It’s Measurable: Tapping Reduces the Body’s Stress Hormones

Written by: Nick Ortner

Did you know your level of stress can be determined by your saliva? It’s true! But can it be used to determine the effectiveness of EFT Tapping? Keep reading to find out.

If you think of a time in your life when something stressful or frightening happened, you can probably remember physical changes in your body that went along with it.

The classic responses are increased heart rate, sweaty palms, shallow breathing, and often a tightening in the chest or stomach area.

But there are also changes that happen on a biochemical level. And if the stressful or fearful event is an extreme one, or if it recurs over time, those biochemical changes can lead to serious long-term health consequences.

One of the most important hormones in our body’s stress response is cortisol. This hormone actually regulates other hormones, and is therefore important to many critical aspects of a healthy functioning body.

When we are stressed, anxious, or frightened, our cortisol levels increase, and this spells trouble for our bodies. Prolonged high levels of cortisol impair the heart, immune system, sexual function, sleep, digestion, respiration, circulation, and can even be responsible for premature aging.

Can Tapping Change My Hormones?

Researchers have cited numerous studies concluding that EFT results in a reduction of anxiety symptoms in people across a wide spectrum of circumstances. This has led to the formulation of theories about what exactly is happening in the body during a Tapping session.

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.

To help prove this theory, the first step requires the gathering of physical evidence of such a change.

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 treatment.

Studying Saliva

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 at the lab.

Incredible Results: EFT Actually Lowers Cortisol Levels

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! ?

The evidence that EFT actually leads to physical changes in the body is growing, thanks now to another piece of research.

Until next time…

Keep Tapping!

Nick Ortner

P.S. If you’re looking to reduce YOUR cortisol levels (or just reduce stress) then be sure to check out the 100+ meditations in The Tapping Solution App!

Download The Tapping Solution App today!

Have you experienced a shift in your physical symptoms after Tapping? I’d love to read your comments below!

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51 Comments on this post

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  8. Tracy c says:

    Hi nick & jess love your work love tapping ,, people actually don’t realise that this really does work calms you makes you have time out even five / ten mins tapping results brilliant love it tell everyone bout you both xx?god bless you both

  9. Bob says:

    Shift in physical symptoms? You bet!
    I have been tapping for a long time now. I was on Gary Craig’s list when he announced hitting the 1000 members mark.
    I am so glad that I have this tool. I am in my mid 70s now and have had the usual experience of physical changes which I had used tapping to help with very successfully.
    There have been small aches and pains that I refuse to allow to stay and I work on them until they yield.
    I am certain that without the tapping, pains that have occurred in hips and knees, etc, would have progressed to much more serious conditions. As it is, they have all gone.
    I once worked on an arthritic joint in a finger for about 2 weeks before it stopped coming back, but stop it did.
    I currently have a small problem in my left elbow that has had my attention for a long time now. I can get it to recede but it returns. I won’t give up until…
    I cannot begin to cover emotional benefits adequately. From simple things like creating more relaxation and presence when driving to being more peaceful in my relationship with my wife. I have released many strong responses that seem common in relationships and it makes such a great difference and leaves space for a more kind and creative reaction.
    There is no area that has not benefited from the tapping. Great for golf, too.
    I used to teach it for a while and still carry a little handout I used then and give it people I think may benefit.
    All in all, mate, I highly recommend it to anyone and there would not be a day that I don’t do some tapping even if it is just for that nice relaxing response.
    And the work you do is admirable.
    Keep tapping!

    • Nick Ortner says:

      Thanks so much for sharing, Bob! I admire the work YOU’RE doing on yourself! Such a great example of how maintaining a tapping practice and being mindful of the body. 🙂

  10. Neetika says:

    Hi Nick,

    I used to get great results from tapping. But off late I can’t seem to get the same kind of results. Anything that might help?

    • Nick Ortner says:

      Hi Neetika! While I don’t feel that I could offer specific advice (because it could be a great many things), perhaps this blog may help pinpoint what may be happening. 😉

  11. Dario says:

    Hey nick,
    Ive tried some tapping and it does seem to work a bit for me.
    I dont want to sound like a naysayer or anything, but could you actually link to the studies youre referring to? Anyone can claim that theyre method works and that theres tons of studies proving it, heres some numbers; but without the actual scientific papers (ted talks dont count as actual evidence btw) for people to check the results for themselves, its pretty much all hogwash.
    Again, sorry for sounding so negative about it, im really just curious and want to dig into about the research behind this.
    Thanks for your time, and i look forward to your response.
    All the best,

    • Nick Ortner says:

      Thanks for sharing, Dario. We usually try to add study links to the blogs when we refer to them directly. For example, here is a link to the study mentioned in this article. When mentioned in passing, however, we won’t always use direct links because we do not wish to overly dilute the message of the blog just for the sake of scientific proof. But even in those cases, most of the studies mentioned can be easily found with a Google search for those who wish to look for them. 🙂

  12. drpvprabhakar rao says:

    As a physician , I can ascertain the fact that tapping induces relaxation

  13. Lorraine says:

    I’ve been tapping off and on. I know it works but I have to get consistent. How long do you tap? I feel like I might not be tapping long enough. Any suggestions?When I tap after taking my blood pressure, it goes down. Do you have an audio just for anxiety and stress? I also want to let you know that what you are doing is a calling. Keep up the good work.

