EFT Tapping, or Emotional Freedom Technique tapping, is a therapeutic practice that combines some principles of ancient Chinese acupressure with modern psychology. But despite its historical roots, it’s a pretty modern phenomenon. It was popularized back in the ‘90s by an engineer named Gary Craig, who trademarked the term, simplified the basic principles of the practice, and made it much more approachable for the laymen among us.
In basic terms, EFT tapping involves tapping on specific pressure points on your body, mainly on the face and upper body, while focusing on particular thoughts or feelings. You do this yourself — no outside help needed — making it easy and convenient to try pretty much anywhere, any time. A lot of people who swear by the technique claim that it works especially well when you’re feeling anxious, having a panic attack, or are suffering from the symptoms of depression.
In a now-viral TikTok video, a licensed addiction recovery counselor and several prison inmates demonstrate how to utilize EFT tapping and showcase just how easily it can be done. “Tapping uses energy points, and it actually helps turn off the brain’s alarm system, so it’s great for stress or whatever feels bigger than you today,” she says in the clip. A quick search of the #efttapping hashtag on the app brings back more than 86 million results, showing just how many people find it beneficial.
If that’s not enough to convince you to give it a go, there are several other potential benefits to tapping that might change your mind.
Potential benefits of EFT tapping
- It helps alleviate stress and anxiety. Tapping can help decrease stress levels (and boy, do we need that) by calming your nervous system. It has a soothing, relaxing effect that can make you feel more chilled out and less uptight. This can be increased by focusing on the things that are worrying you while performing the tapping, as you essentially lessen its power over you.
- Your sleep will improve. Because EFT tapping is so relaxing — hello, lowered cortisol levels! — it’s much easier to get to sleep at night. For that reason, you might want to do it in the evenings before bed to help your busy mind wind down and create a sense of peace and readiness for rest.
- It can relieve physical pain. Sure, you could pop some Advil when you have a headache or other body ache, but many proponents of tapping believe that it provides another form of pain relief without needing to take medication. The idea, according to Gabby Bernstein, is that by tapping your way physically through pain, you release your emotional attachment to the sensation and experience relief.
- It boosts your emotional health. If you engage in meditation, mindfulness, or positive affirmations while tapping, you may be able to work through pent-up or difficult emotions and relinquish them entirely. As the intensity of feeling loses its grip over you, you find yourself feeling more at peace with yourself, which boosts your emotional health.
- It increases self-esteem. While focusing on a specific thought or limiting belief during your EFT tapping practice, you can reframe negative patterns and turn them into positive ones. This can help you feel more empowered, attractive, strong, and capable — in other words, it can boost your self-worth bigtime.
- It makes you feel more focused and provides clarity. You can’t think clearly or effectively when you’re overcome by stress and anxiety. By reducing those feelings via tapping, your brain can work optimally and you could end up feeling way more productive and have a clearer vision when it comes to decision-making.
- It could help address and resolve deep-seated trauma. Some people use EFT tapping to deal with deep-seated issues like PTSD or trauma, though it should be said that if you plan to do this, you may want to work with a professional. The idea is that tapping provides a gentle but effective way to process these experiences so that we can reduce their impact on our lives and begin to heal.
- It’s good for overall well-being. Many people believe that tapping gives you a greater sense of overall well-being by aligning the body and mind and promoting better physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health.
Does it actually work?
That depends on who you ask. Eh, that all depends. You can find plenty of “scientific” research papers online heralding EFT tapping as a way to fix everything from bipolar disorder to chronic migraines and everything in between. However, these studies have not been peer-reviewed and aren’t necessarily without bias.
That being said, even if tapping isn’t the miracle worker many proclaim it to be, if it feels good to you, there’s no harm in trying it. Whether or not it’s down to the placebo effect, the outcome — reduction of stress and anxiety, pain relief, a general sense of calm, etc. — is the same. And since tapping is incredibly safe, there’s no reason not to try it, right?