By Lissa Rankin MD
Guest Writer for Wake Up World
Think of what scares you the most, what holds you back, what sabotages you – again and again and again, that thing that keeps you from fully living and expressing the incredibly vital life force of who you are?
Are you limited by fears of:
x Losing all your money?
x Public speaking?
x Large groups of people?
x Being debilitated by a chronic illness?
x Losing someone you love?
x Taking risks?
x Not feeling worthy?
x Not believing you can heal yourself?
Imagine if you could snap your fingers – or in the case of what I’m about to share with you, tap your eyebrows – and your limiting beliefs would magically disappear?
That’s exactly what my friend and fellow Hay House author Nick Ortner teaches in his new book The Tapping Solution about “Emotional Freedom Technique,” also known as EFT or “tapping.”
What Is “Tapping?”
Tapping, or EFT, is an energy psychology therapy that consists of tapping on acupressure points – think of it like acupuncture without the needles – combined with affirmations intended to help you love, accept, and permanently shift your fears, self-sabotaging behaviors and limiting beliefs.
Thank goodness you can practice this technique at home, by yourself, because you look a little like an escaped mental patient when you’re tapping through an EFT sequence on your eyebrows, under your eyes, under your nose, your chin, your collarbones, the top of your head, etc. But as someone who practices EFT myself and has used it with patients and clients, I can vouch for its efficacy as a tool for eliminating fears, reducing anxiety, shifting behavior, and manifesting everything from fear-busting to physical symptom relief to business success to stopping addictions to attracting the love of your life.
So how does EFT work? Here’s a little science for your skeptics.
The Not-So-Smart Amygdala
As I discuss in Mind Over Medicine, the mind can harm the body because negative thoughts, beliefs, and feelings, particularly fear thoughts, trigger the amygdala to signal an alarm that alerts the body to impending danger. This mind-body pathway exists as a protective mechanism, meant to flip on the “fight-or-flight” stress response when the body is in mortal danger.
But the amygdala isn’t very smart, and it hasn’t exactly evolved to catch up with modern day life. It’s part of the limbic brain, the primordial lizard brain that acts independently of your thinking, rational forebrain. So when you’re afraid, your amygdala sounds the alarm, even if your fear is a money fear, a relationship fear, a fear of public speaking, or some other fear that doesn’t actually threaten life or limb.
Soothing Your Freaked Out Amygdala
Your amygdala is a bit of a Nervous Nelly. Every itty bitty threat to the status quo can trigger a whole cascade that leaves you with adrenaline coursing through your arteries. But recent Harvard research with MRI and PET scan data shows that stimulation of acupressure points, those same points where acupuncturists insert needles, can actually call off the amgydala’s red alert.
A study conducted by Harvard researcher Dr. Dawson Church and his team studied EFT in three groups of individuals. One group got an hour of EFT, the second group got an hour of talk therapy, and a third group got no treatment. What they found is that in the tapping group, the stress hormone cortisol dropped by an average of 24%, whereas those in the talk therapy and no treatment group had no such reduction.
We all know cortisol, which gets spit out by the adrenal gland as part of the stress response, can poison the body over time, so anything that diminishes stress responses is a good thing for the body. After all, the body has natural self-repair mechanisms, but these auto-corrections only operate when the nervous system is relaxed, something EFT helps accomplish by settling down the amygdala.
The Tapping Solution
Whether you’re seeking to heal a health issue, reduce feelings of anxiety, overwhelm, and stress, overcome your resistance to change, release physical pain, heal from past traumas, lose weight, attract love, make more money, or eliminate phobias, The Tapping Solution offers EFT practices proven to achieve positive results.
My own book is launching soon and I’m about to film a PBS special, so there’s a lot on my plate right now. So I turned straight to Nick’s EFT script for “I’m stressed out and overwhelmed.” You can preview the script here and try it yourself if you’re feeling overwhelmed. I certainly felt much better after doing it.
If You Believe You Can’t Heal Yourself
As a physician, my personal favorite use for EFT is eliminating limiting beliefs that revolve around health. In Mind Over Medicine, I share all the data proving that the body is equipped with natural self-repair mechanisms that can be flipped on and off with the power of the mind. But what if you were programmed to believe you can’t heal yourself? Even if your conscious mind believes it’s possible, as long as your subconscious mind holds that limiting belief, you won’t be able to heal yourself, since the subconscious mind runs you 90-95% of the time.
EFT works brilliantly to shift subconscious beliefs that may be sabotaging your efforts to heal yourself. Chapter 6 of The Tapping Solution is all about healing the body, and I’ll be writing more about EFT and how you can use it to heal the body in a subsequent blog post, so stay tuned. But until then, make sure you pick up a copy (or three) of The Tapping Solution. It’s honestly one of the best self-help books I’ve read all year, and you can be sure I’ll be buying dozens of copies for friends, family members, open-minded health care providers, and empowered patients ready to take their health – and their lives – into their own tapping fingers.
Have You Tried EFT?
Share your experiences in the comments below.
Updated September 2014
Previous articles by Lissa
- 8 Ways Overcoming Fear Can Improve Your Health
- Why Engaging In Work You Love Could Save Your Life
- The Health Benefits Of Finding Your Tribe
- 7 Tips For Finding Your Tribe
- 10 Signs You’ve Found Your Calling
About the author
Lissa Rankin, MD is a mind-body medicine physician, founder of the Whole Health Medicine Institute training program for physicians and health care providers, and the New York Times bestselling author of Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself. She is on a grass roots mission to heal health care, while empowering you to heal yourself.
Lissa blogs at LissaRankin.com and also created two online communities – HealHealthCareNow.com and OwningPink.com. She is also the author of two other books, a professional artist, an amateur ski bum, and an avid hiker. Lissa lives in the San Francisco Bay area with her husband and daughter.