Balancer Spotlight – Tapping
You may have heard of acupuncture or acupressure as alternative healing modalities that can support better health and well-being. But have you ever heard of tapping?
This powerful holistic health technique is meant to help us resolve physical and emotional issues and feel better quickly. By simply focusing on the problem and tapping lightly on 9 specific points on your body, you might just be able to release stress, anxiety, pain, and other difficult feelings.
Let’s explore what tapping is, what the benefits are, and how to do it yourself.
What is tapping?
Tapping is also called emotional freedom technique, or EFT. It is a healing technique that is rooted in the principles of traditional Chinese medicine as well as the principles of modern psychology.
The idea of tapping originated in the 1970s from the work of Dr. George Goodheart, Dr. John Diamond, and Dr. Roger Callahan. EFT itself was founded in the 1990s thanks to Gary Craig, a student of Dr. Callahan.
Tapping is similar to acupuncture in that it focuses on specific points on the body that are located along the traditional Chinese medicine meridians. Meridians are thought to be pathways in the body through which energy flows. The idea is that when we work on specific points (acupuncture points) along the meridians, we can restore the flow of energy, bring things back into balance, and improve physical and emotional health concerns.1
People who practice tapping and EFT believe that tapping on specific meridian points can help to release difficult emotions and feelings, thus finding relief from things like anxiety, pain, stress, and other issues that may be holding us back.1
According to The Tapping Solution, “Tapping on these meridian points while you think about what is causing you stress helps your mind understand that you are not in any physical danger and it is safe to relax.”2
You can perform tapping yourself as a form of self-care, or you can get the help of an experienced EFT tapping practitioner who can guide you through the process. Tapping has even been shown to be effective for reducing psychological distress when people are given tapping instructions via a mobile app.3
What are the benefits of tapping?
Research has shown that EFT has benefits for a wide range of concerns including anxiety, stress, pain, PTSD, and depression.4 5 6 7 Studies also indicate that it may be useful for things like athletic performance, academic performance, phobias, and various health conditions ranging from fibromyalgia to seizure disorders.8
Observed benefits of tapping include lower:
- Emotional intensity
- Food cravings
- Cortisol levels
- Blood pressure levels
- Resting heart rate9
Many studies report a very high efficacy rate of this treatment approach. For example, A 2019 study found that people who were taught EFT methods experienced a 40% reduction in anxiety, a 35% reduction in depression, a 57% reduction in pain, a 74% reduction in cravings, and a 31% increase in happiness after performing EFT.4
The 9 tapping points used in EFT
There are 9 main points that are used with tapping. They are:
- “Karate Chop” (outer edge of your hand, opposite the thumb)
- Top of your head (on the crown of your head)
- Eyebrow (on the inner edge of your eyebrow closest to your nose)
- Side of the eye (on the bone that is on the outside edge of each eye)
- Under the eye (on the bone directly underneath each eye)
- Under the nose (the area between your nose and upper lip)
- Chin (in the crease just below your bottom lip)
- Collarbone (about an inch below the inner edge of your collarbone)
- Under the arm (about 4 inches below your armpit, along the side of your body)2
Each of these points corresponds to an acupuncture point along the traditional Chinese medicine meridians.
How to do tapping yourself
If you do want to learn how to do tapping yourself, it is fairly easy to do. The basic technique involves focusing on the unresolved problem (fear, worry, bad memory, etc.) and then tapping 9 different points on the body 5 to 7 times each.
Here’s a more detailed guide on how to do a basic tapping sequence.
1. Focus on a specific issue
Identify the physical or emotional concern you would like to address at this time. Only focus on one issue for each tapping session.
2. Rate the intensity of the issue on a scale of 1-10
Consider how you are feeling right now concerning the situation. Rate the intensity of your emotion, with 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest.
3. Create your setup statement
A setup statement is a phrase that you will repeat during the tapping process. It is meant to help you name and acknowledge the problem or emotion that you would like to address while practicing self-acceptance at the same time.
The basic structure of a setup statement will look something like this: “Even though (I have this problem), I deeply and completely accept myself.”
Some examples include:
- “Even though I am scared to speak up for myself at work, I deeply and completely accept myself.”
