Tapping and the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) has become an integral part of my self-care practice to alleviate stress, release emotions, and stay grounded. Here, I share some information on EFT and how you can get started if you’re curious to incorporate this practice into your life. I do not claim to be an expert and am always open to learning more, so I look forward to hearing if you’ve also tried tapping or have resources that have benefitted your personal practice. Please also remember to consult with a healthcare practitioner before and after using this technique as it can stir up deeper issues.
There’s a tap for everything, my friends. Read on to free yourself and become magnificent YOU!
I have always believed strongly in the mind-body connection. What we think, we become.
When I was in physical therapy school, I remember having a lecturer talk about tapping. She taught my classmates and me how to tap different points on our body to alleviate stress. She had us repeat phrases such as “I am worthy” and “I have all I need.” At the time, I was intrigued, but felt a little silly to be tapping my forehead and underarm around a class of 60 people. It felt like a gimmick of some kind.
Yet, life has a way of bringing practices we need into our lives at just the right time. I had talked about tapping a bunch with my friend, Talia, who has tapped with her mother since she was a child. In 2020, my boyfriend, Justin, reintroduced me to the practice of tapping. He shared he integrated the practice to help alleviate anxiety, stress, and other difficulty emotions by feeling them fully and letting them go. When I sat with him to do a Tapping with Brad Yates video on YouTube, I wasn’t sure what it’d be like. However, I felt something shifting in me — something unfolding — and knew this could be really good for me.
Now, tapping has become an important part of my self-care routine. I’ll tap in the morning to ground myself before a day of work, when I’m feeling anxious, if I’m having a hard time sleeping, if I am ruminating on all kinds of thoughts, or if I just need a boost of energy. I’ve realized there’s a tap for anything and everything. Got an exam coming up? There’s a tap for that. Been in a relationship with a narcissist? There’s a tap for that. Starting a new chapter in life? Yup, you guessed it, there’s a tap for that.
A little disclaimer is I’ve only used Tapping with Brad Yates videos and haven’t explored much more of the tapping world, but sometimes you find what works and stick to it. This is one of those situations (:
What is tapping/EFT?
Tapping was created in 1980 by Dr. Roger Callahan using a combination of Chinese acupuncture and modern psychology principles. As a psychologist, Dr. Callahan combined his studies of psychology with Chinese medicine to create algorithms and techniques for treatment of individuals. He coined this technique “Thought Field Therapy” or TFT and it was quite complex, requiring a licensed professional to create the tapping progression. In the 1990s, Gary Craig improved the process under instruction from Dr. Callahan, and created a simpler method of tapping. The more approachable and easily learned version of TFT was called Emotional Freedom Technique, or EFT. Now, tapping is interchangeable with EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) or psychological acupressure.
“Tapping on these meridian points (the same used in acupressure) 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, reducing cortisol levels.”
– The Tapping Solution
Tapping uses meridians and energy patters from traditional Chinese acupuncture and acupressure. During acupuncture, different points along the meridians are stimulated with needles. During tapping, we stimulate these points by tapping them.
The idea of tapping is to bring to the surface what you’re feeling — be it physical, emotional, or mental feelings — then work to accept and release them.
Here’s a sweet, 5-minute introduction about tapping from Brad Yates:
What are the meridian points?
As mentioned, tapping uses meridian points on the body from traditional Chinese acupuncture. There are 12 major meridians mirrored on each side of the body that correspond to internal organs. EFT tapping focuses on 9 of the 12 meridian points, as illustrated below (source):
- Karate chop (KC)/side of hand: small intestine meridian
- Top of head (TH): governing vessel
- Eyebrow (EB): bladder meridian
- Side of the eye (SE): gallbladder meridian
- Under the eye (UE): stomach meridian
- Under the nose (UN): governing vessel
- Chin (Ch)/under mouth: central vessel
- Beginning of the collarbone (CB): kidney meridian
- Under the arm (UA): spleen meridian
How do you tap?
The process of EFT tapping can be simple by repeating the same phrases over and over, or more complex by repeating different phrases throughout tapping. You can use a video to follow (such as those from Tapping with Brad), or do your own tapping routine. No matter the complexity of the technique you’re using, tapping follows the below basic steps:
- Identify what you’d like to tap on. This can be an emotion, physical sensation, or difficult situation in your life (i.e. finances, relationships, transitions, etc.). If you aren’t sure what to tap on, you can just start with “stress.” Other examples could be physical pain (i.e. back pain), anxiety, fear, or trauma (i.e. PTSD). Like I said above, there’s a tap for everything — so there’s no wrong direction to take here.
- Give the feeling a number. On a scale of 0-10, rate the level of your emotion or physical sensation. For example, “I have back pain at a level of 7 out of 10.”
- Tap using the meridians.
A) Start at the karate chop point and repeat 2-3x: “Even though I have this [your feeling], I deeply and completely love and accept myself.” This is the setup phrase.
