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The emotional freedom technique (EFT) is an alternative treatment for both mental and physical pain or discomfort. EFT is also sometimes referred to as tapping or psychological acupressure. While there have been relatively few studies on EFT, the research that has been conducted in recent years is promising. According to the developer of EFT, Gary Craig, tapping on different parts of the body helps balance energy and reduce physical and emotional pain. EFT is a treatment that anyone can do on themselves, anywhere.

Many people believe that tapping can bring a sense of peace and balance into the body and energy system. According to its developer, Gary Craig, a disruption in energy is the cause of all negative emotions and pain. Though still being researched, EFT tapping has been used to treat people with anxiety and people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

How Does It Work?

Similar to acupuncture, EFT focuses on the meridian points, or energy hot spots of the body to treat mental and physical pain and restore balance to your body’s energy. The theory is that by restoring your body’s energy first, you can relieve symptoms. This method of tapping is based on the ancient Chinese practice of acupuncture. The body’s meridian points are thought of as areas of the body energy flows through. These pathways help balance energy flow to maintain your health. Any imbalance in these pathways can potentially contribute to disease or sickness, according to Medical News Today. It is also believed that tapping sends signals to the part of the brain that controls stress.

The theory is that stimulating these meridian points can relieve stress by balancing out your body’s energy. This technique is similar to the popular practice of mindfulness. In both techniques, you are being asked to focus your attention on your breath and grounding yourself and your energy. Similar to mindfulness and meditation, EFT prompts you to focus on the present moment, and notice the sensations in your body. This is ultimately distracting you from any negative thoughts you may be experiencing so you can feel a sense of relief.

The 5-Step Technique

1. Start by identifying the issue.

In other words, what is the distress about? Try and put a name to it. While focusing on identifying the issue, continue tapping.

2. Next, rate the intensity.

How strong is it on a scale from one to 10 — 10 being the most intense. Do this while you continue tapping.

3. “Tap in” and repeat.

While still tapping, take notice of the sensations you’re feeling in your body and try and stay in the present moment. You can try thinking of a soothing affirmation to ease your mind at this time. Do that two more times while still tapping.

4. Tap through the sequence points.

Tap each point below on your body eight times consecutively (like you’re sending Morse Code), repeating the comforting phrase three times as you do. Continue tapping and reciting while you work your way down your body starting from your eyebrow, to the side of the eye, then the other eye, under the nose, chin, top of the collarbone, under the arm, and end at the top of your head.

5. Rate the intensity again.

How strong is your anxiety now on a scale of one to 10? Repeat these steps as many times as necessary.

What Is This Technique Helpful For?

Nick Ortner’s Tapping Technique to Calm Anxiety & Stress in 3 Minutes

Source: Marie Forleo/Youtube

Nick Ortner of The Tapping Solution shares a simple, introductory, three-minute EFT tapping technique you can do anywhere to instantly reduce stress and even stop a panic attack. He shares four simple steps to follow. First, he instructs you to close your eyes, and tune into your breath. Next, you start tapping on the side of one hand (the “karate-chop point”) with four fingers of the other hand. Then, tap through face points, including the edge of the eyebrow, temples, cheekbones, upper lip, chin, collarbone, under the arm, and top of the head. Finally, close your eyes, and return to your breath.


Tapping is a non-invasive, non-pharmacological technique that can be done anywhere. If you’re dealing with feelings of anxiety, depression, PTSD, chronic pain, or stress, tapping is an easy technique that could work for you. It can be taught in less than one session and be a powerful addition to treatment that’s already in place. While EFT tapping is becoming a more popular alternative treatment for some emotional and physical conditions, more research is still required to prove it to be an effective treatment long term. It is important to seek professional help for physical pain or emotional issues before trying EFT.

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