by Kathilyn Solomon
(Article originally published in The Llewellyn Journal.)
Jane couldn't control her cravings for sweets. A certain type of donut was her downfall, and she would often eat two or more at a time, though she wasn't hungry. Although she was beautiful, intelligent, successful, and had many friends, she believed she was fat, a fraud, and would always be alone.
Jane and I used EFT tapping on the feelings, sensations, details, bad memories, and negative thinking and beliefs that had Jane caught in this awful cycle. Within a short time, the cravings were gone. She realized that she was beautiful and lovable just as she was. She left her unhealthy relationship and shortly thereafter met the partner of her dreams.
Doug would feel the butterflies in his stomach, his throat tighten, and start to sweat just passing by his work's group conference room and when he even thought about attending a meeting at work. This top-level executive stuttered, and would go into panic mode when asked to speak in public. His brain turned to mush around strangers.
The tapping led us to clear the surprising root causes of his anxiety, which were about specific memories stemming from when he was a child. These days he runs a talk-show podcast and has definitely come out of his shell.
Many personal success stories are shared in Tapping Into Wellness: Using EFT to Clear Emotional and Physical Pain and Illness. This book is a comprehensive, easy entrée into the world of tapping that shows you how to tap for yourself, how to uncover what to tap on, and how to get results. It also contains more than thirty simple step-by-step tapping exercises that will give you the structure as well as specific tapping protocols and a game plan to reference. It is the only book available that details Gold Standard EFT™, the latest evolved form of tapping. It can be used as a reference guide to keep handy and return to time and again.
What Is EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques)?
Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), or tapping, is a simple technique to release your stress and overwhelm, emotional pain and bad memories, limiting beliefs and unhelpful ways of thinking, and challenging behaviors. It is also regularly used to address physical and emotional issues as well as performance challenges. It is energy psychology and not talk therapy. It encompasses the body and the mind, as well as the body's energy system. It's quick, it's easy, it's free, and anyone can use it, even toddlers.
People are often surprised at how quickly the process works, and how much lighter, more optimistic and energized they feel after tapping on just one minor target. One round of tapping takes about thirty to sixty seconds.
How Do You Do EFT?
To perform EFT, you tap on nine body-calming points on the hands, face, and upper torso while thinking about a specific problem (the tapping target). The tapping points are acupuncture points located along the energy pathways of the body. Tapping on these points activates the body's energy, allowing it to freely flow throughout the body-mind system. The body can then naturally heal from physical and emotional hurts.
The EFT process, consisting of thinking about a specific problem, expressing an affirmation, and tapping, helps a person, either consciously or subconsciously, to remember the moment when the upset initially occurred. The tapping allows the release of the upsetting emotions and then restores the energy system to balance.
Can Tapping Solve My Problems?
Tapping won't stop the divorce, suddenly fill the bank account, or bring a loved one back from the dead. However, tapping offers a way to safely feel what's going on inside without becoming overwhelmed. Performed correctly, it gives you a different perspective and helps you resolve the emotional upset that may be getting in the way of your ability to think clearly and come up with a better solution for your problem. The late Albert Einstein said, "We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them." Tapping offers a way to shift your thinking and way of experiencing an issue, and when that happens, the whole world changes–but really, it's only your perspective that has changed.
Perhaps most importantly, tapping can access the core events, the patterns of thinking and beliefs that often lay the groundwork for the issues that a person faces in his or her present-life. That is why EFT tapping is so effective with sabotage issues such as clutter, procrastination, and the like. You know, the kind of behaviors that a person keeps repeating despite repeated resolutions to change.
Often a problem you face in your present-day that seems like a "stand-alone" problem is actually resting on a foundation of similar types of challenges going all the way back to childhood. Tapping has a way of helping to unravel a problem at its roots.
Can Tapping Heal Illness?
While tapping makes no claims to heal illness, it is used to address and collapse the emotional components and layers that contribute to an illness and to the layers of stress relating to an illness, from the common cold to a serious auto-immune illness. In thousands of documented cases, tapping has shown complete resolution of physical symptoms. The process also works to resolve day-to-day pain and symptoms from typical bumps, bruises, and burns.
