Stress is such an issue in our culture that it’s starting to seem like an epidemic. Linked to heart disease, different kinds of physical pain, aging—any number of symptoms and health conditions—stress is also a fact of life most of us are trying to change. Unfortunately, the stress relief techniques we’re turning to—yoga, running, meditation—while valuable, can’t always meet our immediate needs. After all, it’s the rare office where you can pull out your yoga mat during a meeting! That’s where Tapping, an Emotional Freedom Technique, becomes such an important addition to your healthy habits.
A blend of Eastern acupressure, or “meridian points,” and Western psychotherapy, Tapping has been shown to reduce the levels of cortisol, known as the “stress hormone,” in your body very quickly. During prolonged periods of stress, which too many of us experience on a month-to-month, even year-to-year basis, your cortisol levels become elevated, which can lead to any number of serious health conditions. Using Tapping, which requires no equipment, can be used anywhere, and is easy to learn, you can lower your cortisol levels, and mitigate the damage done by your body’s stress response.
Research suggests that Tapping works so well so quickly because it integrates physical and mental/emotional stress relief. According to Dawson Church, PhD, who has been researching Tapping since 2002, “accupoint tapping sends signals directly to the stress centers of the mid-brain, not mediated by the frontal lobes.” Unlike talk therapy alone, which has not been shown to impact cortisol levels, “EFT gives you the best of both worlds, body and mind, like getting a massage during a psychotherapy session.”
Dawson, in fact, conducted a study with 83 participants, who were separated into three groups. The first group was led through an hour-long EFT session, the second group received an hour of talk therapy, while the third, the control group, received no treatment. The group that did an hour of EFT demonstrated a 24 percent decrease in cortisol levels, while the other two groups showed no real change. The EFT group also exhibited lower levels of psychological symptoms, including anxiety, depression, and others, as measured by the Symptom Assessment-45 (SA-45), a standard psychological assessment tool.
It’s EFT’s ability to access the amygdala, an almond-shaped part of your brain that initiates your body’s negative reaction to fear, a process we often refer to as the “fight or flight” response, that makes it so powerful. “By reducing stress,” says Dawson, “EFT helps with many problems. There’s a stress component to sports performance, business and financial pressure, and most disease. When you reduce stress in one area of your life, there’s often a beneficial effect in other areas.”
What’s more, many people find that even 5 or 10 minutes of Tapping enhances their other healthy practices, including meditation, yoga, and more. So next time you leave a stressful meeting, or arrive home after a rush hour drive home, take a few minutes to do some tapping. You’ll be amazed by how quickly you begin to relax and feel better.
Check out the video below for a demonstration on how to tap: