Just the other day, I read an email from a former client stating that she had a weird question and wanted to talk by phone. Together we’d worked on her fibromyalgia symptoms the previous year and I’d witnessed dramatic shifts in pain reduction, weight management, stress release, and more. She’d even found her dream job and was able to implement the strategies she’d learned to continue improving every day.
So, what was the weird thing she wanted to discuss?
Even though we weren’t working together at the moment, she wondered if I’d consider working with her again using that “weird tapping” thing.
Of course, I would!
Because … tapping isn’t weird at all. In fact, it’s super-powerful, effective, natural, simple, and highly targeted for stress management, in particular. It’s so powerful, in fact, I use it with nearly every client I see.
Have you heard of EFT – also known as Tapping?
If not, EFT is a tapping technique similar to acupuncture – except without the needles. The term, EFT, stands for Emotional Freedom Technique and has actually gone through a morphing of terms over the past several decades. Blending cognitive therapies with ancient acupressure points, EFT provides a unique and singularly effective tool to deal with a variety of issues.
Scientists have learned that by tapping with your fingers on a specific set of acupressure points on the upper body in a particular sequence, desirable results can be achieved (i.e., lowered stress and anxiety). When a verbal dialogue is spoken in conjunction with the tapping (often called a tapping script), the beneficial results can be both more profound and more specific.
(View or download a diagram of the tapping points HERE.)
How was EFT discovered?
A Brief EFT History
In the 70s, psychologist Roger Callahan used his knowledge of Chinese medicine’s ancient meridian system and acupressure points along with his traditional counseling practice. His “tapping” technique was first used for his patients with phobias. He discovered that if he tapped on specific acupressure points while discussing their fears, his patients found relief from their symptoms.
As he published papers and trained others on his findings, the procedure was simplified and streamlined, most profoundly by Callahan’s student, Gary Craig. Craig was the first to publish a manual to train others on the use and practice of EFT (in the mid-90s). He went on to publish The EFT Manual book in 2008. (I actually used Gary Craig’s EFT course as a set of CDs from the early 2000s.) (Church, 2013)
Today, the process of EFT can be learned easily by visiting sites such as TheTappingSolution.com. There you can find tapping charts (where to tap on the upper body), tapping videos, tapping scripts, and much more.
The healing process of EFT can easily be learned by nearly anyone. It takes no special equipment, environment, or even an understanding of the science behind the results. (If interested, however, the fascinating science behind the effectiveness of EFT can be found in detail in the book, The Tapping Solution.)
When I began my journey with EFT (which was also called MTT – Meridian Tapping Technique at the time), I was unaware of how it worked … I just knew that it did work. I discovered EFT through an article on Mercola.com where it discussed a simple (not to mention FREE!) tool for eliminating stress. I had nothing to lose, so why not try it?
I followed the simple directions and tapped on various circumstances that plagued me at the time. I tapped on my pain levels. I tapped on my frustrations regarding my body’s limitations. I tapped on my inability to find answers to heal my body. I tapped on anxiety over what would happen to me if I continued to get worse.
With each tapping session, I didn’t know how to describe my results other than to say that I felt “different.” I was so used to carrying a knot of anxiety in my stomach, that when it wasn’t there, it felt empty and strange. I was dubious and questioned my results. How could tapping make me feel more calm and relaxed? After all, my problems obviously didn’t go away. I was still in pain and still worried about my future.
But, I couldn’t deny that after tapping, I felt a release of tension. In my book, FibroWHYalgia, I referred to this as my “Internal Tension Meter.” I’d never thought of myself as a stressed or anxious person. After all, I didn’t act like a stressed person. Through tapping, I discovered that I was the type of person who carries stress on the inside. I also discovered how unaware I was about my negative self-talk and how it affected my symptoms.
The benefits of EFT were part of my healing journey.
What Topics Can EFT Address?
There’s a saying in the tapping world, “use it on everything.” There really are no circumstances where EFT couldn’t prove useful. But here are the main topics as outlined in the book, The Tapping Solution. (Ortner, 2013)
- Symptoms and side effects
- Past events
- Limiting beliefs
As you can imagine, each topic above is just the starting point. Stress, anxiety, overwhelm, and frustration are common themes among those with fibromyalgia and chronic health challenges. Tapping can help to alleviate the feelings of stress, so that we can more effectively address other concerns.
Imagine trying to read the fine-print of an instruction manual to figure out how to install a complicated auto part while our car is pulled over on the side of a busy freeway.
That’s reflective of the struggle we face when we try to address our biggest health challenges while in a state of peak anxiety and stress. Applying a tool such as EFT can help us to lower our stress levels so that we can think more clearly. Among other things, this helps to improve our problem-solving skills.
Here’s an example:
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A client I’ll call Anne, came to me for nutritional advice. We worked together in my kitchen creating recipes and introducing new foods. She made great progress for a short time and then became frustrated. (This is a common scenario.)
Through tapping, we discovered that she was actually so frustrated with her situation at work, that she was unable to focus on anything else. We used EFT to tap on her resentment, anger, and anxiety over her colleague’s behavior allowing her to view her situation from an objective perspective. She actually felt empowered to approach her employer with solutions and was very pleased to later tell me that her work life improved tremendously. She went on to make great strides in her nutritional goals as well.
so too, can our improvements.
