This is a guest article written by yoga teacher and communications expert Becky Taylor.
Google Trends showed that in the second half of 2020 online searches for ‘tapping therapy’ reached a three year high. With more people intrigued about tapping therapy, more formally known as Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), it’s no surprise that celebrities are getting in on the act too. The Duchess of Cornwall reportedly used EFT to reduce her fear of flying, and the likes of Lily Allen, Madonna and Whoopi Goldberg are all said to have benefitted from tapping.
So how exactly does tapping on our face help us? Louisa Hussey is an EFT practitioner and sheds some light on what exactly tapping therapy is and how it works.
“Basically, tapping is about having emotional conversations while tapping on your face. It looks weird, it sounds weird, but it is the most incredible technique to feel better.
Clients come to me usually feeling overwhelmed, angry or upset, and at the end of the tapping therapy, they feel lighter. They feel like they can get on with what they want to do and they are able to process and let go of what has been holding them back.”
Turning the tap on
Rooted in similar concepts as acupuncture and reflexology, tapping therapy utilises the power of our internal meridian lines. These meridian lines are channels that transport energy around the body, and when they are in balance we feel well in mind, body and soul.
Tapping, Louisa explains, generally follows a certain sequence of acupressure points on the face and upper body. The first being the sides of the hands, on the karate chop point if you will, then moving around from the inner eyebrow, the outer eyebrow, under the eye, under the nose, under the lip, on the collarbones, on the chest and the top of your head. There are lots of videos online to guide beginners through this, but you don’t need to worry about being too accurate.
“If you are familiar with acupuncture, you know that where the needles enter the skin is very precise, but tapping is a little bit more flexible – if you were to tap two centimeters to the side of where I’m tapping, you’d still get the same effect as the magic really is a combination of the tapping and the talking,” says Louisa.
It’s all in the amygdala
Whilst tapping and talking sounds nice and relaxing, skeptics will be intrigued that there are increasing amounts of scientific studies backing up its extolled benefits. Dr Peta Stapleton is one of the leading practitioners researching EFT and her findings are incredible, Louisa explains.
“Studies have discovered that when you tap, the tapping effect sends a safety signal to the amygdala in the brain, which is the bit responsible for fight or flight or freeze. It tells the brain that you are safe. Usually, when you’re talking about emotions or trauma, your body instinctively goes into preservation mode, but tapping accesses the amygdala and sends a signal out saying, actually, you’re okay. You’re not there anymore. It’s safe to talk about and it’s safe to process. Tapping essentially changes the brain waves and the way your brain processes emotional and trauma so that you are able to think about it.”
Tapping research and use in the NHS
Some studies have even found that just one hour of tapping can reduce cortisol, the stress hormone, by up to 43%. And NICE, the UK government body that advises on health care practises, was the first in the world to approve research funding for EFT for those dealing with trauma/PTSD. A wonderful endorsement for EFT and its benefits, Louisa agrees.
“Some specialist EFT practitioners have clients referred to them from GPs for certain medical conditions. It makes sense, because when you go to a doctor and the doctor identifies the presenting issue, say it is back pain, they will give you back pain medicine. They don’t have the time to dig into why you have back pain. Which is where EFT can help.”
Tapping up a Teacher
So do we necessarily need to be guided, if we are interested in giving tapping therapy a go? Or is it something we could simply do ourselves at home?
“I liken it to wanting to get fit. If you want to get fit , you can quite easily put on your trainers and go for a run and you’ll get certain results depending on the level of effort you put in.
If you want a bit more support you can follow a video. Somebody will guide you through so you, like Davina McCall, for example, and again you might get good results from that.
But if you really want to get specific and have a bespoke work out, you’d probably choose a personal trainer.
It’s the same for tapping. When you work with a practitioner you’re guided through what’s specifically happening in your life and you get huge results. The results are magnified considerably by being with somebody who was guiding you through it.”
How then, do EFT practitioners avoid becoming burdened by their work and the woes of the clients they work with? If we are all made of energy, and energy flows, there must be some sort of transference to the practitioner that is not in their own wellbeing interests?
“No, I don’t take things on because I tap during sessions as well, which protects my energy levels. I never feel burdened by a client’s tapping and experience – I find it a real privilege to be the person that they trust.”