Updated: Jan 24
One alternative treatment to resolve physical pain and emotional distress according to Healthline, is the Emotional Freedom Technique or EFT created by Gary Craig. "EFT tapping is an alternative acupressure therapy treatment used to restore balance to your disrupted energy. It’s been an authorized treatment for war veterans with PTSD, and it’s demonstrated some benefits as a treatment for anxiety, depression, physical pain, and insomnia."
Medical News Today writes, "As with acupuncture and acupressure, tapping involves the body’s energy meridian points, which are a concept in Chinese medicine. Proponents believe them to be areas of the body through which energy flows.
In this theory, blocks or imbalances in the flow of energy lead to ill health. According to EFT advocates, tapping on these meridian points with the fingertips restores the balance of energy to resolve physical and emotional issues.
It can also work in a similar way to mindfulness, as it can draw a person’s attention to their body and breathing. It may serve as a mental distraction from the issues that are causing anxiety or stress."
The Tapping Solution states that "the basic Tapping technique requires you to focus on a negative emotion at hand. This can be a fear, a worry, a bad memory, or any unresolved problem. You do this while maintaining your mental focus on this issue. Then you use your fingertips to tap 5-7 times on 9 specific meridian points of the body.
Tapping on these meridian endpoints, while addressing the root cause of distress, sends a calming signal to the brain. This allows you to feel relaxed and in control."
"Tapping is based on the combined principles of ancient Chinese acupressure and modern psychology.
Studies have shown that Tapping decreases cortisol (often called the stress hormone) in your body. The World Health Organization has announced that stress is the health epidemic of the 21st century."
Tapping Solutions provides the following sequence to perform EFT.
"Basic Tapping Sequence for Anxiety
As discussed, Tapping can be used to help a variety of challenges – so try it on everything! Here's the method for how to use it. In this example, we'll focus on general anxiety.
You can also follow along to our Releasing Anxiety Tapping meditation. After 260,000 plays of this Tapping meditation, the average reported reduction of anxiety was 41% in 9 minutes.
The basics of the Tapping process are simple
Always begin Tapping on the karate chop point while you repeat the setup statement to yourself. This allows you to be honest with how you feel and sets you up for the Tapping process (more on the setup statement below).
Begin Tapping while focusing on how you feel or on the problem. By doing this you send a calming signal to your brain, allowing you to think of the problem without feeling stress in your body.
When you feel better, you can move to more empowering thoughts. The same way you need to weed a garden before you plant seeds, you have to release the intensity of what you're feeling before more empowering thoughts can take root.
Lets break down the steps:
Identify the problem on which you want to focus. It can be general anxiety, or it can be a specific situation or issue which causes you to feel anxious.
Consider the problem or situation. How do you feel about it right now? Rate the intensity level of your anxiety on a scale of 0 to 10, with zero being the lowest level of anxiety and ten being the highest.
Compose a setup statement. Your setup statement should acknowledge the problem you want to deal with, then follow it with a phrase of acceptance. This helps nuteralize judgements you have around how you feel and allow you to be more honest with your Tapping.
Setup statement examples:
"Even though I feel this anxiety, I accept how I feel"
"Even though I'm anxious about my interview, I accept myself and how I feel."
"Even though I'm feeling this anxiety about my financial situation,
I honor my feelings and give my body permission to relax. "
Get ready to begin Tapping!
With four fingers on one hand, begin tapping the Karate Chop point on your other hand. The Karate Chop point is on the outer edge of the hand, on the opposite side from the thumb.
Repeat the setup statement three times aloud, while simultaneously tapping the Karate Chop point. Now take a deep breath.
Now, tap about 5 to 7 times each on the remaining eight points in the sequence described below. As you tap on each point, repeat a simple reminder phrase, such as "my anxiety" or "my interview" or "my financial situation" to help you mentally focus on your issue.
Eyebrow Point (EB)
Where the eyebrows begin, closest to the bridge of the nose.
Side of Eye (SE)
On the bone directly along the outside of either eye.
Under Eye (UE)
On the bone directly under either eye.
Under Nose (UN)
The area directly beneath the nose and above the upper lip.
Chin Point (CP)
This is the area just below your bottom lip and above the chin, right in the crease.
