Using EFT Tapping (Emotional Freedom Technique) is one of the most effective ways to heal trauma, blocks, limiting beliefs, and emotional distress. While I always recommend working with a trauma-informed EFT practitioner when working on healing trauma and other specific issues you are working through, tapping also makes a great self-care tool that you can use anytime and anywhere!
This blog post will cover what EFT tapping is, how to use it as a self-care tool and how to use tapping affirmations as a part of your daily routine.
What is EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) Tapping?
The Emotional Freedom Technique, also known as EFT tapping or just tapping, is a practical and easy body-based therapeutic tool that has been researched and clinically proven to help people calm their physiology, anxious thoughts and reduce symptoms of physical pain.
EFT is based on similar principles to that of acupuncture in Chinese medicine. EFT utilizes tapping on meridian points or acupressure points which send a calming signal to the brain and throughout the body. It may also be thought of as “psychological acupressure.” EFT also utilizes elements of neuro-linguistic programming, positive psychology, Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Mindfulness, energy medicine, and Thought Field Therapy (TFT).
EFT is commonly referred to as “tapping” because you tap on the meridian points, stimulating these points on your body while tuning into a specific issue or limiting belief. The stimulation to the specific points helps reduce the emotional distress in response to the issue, helping to restore energy balance in your body. From this place of reducing the emotional distress and having calmer physiology, you are able to think more clearly and have shifts in your thinking.
One common misconception about EFT is in regard to the topic of emotions. EFT/ tapping does not necessarily take away or dissolve negative emotions. Tapping helps to reduce the physiological reaction or the emotional distress one is experiencing in regard to an issue. For example, if someone has experienced the loss of a loved one, EFT will help support them in having calmer physiology, helping to regulate their breathing and allow them to “be” with the emotions they are feeling, such as sadness and grief, without allowing the emotions to overwhelm their physiology and way of thinking.
How EFT/Tapping Works
The tapping process helps provide relief from distressing events and emotions by helping to discharge the emotional pain that is held in your body. Helping to bring your body and energy system back into balance and resourcefulness.
EFT/Tapping utilizes acupressure points. These acupressure points have been shown to have a powerful impact on how the brain is responding to emotional stress and the way it is processing information. The stimulation of these acupressure points has been shown to stop the fight, freeze, and flight response in the sympathetic nervous system and support signaling a relaxation response in the parasympathetic nervous system. This helps to reduce cortisol levels by up to 47%.
EFT Tapping Points
There are nine primary tapping points in Evidence-Based EFT plus the side of the hand, which is used to begin a round; they are listed below in order of use. While the order does not matter, it has been found that tapping in a downward flow from top to bottom is an easy flow to remember, like falling raindrops.
The set-up statement repeats 3 times on the side of the hand, the pinky side of the hand also referred to as the “karate chop point.”
9 Tapping Points
- Top of head
- Beginning of the eyebrow
- Side of the eye
- Under the eye
- Under the nose
- Under the bottom lip
- Under the arm, about 4 inches below the armpit
- Gamut Point, the top of the hand, the soft spot where the pinky and ring finger would meet on the top of the hand. While traditional tapping does not typically utilize the gamut point, clinical EFT includes it as it is associated with trauma release.
How to Use EFT Tapping for Self-Care
Utilizing EFT Tapping for self-care is one of the best self-care tools available to you! You can use tapping anywhere at any time to help calm your physiology and your mind. When utilizing EFT/Tapping, you want to first tap on the specific issue or limiting belief and then move into tapping affirmations. To tap on a specific issue or limiting belief, follow the basic tapping protocol for self-care listed below, which is followed by a scripted example.
- Identify the most pressing issue, specific issue, or limiting belief that is up for you.
- Give the issue a SUD (subjective unit of distress) rating from 0-10, with zero being no distress and 10 being the highest distress. Ask yourself, what is my distress 0-10?
- Create a setup statement. The first part includes the issue, and the second part is the balancing statement of where you want to be. Such as: “Even though I (name issue in a few words), I deeply and completely love and accept myself.
- Identify the reminder phrase. The reminder phrase is a few words that describe the issue you are working on. You will say this as you tap on the different points.
- Begin Tapping:
- Say your setup statement. Repeat the setup phrase 3 times while tapping on the side of your hand.
- Tap on each of the tapping points while saying your reminder phrase on each point.
