‘Tapping’ is the latest self-care trend that might just transform your life – but what exactly is it?

Everybody's talking about EFT

Words by Kim Marshall

EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques), otherwise known as ‘tapping’, is a complementary therapy which helps release negative emotions by tapping on meridian energy points around the body, similar to acupuncture points. Rapidly growing in popularity among high-powered CEOs; celebrities such as the Duchess of Cornwall, Naomi Harris and Fernando Alonso; and young women looking for new self-care therapies.

Last May, a study by Bond University in Australia scientifically demonstrated that EFT can rewire the brain’s neural pathways. Among many mental health benefits, EFT has been found to help issues such as a fear of flying and to improve performance. It also encourages feelings of calm and relaxation, to let go of past trauma and feel more positive about the present and future. In short, it retrains the brain to develop a positive mindset, which frankly we could all do with a bit of right now.

What is EFT or ‘tapping’?

If you can make EFT (tapping) part of your daily routine, it can help with stress, anxiety and insomnia. Tap in the morning on any concerns regarding the day ahead and before sleep to release anything bothersome from the day’s events.

Once you’ve mastered this, you can write a list of memories that still bother you. Taking one at a time, and provided you feel safe enough to do so, you can tap on how this memory makes you feel now.

EFT – how to tap



The EFT ‘karate chop’, illustrated by Hayley Reynolds

Firstly, ask yourself: what issue do I want to work on? For example:

  • How I’m feeling today
  • A past memory that still bothers me
  • A future event that I’m anxious about

Then ask yourself: When I think about this, how does it make me feel right now? What is the emotion I feel?

  • Anger
  • Upset
  • Guilt
  • Shame
  • Sadness
  • Fear
  • Anxiety
  • Helpless
  • Frustration
  • Doubt
  • Disappointment
  • Hurt
  • Shock

Then consider: Where do I feel this in my body? What does it feel like?

  • Racing heart
  • Tight chest
  • Clouded in head
  • Churning stomach
  • Blocked throat

And finally: What is the level of intensity of this emotion? (0-10)

o 0 = nothing
10 = maximum intensity

You can now use your observations to start tapping. Here’s how…


EFT tapping points

Tap on the Karate Chop point at the outer edge of your hand and say:
 “Even though I have [insert emotion] I completely love and accept myself”. Repeat this twice. Then tap all the tapping points in this sequence:

  • Top of Head
  • Inside of Eyebrow
  • Side of Eye
  • Under Eye
  • Under Nose
  • Under Mouth
  • Collar Bone
  • Under Arm
  • Side of Thumb
  • Side of 1st Finger
  • Side of 2nd Finger
  • Side of 3rd Finger
  • Side of 4th Finger

While you’re tapping on these points, focus on the emotions and the feelings in your body. Keep tapping and describing them. 
After tapping through a couple of sequences, keep tapping and state all your thoughts and feelings as if you’re having a good vent! 
Then after another few sequences, when you start to feel more calm, keep tapping and ask yourself what the point of holding on to this emotion is? What is the benefit to you? Tell yourself that it’s time to let it go, that it’s safe to let it go, that you’re ready to let it go. 
Take a few deep breaths and review how you’re feeling now. If there is still an emotional intensity left, assess the emotion, where you feel it in your body and intensity level again. Then start tapping as directed above.

How I overcame an eating disorder using EFT

Anorexia entered my life when I was 30. I discovered my husband was having an affair, he left our home within 24 hours, moving 450 miles away, and I became a single mum to my two young daughters. A few years later, it felt like I was at the bottom of a deep, dark well with no chink of light shining through. I felt alone, scared and trapped. Part of me was desperate to get out, but another part wanted to stay, because I also felt safe and in control.

I eventually was admitted to a residential eating disorder centre and months later, even though I was a healthier weight and I’d learned to eat, the voice in my head still taunted me and urged me to return to my old behaviours.

I soon found EFT which helped me finally quieten the voice in my head, become relaxed about food and my body, and to step on to the path of recovery. As a result, my whole life changed for the better.

EFT supported me to address the root cause of my eating disorder, work through my fears around recovery, and let go of the constant fear and guilt.


Kim Marshall, who used EFT to support her recovery from anorexia

Anorexia was my way of avoiding the emotions that threatened to tear me apart. EFT felt a very safe way of working through this traumatic time so that I was able to let it go. Afterwards, I no longer needed to use the anorexic behaviours to help me cope, because I had an alternative coping mechanism. I felt confident, positive and strong. Once I had gained control of my eating disorder, I could finally become excited about my future again.

I was so amazed by EFT that I recently became an EFT Practitioner and now I support other women with eating disorders and mental health concerns who are looking for holistic approaches.

Kim’s book ‘How To Kiss Goodbye To Ana – Using EFT in Anorexia Recovery’ is out now (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, £12.99) Available online, worldwide. You can find out more about her work at www.kissgoodbyetoana.com


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