EFT Tapping for Anxiety, Depression, Fibromyalgia, Weight Loss, Insomnia

EFT Tapping for Anxiety, Depression, Fibromyalgia, Weight Loss, Insomnia

We’ve all heard of yoga, meditation, and massage to de-stress, but what about Tapping? It’s zero risk, zero cost, and highly effective.

I first heard about Tapping on the Megyn Kelly TODAY show on January 16, 2018. Megyn was joined by Adrienne Cerulo, who said a healing technique known as Tapping freed her from four years of excruciating pain, and Nick Ortner from The Tapping Solution. Cerulo said she was still pain-free after two years, and Ortner led the studio audience in a demonstration of the technique.

How many times had I heard from Hypothyroid Mom readers struggling with fibromyalgia, anxiety, depression, weight gain, and insomnia? Too many to count. And here was a zero cost, effective treatment that required no doctors, no medications, no supplements, that was so simple to learn and do yourself. I was literally swept away as I watched this video below thinking about how many people could benefit from this technique? How many adults? And how many children?

You may be quick to dismiss Tapping, also known as EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques). Your first reaction may be that this is all “woo woo”, but one quick look at the list of recent published studies at the bottom of this article will make you think twice.

Written by Nick Ortner, The Tapping Solution

What is Tapping?

Tapping, also known as EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques), is a powerful holistic healing technique that has been proven to effectively resolve a range of issues, including stress, anxiety, depression, phobias, emotional disorders, chronic pain, insomnia, addiction, weight control, and limiting beliefs, just to name a few.

Tapping therapy is based on the combined principles of ancient Chinese acupressure and modern psychology. Tapping with the fingertips on specific meridian endpoints of the body, while focusing on negative emotions or physical sensations, helps to calm the nervous system, rewire the brain to respond in healthier ways, and restore the body’s balance of energy.

So How Does It All Work?

Tapping makes full use of the mind-body connection, acknowledging and integrating the concepts that physical pain, disease, and mental wellbeing are intricately connected to our emotional states.

The body is equipped with an energy system that travels along pathways known as meridians. Tapping on these meridian endpoints helps to stimulate this system, and when verbally or mentally addressing the root causes of distress, the areas of blocked energy are able to release and flow naturally.

The basic Tapping technique requires you to focus on the negative emotion at hand – a fear, a worry, a bad memory, an unresolved problem, or anything that’s bothering you. While maintaining your mental focus on this issue, you use your fingertips to tap 5-7 times on each of the 9 specific meridian points of the body.

Tapping on these meridian points in sequence while concentrating on the negative emotions engages both the brain’s limbic system and the body’s energy system, encouraging a sense of safety and resolution. And as the scientific field of epigenetics is proving, when you change your internal environment – your emotions and beliefs – external changes in your mental & physical health will follow.

In some ways, Tapping is similar to acupuncture. Like Tapping, acupuncture achieves healing through stimulating the body’s meridians and energy flow. However, unlike Tapping, acupuncture involves needles! “No needles” is definitely one of the advantages of Tapping!

Tapping is simple and painless. It can be learned by anyone, and you can apply it to yourself whenever you want, wherever you are. It can be used with a specific emotional intent towards your own unique life challenges and experiences. Most importantly, Tapping gives you the power to heal yourself, putting control over your destiny back into your own hands.

The Mighty Amygdala

EFT Tapping for Anxiety, Depression, Fibromyalgia, Weight Loss, Insomnia

The scientific basis for Tapping therapy revolves around the functions of a specific almond-shaped part of your brain called the amygdala. It is part of the body’s limbic system, the source of emotions and long-term memory. The amygdala is known as the brain’s fear center, from which the “flight or fight” response originates, alerting other parts of the brain that it senses danger. This, in turn, initiates the firing of other brain receptors and the release of specific hormones that allow the body to respond to the perceived danger.

This process is highly useful when faced with a real survival situation or an actual threat, but can be detrimental when developed into an “irrational fear” such as public speaking or a fear of rejection.

Tapping has been shown to literally “turn off” the amygdala, disrupting the stress response and allowing the brain synapses to be rewired for a more appropriate emotional response to a given situation.

It’s Measurable. Tapping Can Change Your Hormones

It’s well known, and can easily be experienced by anyone using Tapping, that outward physical changes take place after a series of tapping rounds. This could be noticed by a reduction of pain, the loosening of rigid joints, or perhaps the relaxation of muscles.

But there are those who believe that changes are also taking place at the level of cellular biology and genetic expression. These changes constitute the foundational work in the rapidly developing field of epigenetics.

In previous studies, MRI and EEG readings that measure a person’s brain activity have shown that acupuncture or pressure on the acupoints result in visible changes (decreases) in hyper-arousal of the nervous system.

These researchers of this study wanted to take another step in this direction to see if there were corresponding dips in cortisol levels after EFT Tapping treatment.

Researchers recruited study participants (aged 18-80) from an online site advertising a free cortisol test. They were neither current patients nor did they have any clinical diagnoses.

They were then divided into three groups corresponding to the type of treatment to be received: tapping, supportive listening, and no treatment.

