Tapping for Dementia – Soothing a Father’s Mind: A Personal Story

Written by: Nick Ortner

Some of the most inspiring emails that come across my desk are personal stories of how Tapping has helped someone through a difficult time.

This one was particularly powerful because it not only speaks to the effectiveness of Tapping, but also to the heartfelt compassion between father and daughter.

Julia wanted to share her story in hopes that it could help other people and their families who are dealing with dementia.

Below, I’ve included the entirety of her written personal experience to preserve her voice, with only minor changes to help with formatting. I hope you feel as moved as I did. 🙂

Julia’s Story

My late father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2006.

His condition was relatively mild to begin with, and although there was a physical deterioration over the years, it was slow.

He was taking medication, which reduced tremors, but mentally he was still really with it.

Come late 2014, however, there was a marked physical change. He was becoming a bit forgetful, but still keeping up with current affairs.

In October 2015 he started hallucinating, and then his mind went – almost overnight.

He was taken to the hospital, where they treated him for a UTI and gradually took him off the Parkinson’s medication, as both the infection and the medication could have been causing the hallucinations.

However, we later learned that the hallucinations and his mental incapacity were caused by Lewy Body Dementia.

So, how did Tapping help?

When I arrived at the hospital, my father was in bed, agitated with all four limbs and his body uncontrollably writhing. He was not in pain – it was more like a nervous energy trying to get out of his body.

I sat on the opposite side of the bed to my mother, took my father’s left hand in mine, put my thumb on the solar plexus point (reflexology) and began gently tapping on the karate chop point.

I continued to do this whilst mum brought me up to date with what the doctors had said and done so far.

After a while, mum told me to look as she pointed to dad…

He had gone completely still, and was off in a deep sleep.

Around 10 minutes later, he woke up suddenly, rubbed his head, and looked around. His body was relaxed and still. Mentally, he was no longer able to take care of himself, but Tapping literally “tapped” into a part of his brain that allowed him to communicate with me.

He was in the hospital for about 8 weeks and was then moved into a nursing home, where it took a minimum of 4 hours driving round-trip for me to see him.

Comforting the Failing Mind

Each time I visited my dad, I tapped on the karate chop point, nothing else.

He told me things that were worrying him while I tapped. Whether they were long-suppressed memories, hallucinations, or things he had seen on the TV, I do not know.

It brought him comfort.

I spoke with him by telephone every day. Some calls were bizarre, some amusing, some very upsetting.

He always seemed to remember me and associated my voice, even over the phone, with safety.

Clearly there was already a connection between us because we’re family, but I am convinced that Tapping made that connection deeper, allowing my father to continue communicating on a deep level when day-to-day interactions were beyond him.

For example, at Christmas, when I asked him if he wanted something to drink, he said, “Yes, something cool and in the shade”.  The nursing home was well-heated, and dad was telling us that he was too hot, but unable to say so directly.

“Soothing Voice and Thoughtful Hands”

I saw him again in early January, the weekend of my mother’s birthday. Again I did some tapping on the karate chop point. He was in good spirits that day and managed to sign a birthday card for my mother that I had brought with me.

When I telephoned him on the Sunday and Monday after, he kept asking when he was going to see me again.

I wasn’t planning to visit again that week, but he persisted and said he wanted to see me “for your soothing voice and thoughtful hands” and I thought, he wants me to tap on him again!

I saw him that Wednesday, and when I tapped on his hand, it was as though he had a list of things to go through – things that were bothering him or had upset him.

As I tapped, he spoke about it, and I reassured him – told him he had done the right thing – and then he’d move on to the next item.

He was in the moment, truly engaged in the memory or experience, talking in complete sentences, holding a conversation whereas the rest of the time, he was off in a world of his own, often fixated on an idea.

In early March of 2016, my father passed away peacefully.

I thought my father’s description of Tapping as “soothing voice and thoughtful hands” was beautiful. It captures the technique perfectly.

I know that people with dementia are often anxious or seem to get stuck in a bad place mentally. Tapping seemed to allow my father to express his fears and move on, reducing his anxiety and bringing him some peace and calm.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Jessica, Nick, and Alex plus all of your colleagues at The Tapping Solution for the meditations and support you are providing during the Coronavirus pandemic. Much appreciated.

Kind regards,


Isn’t that such a wonderful story? I am so grateful to Julia for sharing it.

Julia didn’t use the full tapping sequence, she didn’t need to measure her father’s emotional intensity on a scale of 1-10, she didn’t have to come up with the “magical” words to say, and in all honesty, Tapping didn’t “cure” her father’s dementia…

She just tapped on the side of her father’s hand, she listened, and she cared. And that’s all he needed. 🙂

Until next time…

Keep Tapping!

Nick Ortner

What insights did you pick up from reading Julia’s experience with Tapping? Comment below!

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25 Comments on this post

  1. Deanne says:

    Where can the surrogate method be found?

  2. Vic says:

    Hello. Can tapping help with mental disorders such as psychosis?

