Tapping Away Stress and Anxiety
Have you heard of tapping – a holistic healing technique? Also known as emotional freedom technique (EFT), this alternative therapy has been proven to relieve people from physical pain and emotional distress. It works in a similar way to acupuncture (without the needles though!), targeting the body’s meridian points (energy hot spots) so that the balance of the body’s energy is restored.
In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), there are 12 acupressure points on our bodies and each one corresponds to an internal organ or network of organs that organize a system of communication throughout our body. The meridian begins in our fingertips, connects to our brain and then connects to an organ associated with a certain meridian. According to TCM, if one of these 12 meridians is blocked or out of balance, illness can occur.
While acupuncture uses needles to apply pressure on the meridian points, EFT uses finger tapping. For those who have never seen it done, it’s sort of like how you would tap fingers on a hard surface, such as a table, usually when you are irritated or bored. In EFT, you are doing a very similar tapping gesture on various parts of your body (in a specific order) with the intention to address and heal what is ailing you.
So tapping is actually something you can do by yourself wherever you are. It’s a relatively simple method too. You will find that it can offer relief in the moment when you are feeling anxious or stressed – such as just before an exam or if you are about to give a speech in front of a crowd and need to tame those jitters! A session can typically range anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes before its calming effects kick in. So, let me explain how it works so you can get the most out of this method:
Identify your issue
First, you need to be clear on what it is exactly that is bothering you. What issue or fear is it that you need to address? This will be your focal point when you start tapping. To get the best outcome, make sure you focus on one issue at a time.
Rate the issue
Okay, so once you identify your problem area, you need to set a benchmark level of intensity.
You can rate it on a scale of 0-10, with 10 being the most challenging or worst. This allows you to measure the mental or physical discomfort you feel from what it is you are facing. The reason you do this rating is so that you can monitor your progress after performing a complete EFT sequence. So if you rated 10 at the start of the tapping and afterwards you bring it down to 5, you can say that you accomplished a 50% improvement level.
You want to create a setup statement to acknowledge the problem you choose to deal with. Then follow it up with an unconditional affirmation of yourself as a person. A typical setup phrase is: “Even though I have this (fear or problem), I deeply and completely accept myself.”
To give a more specific example, it could be something like: “Even though I am very scared of taking this difficult entrance exam, I deeply and completely accept myself and these feelings.” In other words, you have to truly focus on how the problem makes you feel in order to relieve the stress or pain it is causing you.
Perform the tapping
Now you are ready to start the methodic tapping on the ends of your body’s nine meridian points (as mentioned earlier there are 12 main meridian points in total that correspond to an internal organ or organ system)
1- Karate chop point (small intestine meridian). Using four fingers on one hand, press the karate chop point on your other hand (the outer edge of the hand, opposite the thumb) using firm but gentle pressure (like you are testing a fruit for firmness).
2- Repeat your setup statement three times out loud while pressing the karate chop point.
3- Move to the following meridian points (follow this exact ascending order) and tap each following point seven times:
-Eyebrow near the bridge of your nose (bladder meridian)
– Side of the eye near your temple (gallbladder meridian)
– Under the eye (stomach meridian)
– Under the nose (governing vessel)
– The chin (central vessel)
– The collarbone (kidney meridian)
– Underneath the arm (spleen meridian)
– Top of head (governing vessel)
While you are tapping these points keep reciting your set-up statement to keep the focus on your problem area.
Compare with final intensity
Once you finish your sequence, rate your intensity level again on a scale of 0 to 10. Compare it with your initial intensity level. Your goal is to reach 0. You can repeat it until it is reduced or until you reach 0.
Picture credit: https://michaelzeligs.com/star-tribe-blog-eft-energy-psychology-cranio-matrix-herbs-tantra-cosmology-indigenous-wisdom/2018/02/07/eft-new-research-article-in-major-publication-womens-health
You can use all four fingers or just the first two (the index and middle fingers) to apply pressure to these points. Normally four fingers would be used for wider areas, such as the top of your head, the collarbone and under your arm. On the more delicate areas, like under your eyes and the side of your eyes, you can use just two fingers. Please tap with your fingertips and not your fingernails! Whether you are left or right handed, it does not matter what side of the body you tap or what hand you use. As you go on practicing tapping, try to take deep breaths. Finally, remember to check in with how you feel after the practice.
Tapping to reduce cortisol levels
Studies have shown that tapping can reduce cortisol levels in our bodies. Cortisol is the primary stress hormone in the body . While it is important for our health as it regulates blood sugar and metabolism, reduces inflammation and helps with memory formulation, too much of it, as a result of stress, can actually wreak havoc on the body and cause plenty of unwanted symptoms. High cortisol signs and symptoms can include weight gain, easy bruising, fatigue, irritability, headaches, high blood pressure, and difficulty concentrating. We should definitely try to keep stress levels at bay, by doing something about it!
Lately, tapping has been gaining popularity among parents who find that it helps their children who are facing stress and anxiety. Tapping also works in a similar way to mindfulness, as its method allows us to draw attention to our breathing and bodies. As a result, this can serve as a mental distraction from the issues that are causing stress and anxiety.
Finally, let me share with you a short informative EFT video by Jessica Ortner who is able to illustrate how it works, so you can see for yourself how it is done below:
Well, if you haven’t tried tapping yet why don’t you give it a go. If you have tried it, tell us about your experience with this free at-your-fingertips technique. We would love to know your take on it! We hope you can try tapping or any other technique to help you relieve stress in these difficult times. Whether it is deep breathing techniques, meditation, counseling or any other means that can help you, please seek ways to manage any pain and distress you could be facing. Remember, your health – mental or physical – is your most precious asset! Bye for now.
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