What is tapping?
Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) is a powerful modality that combines the somatic and cognitive together into a true mind-body approach. Clinical EFT has been applied in psychological and medical environments for over 20 years and is in the process of being validated as an evidence-based practice by the American Psychological Association (APA). This means that you’re likely to be reading and hearing even more about it as it becomes more mainstream.
EFT is often referred to as ‘tapping’ due to its application: using two or more fingers to stimulate acupressure points on the face and upper body whilst repeating statements related to the issue that you’re working on. It has three essential ingredients; exposure, cognitive framing and acupressure.
Research has found EFT treatment to be effective for anxiety, stress, depression, PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder), phobias, cravings, pain, insomnia and autoimmune conditions as well as professional and sports performance.
It has the ability to deregulate (switch off) up to six genes in the body that are responsible for stress symptoms and syndromes, lower the stress hormone cortisol levels and positively impacts brain activity and other biological effects.
The growing research base also shows that not only is it a safe treatment, it produces results quicker and more effectively than traditional talking therapy. You can work with an accredited, certified EFT Practitioner or use it as a self-applied stress reduction technique – it is easy to learn and simple to apply.
What is the tapping technique and where are the tapping points?
Although there are many variations of tapping which are still considered effective, let’s look at clinical EFT tapping for this example.
Before you begin, you may want to rate the feeling or issue that you’re experiencing on a scale from 0-10, with 0 = no distress and 10= the highest level of distress. This is called the SUD (Subjective Units of Distress) rating.
Initially we start with a ‘set-up statement’ tapping on the side of the hand underneath the little finger. The set up is an acknowledgement of the problem and/or feeling we are having and an acceptance of it, for example: “even though I am feeling anxious, I deeply and completely accept myself”.
Then we would move into the rest of the process and repeat a ‘reminder phrase’ whilst tapping through each point: start of the eyebrow, side of the eye, under the eye, under the nose, under the lip on the chin crease, an inch under the collarbone, under the arm (about four fingers down from the armpit), and top of the head. The reminder phrase might be something like, ‘this anxiety’ or ‘I’m feeling anxious’. We would call this a ‘round’.
Once you get to the top of the head, take a deep breath in and out and then rate the feeling or issue using the SUD scale again. If your number is still high, you repeat the round (starting at the eyebrow point and ending at the top of the head). It’s recommended that you repeat the process as many times as you need until your SUD rating is 0.
Other ways you can use EFT
If you are someone who gets anxious or stressed in public you could also use discreet tapping and tap on the finger points that are located at the inside of your finger by your nail – great if you’re in a public space or want to refocus in the office.
Choosing to use particular points that feel right for you, e.g. only tapping underneath the collarbone.
Using affirmation statements whilst tapping - These are great to create a more positive mindset; tapping through the points saying phrases like “I am calm”, “I am successful”, “I am safe”.
Using tapping during a stretching routine – this creates a beautiful moving meditation which can leave you feeling incredible!
Adding tapping into your meditation – this is especially great if you find it difficult to switch off as it helps to bring awareness to your body and allows you to be in the moment.
You could also add tapping into your daily gratitude practice, or even into your morning walk!
Emily Andrew is an EFT Practitioner who specialises in Eating Disorders and Disordered Eating, based in Cheltenham working online and in person. If you’d like to know more about EFT, have any questions or are looking to tap with a practitioner feel free to get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org . You can also follow her on TikTok, YouTube or join in with live tap-a-longs on Instagram @wearemindbody