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Understanding EFT Tapping

Updated on July 26, 2015



What is EFT - Tapping

It is described in a variety of different ways but it uses gentle tapping with a couple of fingers on some acupressure points - usually by the individual themselves - whilst voicing certain affirmations. Some people think of it as a sort of self-hypnosis, it has it's roots in ancient Chinese medicine but uses elements of Neuro Linguistic Programming.The basic premise of tapping is that unresolved emotional issues and trauma are actually what is at the root of most of the problems we experience. They disturb the balance within the body and this gives rise to symptoms which may be emotional or physical. Certainly over recent years it has gained much more coverage in the media as people use it and find it effective for a whole range of issues. This link is for a report in the Daily Mail about how tapping is used to treat anxiety and as you can see it is being used within the NHS sometimes.

When did it start?

IT has been known for thousands of years that energy flows through the body along certain channels or meridians and in lots of cultures there has been an understanding that unresolved emotions can disturb this flow. Similarly there has been a gradual increase in the understanding that emotions, which we know have a physical effect for instance when we are afraid our heart pounds and can have a negative impact on the whole body.

But Tapping as we know it today really began in the 80's when Roger Callahan, a psychologist used what he had learned about meridians to help a patient with a phobia. Then Gary Craig worked with Callahan and eventually EFT emerged. You can read more about the history by following the link below.

Is there any scientific evidence?

At first like lots of new. or innovative treatments, it was met with some scepticism, but there is now some scientific evidence to back up what people who have said about their experience of tapping.

Research from Harvard medical school has shown that the fear and stress response of the brain (controlled by the amygdala) can be lessened by applying pressure to certain meridian points - which is what happens in tapping as well as acupuncture.

There has also been a research study which measured cortisol levels ( this is the hormone that is released when we are under stress) and levels were reduced quite dramatically following a tapping session.

MRI scans have also shown that there are distinct changes in the brain when acupressure points are stimulated.

How do I start?

Perhaps the best thing about tapping is that anyone can do it. There are registered tapping therapists and you can find one near you by visiting

But anyone can tap and there are lots of videos on the internet that can show you how to get started and give you some affirmation scripts to follow.

The specific points to tap on are shown below. Usually a round of tapping starts by tapping on the karate chop point of the hand tapping 5-7 times on the point with two or three fingers, while saying a 'set up' phrase. Then a round of tapping follows tapping a few times on each point on one side of the body.

It doesn't seem to matter what side you use - so you can use fingers of left hand to tap on the right side of the body or the other way round whichever feels best for you. As you tap around the points affirmations are said relating to the issue you are tapping on.

Tapping Points


What do I say?

In many ways what you say is less important than your intention. So if for example you were tapping because you were feeling stressed it might go something like this.

Set Up Phrase (usually said 3 times)

Even though I feel stressed right now I choose to love and accept myself

Even though I don't like these feelings I love and accept myself

Even though I am really worried about ..........I love and accept myself

As You Tap Around Points

But I believe I can change

I don't need to worry about .........

It will pass and these feelings will go

I'm grateful that I know I can change

I don't need to feel this all the time

I want to feel peace instead

Calmness and peace

Many clients worry that they won't know what to say but voicing what you feel is the best place to start and some people find just tapping without words can be calming.

Often its good to grade your level of distress when you start and then keep tapping until you feel calm.

What are the advantages of Tapping over other therapies

It is important for anyone seeking help that they find the approach that is right for them. If tapping and EFT sounds right for you then you can either book a session with a therapist who will show how to tap and help you work though any issues that are troubling you at the moment.

But it is also something you can start yourself. There are lots of videos available on the internet that will walk you though a tapping routine.

The main advantages are that

  • it is non invasive - you actually tap on yourself with your own fingers
  • it is empowering - you don't need to depend on a therapist
  • results are usually very quick
  • it can be used for almost any problem you may be having
  • it can also be used to help motivate you or help you find direction in your life.

What Problems Can it Help With?

Frankly it can be effective with almost anything. When you first start there is usually a reason WHY - there is something you want to deal with and for many people this can be stress, anxiety, or panic attacks. But Tapping is also really helpful for treating self esteem issues, fears and phobias, compulsions and addictions.

It has been used effectively as a tool to lose weight and has been used to treat physical symptoms with good effect. Often when tapping about a physical issue something 'emotional' comes to mind - a trauma or past hurt and when this is addressed through tapping the physical symptoms often ease. It has been used very successfully with people suffering form post traumatic stress disorder, especially war veterans.

Tapping Can Help Stress


Is it just for problems?

Many people start using tapping for a specific issue but then find it becomes part of their life. Tapping has been used by many as a motivational tool, both at an individual and group level and it is very effective. It is often used by people who have a belief in the law of attraction - that what we set as our intentions, where we dwell in a thought sense, is what we will attract.

In this sense I have seen tapping used to increase wealth and happiness and even attract a partner.

Something very dynamic seems to happen when people start to tap - quite literaly lives are changed.

An alternative to pills


Tap and Be Happy

For many people life is a struggle, things don't go to plan, people hurt us, we may struggle with a whole host of emotional issues that can have an impact in every area of our lives. But at the end of the day while friends may be supportive and it can certainly help to share a problem by talking about it life is too short to spend time being unhappy or struggling with negative emotions on a daily basis. I have certainly worked with people who have found tapping can be an alternative to taking medication for anxiety or sleep problems

So it's worth giving tapping a try - who knows it could even change your life.


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    • Sheila Mulvenney profile image

      sheila 2 years ago from Bedford

      Thanks for reading and yes tapping can help with so many different things - let's keep tapping!

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 2 years ago from California

      I use tapping all the time to help calm my performance anxiety--great article!