Tapping - heard of it? I'm not talking about dancing (as my mum thought I was!). This is a new holistic treatment gaining momentum faster than your fingertips, can umm, TAP.
I wrote this piece for Australia's Sunday Life Magazine after the universe started telling me about Tapping, or EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) via friends, acquaintances and a random newsletter that found its way to my inbox. And, it turns out an old friend of mine is now a practitioner, changing people lives at Tap to Freedom in Melbourne.
Here's an extended version of my piece that appeared in Sunday Life this month.
Fingertips to Freedom
You’ve mastered meditation and perfected your asana practice. Now it’s time to tap into tapping – the latest therapy claiming to nix everything from anxiety to addiction.
I first heard about Tapping, also known as Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), at a cocktail party in New York City. There I was sipping my tangerine lime-infused liquid, listening to an Italian life coach (who was sipping on sparkling water) talk animatedly about Tapping and how it had changed her and that of her client’s, life. The host of the party, a former news anchor turned creative director, chimed in that she too was tapping twice daily and how miraculous the results were.
Tapping involves drumming on specific meridian energy points of the body with your fingertips while vocalising your fears and concerns. By doing this, the life coach had overcome heartache set off by a breakup that had levelled her, while the hostess’s goal was to repair a rapidly dissolving relationship with her parents.
EFT differs from many other holistic principles in that it focuses on acknowledging both the positive and the negative feelings surrounding a specific issue.
“In EFT we name emotions in order to let them go, not in order to dwell on them or continue to carry them around,” explains Melbourne-based EFT practitioner Chelsea Miller of Tap To Freedom
“We’re often taught to suppress our emotions. Expressing how we feel and what we think isn’t encouraged for most of us. Yet ask any traditional psychologist and they will likely tell you unresolved emotion is a major contributor to pain, stress and disease. If we don’t let it go it can start to define us.”
The body/mind technique has roots in modern science and psychology as well as ancient Chinese acupressure and applied Kinesiology and first gained popularity in the 1990s.
“Western medicine now acknowledges what Eastern philosophy has always known; that our bodies are made up of an electrical network,” says Miller. “Energy flows through our bodies in specific pathways known as the ‘meridian system’.”
Let’s decode that; meridian points are responsible for our internal energy flow, the Chinese call it ch’i, and when it’s flowing smoothly we experience health and wellbeing and are travelling with a Louis Vuitton carryon. But when something messes with our chi’i (heard that one before?) we get all out of whack and weighed down.
By ‘tapping’ on specific energy points of the body, and simultaneously voicing our feelings and desires about what we want to overcome and achieve, we unblock displaced energy. The result is said to be a relief and release that allows the mind and body to heal. As had been experienced by my cocktail party converts. Although the technique is still in its infancy, EFT claims to cure addictions, sleep disorders, phobias, physical pain, anxiety… whatever you feel, you can ‘fix’.
“EFT gave me instant relief from stress and anxiety,” tells Chelsea. “I was like a car after a full tank of gas and an oil change. Instantly, I was running smoother and clearer with more energy.
“[Now] I’m more creative, more open, more relaxed, I eat better, I drink less, I’ve lost weight, I feel more harmony with my family, I am more social and opportunities open up for me like never before. I live with much more ease, flow and joy.”
After hearing about all these miraculous stories of healing, I got to thinking. I’d been living in New York for five months and my search for a new career-defining job in the Big A was eluding me. My motivation had slipped and I’d started to question my skills, experience and dedication to the international move I’d made. Perhaps I too was road-blocking my dream gig with emotional baggage. Not the designer kind, but the overflowing sticker-covered suitcase that’s impossible to lift off the carousel. So, could I ‘tap’ my way out of this career funk and into a job, or at the very least an interview?
At the advice of the life coach, I watched an online instruction video from EFT guru Nick Ortner. I then found a comfortable and quiet place to sit and started Tapping, and talking, about what was bothering me. I acknowledged the pain and disappointment I was experiencing and followed it up with a positive goal or affirmation to confirm belief in myself.
It’s been proven that our minds are more powerful than we give them credit for and that our bodies have the ability to heal themselves. So why accept a life of emotional trauma or physical pain when you can simply put your fingertips to work and tap it away?
I did two to three rounds of tapping each afternoon over a period of three weeks. During this time I started interviewing for a job and (drum roll) I was presented with an offer soon after. Was it the tapping? I can honestly say it allowed me to emotionally retune and take the pressure off myself, which allowed me to see new opportunities rather than focussing on only one career path. The job I’ve taken is a slight change of direction for me but it’s an exciting one and I’ve got that invitation to a cocktail party to thank for it.