I use a number of tools in my work of helping people Make Peace with Money, and I want to share a bit about each one so that you have an idea of why I use them, and most importantly, how they work.
The first tool to tell you about is called Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) or Tapping.
I discovered tapping almost five years ago, during a period of intense stress for me. The year was 2016, my husband, Paul, had a mental breakdown, and my Mom was seriously ill with cancer. We were in serious financial difficulty because Paul couldn’t work, and I was convinced that we wouldn’t survive; I used to imagine us losing everything and ending up homeless!
I began to search for natural ways to manage my stress, and that’s when I came across Nick Ortner’s website (I’ll tell you a bit more about Nick in a minute) which was all about this thing called EFT, and how by tapping on various points of the body you could reduce stress. This whole idea intrigued me and matched my way of thinking, so I bought his book, and the rest, as they say, is ‘tapping’ history.
Tapping is a super simple, easy to learn technique, that anyone can do; but what is it, and where did it come from?
EFT was originally developed as ‘Thought Field Therapy’, by Dr Roger Callahan in 1980, an American psychologist and pioneer who was passionate about challenging beliefs about accepted psychological principles and healing in general.
Dr Callahan had a patient called Mary, who had an extreme phobia of water. Mary’s fear had total control over her life, she was unable to drive near the ocean, and was therefore unable to take her children to the beach; she grew fearful when it rained, and her fear even went as far as being unable to withstand the sight of water on TV.
Dr. Callahan had a pool at his house, and after a year of working with Mary she was able to sit with the pool in view, however, this still caused her extreme distress, and stomach pains. While she found ways to cope, she was unable to overcome her phobia.
During his time working with Mary, Dr. Callahan had been studying traditional Chinese medicines, including learning about meridians (I’ll go into these in future blogs), upon seeing Mary’s distress from her stomach pains he had a moment of inspiration.
He had learnt that there was an acupuncture point for the stomach meridian on the cheekbone, so he asked her to tap on that point with her finger, in the hope that it may help.
This little action changed medical history!
After tapping on the cheekbone, Mary’s stomach pains disappeared, a response that seemed miraculous, to both her and Dr. Callahan. Even more amazing was the fact that her phobia of water disappeared as well!
Mary was able to go to the pool and splash herself with water.
Since this discovery, TFT has grown in popularity, and other techniques have been developed from this ground-breaking work, often collectively called Energy Psychology and/or EFT. While there are some differences, they all involve tapping on specific points on the body, while focusing attention on a specific emotion or problem.
One of the modern-day pioneers of EFT is Nick Ortner, who started out by recording and documenting the journeys of ten people who used tapping to overcome significant challenges, including chronic back pain, fibromyalgia, insomnia, devastating grief and more; this work became a film called ‘The Tapping Solution’. Since then Nick has created a company championing the benefits of tapping and has helped bring these to the attention of millions of people.
“Tapping is a set of techniques which utilize the body’s energy meridian points. You can stimulate these meridian points by tapping on them with your fingertips – literally tapping into your body’s own energy and healing power……. It blends eastern acupressure with western psychology, allowing you to address deeper emotions. The relief it provides to stress is incredible”Nick Ortner from ‘The Tapping Solution for Pain Relief’ and ‘The Tapping Solution’ Website.
I am planning a video which will show more clearly the tapping process, however, for now, here’s how Nick describes it in writing:
The basic technique requires you to focus on the negative emotion at hand: a fear or anxiety, a bad memory, an unresolved problem, or anything that’s bothering you. While maintaining your mental focus on this issue, use your fingertips to tap 5-7 times each on 12 of the body’s meridian points. Tapping on these meridian points – while concentrating on accepting and resolving the negative emotion – will access your body’s energy, restoring it to a balanced state.
Being a relatively new form of pain and stress relief, means that the number of scientific studies on the effects and benefits is limited, however, this is changing, thanks to the work of Dr Dawson Church PhD and his team in the US.
Dr Church founded the National Institute for Integrative Healthcare to promote ground-breaking new treatments. He shares how to apply the breakthroughs of energy psychology to health and personal performance through EFT Universe, one of the largest alternative medicine sites on the web.
His team performed a randomised controlled trial to study how an hour-long tapping session would impact the stress levels of 83 subjects. They measured the participant’s level of cortisol, a hormone secreted by the body when it undergoes stress, both before and after tapping, and found that the average level of cortisol reduction after tapping was 24%, and almost 50% in some subjects! In comparison, there was no significant cortisol reduction in those who underwent an hour of traditional talk therapy.
Because tapping doesn’t need any apps or fancy kit, it is something you can do at any time and any place. I once saw a documentary where people were learning to overcome their fear of flying by using EFT. Through the T.V. screen, you could sense the anxiety and fear from the passengers even before the plane started moving, but once they all started tapping, they were able to manage their fear and the plane took off.
A lot of my anxieties come to the surface at night time, when I go to bed, probably because my mind has slowed down from focusing on work, so when this happens, I tap; I’ve even learnt to do it in my head so I don’t have to physically move and risk disturbing Paul.
Tapping helps me to feel more hopeful when I find myself thinking, “I can’t get through this.”, and that’s why it is one of the most important tools I use in my work.