- After tapping on the gamut point (top of the hand), you have completed one round of tapping. Take a moment to pause, take a deep breath and rate the issue on the SUD scale of 0-10. Continue to tap until your rating comes to a 0-2
- Once you have reached a 0-2, invite in a reframe. A reframe is a positive thought or emotional shift around the issue. You may ask yourself, what is different when I think about this issue now?”
- Proceed to use positive tapping affirmations as described after the tapping round example script below.
During your tapping session with yourself, it is important to make sure you are breathing. Make sure you are getting a full inhale all the way to your belly. Having a glass of water available and having some sips throughout your session also helps to support regulating your physiology.
Example Tapping Script
This script is meant to serve as an example of what to say during a round of tapping. You can adapt it to fit your own issue that is causing you distress.
Issue: Can’t Control My Anxiety
Rate your issue on the SUDS Scale (Subjective Unit of Distress) from 0-10, with zero being the least amount of distress and 10 being the most amount of distress.
Set-up Statement: Start tapping on the side of the hand, repeating three times the following set-up statement. “Even though I can’t control my anxiety, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.
- Top of head: “I can’t control my anxiety”
- Beginning of the eyebrow: “I can’t control my anxiety”
- Side of the eye: “I can’t control my anxiety”
- Under the eye: “I can’t control my anxiety”
- Under the nose: “I can’t control my anxiety”
- Under the bottom lip: “I can’t control my anxiety”
- Collarbone: “I can’t control my anxiety”
- Under the arm: “I can’t control my anxiety”
- Gamut Point: “I can’t control my anxiety”
This completes one round of tapping. Take a moment to check in with yourself. Rate your intensity on the issue; in this example, it would be not being able to control your anxiety on a scale of 0-10.
Continue to tap on the issue at hand of anxiety until you reach a 0-10, and then move on to using positive tapping affirmations, which are detailed below.
How to Use Positive Tapping Affirmations
In order for positive tapping affirmations to be the most effective, you first want to tap on the problem or limiting belief (see above section) until you reach a 0-2 on the SUDS scale. From this place, you are in a better position to begin tapping on positive affirmations. The reason to tap on the problem first is that if you tap with affirmations while disregarding a persistent feeling or belief without addressing it first, then it is likely to continue even if you tap with positive words or affirmations. You want to find relief from the “charge” around the issue first and then move into positive words.
Another way of looking at it is that if you want to clean a room, you have to go to the corners and find the dirt, clean under the furniture, throw the garbage out, and not just put a great-smelling candle in the room and call it quits. Positive tapping affirmations are the icing on the cake. They reinforce and elevate what has already come to the surface for healing
When using positive tapping affirmations, you will want to reinforce any positive reframes you had during your tapping round with positive words or affirmations.
To use positive statements, you do not need to start with the side of the hand as there is no “issue” or limiting belief you are working to heal. Instead, you are working to integrate positive thinking and/or any positive reframes as a result of the tapping rounds you have completed.
Start with the top of your head and say the chosen affirmation, such as “I am loved and supported,” on each of the 9 tapping points. I find it best to stick to one affirmation throughout each round of tapping, as the intention when working with affirmations is to embody the affirmation, so your mind, body, and heart are all in alignment with the feeling associated with the words.
You want to tap on the specific affirmation until you feel these words as truth in your heart and in your body. It is then that you will experience positive change, healing, and transformation. When you believe the words in your heart, you will move through life from that place.
How is Self-Care Tapping different than working with an EFT Practioner?
Self-care tapping is a great resiliency tool to work through daily stressors, limiting beliefs, and emotional blocks. When it comes to healing deep-rooted negative beliefs and trauma, working through emotions around specific events, or if you are not seeing progress when working through any issues on your own, an EFT practitioner, such as myself, with a trauma-informed practice can help support you in your healing. Clinical EFT /Tapping has been proven to provide faster and more effective relief to trauma healing than traditional methods of therapy.
EFT tapping is a great way to heal emotional distress and calm your mind and body, giving you more inner peace, emotional freedom, and an open heart. Working with a trauma-informed EFT practitioner like myself helps accelerate your healing progress and get you the best results by providing individualized, targeted therapy.
Eft/Tapping is not meant to be a substitute for seeing a doctor or as a substitute for any medical advice.
Read More: Tapping for Insomnia
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