At its simplest, tapping is using your fingers to gently and repeatedly stimulate acupressure points, while evoking emotional states. Some people describe it as acupuncture for the emotions, without needles.
It is a powerful way to shift energetic blocks.
Tapping can break the link between a negative emotion and your normal response to that. It can also strengthen your ability to feel positive emotions, to make ‘joy’ your new normal!
Tapping has a growing scientific basis behind it, which you can read about here.
Below is a brief video demonstration of the basic tapping procedure, using the example of feeling stressed. I have an ever-growing playlist of different tapping sessions here.
For more information, carry on reading below.
The basic idea behind tapping is very simple:
Design a setup phrase and a reminder phrase
Say your setup statement three times while tapping the Karate Chop point
Say your reminder phrase while tapping through the Basic Recipe points – do at least two rounds
The Basic Recipe
The basic recipe is the most traditional form of EFT, certainly not the only one. Still it’s a good place to start!
First thing to do is decide what you want to work on. You could work on a specific situation, event or person that has upset you in some way. It is also used for pain, or for anxiety or even trauma.
Second, tune into yourself and write down a number between zero and ten to represent the intensity of the issue. Ten is generally considered the strongest response, with zero being no remaining issue.
Now, you’re ready to move onto the actually tapping.
The Setup Phrase
In traditional EFT, the setup phrase is used to define your ‘problem’ and to counter it with loving acceptance. In this way, you work around resistance, by acknowledging it and accepting it, while being open to change.
The setup phrase in traditional EFT is:
‘Even though I (name your problem), I completely and deeply love and accept myself.’
If you don’t feel comfortable with that wording, choose something that feels right to you. It could just be ‘I accept myself’, ‘I’m okay’, or even ‘I’m here’.
The Reminder Phrase
In the basic form of EFT, you say the setup phrase three times while tapping on the Karate Chop Point. You then tap two rounds on each of the rest of the points from the top of the head down, while saying or visualising (or both) something that reminds you of the setup phrase.
For instance, if your issue is having a stabbing pain in your shoulder, you might say: ‘this pain’ at one point, ‘this stabbing pain’ at the next point, ‘so painful’ at the third, and so on. There is no right or wrong thing to say here. Just use words that remind you what you are working on.
Assess your change
After the setup and two rounds of tapping, tune in to yourself again. How intense are your emotions now when you think about the issue you have been tapping on? You can always tap another round or two, or else try one of the additional techniques to boost change – take a look at the 9 Gamut Process on the Tapping FAQ page.
Why do people generally tap on negatives, at least at first?
Tapping is really good at releasing energetic blockages, which show up as negative emotions or physical symptoms. Tapping on the negative frees up energy and space for positives to come in. It’s a bit like the metaphor of having a full glass and needing to empty it out to allow something delicious and new to fill it.
On the other hand, if you pour enough champagne into a glass of red wine, eventually you will end up with a glass of champagne. It might take several bottles before your glass is no longer tinged with pink, but if you persevere with positive tapping, it will eventually work. The only problem with this approach is that sometimes it may take more time and motivation than you can muster.
Tapping to clear the negatives first is generally quicker and more effective, but it does require you to face up to your problems. That being said, a practitioner can guide you in gentle ways of approaching difficult emotions.
What if my emotional charge doesn’t go down after two rounds of tapping?
It may be that adding in additional points, using the sore spot, or adding in either the 9 Gamut protocol or collarbone breathing will shift things.
Additional points include the finger tip points shown in the image here. Also, there is the 9 Gamut point, which lies in the dip between and below the knuckles of your little and ring finger. You can also add in various chakra points – the third eye, the heart chakra, and the centre of the palm, for example.
Another lovely point to add in is the inside of the wrist. You can either tap it with your fingers, or tap the two wrists together. Crossing the wrists first one way and then the other also balances the left and right sides of your brain, bringing you into a more easy equilibrium emotionally and energetically.
The 9 Gamut process
In this protocol, you tap a round of points from the head and through to your hands. Then, while tapping on the little indent below and between the knuckles of your little finger and ring finger, you keep your head steady and carry out the following sequence:
Close your eyes
Open your eyes
Look down hard left
Look down hard right
Roll your eyes around clockwise
Roll your eyes around the other way
Hum or sing a few notes of a song you like (traditionally, Happy Birthday is used, however, I prefer something more spiritually uplifting, such as a chant or devotional song. You could also just choose your current favourite song.)
Count from 1 to 5 quickly (if this feels too easy, you could count backwards from 20 to 15, or make up a simple maths problem, such as 5+4 is 9)
Hum or sing a few notes of the song again
The idea here is that these eye movements and other items balance out your left and right brain hemispheres. They stimulate memory processing, like REM sleep does, and they also recruit both rational and intuitive thought. Here’s a quick video of this procedure:
Start with the finger tips of one hand placed on one of the collarbone points. Tap the 9 gamut point (between and below the little finger and ring finger knuckles) while doing the following breathing practice: breathe in all the way, breathe out half way, breathe out all the way, breath in half way, breathe out all the way and relax.
Next, place the knuckles of the same hand on the same collarbone point. Tap the 9 gamut point and do the same breathing exercise.
Now, place the knuckles of the same hand on the opposite collarbone point and do the breathing exercise and 9 gamut tapping.
Final part of the first half is to place the finger tips of the same hand on the second (opposite) collarbone point, tap the 9 gamut and do the breathing exercise.
For the second half, you go through the same process with the opposite hand on the collarbone points, and the hand that was on the collarbone points before now tapping the opposite 9 gamut point. Do the same four rounds: first fingertips on one collarbone; then knuckles on the same collarbone; knuckles on the opposite collarbone; and finally fingertips on the opposite collarbone.
These two protocols can seem a little odd and confusing at first. Seeing them in a video can help. Watch a video of collarbone breathing on this page.
Does it matter if I miss a point or do the points in a different order?
Simple answer – no!
How hard should I tap?
Tapping does not have to be at all hard. It is possible to use the ‘tap and breathe’ system, where you literally just lay a finger on the point, and take a deep breath while focusing there. You can also just hold your hand above the point, much as is done in Reiki.
Once you are experienced at tapping, you can even practice ‘virtual tapping’ – imagining tapping in your mind, without actually moving. Very handy if you’re in public!
How fast should I tap?
This depends a lot on what you are trying to achieve. For getting energy moving, and for processing memories and emotional blocks, a faster tap is normally more effective. For encouraging calm and sleep, and for gathering resources such as positive emotions, a slower tap is better.
What can I use tapping for?
Tapping can be used to release negative emotions, to help deal with the somatic or emotional aspect of physical symptoms, and to deal with trauma, as well as limiting beliefs of any kind. There are really no contraindications to tapping, except for severe psychosis or trying to deal by yourself with issues that are highly complicated. So, whatever your issue, you could always give tapping a try!
When should I see a tapping professional?
It can sometimes be helpful to have an objective, external perspective on emotional problems.
Having someone else help you clarify your goals and how to go about the tapping can also be helpful when you’re not sure where to start, or have already tried for yourself without success. It can also be helpful if you struggle with your motivation, despite knowing you need to make changes. Or especially if the issue is more complex: such as a phobia or a history of trauma.
If you’d like to try a tapping session, why not get in contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or 07561 231 281.