Maintaining Practicing

Tapping: What It Is, How It Helps, How to Do It

You’re stressed, we’re stressed,  Whoopi Goldberg, Madonna, and the Duchess of Sussex (Meghan Markle) are all stressed.

But what they’re doing to feel better probably isn’t what you’re doing. Unless you’re doing EFT, Emotional Freedom Technique, (or just “Tapping” as enthusiastic adherents call it).

If after mindfulness meditation, yoga, and long walks in nature, you’re still not feeling all put together, EFT might be the mind-body thing you need to feel like everything is going to be OK — despite these unsettling times.

You’re not alone if you feel lost.  80% of all doctors’ visits these days are stress-related says the American Psychological Association. And when asked, 70% of us admit to nagging anxiety.

Enter EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique, aka “Tapping Therapy”).  Providers (who include medical doctors, psychiatrists, and a wide range of holistic clinicians) say that negative emotions trapped inside our bodies can and do lead to physical and psychological trauma – everything from back pain, lack of focus, low self-esteem, phobias, fear of flying, even sugar and alcohol addiction. They all seem to be relieved through EFT, reports Nick Ortner, author of the New York Times bestseller “The Tapping Solution: A Revolutionary System for Stress-Free Living.”

Consider the upsides.  No expense, no pharmaceuticals, no office visits.  And it’s a modality that’s easily mastered. One that you always have at your fingertips — literally — since it’s your fingers that do the healing.

Created in the late 1900s by an American clinical psychologist, EFT has roots in Thought Field Therapy (TFT), one of the first examples of “Energy Psychology.”  EFT combines the methods of time-honored Chinese acupuncture coupled with “energy” medicine strategies to bring to the surface whatever traumas are dragging you down. Simply put, you use your fingers the way an acupuncturist would use his or her fingers to stimulate each of the body’s nine energy meridians, tapping through each like a detective while repeating the affirmation you have created.

Why does it work?

Tapping sends quieting signals to that part of the brain responsible for stress response. It shuts down excess secretions of cortisol, the so-called stress hormone which is linked to a wide range of disorders from weight gain to migraines to depression. Experts note that EFT prompts a drop in cortisol as much as 24 to 50% in a single EFT session.

There are great books and videos on how to do EFT, but here’s a basic process for tapping across the 9 meridians mentioned above.

  • Identify the chief issue or negative emotion you are dealing with and name it
  • Create a “set up statement” ( i.e., an affirmation) about the outcome you are envisioning (example: “I easily lose weight”)
  • Tap through each of the 9 energy points sequentially while invoking your affirmation each time.
  • Don’t rush. Plan on 15-20 minutes for the process. Especially if you are new to it.

These are the nine Meridians: eyebrow, side of the eye, under the eye, under the nose, under the chin, collarbone, armpit, top of the head, and the heel of the palm (known as the “karate chop” spot).

Tips for EFT newbies:

  • Always tap on your MPI (most pressing issue) first, says Ortner. And start with the messages your body is sending you through pain, tension, tightness, low energy, etc.
  • Don’t worry about using the right words, or the right way to tap. Be exploratory and open.
  • Think quality, not quantity. Taping every day or twice a week may be the answer, or maybe not.  Listen to your body and give it the audience it needs if you want the emotional freedom it promises.

-Frances Goulart

Photo by Domingo Alvarez E on Unsplash

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