Research Case Study: Tapping to Heal from Traumatic Brain Injury

Written by: Nick Ortner

In my years working in the field of Tapping, I’ve heard countless incredible stories of healing and transformation thanks to the help of EFT. But even though I’ve witnessed and heard these stories so many times, it still astounds me sometimes when I encounter them. For example, when I read about this case study I’m going to highlight today, it practically took my breath away!

I’m grateful that researchers have documented some of the amazing cases where Tapping has created dramatic changes in individual’s lives, so that these stories can be shared and spread for more people to know about and learn from.

Today, I wanted to feature one of them. Let’s dive into an inspiring case study documented in the research about a woman overcoming traumatic brain injury symptoms with the help of Tapping. 

An introduction to the case study

This case report was published in the International Journal of Healing and Caring in 2009 and was written by Gary Craig (the founder of EFT) and his colleagues.[1] In the paper, Craig details his encounter with a 51-year-old woman, named Sally, who had suffered a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) during a serious car accident six years prior.

When the woman came to work with Craig at an EFT intensive treatment session, one of her most problematic symptoms from the TBI was lack of balance, with vertigo requiring her to use a walking stick most of the time for stability. Sally also experienced a low threshold for becoming overwhelmed by stimuli in busy environments. 

In addition to the actual physical trauma to the brain, it was believed that some of Sally’s residual symptoms could have also possibly been related to PTSD from the incident, and also to underlying depressive symptoms.

Sally had been told by her doctors that many of her residual symptoms like instability would be with her for the rest of her life, and that she would just have to deal with them. 

It wasn’t until she experienced EFT Tapping that things changed for Sally. In the paper, we get the chance to witness the incredible transformation that occurred after just one, single Tapping session.

Just one session of Tapping transformed this woman’s life 

Gary Craig facilitated a single EFT Tapping session with Sally, focusing mainly on her balance and lack of stability.

Just minutes into the Tapping work, Sally found that she could walk without a stick, without holding onto the wall, and with no vertigo. And that was just the beginning; after the Tapping she was also able to do jumping jacks, run in place, and even hop on one leg and spin around! She also experienced a significant decrease in the hypersensitivity she had to overstimulation in her environment.

On top of all of that, when the researchers followed up with her a year and a half later to check in on her progress, the improvements seemed to have lasted. After just one single EFT Tapping session, her life had been transformed for good.

As a quote from Sally describes, “It was incredible! … How could that be? EFT was the only thing I did that could have brought about these changes… it was great! Since then, still no walking stick. Over a year has passed and I don’t get overcome with vertigo symptoms like I did and I don’t need the walking stick. I haven’t used it once in the seventeen months since the EFT sessions that eliminated the problem.”

EEG readings showed positive changes in her brain wave patterns, too

A fascinating part of this case study that was detailed in the research paper involves Sally’s brain wave patterns. When Sally came to receive her EFT Tapping treatments, the researchers also took EEG brain wave readings.

They found that before the EFT session, her brain waves showed a high frequency of beta waves, which are correlated with high anxiety and ‘monkey mind.’ After just a few rounds of Tapping, the pattern of her brain waves shifted to lower amplitudes of beta, suggesting reduced mental tension and lowered anxiety. Her brain waves also showed greater balance between the left and side of the brain, which is something that can be particularly helpful for people with brain injuries.

These findings suggest that the Tapping actually created changes in Sally’s brain function – changes which might have been linked to the improvements she noticed in how she felt afterwards.

Why did Tapping work so well for Sally?

It’s not entirely clear the exact mechanisms through which EFT facilitated so much healing for Sally after her brain injury. But there are many possible explanations as to why it might have been able to help.

Tapping is known to help calm down the brain and body, supporting us in releasing stress, anxiety, and other challenging emotions and experiences. While Tapping itself doesn’t ‘cure’ anything, it helps the brain and body move into a state of calm and balance where it can begin to heal. The researchers saw altered brain wave activity that reflected less anxiety, which may suggest that Tapping had this desired effect of supporting calm and balance for Sally.

The researchers hypothesize that one of the reasons Tapping may have been so helpful for Sally is because it might have helped to address underlying PTSD and depressive symptoms that could have been playing a role in her symptoms. As the authors state in the paper, “The dramatic improvements in Sally’s condition may have been due to the releases in psychological issues that were impeding her full recovery from her TBI.”[1]

Even if that wasn’t the case, and PTSD or depression weren’t playing any role, the authors suggest that there may be another possible explanation: “Sally’s responses may indicate that EFT can help re-organize the nervous system that is severely damaged by physical trauma.”[1]

Tapping holds great promise for supporting healing 

This case study from the research is pretty fascinating in my opinion. But it isn’t the only story of dramatic improvements in severe cases of injury or illness after Tapping. As I said earlier, this is something I’ve heard about and witnessed many times over throughout my career. 

It really is incredible to see that a simple tool like Tapping can have such transformational results on a person’s health and wellbeing. It can change people’s lives for the better, and for the long haul. 

Whether it’s a traumatic event, a serious diagnosis, or a chronic condition, Tapping has the power to support healing and dramatically influence your life. 

If you are interested in learning more about how to lean on Tapping as a support tool for healing, click here for a beginner’s guide to the Tapping technique. 

And if you want to hear more about how Tapping can help people overcome challenging health conditions and symptoms, check out some of these other blogs:

And don’t forget to check out The Tapping Solution App, where you can find a large collection of guided meditation on specific topics, including an entire “Support Your Body” category featuring various conditions and symptoms.  

Until next time, keep Tapping!

Nick Ortner


  1. Craig, G, Bach, D, Groesbeck, G, & Benor, DJ. Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) For Traumatic Brain Injury. 2009;9(2):1-12.

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