    • Nick Ortner says:

      Thanks, Lorraine! There is no set length of time that is required to tap. But I like to say, tap until you feel relief. Or tap for a few minutes and then continue to check your level of stress on a 0-10 scale. We have quite a few tappings for stress and anxiety. I would recommend using the search bar at the top of the page so that you can see all of the options by keyword. 🙂

  14. Lorraine says:

    I’ve been tapping off and on. I know it works but I have to get consistent. How long do you tap? I feel like I might not be tapping long enough. Any suggestions?When I tap after taking my blood pressure, it goes down. Do you have an audio just for anxiety and stress? I also want to let you know that what you are doing is a calling. Keep up the good work.

  15. Jessica says:

    This is amazing! Where would I find information on becoming certified? This is something I would love to share with my community.

  16. tiko says:

    Hi I believe greatly and I’m interested to follow this method but I live far from you and in my country it’s not recognised yet so I try to watch videos and follow it but often there’s no. result becouse I do it from summer I also cann’t afford to buy books what videos would you regiment. Tiko from Georgia it’s not USA state

  17. Gabrielle says:

    Truly remarkable Nick!!!
    It’s encouraging to know there is a way to healing beyond just talking to a therapist which has never helped me move beyond the crisis point.
    Exciting times for so many people who’ve been inappropriately diagnosed and left untreated.
    I was amazed at how quickly Tapping brought me back from the out of control feelings of PTSD in literally minutes and in much less time than it normally takes to calm myself after feeling abused.
    It’s been a lonely road, a very long road but you bring me hope for the first time in 58 years knowing I can truly reshape my future.
    I can’t thank you enough.
    And to take this technique into schools to help our future generations is so wonderful. Finally human beings will recover from centuries of warring and move into a more peacefully free existence. What a gem you are.
    Much Love to you and Jessica,

  18. Sabrina says:

    Hi Guys,
    Love the article and I tap all the time. It’s amazing. I do it on my friends and their results are always magical too. I would like to do it more as a business. Its amazing. I was wondering if ya’ll do any courses or cirtifications? I’m very good at this but I would love to say oh, I’m cirtified by or have done courses with the Ortners etc.
    can you guide me accordingly.
    Thank you for bringing me this gift!! ❤️?

  19. Melinda says:

    I have been going through a lot with my daughter, two hospitalizations for heart problems. I have been doing tapping, but not as much or maybe as regular as I should be doing. But, after calling the ambulance to put her in the hospital for the 2nd time is 3 weeks, I find I am much calmer than I thought I would be. And this is her Birthday!!! So, it is really hard. But I have been tapping for sadness and depression, however, I never thought I would be this calm and positive having to put her in the hospital again – I think that maybe when we tap we end up helping other problems that we don’t even realize we are doing – maybe by lowering the Cortizol any way we are helping other issues without even tapping on the specific problem. AGAIN, Thanks for all the info.

  20. joan cohen says:

    I would love to try the test.

  21. Maryann Guinra says:

    For a few weeks I had endured pain in my hip. I finally broke down and visited my chiropractor. The treatment helped, but didn’t completely relieve the pain. It finally dawned on my I ought to try tapping. . . . which I did. The pain has been gone completely and has not returned. YEAH!!! Obviously there was an emotional component to the issue causing the pain that chiropractic alone couldn’t address. Thank Goddess for EFT.

  22. Maria Fernanda Quann says:

    It does help relax!

  23. Blanca Mas says:

    Muy interesante

  24. Sandra says:

    I recently used tapping to take the edge off tension upon awakening. I was anxious about a situation I was facing and thinking about it was creating some anxiety, so I turned to tapping. I talked and tapped until something changed.I felt a dfference in my body. Taking the time to tap through my uneasiness released the tension and stopped the cortisol that anxiety causes. I felt normal again and wasn’t afraid anymore. Tapping really works!

  25. Walter Keene says:

    I know that this is not the first story about tapping that has been sent to me, but I have ignored and deleted the others so I am not aware of what the tapping process is. If you wish, you could send another email to me that does that. WeKeene

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  27. Marianna Hartsong says:

    I am ever grateful to Gary Craig and the advent of EFT in my life in the early 2000’s. I use it daily. Blessings all the way around, 🙂 Marianna

  28. Bob says:

    Can you give the citation for the latest study, please?

  29. Ann says:

    I use tapping in 2 two areas of my life:-
    To reduce the effects of arthritis in my knees and leg muscles. I can straighten my leg more and get less occurrence of flare ups. It’s certainly less stressful! Winter will tell soon though, but I have every confidence that this approach will help me over the coming months. I also use an anti inflammatory gel when I do get a flare up to nip it in the bud ASAP and suffer less damage.
    I also use it to remove impediments to gaining wealth – all those given attitudes that poorer parents and people along the way give you, like “you’re not as good as you think you are doing such and such”. My immediate thought was, “how do you know how good I think I am at that?” but it left a lasting impression and barrier. Now I tap them away along with low self esteem feelings and hypers from my bipolar disorder. I take my medication but it only goes so far and doesn’t get to the root of anything.

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