cognitive therapy techniques.