Tapping for anxiety is a technique that has gained popularity over the past decade for its ability to reduce stress and anxiety.
It is a form of alternative therapy that combines elements of Traditional Chinese medicine with modern psychology to help individuals overcome negative emotions and improve their overall well-being.
- What Is Tapping
- The Science Of Tapping
- 5 Benefits Of Tapping
- How To
- Tip Tips
What is Tapping?
Tapping for anxiety, also known as Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), is a technique that involves tapping on specific acupressure points on the body while focusing on a negative emotion or thought.
The technique is used to release negative energy and promote the flow of positive energy in the body.
The Science Behind Tapping
According to traditional Chinese medicine, the body has 12 energy meridians that run along specific pathways in the body. These meridians are connected to different organs and functions in the body and are responsible for the flow of energy, or Qi, throughout the body.
When a person experiences negative emotions, the flow of energy in the body becomes disrupted. This can lead to physical and emotional symptoms such as pain, anxiety, and depression.
By tapping on specific acupressure points on the body, the flow of energy is restored, and the body is able to return to a state of balance.
5 Benefits of Tapping for anxiety
Tapping has been shown to have a wide range of benefits, including reducing anxiety and stress, improving mood, and increasing overall well-being, as documented in over 100 papers in peer-reviewed professional journals listed here.
Here are some of the key benefits of tapping:
#1: Reduces Anxiety and Stress
Tapping has been shown to be effective in reducing anxiety and stress. A 2023 article published in the Journal of Interprofessional Education & Practice advocates EFT tapping as an easy-to-learn technique that produces relief from stress, anxiety and the symptoms of burnout within minutes.
It suggested that EFT tapping could be beneficial particularly in groups that are prone to anxiety, increased stress and high levels of burnout, such as healthcare professionals like doctors and nurses, and students
#2: Improves Physical and Mental well-being
A 2019 study published in the Journal of Evidence-based integrative medicine examined how EFT works by looking at its impact on different systems in the body.Researchers measured heart rate variability and heart coherence to study the central nervous system, resting heart rate and blood pressure to examine the circulatory system, cortisol to assess the endocrine system, and salivary immunoglobulin A to measure the immune system. They also measured participants’ psychological symptoms.
They enrolled 203 participants in a 4-day training workshop held in various locations. At one workshop, 31 participants underwent detailed physiological testing. Improves physical health
After the workshop, they found significant reductions in anxiety, depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, pain, and cravings. They also observed improvements in resting heart rate, cortisol levels, and blood pressure.
Positive trends were seen in heart rate variability and heart coherence. Happiness and salivary immunoglobulin A levels increased.
These improvements were maintained during the follow-up, indicating that EFT not only has positive effects on health but also enhances mental well-being.
#3: Improves Mood and Happiness
Tapping has been shown to improve mood and increase feelings of happiness.
Another study published in the Journal of Evidence-Based Integrative Medicine found that tapping improved mood and overall well-being in participants.
#4: Promotes Relaxation, Reduces Pain
Tapping can also promote relaxation and reduce physical symptoms of chronic pain in general population as shown in a 2022 study published in the Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, as well as in specific populations like those with frozen shoulder (2016 study) as well as veterans with clinical levels of PTSD (2014 study).
#5: Can help alleviate fear and specific phobias
As a technique that can promote relaxation and reduce physical symptoms of stress and anxiety, it is not surprising that EFT Tapping for anxiety has been shown to be effective in supporting individuals with various phobias, which include intense fears (2010 study), Claustrophobia (2005 study), and phobias of small animals (2003 study).
Tapping for Anxiety: How to do it
Below you can find a simple tapping routine I often practice myself and also share with my students to release anxiety, or you can follow along this 5 minute video which shows a condensed version:
Step 1: First, identify the emotion:
Identify the negative emotion that you want to release. It can be anxiety, fear, anger, or any other negative emotion.
Step 2: Rate the intensity:
Rate the intensity of the emotion on a scale of 0 to 10, with 10 being the most intense.
Step 3: Pick a statement
Now, before you start to tap, pick a statement that explains what you’re trying to address. It must focus on two main goals, acknowledging the issue(s) e.g. anxiety, and accepting yourself despite the problem. This may be: “Even though I have this [fear or problem], I deeply and completely accept myself.”
Step 4: Tap on each of the following acupressure points, in order
Now, prepare yourself to start the EFT tapping for anxiety sequence that focused on the ends of nine meridian points.
Begin by tapping the side of hand point while simultaneously reciting your setup phrase three times. Then, tap each following point seven times, moving down the body in this ascending order:
- Side of your hand, sometimes referred to as “karate chop” (KC): small intestine meridian
- Top of your head: governing vessel
- Your eyebrow: bladder meridian
- Side of your eye: gallbladder meridian
- Under your eye: stomach meridian
- Under your nose: governing vessel
- Chin: central vessel
- beginning of the collarbone: kidney meridian
- under the arm: spleen meridian
Repeat the sequence: After tapping on all of the points, take a deep breath and repeat the sequence again, starting with the karate chop point.
Continue tapping and repeating the sequence for at least four to five rounds or until you feel a sense of relief.
Step 5: Re-Rate the intensity
At the end of your tapping practice, rate once again, your experience of the emotion on a scale of 0 to 10, with 10 being the most intense. Compare this with your initial intensity level to see if anything has changed.
How often to tap for anxiety and when to tap:
Tapping for anxiety can be done at any time of the day. For intense or chronic issues, it is recommended to practice tapping consistently over a period of time.
The advantages of tapping for anxiety accumulate, which means that tapping every day will be the most beneficial for you. You may wish to integrate tapping for anxiety with your existing yoga or meditation practice to reap more benefits.
Integrating tapping for Anxiety in your Yoga practice:
Incorporating tapping into your yoga or meditation practice can be a simple and effective way to release tension and promote relaxation.
For example, you could begin your Yoga or meditation practice with a short tapping routine to release any tension or negative thoughts that you may be carrying with you. This can help you to enter your practice with a clear and focused mind, and to be more present in the moment.
Additionally, you can incorporate tapping into your yoga practice by tapping on specific acupressure points during certain yoga poses.
For example, while in a seated forward fold, you could tap on the inner eyebrows to release anxiety and connect with your intuition. Or while in a supported fish pose, you could tap on the collarbone point to promote relaxation and reduce stress.
By combining tapping with yoga or meditation, you can create a powerful self-care practice that promotes overall well-being and reduces anxiety. It is important to listen to your body and find the combination of practices that works best for you.
4 Tips for Practicing Tapping for Anxiety
While tapping can be a powerful tool for reducing anxiety and improving well-being, there are some important things to keep in mind:
- Be patient: Tapping may not work immediately, and it may take several sessions to see significant results. Be patient and keep practicing.
- Don’t forget the statement: While tapping on each point, remember to repeat a short affirmation or statement that focuses on the negative emotion you want to release.
- Be specific: When identifying the negative emotion you want to release, be as specific as possible. For example, instead of saying “I feel anxious,” try saying “I feel anxious about giving a presentation at work.”
- Seek professional help: While tapping can be a helpful tool for managing anxiety, it should not be used as a substitute for professional help. If you are struggling with anxiety or any other mental health issue, seek the help of a trained mental health professional.
Tapping for anxiety is a powerful technique that can help individuals reduce stress and improve their overall well-being.
By tapping on specific acupressure points while focusing on a negative emotion or thought, the flow of energy in the body is restored, and the body is able to return to a state of balance.
While tapping for anxiety may not work immediately and should not be used as a substitute for professional help, it can be a helpful tool for managing anxiety and promoting overall well-being.