How To Use Tapping For Stress Relief

Dr. Morgan Camp M.D.


If you're trying to break a bad habit, or let go of some negative feelings, give EFT (or tapping) a try! It's less invasive than acupuncture, in fact it's totally DIY, and you can do it just about anywhere.

Tapping, also known as Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is an anxiety and stress relief therapy based on Chinese acupressure and modern psychology. It involves tapping your fingertips on certain meridian points of the body while concentrating on feelings and physical sensations. 

Tapping was developed in the 1990s by Gary Craig, a Stanford Engineer, who worked for the creator of Thought Field Therapy, Dr. Roger Callahan.

Craig based and developed EFT from Thought Field Therapy, and aimed to enhance what he’d learned with a new type of technique. Tapping follows the same energy lines as acupuncture, except without the use of needles. However, acupuncturists study and use over 300 meridian points on the body instead of the nine points that are used by the EFT Tapping process. 

Tapping For Stress Relief

EFT Tapping has been used in classrooms to help create tranquility in students and to reduce bullying. Athletes have used it to calm nerves before a competition, and war veterans suffering from post-traumatic-stress disorder find it can help return them to a state of quiet during periods of high anxiety. Tapping has even been used by some to reduce sugar cravings and pain relief.

Techniques for tapping involve using your fingertips and gently drumming (or tapping) on certain meridian points while thinking of what may be causing you pain, stress, or anxiety. During EFT sessions, participants concentrate only on one of their own problems during each session. 

Advocates of tapping believe it helps access the energy of the body and sends messages to the amygdala – part of the brain that is responsible for triggering the stress response in our bodies. They suggest that by stimulating the meridian points with EFT tapping, tension, negative emotions and stress may subside.

The main meridian points used in EFT Tapping are as follows;

  • KC: The Karate Chop. KC is situated at the center of the fleshy part of the outside of each hand, between the top of the wrist and the base of the ‘pinky’ finger. It’s the part of the hand that makes contact when you “karate chop” something. 
  • TOH: Top of the head. The highest point on the top of your head, just in front of the crown.
  • EB: Eyebrow. Just above your nose where your eyebrow begins.
  • SE: Side of the eye. On the outside or corner of either eye on the bone structure.
  • UE: Under the eye about one inch below the pupil.
  • UN: Under the nose. On the small area between the bottom of your nose and the top of your upper lip. 
  • CB: From the U-shaped notch just below your neck at the top center of your breastbone, travel down one inch then either left or right one inch to find the CB.
  • UA: Under the Arm. On the side of the body about 4 inches below the armpit. 

How To Use EFT Tapping 

Proponents use EFT tapping during bouts of stress or anxiousness, or if they have a particular issue that they would like to resolve.

It may also be advantageous for a person to use EFT before an expected situation that may cause stress or anxiety. 

To use EFT tapping, follow these five steps:

  1. Identify the issue or problem. Here, the person only thinks about the problem that they wish to resolve, and should only choose one issue to focus on during each session of tapping.
  1. Test the initial intensity of the issue on a scale of 0-10, with 10 being the worst the issue has ever been. This ranking system allows the person to evaluate the effectiveness of the tapping at the end of the treatment.
  1. The setup. A simple cue or reminder phrase at the beginning of each round should be used while tapping the KC, karate chop point. The reminder phrase should acknowledge the issue and accept yourself in spite of it. A person might choose to say: “Even though I have [issue], I deeply and completely accept myself.”
  2. The sequence of tapping. During this stage, concentrate on specific points on the body while repeating the chosen phrase. 
  3. Before beginning, find a place that is comfortable or without any disturbance. Relax your body and mind by using Be Serene Instant Relief topical spray on wrists and temples. This will help negate worry, negative thoughts and ease you into calmness.

Use the tapping points, in order of sequence, as follows:

  • Top of the Head (TOH) – directly in the center of the top of the head.
  • Eyebrow (EB) – inner brow, just above and to the side of the nose.
  • Side of the eye (SE) – on the bone at the outside corner of the eye.
  • Under the eye (UE) – on the bone under the eye, approximately 1 inch (in) below the pupil.
  • Under the nose (UN) – the point between the nose and upper lip.
  • Chin point (CH) – halfway between the underside of the lower lip and the bottom of the chin.
  • Beginning of the collarbone (CB) – One inch down, and one inch across (either side) from the u-shaped notch at the top of the breastbone. 
  • Under the arm (UA) – at the side of the body, approximately 4 inches below the armpit.

When tapping, use two or more fingertips and repeat the tap approximately five to seven times on each point.

Some points, for example, the EB, SE, and UE — have “twin points” on the other side of the body. It is only necessary to tap on one side. However, individuals can tap these points on both sides if they feel comfortable doing so.

  1. Test the intensity again and rate the scale of the issue on a spectrum of 0-10. Ideally, this will have improved. If the issue started with a rating of 10 and is now 5 then tapping was 50% successful. Repeat the process until the intensity reaches 0 or where it is deemed acceptable.

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is a self-help procedure that is used throughout the world to help fight stress, fear, anger, sadness, cravings, and chronic pain. It can breathe new life into the healing process and combines ancient practices with new techniques. 

As its popularity increases, clinical studies are now taking place to prove the worth behind the simple, yet effective technique of tapping. (1) 



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About Dr. Morgan Camp M.D.

Dr. Morgan is an expert in Functional and Integrative Medicine with a Strong Emphasis in stress related illnesses like anxiety and insomnia. In addition to his 20 years of work in Functional Medicine, he has expanded his practice to include work on the deeper aspects of our being that point to the root cause of our illnesses working with Mind Body Wellness, Energy Medicine, and Healing with Consciousness.
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eft, emotional, emotional freedom technique, tapping