    • Nick Ortner says:

      Hi Vic, I believe Tapping can help with everything because it interacts with the body, mind, emotions, and our energy. With that said, some issues I do recommend working with a trained EFT practitioner. 🙂

  3. Rosie Selkirk says:

    Go girl to you Julia! My mother was 97 when she passed with her mind intact however in the weeks beforehand she often had difficulties breathing requiring oxygen. Too difficult & distressing for her or me to tap the usual points & sequence. Initially, we tapped around all the hand points together including finger tips & she repeated my words. Over time it came to just me tapping them & talking, she always calmed & breathe returned to normal without oxygen when we did this.

    • Nick Ortner says:

      Hi Rosie! Julia read your comment and it inspired her to share more. 🙂
      When I tapped on Dad’s hand I would get him to breathe deeply. As he was mostly sedentary and not sitting up straight, his breathing was quite shallow. I found that when I was tapping on him and he was therefore tuned in and connected, I could say something like, “Now, I want you to take a deep breath in, hold it for a couple of seconds then slowly let it out.”

      I would pause speaking as he breathed in, speak again to get him to hold the breath for a short while then tell him when to exhale and give him a well done afterwards. It was extraordinary but, as Rosie’s comments bear witness, it was soothing and calming. I do not think I could have gotten him to do that without the tapping as his mind was elsewhere, not in the moment.
      – Julia

  4. Kathy G says:

    My father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s 3 yrs ago. He was on medication for his tremors, which helped but this last 9 mos he was definitely going through a decline in his overall health. Had a slight stroke over Easter weekend. Then rapid decline and he passed April 30th. Love this story of Julia’s as I wished I would have implemented tapping to help my dad focus on him more and instead of his illness. It’s so difficult to lose a parent and COVID made it more challenging for sure for outside care..but I’m glad I was able spend more time with him before he passed.
    Thank you Julia and thank you to Nick and his family for sharing their work.

  5. Melody says:

    Wow such a beautiful daughter !!! Such a touching story . This is what the whole world can benefit from, you kept it simple and tapping calmed your father just tapping on the karate chop . Powerful testimony to keep tapping simple!

  6. Deb says:

    Thank you so much for sharing Julia’s story. I work as a companion in home health care. Most of my clients are dealing with different levels of dementia. I have used tapping for pain relief with a few that were willing to try. One client got so relaxed that she almost fell asleep sitting at the dining table. Julia’s story has inspired me to consider trying tapping in for different conditions. I wish I had considered tapping for several clients that have passed away that had Parkinson’s with similar symptoms as Julia’s dad. They were some of my dearest clients.

  7. Sandy says:

    I think it was the closeness and peacefull feeling from the tapping and his daughter being by his side.
    A truly great story.

  8. Fiona says:

    What a great story. My father is in a nursing home with Alzheimer’s and I can no longer visit him due to CV restrictions. We speak everyday but since the “shut down” he has deteriorated mentally and has become more anxious. I’m thinking I could try surrogate tapping for him to perhaps give him some relief. Thanks for the post…it gives me hope!

  9. Denise says:

    I was very moved by this, became rather tearful. Wish I’d known about Tapping when my mother became so ill from Alzheimer’s. A sweet woman who became frightened, angry and deranged.
    Hope it doesn’t visit me.

    Warm regards, Denise

  10. Rose says:

    Did Julia put her thumb on “HERS” or “HIS” solar plexus?

    My mum suffers from dementia and would love to help with this.

    Thank you for your amazing help through out the years.
    Eternally grateful

    • Nick Ortner says:

      You’re welcome, Rose. I’m not entirely sure of whose solar plexus she placed her thumb on, but I’m thinking her fathers(?) since reflexology is typically a technique that is used on others. But don’t hold me to that. 🙂

  11. Maria Gallo says:

    Maria Gallo
    Maria Gallo
    So touching and beautiful! It gave me a sense of calmness as it reassured me that Tapping will always be there for me Thank you Julia for posting and thank you Nick and Jessica for Tapping and for being there whenever I need. ??

  12. Irene says:

    Thank you so much for sharing Julia’s story!!
    I’m so glad Tapping helped his father to feel peace and calm during those difficult times. He was really blessed to have a daughter like Julia, who cared so much about him. I’m pretty sure, wherever he is now, he is watching over her.

  13. Natalie says:

    You sum up what a love story, this is, Nick when you write that Julia tapped the side of her Father’s hand, listened, and cared.

    I am feeling truely (truly?) blessed that I learned this self calming technique way back in 2009 at the 1st TWS.
    And now with the Tapping app, it’s even MORE accessable. Many, many thanks.

  14. Kathy says:

    Thank you for sharing Julia’s story. My mom has dementia and often hallucinates or thinks she is not at home and gets very anxious. With the c-virus, I am only seeing her & my step dad once a week to bring groceries vs every day. It’s a quick visit from a distance. When this all let’s up, I can’t wait too try tapping on her and teach my step dad so he can tap when I am not there. Thanks again.

  15. Nelly Edmeads says:

    Thank you for sharing this story. I had a father with dementia and unfortunately didn’t know about tapping and wish I had. He was very agitated and in great physical pain some hyper sensitivity to touch. I don’t know if he could have been helped with tapping and have very little experience of it. His death was horrendously painful.
    I now have a friend who’s husband has Parkingson and this story might be helpful to her I would try to forward it to her If you don’t mind.

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