Tapping Therapy for Anxiety: What Is It and How Does It Work?

By Laurie Fanelli in Healthy Feeling

Anxiety can sneak up on you. News stories, stressful conversations, or even a passing thought can trigger symptoms such as panic, constricted breathing, sweating, and obsessive worry. When you're already doing your best to live a healthy life by exercising, eating well, and getting good sleep, tackling anxiety can feel like a steep mountain to climb.

Tapping therapy for anxiety may be helpful for someone looking for a natural way to help alleviate symptoms at the moment and over time. That said, it is not a substitute for medical help, and anyone who experiences signs of anxiety should consult with their doctor to develop a comprehensive treatment plan.

What Is EFT Tapping Therapy?

EFT (emotional freedom technique) tapping therapy is a holistic technique using acupuncture and modern psychology. According to the Tapping Solution Foundation, people experiencing anxiety, depression, stress, insomnia, and other conditions have used tapping to ease their symptoms. A 2019 study published in the Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary and Integrative Medicine found that EFT clinic participants experienced "significant decreases in anxiety, depression, PTSD, pain, and cravings, and a significant increase in happiness."

Woman tapping face

The Tapping Process

The basic tapping process involves tapping nine meridian points on the body while focusing on a negative emotion or worry. You tap each meridian point five to seven times while talking through past traumas or current concerns.

EFT Universe suggests saying the following generic phrase while tapping: "Even though I [insert emotion or problem here—such as "am worried about the future," "feel guilty about my mistakes," "have anxiety," etc.], I deeply and completely accept myself."

Repeat your phrase three times while tapping on the side of your hand just under the base of your pinkie. Take a deep breath and continue to say a version of your phrase as you tap five to seven times on your eyebrows, the outer sides of your eyes, under your eyes and nose, and on your chin, collarbone, under arm, and the top of your head. Once the sequence is complete, observe your anxiety level and repeat if needed.

What to Expect from a Tapping Session

You can complete a tapping session on your own at home or have a practitioner guide you. I find that YouTube is a great source for tapping at home. Several practitioners host pages that introduce you to the technique and lead you through sessions on everything from fear of public speaking to money worries to general anxiety.

EFT practitioners often offer a consultation before using tapping therapy for anxiety with a new client. When a session begins, they may ask you to rate your anxiety level on a scale of one to ten. They will then help you determine what specific issue you would like to address before leading you through the technique. Subsequent sessions may dive further into your original concern, or you may work on other issues.

EFT tapping therapy can help you separate negative emotions from your thoughts, thus reducing anxiety. It may also help your overall well-being by reframing the past and reducing worry of the future. In addition to any at-home or alternative techniques, be sure to consult a doctor or therapist to learn about the best treatments for anxiety that fit your needs.

Woman watching video on laptop

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Why It's Good

EFT tapping therapy for anxiety is a holistic approach to reducing the symptoms of stress and anxiety. It combines acupuncture and psychology to help you clear negative thoughts from the body and mind.