B) Next, tap 5-10x on these points while repeating phrases in this order: EB, SE, UE, UN, CH, CB, UA, and T. You can simply repeat “This [your feeling]” as you tap each point. For example, say “This stress” as you tap each point 5-7x.
- Take a deep breath. Finally, take a deep breath and let it all go. Maybe take a sip of water. Rate your feeling again on a scale of 0-10 and maybe it decreased after a round of tapping!
- Lather, rise, repeat as necessary! You may wish to tap more after completing a session. Maybe you noticed more feelings arise. Trust your intuition and pave your own path to feeling good.
How to Tap from Nick Ortner of The Tapping Solution:
Tapping for All Ages!
One of the most amazing things about tapping is it’s accessible and applicable to ALL ages. The Wizard’s Wish by Brad Yates is a book for children (and adults!) to learn the process of EFT for all their “yucky” feelings. Brad reads it aloud here!
The Michelangelo Process
I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.
— Michelangelo Buonarroti
Within each of us, there is limitless potential and magnificence. The act of tapping is to tap away the limiting beliefs, fears, doubts, etc. that prevent us from seeing our truest selves. We tap away at the block of marble that exists in the zone around the core of our being, as Michelangelo tapped away to create the sculpture of David.
The interesting thing about David, which was created between 1501-1504, is his anatomical features are not perfectly in proportion — he has an abnormally large head and hands. This is was done intentionally for viewers from below the 17-foot statue, as Michelangelo had studied anatomy as a true Renaissance man. David’s face may appear confident when viewed from below the statue, but his face actually displays fear and resolve in preparation for his upcoming battle with Goliath. In comparison to other artists who depicted David after the battle with Goliath, Michelangelo sculpted him before the battle. He stripped him down (literally and figuratively) in a moment of preparation — displaying anxiety and anticipation in his facial expression and tight muscles, to an enlarged jugular vein. Standing in contrapposto, David is ready for action. David won the battle using willpower and intelligence, rather than brute strength. He used a slingshot, resting on his shoulder, and rock, which is resting in the sculpture’s left hand.
Michelangelo believed he was releasing his sculptures from the marble, working freehand and sculpting from the front towards the back. As he hammered away at the marble, he would work with finer and finer chisels, drills, and sandpapers to reveal the image. In our lives, we can chisel at the limitations we carry with us, working our way around the stories and beliefs we have adapted from others and told ourselves. As we begin chipping away at our own marble, we can use finer and finer tools to become who we are meant to be.
Who are you at your core? What belief systems do you wish to tap away?
Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.
— Michelangelo Buonarroti
My Favorite Tapping Videos
These are some of my favorite go-to taps with Brad Yates! Please explore your own and don’t be afraid to try other tapping guides. Trust your intuition, my friends. You got this!
- Amazing Day Quickie [Video / 4:14]
- Raise Your Vibration Virtual Shot of Espresso [Video / 4:16]
- “I’m Not a Morning Person!” (It’s a choice, not a fact) [Video / 5:53]
- Tapping into Your Magnificent Self [Video / 6:19]
- Feeling Abundant, Worthy and Empowered [Video / 12:55]
- Self-Love in About Five Minutes [Video / 5:00]
- Clearing Fear and Worry [Video / 8:49]
- Tapping into a Good Night’s Sleep (Insomnia) [Video / 6:24]
- Standing Up for Yourself [Video / 8:18]
- Feeling Triggered [Video / 11:44]
- Love Yourself Just As You Are [Video / 13:59]
- Feeling Shame [Video / 5:31]
- Narcissists (getting free from past and present pain) [Video / 10:07]
- Getting Centered and Grounded [Video / 4:52]
- Inflammation (and other symptoms…) [Video / 7:31]
- Healing [Video / 6:28]
If tapping is new to you, I hope this began to open the possibilities for how you can connect to your true magnificence! If you’re a little skeptical, I get it. There is research out there which supports tapping for PTSD, but there is still limited research. As Brad Yates reminds us at the beginning of each video, you must “take full responsibility for your own health and wellbeing” by acknowledging there are no guarantees as to the benefits you’d receive from EFT. Given different people require different levels of care, I encourage you to consult with a qualified healthcare professional prior to using this technique. Tapping can uncover deeper issues, which may not be addressed with EFT, and thus cannot replace the treatment you can receive from a mental health professional or physician.
- Tapping and EFT (emotional freedom technique) uses 9 of 12 acupressure points from traditional Chinese medicine.
- EFT can help to address stress, anxiety, and other limiting belief systems.
- Tapping always begins and ends with rating your feeling/belief on a scale of 0-10.
- There are many ways to practice EFT and there’s really no wrong way!
- It is recommended to consult with a healthcare provider before using this technique and to address any deeper issues that may arise from tapping.