Have you heard about the self-help therapy called tapping? Also known as Emotional Freedom Technique, or EFT, this relatively new holistic health treatment has been shown to help decrease anxiety and depression, as well as pain and PTSD symptoms.
It’s also easy to do – ideal for seniors self-isolating at home during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Indeed, with many of us feeling fidgety and on edge these days, it’s good to know we can turn to tapping and other self-care options for relief. As a retirement residence, PARC supports residents by offering an array of health and wellness programs, including EFT classes. Read on to see how EFT might help you during these turbulent times and how you might incorporate the practice into your life.
What is tapping or EFT
With roots in ancient Chinese acupuncture and mind-body medicine, tapping works by applying pressure to the body’s energy meridian points. In place of needles though, your fingertips gently tap specific spots on the head, face and torso. While exact steps vary among practitioners, EFT typically employs a cognitive component as well, often in the form of positive self-affirmations. The overall goal is to promote healing around the physical and mental issues holding us back from living full content lives.
As Gary Craig, self-proclaimed founder of EFT, explains on his website: “EFT combines the physical benefits of acupuncture with the cognitive benefits of conventional therapy for a much faster, more complete treatment of emotional issues, and the physical and performance issues that often result.”
Well-known tapping expert Brad Yates agrees, adding that EFT “often works where nothing else does. Best of all, anyone can learn and use EFT in a relatively short amount of time, and achieve great results in relieving stress and other uncomfortable feelings.”
Benefits of tapping or EFT
While EFT is now practiced on a global scale (thousands alone tune in to the online Tapping World Summit every year), the scientific community is gradually stepping up research on its potential benefits. Browse studies and stories on the alternative health website, EFT Universe. Or simply peruse these highlights:
- Reduces anxiety Studies have found significant reductions in anxiety in a variety of populations (hospital patients, veterans and students) following EFT treatments. In another study, university students reported less test anxiety after practicing EFT on their own and were able to transfer their self-help skills to other stressful areas of their lives.
- Helps control weight It’s easy to turn to emotional eating for comfort these days. Thankfully, tapping might be able to help. A study of 96 weight-loss subjects found that their levels of restraint increased after practicing EFT.
- Alleviates insomnia in older adults A study found EFT to be effective in treating insomnia among a group of women with an average age of 80.
- Boosts the immune system A study across multiple physiological markers of health concluded that EFT improved immune system function.
- Decreases symptoms of depression A meta-analysis of EFT trials found the technique to be highly effective in reducing depressive symptoms among a variety of populations in various settings.
- Remediates PTSD A scientific review of evidence and survey of practitioners found PTSD could be remediated in 10 or fewer EFT sessions.
- Reduces pain Research shows EFT to be effective in pain management. One study involving a population with frozen shoulder found that EFT can reduce pain in a brief treatment time frame. Anecdotal evidence also shows promise among seniors.
What seniors are saying about EFT
Sure, EFT or tapping is an accessible and easy-to-do practice on your own. But depending on where you live, you might also be able to join a class. PARC’s new Oceana PARC residence in White Rock, BC, for example, has been hosting EFT sessions for a few weeks now. (Of course, hand sanitizing and social distancing are strictly observed.) Here’s how some residents are describing their experience so far:
- “I feel really relaxed after the session.”
- “I notice my sleep has improved and I feel less anxious during the day.”
- “It’s a good reminder to stop worrying.”
- “My kids love that I am doing this. They are big supporters of the technique.”
- “It gives me both energy and feelings of relaxation at the same time.”
While these are promising short-term benefits, says PARC fitness trainer Reyna Bruckner, she looks forward to seeing more long-term results as the class progresses.
Learn more about tapping’s many benefits, and listen to testimonials, in this video from a PARC EFT Tapping class:
While exact steps can differ, a basic tapping session typically includes a setup and a sequence. How long and how often you tap is entirely up to you, from a half hour just once a week to a few times each day for 10 minutes. It all depends on your personal preference and progress.
- The setup
In keeping with Brad Yates’ teachings, you begin by repeating a phrase that acknowledges your stress or pain, as well as your self-acceptance, during the setup. At the same time, you repeatedly tap the karate chop pressure point (the centre of the fleshy side of either hand).
- The sequence
You then tap five to 10 times on each of your other energy points – from the crown and eyebrow to collar bone and under arm – while repeating a reminder phrase of your stress or pain.
Granted, the movements might feel a bit odd to beginners. As Yates notes: “Admittedly, tapping looks a little silly – at least at first. [But] the potential benefits of tapping make this strange process more than worth it.”
For detailed guidance on the tapping process, check out Yates’ Intro to EFT/Tapping video. Then watch his clip on Coronavirus: Dealing with Outbreak Fear. (This is the same video viewed by Oceana PARC’s EFT class.) You’ll come away with a method that aims to reduce stress while uplifting the spirit – a potential tonic for the mind and body during unsettling times.
A provider of five independent living residences in B.C. Canada, PARC Retirement Living’s top priority is the health and safety of all residents, their families and staff. Check back for more coronavirus updates and tips on PARC’s COVID-19 resources page.