A simple example is a recent time when I used tapping as an acute first-aid responder after I dropped a pan of boiling water on my foot. Instead of the ER, I tapped and the pain and any scald marks disappeared within twenty minutes. A growing number of clinical studies have also indicated that tapping lowers the body's blood levels of cortisol, the hormone related to stress response. When the mind changes, the body follows.
Auto-Immune Illness and EFT Tapping
I learned EFT at a time when my life had fallen apart and I had no idea how to pick up the pieces: I had recently divorced, suffered with fibromyalgia and depression, was parenting a toddler, and had made a difficult move from New York City back to my hometown Minneapolis, where I couldn't find a place to live. I discovered EFT, and immediately started to feel much better. The tapping gave me extra coping skills, a different understanding of my situation, and much more than hope. I used EFT to clear my negative and repetitive thoughts, upsetting memories, and other issues "driving" my auto-immune illness, and the fibromyalgia healed. I like to call this the gift that I gave away because I no longer needed it. And that's how I became an EFT practitioner.
EFT Facilitates Breakthroughs in Key Life Areas
You don't have to be in dire straits to experience the benefits of EFT. It can be used as a positive force for change. People regularly tap on themselves or with a practitioner to create breakthroughs and achieve peak performance in any area of life, including money, key relationships, self esteem, health, sex, and athletics. Some people even tap on the tapping points while talking or thinking about the people and places and things in their life for which they are grateful.
Tap on Petty Upsets: Tapping on Creating a Great Day
Tapping Into Wellness shows you how to easily integrate tapping into the routine of your daily life. You will learn ways to tap for daily bumps and grinds, including petty annoyances. Imagine being able to stay calm when the barking dogs woke you up again, your husband left a mess on the table, your colleague won't stop talking, you can't find your keys, and the train door just closed in your face and you're going to be late.
For these mini-challenges, maybe one or a few rounds (about thirty seconds to a minute each) is enough to clear the thought clutter right out of your system. Yes, you really don't have to get so bent out of shape each time these things happen. Promise! Wouldn't that feel great?
Really, just because you get up on the wrong side of the bed, doesn't mean that you need to have a down day anymore. Tapping on the "wrong side of the bed feeling" regularly puts people in a position to embrace life and have a great day.
How Come We Need Tapping? Looking At Trauma
Research appears to indicate that trauma happens not because of what we actually experience, but rather, it's how we perceive the experience that determines whether we experience the event as a trauma. Trauma occurs when we experience or witness an event in which we feel helpless, powerless, and alone. We then experience an adrenalized, life-death or survival state, otherwise known as a fight-or-flight response. And it is here that the experience and the feelings relating to it get stuck. Dr. Robert Scaer, MD, (author of The Body Bears the Burden: Trauma, Dissociation, and Disease and Trauma Spectrum: Hidden Wounds and Human Healing) calls this a trauma capsule. Other medical professionals and researchers have concurred with the definition of trauma.
In EFT terminology, this moment can be likened to an "energy disruption." When the person perceives a threat to his or her existence, there is an energy disruption in the person's energy system, and this is what causes the negative emotions. The person is no longer in the rational, reasonable, expansive part of his or her brain, the neo-cortex, but rather is experiencing through the limbic reptilian (primitive) survival brain.
The problem could be as simple as a one-year-old baby left all alone and crying in the crib; a toddler watching his parents leave and not knowing whether they are ever coming back; or overhearing family members arguing. For the child who can't reason, it's a question of existential survival. Then there are the more obvious types of experiences that may lead to trauma at any age, such as a car crash, rape, war, the sudden loss of a loved one, or natural disaster.
We will create a pattern of avoiding experiences that remind of this time, until finally the issue spills over in a way that causes us trouble in our lives. EFT has a way of tracking back to the problem's source. That is the case until we integrate that particular isolated experience into the whole of our lives.