Collarbone Point (CB)
Starting from where your collar bones meet in the center, go down an inch and out an inch on either side.
Under Arm (UA)
On your side, about four inches beneath the armpit.
Top of Head (TH)
Directly on the crown of your head.
And take another deep breath!
Now that you've completed the sequence, focus on your problem again. How intense is the anxiety now, in comparison to a few minutes ago? Give it a rating on the same 0 to 10 scale. Did you notice a shift?
If your anxiety level is still higher than 2 or 3, you can do another round of tapping. Keep tapping through the sequence until the anxiety is gone. You can change your setup statement slightly to take into account your efforts to fix the problem or your desire for continued progress.
"Even though I have some remaining anxiety, I accept how I feel and choose to relax."
"Even though I'm still a little worried about this interview, I deeply and completely accept myself." And so on.
Now that you've focused on dispelling your immediate anxiety, you can work on instilling some positive feelings in its place. This approach is different from traditional "positive thinking." You're not being dishonest with yourself. You're not trying to obscure the stress and anxiety inside yourself with a veneer of insincere affirmations. Rather, you've confronted and dealt with the anxiety and its corresponding negative emotions, offering deep and complete acceptance to both your feelings and yourself.
The same way you need to weed a garden before you plant seeds, you have to release the intensity of what you're feeling before more empowering thoughts can take root. That's what makes Tapping so much more effective than the "positive thinking" techniques that many of you have already tried.
Here are some example phrases to guide you:
"I have faith in my ability to change."
"I am joyful about these positive changes."
"I am accomplishing so much."
"I enjoy the calm and peace that I have."
"I love the person that I am."
"I am becoming a more relaxed and joyful person."
You can use these positive phrases with the same sequence of Tapping points described above.
Here are some tips to help you achieve the correct technique.
You should use a firm but gentle pressure, the same as if you were drumming on the top of your desk or testing a melon for ripeness.
You can use all four fingers, or just the first two (the index and middle fingers). Four fingers are generally used on wider areas, while just two can be used on sensitive areas, such as around the eyes.
You can tap one side of the body or both at the same time. The meridian points are symmetrical on either side of the body.
Congratulations! You've completed your first Tapping sequence."
Another alternative treatment to resolve emotional distress is taught in the Shaolin tradition by Qigong Master Robert Peng and is called Qigong Emotional Release.
Master Peng teaches the following procedure.
1. Measure the intensity of the issue (0-10) 2. Take 3 deep breaths while focusing on the issue. 3. Chant SONG KONG TONG, BING QUAN YU while tapping (patting or knocking) on first the Baihui (the top of the head), Secondly the Yintang Between the eyebrows - Upper Dantian), Third, the Shanzhong (the heart area - Middle Dantian) and finally the area of the Lower Dantian (below the belly button). Tap each spot 3-9 times in multiples of 3. 4. Take 3 deep breaths
5. Remeasure the intensity of the issue (0-10).
6. Repeat until intensity of issue is at a comfortable level.
Tracy Latz, M.D., M.S. & Marion Ross, Ph.D. of the Shift Your Life "presented the “Qigong Emotional Release” to therapists at the 2013 15th International Energy Psychology Conference in Reston, VA, the 2012 14th International Energy Psychology Conference in San Diego, CA, and to the Charlotte, NC local program unit of the National Association of Social Workers in 2012. At each presentation by Dr.’s Latz & Ross clinical social workers, psychologists, nurses and physicians are amazed at how rapidly the Qigong Emotional Release can work.
They go on to state "Dr. Latz uses the technique in her Integrative Psychiatric practice more often now than EFT, “because it can be done more quickly in my office and I can teach it to children, teens and adults to empower them to shift overwhelming emotions rapidly without having to create scripts or reminder phrases; and there are only 4 tapping points. Essentially, patients/clients/students also don’t unwittingly open up a can of emotional worms with reminder phrases or statements.” Both Dr.’s Latz & Ross agree that the technique doesn’t work for everyone – “when it doesn’t release the issue, then I still may progress to EFT to deal with the issue”." See their YouTube video further explaining the technique.
See the Handouts section of this website for charts on EFT and the Qigong Emotional Release.