Tapping therapy is an alternative approach to psychotherapy that is often used as part of the wider process of ‘emotional freedom therapy’. It centers around the idea that negative emotions can be the result of trapped energy in the meridians of the body and that tapping at acupuncture pressure points can thus help to release those emotions (presumably resulting in the titular ‘emotional freedom’). Tapping therapy is thus used alongside other EFT techniques to try and combat depression, anxiety and other psychological complaints.
How to Use Tapping Therapy
One of the reported advantages of tapping therapy is that it’s simple and easy to do. Once a patient has been shown how to apply the method, they can in theory use it themselves whenever they feel stress or anxiety bubbling up to the surface. Of course this is only useful though if the therapy actually works.
In total, there are more than 300 meridian points described in Chinese medicine and different ones are linked with different organs and different emotions. However, practitioners of EFT suggest that you don’t need to have a working knowledge of the entire system in order to use tapping therapy. As all the points link back (conveniently), you can reportedly tap in a range of different places and see results. Commonly a nine point sequence is recommended that involves:
- The top of the head
- The start of the eyebrow
- Side of the eye
- Under the eye
- Under the nose
- Chin point
- Beginning of the collarbone
- Under the arm
To ‘tell’ your body what the issue you want to focus on is, you then repeat certain mantras as you tap. A framework that is often recommended is to say ‘even though I [insert stressor or painful memory here], I completely accept myself’.
Apparently, you can also ‘tell’ your body what each point on your body is representing. For instance you might say: ‘this is my embarrassing memory from school’. Excuse me while I try to sound open minded… but come on…
Does Tapping Therapy Work?
You knew this was coming. As you would expect, there are no studies that demonstrate tapping therapy to be effective beyond placebo and it is generally regarded as a pseudoscience by the scientific community. Acupuncture and the idea of meridians, chakras and ‘blocked energy’ are all founded on the Chinese belief in ‘Chi’, which is described as being a type of life-force. Again however, there is no serious science backing the existence of chi and acupuncture points appear to be completely arbitrary. More modern attempts to explain tapping therapy try to focus on the idea that we can harbor tension relating to unconscious stress throughout our body but again, this is completely unfounded in science.
What benefit you can get from tapping therapy is a result of placebo (the expectation that you are going to recovery) and of the relaxing feeling of contact from another human being or even yourself.
But if you are looking for those things, there are more effective ways to get them that make you look less ridiculous in the process. Moreover, if you use a technique like CBT that has been proven to work, in conjunction with a massage, you’ll find your results are greatly exaggerated. And CBT can also be done from home…