Tapping meditation, also known as Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), is a simple technique for reducing anxiety and a form of behavioral therapy. As someone who has struggled with anxiety for years, I can attest to the effectiveness of tapping meditation in helping me manage my symptoms.
I first learned about tapping meditation through a friend who used it to alleviate her anxiety and physical pain. Intrigued, I decided to give it a try for myself. The process is easy to learn and can be done anywhere, at any time. It involves tapping on specific points on the body while focusing on a particular thought or emotion.
In this article, I share my experience with tapping meditation and provide a step-by-step guide for those wishing to try it for themselves.
What is Tapping Meditation?
Tapping meditation is a form of energy psychology in which the meditator taps on specific points of their body while focusing on a particular thought or emotion.
The technique is based on the concept that negative thoughts and emotions are caused by disruptions in the body’s energy system, and that by tapping on certain pressure points, the individual can restore balance and release these negative thoughts and emotions.
A related form of meditation is SA TA NA MA meditation, where the practicioner alternates between tapping their fingers and thumbs.
However, with tapping meditation, the focus is on points on the face and upper body, including the top of the head, the eyebrow, the side of the eye, under the eye, under the nose, the chin, the collarbone, and the underarm, the practitioner focuses on a specific issue or emotion, such as anxiety or fear, and repeats a distinct phrase, known as a “reminder phrase”.
History of Tapping Meditation and it’s Evolution into EFT
The history of tapping meditation can be traced back to ancient Chinese medicine, which uses the concept of “meridians” or body energy flow pathways to understand and treat illness. The modern version of tapping meditation, known as Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), was developed in the 1990s by Gary Craig, a personal performance coach.
Craig was inspired by the work of Dr. Roger Callahan, a psychologist who developed a form of therapy called Thought Field Therapy (TFT), which also uses tapping on specific points on the body. Craig simplified TFT and developed a standardized tapping protocol that could be easily taught and practiced by anyone. He called his method Emotional Freedom Technique, or EFT.
EFT quickly gained popularity and has since evolved into a widely accepted form of self-help and body-centered therapy.
Today, EFT is used by practitioners, coaches, therapists, and individuals to address a wide range of emotional and physical issues. Many studies have been conducted on EFT and it is found to be effective in treating emotional issues like anxiety, depression, PTSD, phobias and physical issues like chronic pain.
How Does Tapping Meditation Work?
Tapping meditation addresses the root cause of negative thoughts and emotions, allowing the practitioner to release them and experience greater emotional freedom.
The tapping points used in tapping meditation are located on the body’s energy meridians, which are pathways that run through the body and are believed to carry energy. By tapping on these points, practitioners can access and balance the body’s energy system, which can help release negative thoughts and emotions.
Thus, tapping meditation is believed to activate the body’s relaxation response, which can help to reduce the physical symptoms of stress, such as muscle tension, heart rate and blood pressure. Studies have found that EFT can decrease the amygdala’s activity, a brain region associated with stress and fear. It also increases activity in the prefrontal cortex, a brain region associated with problem-solving and decision-making.
The 9 Tapping Points
The 9 tapping points used in tapping meditation (Emotional Freedom Technique or EFT) are:
- The top of the head (Crown)
- The beginning of the eyebrow (Eyebrow)
- The side of the eye (Side of Eye)
- Under the eye (Under Eye)
- Under the nose (Under Nose)
- The chin (Chin)
- The collarbone (Collarbone)
- Under the arm (Under Arm)
- The Karate Chop point (Karate Chop)
Diagram of the 9 tapping points used in tapping meditation. Source.
While tapping on these points is a key aspect of EFT, the most important part of the practice is focusing on the specific issue or emotion while repeating the reminder phrase.
This combination of physical and mental stimulation is what is believed to bring about the release of negative thoughts and emotions.
Who and What Does Tapping Help?
Tapping meditation helps alleviate symptoms of anxiety, stress, and depression. It has also been used to help people with phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and chronic pain.
Also useful for improving self-esteem, relationships, and overall well-being, tapping meditation is often used as a complementary therapy, along with other treatments such as discussion therapy, medication, or other forms of alternative medicine.
EFT is suitable for people of all ages and can be used by anyone, regardless of their level of experience with meditation or other forms of self-help. It is easy to learn and can be practiced at any time and place, making it a convenient and accessible tool for managing mental and emotional health.