- “Even though I feel this anxiety, I accept my feelings fully.”
- “Even though I am worried about my finances, I honor my feelings and myself.”
- “Even though I am sad that my relationship is over, I accept myself and my feelings fully as they are.”
4. Begin the tapping sequence
Here is the basic sequence to follow while tapping:
- With your fingers on one hand, begin tapping the Karate Chop point on the opposite hand.
- Repeat your setup statement three times out loud. Continue to tap the Karate Chop point while you say the statement aloud.
- Take a deep breath.
- Tap 5-7 times on each of the remaining eight points in the following sequence:
- Side of the eye
- Under the eye
- Under the nose
- Under your arm
- Top of your head
- As you tap each of these points, repeat a simple phrase out loud that keeps you mentally focused on the issue at hand. For example, you might say “my fear of speaking up,” “my anxiety,” “my stressful financial situation,” or “my sadness over my relationship ending” as you tap the points 5-7 times each.
- When you complete the sequence, take another deep breath.
5. Rate the intensity again
Focus on the issue again, and rate the intensity of your emotion on the 1 to 10 scale. Do you notice a difference in how you feel? If the intensity has not decreased substantially, try repeating the process and doing another round of tapping. If needed, adjust your setup statement to better reflect how you feel this time around.2
General tapping tips:
- Use your index finger and middle finger together to cover more surface area while you tap. On larger areas, you might even use all four fingers.
- Choose one side of the body to tap meridian points, or do both at the same time. Meridians follow symmetrical paths on both sides of the body, so it is not required to tap on both sides.
- Tap lightly, but firmly. It shouldn’t hurt or bruise, but you should feel a gentle pressure.
- Repeat the process as often as you would like. For most people, a few times per day is effective.
- If you’d like the support of a professional, EFT International has a directory of EFT practitioners available to work with.
Tapping Virtual Item
A digital signature representing tapping is available to scan in the Balance, Select, and Elite software. If Tapping is one of the body’s top 5 biologically coherent services, it will appear in the Balance Wellness Report and the Advanced Report. If not in the top 5, you can see the responses to this and all other service Virtual Items scanned in the Services Report.
About Chelsea Clark
Chelsea Clark is a writer and certified health and wellness coach who is passionate about supporting others along their own health journeys. She enjoys helping people make positive, lasting changes so that they can live the happiest, healthiest life possible.
1. “What is EFT Tapping?” EFT International. Eftinternational.org.
2. “Tapping 101.” The Tapping Solution. Thetappingsolution.com.
3. Church, D., P. Stapleton, & D. Sabot. “App-Based Delivery of Clinical Emotional Freedom Techniques: Cross-Sectional Study of App User Self-Ratings.” JMIR mHealth and uHealth 8, no. 10 (2020): e18545.
4. Bach, D., G. Groesbeck, P. Stapleton, R. Sims, K. Blickheuser, & D. Church. (2019). “Clinical EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) Improves Multiple Physiological Markers of Health.” Journal of Evidence-Based Integrative Medicine 24 (2019): 2515690X18823691.
5. Nelms, J.A., & L. Castel,. “A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized and Nonrandomized Trials of Clinical Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) for the Treatment of Depression.” Explore (NY) 12, no. 6 (2016): 416–426.
6. Sebastian, B., & J. Nelms. “The Effectiveness of Emotional Freedom Techniques in the Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Meta-Analysis.” Explore (NY) 13, no. 1 (2017): 16–25.
7. Clond, M. “Emotional Freedom Techniques for Anxiety: A Systematic Review With Meta-analysis.” The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease 204, no. 5 (2016): 388–395.
8. Rancour, P. “The Emotional Freedom Technique: Finally, a Unifying Theory for the Practice of Holistic Nursing, or Too Good to Be True?” Journal of Holistic Nursing: Official Journal of the American Holistic Nurses’ Association 35, no. 4 (2017), 382–388.
9. Stapleton, P.,G. Crighton, D. Sabot, & H.M. O’Neill. “Reexamining the effect of emotional freedom techniques on stress biochemistry: A randomized controlled trial.” Psychological Trauma 12, no. 8 (2020): 869–877.