Last week I encouraged you to take the time we unexpectedly have right now to explore new ideas, establish different habits, and look at the world around us with more attention and delight.
To that end, I have explored something I have heard of, but had not tried – Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) or tapping – to see how this works. Or if it works. There are many practitioners out there, Nick Ortner, creator of The Tapping Solution documentary and motivational speaker, Gabrielle Bernstein, who are convinced that tapping reduces anxiety, and helps alleviate Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). I was curious to see how it actually did this.
To give you a little background, this technique was developed in the 1990’s by Gary Craig as an alternative psychology therapy, applying a combination of acupressure and affirmations to negative emotions to provide both psychological and physical relief. It is part of a larger concept known as Thought Field Therapy which psychologist Roger Callahan used in his therapeutic practice to treat phobia, anxiety, and depression.
It is a remarkably simple technique of applying pressure through tapping on various meridian points of the body while repeating an statement out loud about the problem at hand and how that makes the individual feel. It is done several times and includes positive affirmations as you move through it. At the end of the series, you should feel noticeable calmer, less anxious and pain-free. The more you do, the better you feel. Easy-peasy.
I thought I would give it a try and, yes, I did feel more relaxed and positive afterwards. But, exactly how did this work? I am not sure, but I think it has something to do with distraction and breathing more fully. I was familiar with the concepts of meridians, chi, accupressure and energy flow, from my training in therapeutic massage, which touched on traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). These were explored as a part of a larger context of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), which purports to treat the person more holistically, including supporting the nutritional, emotional and social aspects of the individual.
And it should be noted that the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and its mission since its inception in 1991 is to "to define, through rigorous scientific investigation, the usefulness and safety of complementary and alternative medicine interventions and their roles in improving health and health care" https://www.nccih.nih.gov/about/nccih-facts-at-a-glance-and-mission).
And that is something I can get behind. As a wellness coach and certified massage therapist, I have firsthand knowledge of the power of helping a person identify imbalanced facets of his or her life and explore complementary therapies that support conventional care. It is empowering for an individual to feel they are in control.
And I think that is it in a nutshell. When the world feels so out of control, why not put a little control back in your life? And if that includes tapping on particular points of your body, naming your problem out loud and how it makes you feel, and then offering yourself some positive affirmations to counter the anxiety, what is wrong with that?
Join me on a Facebook live on Tuesday at 7pm where I demonstrate Emotional Freedom Technique. You can join in from home. See you there!