This idea reinforces the wisdom of the inventor of logotherapy, the late Dr. Viktor Frankl, neurologist and psychiatrist, whose pioneering work was in part shaped by his holocaust prisoner experience. He said that suffering without meaning equals despair. Experiencing understanding and forgiveness is inherent in the EFT process.
What If You Can't Identify the Source of Your Problem or Name the Feelings?
All you really need to know is that something is off or that there is something that you want to change right now. If you are suddenly compelled to act in a certain way that you cannot control, or if you are sabotaging yourself by procrastinating or making the same mistakes over and over again, EFT is a doorway into change. If there's a problem area in your life that you believe is just the way you are and will always be, but, sigh, wish it were different, these are all opportunities where you could explore tapping.
You can also use your body sensations as a rich resource with tapping, too. EFT does not necessarily differentiate between an emotional feeling and a physical sensation. Scientists have demonstrated that what we think we will correspondingly feel or experience in our bodies. Doctors say that mental stress is a major contributor in most serious illness. And in my clinical experience, I have seen that for most every feeling or thought, there is a corresponding body sensation. Thankfully, the body doesn't lie, and is eager and ready to reveal its secrets if we listen, which we do in EFT. And then a symptom becomes a breadcrumb on the road to acceptance of yourself just as you are, and ultimately to wholesome relief, forgiveness, compassion, joy, peace, and wellbeing.
Tapping on Training Wheels
An easy way to start tapping is a technique I developed called Tapping on Training Wheels. You simply start with one point, the collarbone point. You can find this point by putting your finger just at the bony U or V, where your left and right collarbones join together. Now, move your finger an inch to the right or left of this bony point, and an inch down on either side. This is the collarbone point. Tap with two fingers gently on this point about five to seven times, for practice.
- Identify a Minor Upset or Physical Pain. Now, go ahead and think of a minor thought, feeling, upset, or physical ache that is bothering you.
- Rate How Much You're Bothered. How much does the upset or pain bother you? Use the 0 to 10 EFT ratings scale, with 10 being, "It's absolutely unbearable," while 0 is, "I'm not bothered at all."
- Focus Attention on the Problem and Tap. Focus attention on the upset or pain as you tap on the collarbone point for thirty seconds to a minute or more.
- Stop and take several deep breaths.
- Identify a Positive Memory when you felt loved, safe, supported, open-hearted, and happy. Examples might be the puppy you saw this morning, or the wonderful time you had dancing with your spouse, or that amazing experience in nature.
- Tap the Collarbone Point for Thirty–Sixty seconds while re-experiencing that positive memory.
- Re-Rate the Original Upset or Physical Pain. Re-rerate the initial tapping target. Notice if the intensity on the 0 to 10 scale has decreased. If it is 0, you are done.
- Tap Collarbone Point for Thirty–Sixty Seconds. You can continue to perform this exercise until the upset or pain has decreased to 0. If it has stayed the same, repeat the exercise again, or obtain Tapping Into Wellness to learn how to tap Gold Standard EFT style.
Tapping Into Wellness shows readers how to employ the various EFT Gold Standard techniques, and it also addresses chapters that include:
- How to get specific to get results
- Looking at the origins of problems
- Tapping to relieve stress and overwhelm
- Overcoming Self Sabotage, including resistance to tapping
- Using EFT to resolve cravings and experience body confidence
- Clearing phobias with EFT
- Tapping on the physical
- Using EFT to address grief and loss
We are evolving as a human species, thankfully. The old models and structures for society have been crumbling for a good while, and their transformation will be the saving grace of people, planet, and all sentient beings upon this earth. The qualities of emotional connection, community, compassion, unity, respectful communication, loving-kindness, joy, and care are becoming increasingly important and valued over no-longer-working or viable paradigms, such as societal institutions and models that rely on authority, hierarchy, and a "power over" approach.
It is an exciting time within which to live and prosper, and tapping and other modalities that embrace and restore feelings to their rightful place will be playing a role in the coming years as we shift into a more sustainable, lighter, more peaceful, optimistic world culture.
Article originally published in The Llewellyn Journal. Copyright Llewellyn Worldwide, 2015. All rights reserved.