To cope with stress, sadness, or those annoying feelings of being “stuck,” you could meditate, journal, talk to a therapist, or call a friend — all tried and true ways to help yourself feel better. But if you want to switch things up, you could also try tapping on certain points of your body in an exercise known as EFT, or emotional freedom technique.
EFT is a way to reduce emotional distress through the use of acupressure, says Hannah Kahn, an EFT tapping practitioner at Charm City Integrative Health. “Basically, you tap on the ends of a series of meridian points, which are the same energetic pathways [used in] other forms of Chinese medicine,” she tells Bustle. “By doing this, you allow your body to more easily process emotions and significantly reduce cortisol stress levels.”
Each tapping point on the body also corresponds with an internal organ, says Andrea Blindt, a mental health specialized registered nurse and holistic health practitioner. By tapping on these points, you can start to form a better mind/body connection while releasing the “stuck energy” that’s got you feeling angry, sad, or stressed.
It can help to think of this energy as an electrical pulse that turns a light on and off. “When we have heightened emotions in our body the current is turbulent, which can cause the light to flicker or not shine as brightly,” Blindt tells Bustle. “By tapping on the current we support the flow, which allows the light to work properly.” Here’s how to give it a try.
How To Do EFT Tapping
To begin EFT tapping, start by rating your current emotion or problem on a scale of one to 10, and then come up with statement that encapsulates the emotion. It’s also important to include the words “I choose to deeply love and accept myself.” For example, you might rate your anxiety at an seven out of 10, and then say “Even though I am experiencing anxiety, I choose to deeply love and accept myself.”
Repeat this statement as you use your fingertips to gently tap on all of the meridian points listed below. According to Blindt, you should gently tap on each point seven to 10 times before moving onto the next one. “The entire process works together to release and flush,” she says. Once you finish, rate your feelings again. Kahn recommends repeating the process until your rating goes down.
All The EFT Tapping Points
Because tapping is energy work, Kahn recommend tapping intuitively by paying attention to how you feel as you go. Here are some common tapping points to try.
1. Pinky Side Of Hand
Many practitioners start by tapping on the side of the hand, which is called the Karate chop point. This meridian is linked to the small intestine, Blindt sways, and it aids in your ability to release what no longer serves you.
2. Between The Eyebrows
This tapping point is linked to the bladder. “It supports our ability to release irritable feelings in order to reestablish peace,” says Blindt. The inside of the eyebrow is also associated with emotional healing, Kahn says, which is ideal if you need to release trauma, frustration, sadness, dread, and hurt.
3. Side Of The Eye
This meridian is linked to the gallbladder, Blindt says, and it supports your ability to let go of blame and resentment so that you can move forward in life. According to Kahn, it’s also associated with compassion and clarity.
4. Under The Eye
This meridian is linked to the stomach. It supports your ability to release feelings of despair so that you can feel peaceful, Blindt says. You can also tap under the eye for tranquility and contentment, Kahn says, or to release anxiety, fear, cravings, and disappointment.
5. Under The Nose
This spot is the “governing meridian,” Blindt adds, which means it supports your ability to accept yourself and others with compassion. Tap between your upper lip and nose for self-acceptance, empowerment, and compassion, Kahn adds. This area can also help you let go of feelings of embarrassment, powerlessness, shame, grief, and fear of failure.
The spot right below the lower lip is associated with security and self-acceptance, Kahn says. It releases shame, confusion, and uncertainty. It’s also the central meridian, Blindt says, which is another point that supports your ability to accept yourself.
The collarbone area on your chest is linked to the kidneys, which Blindt says supports your ability to ease into the future while releasing fear and excess worry.
8. Under The Arm
This meridian, located on the side of the chest on your ribs, is linked to the spleen, says Blindt. It supports your self-esteem, confidence, and overall ability to move forward in accepting yourself and others. Tapping here is a good way to move on from criticism, indecision, and worry, too.
9. Top Of Your Head
This meridian is linked to many energy circuits. “It’s a meeting point of sorts,” Blindt says. “It supports your ability to discern, gain clarity and insight, and connect spiritually.” Think of the top of your head as the point of intuition, wisdom, clarity, and spiritual connection, Kahn says.
When Should You Tap?
“You can tap anytime you want,” Kahn says. “There’s no way to overdo it as long as you pay attention to your body and emotions and determine what is best for you.” Just be aware that you might experience a wide range of emotions as you go through the process.
“We can store energy in our bodies for a long time,” she says. “Sometimes, while tapping, memories come up that signal where an emotional experience originally stemmed. It can be powerful and also upsetting when these things arise.” But it’ll also come as a huge relief.
Church, D. 2012. The effect of emotional freedom techniques on stress biochemistry: a randomized controlled trial. J Nerv Ment Dis. doi: 10.1097/NMD.0b013e31826b9fc1.
Clond, M. 2016. Emotional Freedom Techniques for Anxiety: A Systematic Review With Meta-analysis. J Nerv Ment Dis. doi: 10.1097/NMD.0000000000000483. PMID: 26894319.
Hannah Kahn, EFT tapping practitioner
Andrea Blindt, mental health specialized registered nurse, holistic health practitioner