Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)
What is Tapping?
Tapping, also known as EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques), is a powerful holistic healing technique that has been proven to effectively resolve a range of issues, including stress, anxiety, depression, phobias, emotional disorders, chronic pain, insomnia, addiction, weight control, and limiting beliefs, just to name a few.
Tapping therapy is based on the combined principles of ancient Chinese acupressure and modern psychology. Tapping with the fingertips on specific meridian endpoints of the body, while focusing on negative emotions or physical sensations, helps to calm the nervous system, rewire the brain to respond in healthier ways, and restore the body’s balance of energy.
So how does it all work?
When you consider that the gut is also known as the ‘second brain’, as the two are connected by millions of neural pathways and neurotransmitters, you realize the importance of addressing emotional wellbeing in order to influence physical health in either a positive or negative way.
Tapping makes full use of the mind-body connection, acknowledging and integrating the concepts that physical pain, disease, and mental wellbeing are intricately connected to our emotional states. The body is equipped with an energy system that travels along pathways known as meridians. Tapping on these meridian endpoints helps to stimulate this system, and when verbally or mentally addressing the root causes of distress, the areas of blocked energy are able to release and flow naturally.
The basic Tapping technique requires you to focus on the negative emotion at hand – a fear, a worry, a bad memory, an unresolved problem, or anything that’s bothering you. While maintaining your mental focus on this issue, you use your fingertips to tap 5-7 times on each of the 9 specific meridian points of the body.
Tapping on these meridian points in sequence while concentrating on the negative emotions engages both the brain’s limbic system and the body’s energy system, encouraging a sense of safety and resolution. And as the scientific field of epigenetics is proving, when you change your internal environment – your emotions and beliefs – external changes in your mental & physical health will follow.
The Mighty Amygdala
The scientific basis for Tapping therapy revolves around the functions of a specific almond-shaped part of your brain called the amygdala. It is part of the body’s limbic system, the source of emotions and long-term memory.
The amygdala is known as the brain’s fear center, from which the “flight or fight” response originates, alerting other parts of the brain that it senses danger. This, in turn, initiates the firing of other brain receptors and the release of specific hormones that allow the body to respond to the perceived danger.
This process is highly useful when faced with a real survival situation or an actual threat, but can be detrimental when developed into an “irrational fear” such as public speaking or a fear of rejection.
Tapping has been shown to literally “turn off” the amygdala, disrupting the stress response and allowing the brain synapses to be rewired for a more appropriate emotional response to a given situation.
So why do I, as a nutritional therapist, also practice EFT?
The current medical model frequently ‘medicalizes’ emotional issues and whilst it is true that emotional pain can manifest in physical symptoms, medicating these symptoms without addressing the underlying core issue, will not necessarily eradicate the problem. This sticking plaster approach is often the result of an overburdened and under-resourced health service.
Throughout my years of practicing NT and working with clients, I have become very aware that I needed another tool in my box of treatments, so that I could address both the emotional and physical aspects of my client’s presentation.
For example IBS is affected by both dietary and emotional aspects, so to restore an individuals health and wellbeing, I take a holistic approach to their treatment, and in many cases, I have found that using EFT alongside nutritional rehab, enables individuals to release unresolved emotional issues, that has prevented them from a full recovery.