The cortisol levels of each participant were taken initially with a saliva kit, and all were asked to fill out one of the standard psychological questionnaires that measure anxiety & stress symptoms, rating their symptoms on a scale of 1-5.

The 3 groups then had individual 50-minute sessions of treatment.

The sympathetic listening group met with a licensed therapist who empathized with the person and challenged his or her negative thoughts. The tapping group had a session with a coach certified in EFT. The non-treatment group waited in the waiting room.

After the individual sessions were complete, a second saliva kit sample was taken and a second questionnaire filled out. All test sample kits were then sent to be analyzed.

After all the elements of the study were analyzed, the researchers found that the cortisol levels of the two control groups had been reduced by 14%, but the EFT group had been reduced by 24%.

For the psychological symptoms, one questionnaire showed a 42% decrease for EFT, a 13% decrease for the non-treatment group, and a 17% decrease for the sympathetic listening group.

On another questionnaire, EFT showed a 51% reduction vs 14% in sympathetic listening and 17% for non-treatment.

Your saliva doesn’t lie!

What’s the History Behind Tapping?

It began in 1980, with a psychologist by the name of Roger Callahan, and a patient with an extreme phobia towards water. Mary’s fear of water controlled her life and kept her from performing many otherwise normal daily activities. She was unable to take her children to the beach, and found it impossible to drive near the ocean. She grew fearful when it rained, and could not even stand the sight of water on TV. She even had vivid nightmares involving water.

Dr. Callahan and Mary had been working on this problem together for over a year. Finally, Mary worked up the courage to sit within sight of the pool at Dr. Callahan’s house. Even doing this caused Mary extreme distress, and though she found ways to cope with the intense fear and emotional pain, she had not yet overcome her phobia.

Her fear of being near the water caused Mary to have stomach pains – a common “gut reaction.” Dr. Callahan had recently been studying traditional Chinese medicine, which included learning about the meridians and how they worked. Suddenly he had an inspiration. Remembering that there was an acupuncture point for the stomach meridian on the cheekbone, he asked her to tap there, thinking it might help with her stomach pains.

Mary tapped her cheekbone as directed, and this little action changed medicinal history! The response seemed miraculous, to both Mary and Dr. Callahan. Her stomach pains disappeared. But even more amazingly, her fear of water disappeared too! She ran down to the pool and began splashing herself with water, rejoicing in her newfound freedom from her phobia.

Based on this discovery, Dr. Callahan began a series of investigations to develop and refine this technique, which he termed “Thought Field Therapy.” It was fairly complex, and required a trained practitioner to use specific algorithms and techniques to determine which meridian points to stimulate to obtain the desired results.

Gary Craig, an engineer in California, trained under Dr. Callahan’s tutelage in the 1990’s, learning the procedures for TFT. As time passed, he began to improve the process by creating a simpler tapping sequence that could be easily learned and repeated, even by the patient him/herself.

The result was the development of a new type of therapy that Gary named EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques)t. But perhaps even more importantly, he created a community around EFT, allowing the technique to be learned, applied, and shared freely. Because of this, hundreds of thousands of people all over the world have used Tapping to resolve emotional problems and physical conditions.

Basic Tapping Sequence for Anxiety

Tapping can be used for everything – try it on everything! In this example, we’ll focus on general anxiety.

Try it now with this initial sequence. Here’s how a basic Tapping sequence works:

  • Identify the problem you want to focus on. 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, with zero being the lowest level of anxiety and ten being the highest.
  • Compose your set up statement. Your set up statement should acknowledge the problem you want to deal with, then follow it with an unconditional affirmation of yourself as a person.

“Even though I feel this anxiety, I deeply and completely accept myself.”
“Even though I’m anxious about my interview, I deeply and completely accept myself.”
“Even though I’m feeling this anxiety about my financial situation, I deeply and completely accept myself.”
“Even though I panic when I think about ______, I deeply and completely accept myself. ”
“Even though I’m worried about how to approach my boss, I deeply and completely accept myself.”
“Even though I’m having trouble breathing, I deeply and completely accept myself.”

  • Perform the set up.

With four fingers on one hand, tap 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 set up statement three times aloud, while simultaneously tapping the Karate Chop point. Now take a deep breath!

Get ready to begin tapping! Here are some tips to help you achieve the right technique.

  • You should use a firm but gentle pressure, as if you were drumming on the side 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 the top of the head, the collarbone, under the arm… wider areas. On sensitive areas, like around the eyes, you can use just two.
  • Tap with your fingertips, not your fingernails. The sound will be round and mellow.
  • The tapping order begins at the top and works down. You can end by returning to the top of the head, to complete the loop.

Now, tap 5-7 times each on the remaining eight points in the following sequence:

EFT Tapping for Anxiety, Depression, Fibromyalgia, Weight Loss, Insomnia

Head (TH)

The crown, center and top of the head. Tap with all four fingers on both hands.

Eyebrow (EB)

The inner edges of the eyebrows, closest to the bridge of the nose. Use two fingers.