While tapping meditation is beneficial for many people, it might not be ideal for everyone. There are many different forms of meditation treating different symptoms, such as meditation for ADHD, meditation for fertility, and somatic meditation for emotional distress. We strongly suggest trying different types of meditation to discover which best aligns with you, your needs, and your personality.
What Evidence is there that Tapping Meditation Works?
Scientists and psychologists have been studying tapping meditation with increased interest and clinical trials over the past decade. There is growing evidence that it’s an effective tool for addressing a wide range of issues.
A review of the literature published in the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease in 2012 found that EFT is “a promising treatment for anxiety, depression, and PTSD.” The study showed significant improvements in anxiety
A 2017 PhD trial published in the Journal of Medical Acupuncture by Lorna Minewiser showed tapping meditation was highly effective in treating a young marine’s PTSD, resulting in significant reductions in symptoms such as intrusive thoughts, avoidance, and hyperarousal.
A study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders in 2019 by Carpena et al. found that tapping meditation was effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression in a group of college students. The study included a control group that received traditional talk therapy and found that the tapping meditation group had greater reductions in symptoms than the control group.
It’s important to note that while these studies suggest that tapping meditation can be an effective tool, more research is needed to understand the underlying mechanisms and to determine the optimal application of EFT. As with any alternative therapy, it’s important to consult with a qualified professional before starting any new self-help technique, especially if you have a history of mental health issues.
Step-by-Step Guide to Your First Tapping Meditation
Here is a step-by-step guide to help you get started with your first tapping meditation:
- Identify the issue or emotion you want to address. This could be something specific like anxiety disorders or stress, or a general feeling of unease or discomfort.
- Create a simple reminder phrase that summarizes the issue or emotion. For example, “Even though I have this anxiety, I deeply and completely accept myself.” This phrase of acceptance is essential in the effectiveness of tapping meditation, as it works to help the practicioner accept their circumstances.
- Locate the tapping points on your body. The 9 tapping points used in EFT are: the top of the head (Crown), the beginning of the eyebrow (Eyebrow), the side of the eye (Side of Eye), under the eye (Under Eye), under the nose (Under Nose), the chin (Chin), the collarbone (Collarbone), under the arm (Under Arm), the Karate Chop point (Karate Chop).
- Find a comfortable seated position, take several deep breaths, and close your eyes.
- Begin tapping on the Karate Chop point (the fleshy, outer edge side of the hand), while repeating your reminder phrase out loud or silently to yourself.
- Tap on each of the other 8 points while continuing to focus on your issue or emotion and repeating your reminder phrase.
- Take a deep breath and check in with how you’re feeling. Repeat steps 4-6 as many times as you need to until you feel a sense of relief or release.
- After your tapping session, take a moment to reflect on your experience. Notice any changes in how you feel, and make a note of what you learned from the experience.
It’s important to remember that tapping meditation is a tool, not a cure. It’s not going to solve all your problems, but it can be a helpful method to reduce symptoms of anxiety and stress, and improve self-esteem and overall well-being. You may not see immediate results, but with consistent practice, you may start noticing a positive shift in your mindset and emotions.
The Takeaway: Tapping Meditation
Tapping meditation is a simple and easy-to-learn self-help technique that can address a wide range of issues.
I’ve successfully used tapping meditation to reduce personal anxiety and stress, whereas others have successfully treated depression and PTSD.
It’s easy to practice, non-invasive and can be done anywhere, at any time, and I strongly recommend you give it a try. Please, let me know if you have any questions in the comments below, or share your experience with tapping meditation with us! We’d love to hear.
Tapping Meditation FAQs
How often should I practice tapping meditation?
The frequency of practice will depend on your individual needs and goals. Some people find that incorporating tapping meditation into daily life is helpful, while others may only need to practice occasionally. It’s important to listen to your own body and find a schedule that works for you.
How long does a tapping meditation session take?
A tapping meditation session can take anywhere from a few minutes to half an hour, depending on the complexity of the issue or emotion you’re addressing.
What if I don’t feel any changes after my first tapping session?
It’s important to remember that tapping meditation is not a cure, but a tool to help manage symptoms of stress, anxiety and other negative emotions. It may take several sessions before you notice any significant changes. It’s also important to practice consistently and to find a schedule that works for you.
Is tapping meditation safe?
Tapping meditation is considered safe, and it can be used by people of all ages. However, it’s important to keep in mind that if you have a history of mental health issues, it’s always best to consult with a qualified professional before starting any new self-help technique.