Inspiration

Does Tapping Really Work?

Written by: Nick Ortner

If you are new to the idea of Tapping, it might seem a little bit strange. You might be wondering, “Does Tapping really work?”

Read on to learn more about what Tapping is and discover the science and research behind this evidence-based approach to stress relief and healing.

What Is EFT Tapping?

What is EFT Tapping

Tapping, also known as EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) is a practice that combines the principles of ancient Chinese acupressure and modern psychology.

The EFT technique involves using your fingertips to tap on specific acupressure points along the body’s meridians.

While you tap on the EFT Tapping points, you focus on the emotions or physical sensations that are causing you distress. You might think or speak about your anxiety, a fear, or a physical pain, for example, as you move through the Tapping sequence. (You can read more about the Tapping technique on our Tapping 101 page.)

The idea is to help calm down your nervous system and rewire the brain to respond in a more productive way to whatever is distressing you.

Tapping affects the part of the brain responsible for our stress response – the amygdala. The amygdala helps us react to stressful situations, sending us into fight-or-flight mode so that we can stay safe in an emergency and avoid danger.

Unfortunately, in modern times, the amygdala’s survival instinct is activated way too often, and it is triggered in everyday situations where we aren’t under any real threat.

So when you experience a stressful event, or even when you think of something that is stressful (or something that contributes to pain, anxiety, or discomfort), it triggers the amygdala to set off its fire alarm. But when you practice Tapping, you think about the things that are causing you stress while also sending a calming signal to the brain, letting it know it is safe to relax.

Through Tapping, we ultimately allow our brains and bodies to relax, so that we can let go of whatever might be causing us stress, anxiety, pain, or discomfort and find greater peace and ease.

But does Tapping really work? And can it actually make a difference for you? Let’s find out…

Does Tapping Work? Exploring the Science Behind Tapping

Does Tapping Work

I can personally say with certainty that I know Tapping works. I’ve seen it a hundred times over in the people I’ve worked with. In fact, I believe so deeply in Tapping that I’ve built my entire career around sharing it with as many people as I can – hoping that they, too, can benefit from this amazing tool.

But you don’t have to just take my word for it. Tapping is an evidence-based method that is grounded in science and research.

More than 100 studies have been published in peer-reviewed journals on the effectiveness of EFT for anxiety, stress, depression, cravings, pain, PTSD, fears, and so much more.

For example, one 2019 study found that a 4-day workshop in EFT Tapping decreased the participants’ pain levels by 57%, anxiety by 40%, depression by 35%, and cravings by 74%, while also increasing their happiness levels by 31%.[1]

Pretty incredible, right?

But that’s just one of many Tapping research studies that show some really promising results. Here are just a few more examples of what the research has found about the benefits of Tapping for common concerns:

  • Anxiety. A systematic review and meta-analysis of studies on Tapping for anxiety suggested that EFT leads to significant reductions in anxiety scores.[2]
  • Depression. A review study from 2016 found that Tapping was highly effective in reducing symptoms of depression in a variety of situations. In fact, the effects were as good as, if not better than, standard depression treatments like medications and therapy. The results of the study showed an average reduction in symptoms of 41% when using Tapping for depression![3]
  • Sleep. A study in lawyers with sleep disorders found EFT Tapping to help improve sleep, and another study in older people found Tapping to be effective for treating insomnia.[4,5]
  • Cravings and weight loss. A study in overweight and obese adults showed that a 4-week EFT treatment led to reductions in food cravings even six months later, and improved body weight, BMI, and feelings of having “power over food” even when re-tested 12 months later.[6]
  • Pain. People who participated in a 4-day EFT training workshop experienced a 57% reduction in pain levels.[1] And another study in a group of healthcare workers showed that pain levels dropped significantly immediately following EFT Tapping, with improvements in pain ratings lasting for several months after as well.[7]
  • Headaches. Researchers found that people with tension-type headaches who were taught EFT and used it twice a day for two months were able to see reduced intensity and frequency of their headache episodes.[8]
  • PTSD. One survey of EFT practitioners revealed that almost 90% of the practitioners see the vast majority of their PTSD clients make progress with Tapping (with less than 10% of their clients making little or no progress). And 65% of the practitioners also reported that about 60% of their clients can fully resolve their PTSD with the support of Tapping.[9]

And like I said, over 100 studies on Tapping have been done at this point to validate the effectiveness of the technique. So what you see in the list above is just scratching the surface.

There are many more examples to draw from, showing that Tapping really can make a difference in a wide variety of mental and physical health concerns.

Please note: As always, if you are experiencing any physical or mental health concerns, consult with a doctor, therapist, or other qualified health practitioner. This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice.

But wait, there’s more! The research on Tapping also shows that Tapping is actually associated with positive biochemical changes within the body, too.[12]

How Tapping Positively Affects Your Physiology

How Tapping Positively Affects Your Physiology

So, does Tapping really work? The large body of research studies we’ve just learned a little bit about sure provides a lot of supporting evidence that it does. People with a variety of different concerns tend to feel very different before and after Tapping.

But does Tapping actually create measurable differences in the body? It turns out that yes – when we Tap, we can create positive changes in the body’s biochemistry.

More and more, we are seeing exciting research published on Tapping that investigates how it can affect things like hormone levels, heart rate, blood pressure, and more.

Biological Effects of TappingDr. Dawson Church led a landmark study in 2012 to see how EFT Tapping influences the stress hormone cortisol.