Side of eye (SE)

The hard area between the eye and the temple. Use two fingers. Feel out this area gently so you don’t poke yourself in the eye!

Under eye (UE)

The hard area under the eye, that merges with the cheekbone. Use two fingers, in line beneath the pupil.

Under nose (UN)

The point centered between the bottom of the nose and the upper lip. Use two fingers.

Chin (CP)

This point is right beneath the previous one, and is centered between the bottom of the lower lip and the chin.

Collarbone (CB)

Tap just below the hard ridge of your collarbone with four fingers.

Underarm (UA)

On your side, about four inches beneath the armpit. Use four fingers.

Head (TH)

And back where you started, to complete the sequence.

As you tap on each point, repeat a simple reminder phrase, such as “my anxiety” or “my interview” or “my financial situation.”

Now 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 number scale.
  • If your anxiety is still higher than “2”, you can do another round of tapping. Keep tapping until the anxiety is gone. You can change your set up statement to take into account your efforts to fix the problem, and your desire for continued progress. “Even though I have some remaining anxiety, I deeply and completely accept myself.” “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 installing some positive feelings instead.

Note: 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 negative feelings, offering deep and complete acceptance to both your feelings and your self. Now, you’re turning your thoughts and vibrations to the powerful and positive. That’s what makes Tapping so much more effective than the “positive thinking” techniques that many of you have already tried. It’s not just a mental trick. Instead, you’re using these positive phrases and tapping to tune into the very real energy of positivity, affirmation, and joy that is implicit inside you. You’re actually changing your body’s energy into a more positive flow, a more positive vibration.

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 tapping points and sequences described above.

About Nick Ortner

Nicolas Ortner is CEO of The Tapping Solution, a company with a mission to bring into the mainstream the simple, effective, natural healing method known as Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) or “Tapping”. The Tapping Solution has been featured on The Dr. Oz Show, The New York Times, Today, Women’s Health, The Martha Stewart Show, The Huffington Post, and Psychology Today.
Recent Scientific Evidence of Tapping’s Effectiveness:

Bougea, A.M., et al. Effect of the emotional freedom technique on perceived stress, quality of life, and cortisol salivary levels in tension-type headache sufferers: a randomized controlled trial. Explore (NY). 2013 Mar-Apr;9(2):91-9.

Chatwin, H., et al. The effectiveness of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Emotional Freedom Techniques in Reducing Depression and Anxiety Among Adults: A Pilot Study. Integr Med (Encinitas). 2016 Apr;15(2):27-34.

Church, D., et al. The effect of emotional freedom techniques on stress biochemistry: a randomized controlled trial. J Nerv Ment Ds. 2012 Oc;200(10):891-6.

Church, D. Reductions in pain, depression, and anxiety symptoms after PTSD remediation in veterans. Explore (NY). 2014 May-Jun;10(3):162-9.

Clond, M. Emotional Freedom Techniques for Anxiety: A Systematic Review With Meta-analysis. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease 2016 May;2014(5):388-395.

Nelms, J.A., Castel, L. A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Randomized and Nonrandomized Trials of Clinical Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) for the Treatment of Depression. Explore (NY). 2016 Nov-Dec;12(6);416-426.

Patterson, S.L. The effect of emotional freedom technique on stress and anxiety in nursing students: A pilot study. Nurse Educator Today. 2016 May;40:104-10.

Sebastian, B., Nelms, J. The Effectiveness of Emotional Freedom Techniques in the Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Meta-Analysis. Explore (NY). 2017 Jan-Feb;13(1):16-25.

Stapleton, P., et al. Secondary psychological outcomes in a controlled trial of Emotional Freedom Techniques and cognitive behaviour therapy in the treatment of food cravings. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2017 Aug;28:136-145.

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About Dana Trentini

Dana Trentini founded Hypothyroid Mom October 2012 in memory of the unborn baby she lost to hypothyroidism. This is for informational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for consulting your physician regarding medical advice pertaining to your health. Hypothyroid Mom includes affiliate links including the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.


  1. Teresa Bacon says

    I’m 54 and I’ve lived with hypothyroidism since diagnosis in 2005. Long story short my Endocrinologist wouldn’t do anything but go by my numbers so I went off meds and dealt with symptoms with the help of my newer GP we just watched levels and waited. Over a year ago I bottomed out and we decided to try with a new endo. A year later and other than the usual tests he will not acknowledge that it’s not helping because well the numbers are within range. Both times I’ve stayed on the meds and been a good patient I gain weight.
    Help how do I convice my in network dr. about these new approaches? I’ve taken a screen shot of the tests you suggest I want to approach him with the idea of testing the rt3, I am just afraid to be rebuffed yet again. He’s a young dr and every time I bring up the subject of weight gain he finds something from our conversation to explain away my weight gain. Examples. I told him I had done well on paleo (before meds) and my weight was the lowest it had ever been. (mentioning eating lots of nuts) he then spent a long time explaining the high calorie content of nuts and the exagerated portion sizes with which Americans are accustomed. I am 5’4″ and up to 165 lbs. before the meds I was 137 lbs How can I convince him to do these extra tests that I can’t afford to do otherwise?

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