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What is tapping and how can it relieve stress and anxiety?

What is tapping and how can it relieve stress and anxiety?

Tapping or the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is an alternative treatment for physical pain and emotional distress. It’s also referred to as psychological acupressure. Those who use this holistic technique believe that tapping pressure points on the body can create a balance in your energy system and relieve pain.

Although it is still being researched, tapping has been used to treat anxiety disorders as well as PTSD.

How It Works
Similar to acupressure, EFT focuses on meridian points or “energy hot spots” to restore balance to the body’s energy. It is believed that, when we are depressed, anxious or emotionally distressed, our body’s energy and alignment is off. Restoring this can help balance energy flow throughout the entire body and maintain health, according to Chinese medicine.

There are several meridian points on the body that you can physically tap – applying pressure – while reciting positive affirmations and beliefs or simply sitting quietly, stilling your mind and observing your emotions.

How to Tap
EFT tapping can be divided into five steps. If you have more than one problem or fear, you can repeat this sequence to address it and reduce or eliminate the intensity of your negative feeling.

  1. Identify the issue – start by identifying one fear, belief or problem that you have. This will be your tapping focal point. Focusing on one problem at a time will enhance the outcome.
  2. Test the initial intensity – one you’ve identified your problem area; you need to set a benchmark level of intensity. On a scale from 0 to 10, with 10 being the worst or most difficult to manage and cope with. The scale assesses the emotional or physical pain and discomfort you feel from regarding 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% 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:
    1. acknowledging the issues
    2. accepting yourself despite the problem

The common setup phrase is: “Even though I have this [fear or problem], I deeply and completely love, accept and forgive myself.”

You can adjust 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 worry about my mother being sick, I deeply and completely love, accept and forgive myself.”

  1. The EFT tapping sequence – this 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 point (KC) located on the fleshy underside of your left hand: small intestine meridian
  • Top of head (TH): governing vessel
  • Eyebrows (EB): bladder meridian
  • Temples (T): gallbladder meridian
  • Under the eyes (UE): stomach meridian
  • Under the nose (UN): governing vessel
  • Chin (Ch): central vessel
  • Tops of the collarbone (CB): kidney meridian
  • Under the right 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:

  • Eyebrows
  • Temples
  • Under the eyes
  • Under the nose
  • Chin
  • Tops of the collarbone
  • Under the right 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 worry about my mother being sick, I deeply and completely love, accept and forgive myself,” your reminder phrase can be, “The worry I feel that my mother is sick.” Recite this phrase at each tapping point. Repeat this sequence two or three times.

  1. Test the final intensity -At the end of the sequence, rate your intensity level from 0 – 10. Compare your results with your initial intensity level. If you haven’t reached 0, repeat this process until you do.

The beauty of these holistic types of treatments is that there are no side effects or downsides. Tapping can be very affective when paired with other Eastern philosophies such as meditation, yoga and deep breathing. While tapping is great to try if you feel you’re stuck and, in a position, where you cannot or do not want to try traditional treatments, it is not a replacement for therapy.  

Tapping for Beginners