His study found that EFT Tapping led to a reduction in cortisol levels by 24% and that it had a bigger effect than the traditional stress management method of psychotherapy.[10]

In 2020, another group of researchers led by Dr. Peta Stapleton looked to replicate the results from that original study. And remarkably, their results suggested that EFT Tapping for stress reduced cortisol levels by 43% – after just one hour of Tapping![11]

Tapping has also been linked to reduced resting heart rate, systolic blood pressure, and diastolic blood pressure.[1]

This research shows us that Tapping promotes physical, and measurable, changes in our body’s biochemistry. How amazing is that? So not only do people report feeling better after Tapping, but these studies show that physiological changes within the body occur as well.

Why Does Tapping Work So Well?

How Tapping Positively Affects Your Physiology

There’s a lot more to learn about Tapping and the scientific mechanisms behind its effectiveness. But as we can see from the research so far, it really does work, and it works well!

One of the reasons I believe Tapping is so effective for reducing stress and anxiety and helping us process difficult experiences is that it doesn’t just manage your stress on the surface level. Instead, Tapping helps to actually regulate the brain’s stress response.

Tapping is really effective at putting your body into a relaxed state where it feels safe. This helps us to feel our feelings, face our fears, process our difficult memories, and so on. And in the process, it helps us to rewire the brain so that it knows we are not in real danger… that it can calm down, let go, and get back to helping us feel better.

Because of this, Tapping allows us to truly let go of our stress or difficult emotions, allowing us to move forward with greater ease. It can lead to major breakthroughs and long-lasting transformation.

Tapping is also a true mind-body approach, working on the physical, mental, and emotional levels. As Dr. Dawson Church once explained,

“EFT gives you the best of both worlds – body and mind – like getting a massage during a psychotherapy session.”

And finally, I believe part of the power of Tapping is that it works really quickly. In just minutes, the Tapping technique has the power to really make a difference in how you feel – something that other therapeutic healing tools can take weeks or months to achieve.

Give Tapping a Try for Yourself

If you are new to Tapping and wondering if it really works, I encourage you to give it a chance and see for yourself!

Aside from the evidence-based benefits we’ve talked about already, Tapping also offers these advantages:

  • It doesn’t take a lot of time to do – you can feel a shift in just a few minutes.
  • It is very simple and easy to apply.
  • You don’t need any special tools or equipment – you can do it yourself, wherever you are, whenever you want to.
  • It is free to learn and free to practice – making it a low-cost solution.
  • It puts the power to heal and feel better back into your own hands.

If you are ready to learn how to Tap, a great place to start is our app, The Tapping Solution App.

There are many different Tapping Meditations in the App to choose from, on topics ranging from releasing anxiety to healing your body to improving your sleep. The meditations will guide you through the Tapping process, taking the guesswork out of it.

And in case you are still wondering, “But does Tapping really work?” Here’s one more piece of evidence you might find intriguing.

When we look at data from our own app users, we find that on average, people report a 29% reduction in anxiety and a 31% reduction in stress after a guided Tapping Meditation session.[12]

Tapping really can be a powerful tool for positive change and healing. I can’t wait to hear how it works for you!

Until next time…

Keep Tapping!

Nick Ortner

Download The Tapping Solution App today!

Do you have any Tapping success stories to share? Comment below!


References

  1. Bach D, Groesbeck G, Stapleton P, Sims R, Blickheuser K, Church D. Clinical EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) Improves Multiple Physiological Markers of Health. J Evid Based Integr Med. 2019;24:2515690X18823691. doi:10.1177/2515690X18823691
  2. Clond M. Emotional Freedom Techniques for Anxiety: A Systematic Review With Meta-analysis. J Nerv Ment Dis. 2016;204(5):388-395. doi:10.1097/NMD.0000000000000483
  3. Nelms JA, 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;12(6):416-426. doi:10.1016/j.explore.2016.08.001
  4. Christina D, Panagiotis K, Liza V, George CP. Stress management for the treatment of sleep disorders in lawyers: Pilot experimental study in Athens, Hellas. Journal of Sleep Disorders: Treatment and Care, 2016; 5(2).
  5. Lee JH, Chung SY, Kim JW. A comparison of Emotional Freedom Techniques–Insomnia (EFT-I) and Sleep Hygiene Education (SHE) in a geriatric population: A randomized controlled trialEnergy Psychology: Theory, Research, and Treatment, 2015;7(1):1–8.
  6. Stapleton P, Sheldon T, Porter B. Clinical Benefits of Emotional Freedom Techniques on Food Cravings at 12-Months Follow-Up: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Energy Psychology Journal, 2012;4(1):13-24.
  7. Church D, Brooks AJ. The effect of a brief EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) self-intervention on anxiety, depression, pain and cravings in healthcare workersIntegr Med Clin J. 2010;9(5):40–44.
  8. Bougea AM, Spandideas N, Alexopoulos EC, Thomaides T, Chrousos GP, Darviri C. 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;9(2):91-99.
  9. Church D, Stern S, Boath E, Stewart A, Feinstein D, Clond M. Emotional Freedom Techniques to Treat Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Veterans: Review of the Evidence, Survey of Practitioners, and Proposed Clinical Guidelines. Perm J. 2017;21:16-100. doi:10.7812/TPP/16-100.
  10. Church D, Yount G, Brooks AJ. The effect of emotional freedom techniques on stress biochemistry: a randomized controlled trial. J Nerv Ment Dis. 2012;200(10):891-896.
  11. Stapleton P, Crighton G, Sabot D, O’Neill HM. Reexamining the effect of emotional freedom techniques on stress biochemistry: A randomized controlled trial. Psychol Trauma. 2020;12(8):869-877.
  12. “Science, Data, & Research: Tapping Research Studies.” The Tapping Solution. 2021. https://tappingsolution.s3.amazonaws.com/APP/Marketing/TS-Science-Data-Research.pdf


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Get Instant Access to our "Releasing Anxiety" and "Sleep Support: Quiet The Racing Mind" Tapping meditations.
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