EFT can address any concern. Here are a few that may not be the first to come to mind: weight management, cravings, establishing desirable habits, self-sabotage, procrastination, smoking and alcohol cessation, finances, fear of change, grief, relationships, happiness, sleep, childhood issues/traumas, physical injuries, guilt/shame, rejection/loss, success, athletic performance, creativity, issues related to children, issues regarding your pet, and much more.
What Can EFT Do for You?
It’s important to note that EFT is a simple and free tool. Anyone can learn it and use it as often as they wish. The double-edged sword to this fact is that people sometimes dismiss solutions that don’t come with a hefty price tag.
Although EFT is free, it still has great value.
When you learn to practice EFT on a regular basis, you’ll discover the effectiveness it can have in so many different areas. Putting it to use often will help you to fine-tune your own methods and increase your comfort level with the practice.
You’ll likely find – as I did – that you’ll begin by tapping on things that are a significant concern. As I started to feel better (or at least feel a difference), I tapped on more subjects. I now tap daily and have for more than 10 years. I tap while I’m praying, thinking, walking, soaking in the tub, and more. It’s become an automatic response in nearly everything I do.
Remember the client I mentioned who thought of tapping as weird? As it turned out, while we worked together using EFT, she thought the process was strange and wasn’t convinced of its effectiveness. It wasn’t until later that she realized that she simply felt good when we tapped – and she wanted more.
The reason I mention this situation is that it’s far from uncommon to question the results. Sometimes, you’ll find relief right away. Sometimes you can have major breakthroughs in how you feel. At the minimum, most of my tapping clients find that they leave our sessions feeling calm, relaxed, and balanced. They don’t know why, but they simply feel better. I encourage them to continue tapping on their own and often share these tips to help them get started —
- Find EFT practitioner videos or podcasts that resonate with you. There are hundreds (if not more) to choose from on YouTube alone, so just keep searching until you find someone whose approach feels right. One of my favorite practitioners to listen to is Gene Monterastelli.
- Check out the Tapping Solutions books and movies. Nick Ortner’s newest book on pain is of specific interest, The Tapping Solution for Pain Relief.
- Find a practitioner to work with you one-on-one. This will likely take place in person, by phone, or via Skype. You can start your search here: http://thetappingsolution.com/eft-practitioners/search-a-practitioner/
- Don’t worry about not knowing what to say. NO ONE does when they begin. Be kind and patient with your progress. You can start by following sample scripts that are easy to find online. To search, Google the words: EFT + tapping script + your personal concern such as pain, migraines, overwhelm, anxiety, etc. You’ll learn as you go.
- Don’t worry about how hard to tap or how many times to tap on each point. Simply tap a few times (with either hand or both) with a gentle touch.
- Don’t worry about “not doing it right.” If you’re doing it – then that’s the most important fact. You can’t go wrong. You’ll get better and better as you go.
- Do take a deep breath before beginning. Make sure you sit (or lie) in a comfortable position and that you’re free from distraction.
- Be as specific about your concern as possible. Think of the physical feeling that is the result of an emotion. For example, rather than tapping on “feeling anxious,” tune in to how it feels in your body. It’s likely that you experience it, at least in part, as stomach pain. Using that example, tap on the topic of your stomach pain in specific terms such as – the sharp, twisting pain that feels like a knot in my gut.
- Tap on one concern at a time and allow yourself to pause and assess how you feel before and afterward.
- Be persistent. The most common cause of “EFT not working” is from not doing it at all. This may sound obvious, but sometimes we give up quickly when results aren’t as we expect – or when we expect. My best advice? Just keep tapping.
How Do People Respond to EFT at First?
Here’s what I’ve seen over the years. Some jump in with both feet and say, “Bring it on! Can’t wait to learn more.” Some say, “Er … I’m not sure about this kooky-looking technique.” Others say, “I’ll try it, but I know it won’t work.”
aren’t dependent upon what you think.
Your results are not based on your thoughts about what it is or how it works. They’re not based on what you think about (or over-think about) what’s going on. What matters most is getting results, and that happens from tapping consistently with patience and practice.
By taking the step to learn more about ourselves through tapping, we may discover new strengths and interests that surprise us.
Are you ready to take this step? Imagine what your inner world discoveries can teach you about the world around you.
You have taken the first step today.
Now I challenge you to take another.”
To learn more about tapping, watch the video “An Introduction to Tapping” HERE.
For more information about tapping, read Sue’s article, “Practical Guide to EFT Tapping for Fibromyalgia.”
Sue Ingebretson (www.RebuildingWellness.com) is an author, speaker, certified holistic health care practitioner and the director of program development for the Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Center at California State University, Fullerton. She is also a Patient Advocate/Fibromyalgia Expert for the Alliance Health website and a Fibromyalgia editor for the ProHealth website community.
Her #1 Amazon best-selling chronic illness book, FibroWHYalgia, details her own journey from chronic illness to chronic wellness. She is also the creator of the FibroFrog™– a therapeutic stress-relieving tool which provides powerful healing benefits with fun and whimsy.
Would you like to find out more about the effects of STRESS on your body? Download Sue’s free Is Stress Making You Sick? guide and discover your own Stress Profile by taking the surveys provided in this detailed 23-page report.