Tapping or Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) as it’s known, is a revolutionary system used to improve physical, mental and emotional health, provide stress relief and enhance the quality of life.
Nick Ortner is the New York Times best-selling author of the books The Tapping Solution: A Revolutionary System for Stress-Free Living and The Tapping Solution for Pain Relief. He’s also the producer of the documentary film The Tapping Solution: The Revolution Starts Within and the annual Tapping World Summits, which has been attended by over 1 million people.
This Q&A with Nick provides a deeper look into the world of tapping – and how and why to use it.
S&H: How and why does tapping work?
Ortner: There’s so much research emerging around the mind/body connection, and how essential it is to pay attention to thoughts, emotions and the body. That’s also what makes tapping, also called EFT, so powerful for stress relief, as well as physical and emotional well-being. Tapping combines Eastern wisdom about acupressure, or “meridian points”, in our bodies, with traditional Western psychotherapy. The practice consists of tapping with your fingertips on specific meridian points while talking through emotions, memories, physical sensations, and more.
Using tapping, we send calming signals to the amygdala, an almond-shaped part of the brain that initiates the body’s stress response. When we quiet the amygdala, we can stop it from excreting excessive amounts of cortisol, which is the “stress hormone” that’s linked to everything from emotional distress to chronic physical pain, anxiety disorders, migraines, sleep issues, weight gain, and many forms of disease in the body.
What’s so unique and exciting about tapping is that it gives us tremendous relief in a short period of time. In a double-blind study, tapping decreased cortisol levels in the body by an average of 24%, with some people experiencing as much as a 50% drop in a single tapping session. That’s huge!
What has your experience with tapping been and how has it changed your life?
I was fortunate to stumble upon EFT back when it was really “out there.” It was during a time when I was struggling in my career and finances. That, of course, led me to question my self-worth, life purpose, relationships – pretty much everything in my life. On a whim one day, I tried tapping on neck pain I was experiencing. In a matter of minutes I went from being unable to turn my head to regaining 100% flexibility with zero discomfort.
From that point forward I became that annoying guy who was telling all his friends and family to “tap on it.” Then in 2008, I made a documentary film about it titled The Tapping Solution, with my sister, Jessica Ortner, and my friend Nick Polizzi. It was a wild adventure traveling around the country filming on a shoestring budget, especially since we had no prior filmmaking experience.
That documentary led to our annual online event, The Tapping World Summit, and later, to my New York Times best-selling book, The Tapping Solution: A Revolutionary System for Stress-Free Living. During those same 10+ years, I got married and became a dad, so it’s fair to say that tapping has transformed every part of my life. The fact that I now get to spend my days helping other people transform their lives in all of these ways is amazing.
What are the most common issues that tapping has the greatest effect on?
When I was trying to name our documentary film, it was originally titled, Try It On Everything. That was actually the name of my company for a while. It sounds too good to be true, but it is. Since tapping relieves stress at the mental, emotional and physical levels, it’s effective for an incredibly long list of issues, from chronic pain and dis-ease to transforming relationships, overcoming PTSD, emotional challenges, sleep issues, self-sabotage, fears and phobias. It’s also powerful for weight loss, confidence, achieving financial abundance, getting focused. The list goes on, and it’s because some form of stress is at the heart of all of these issues. So when people ask me what to tap on, I essentially say the same thing, which is, try it on everything!
What is the most dramatic improvement you have seen through the use of tapping?
I feel so fortunate to be able to share this technique because there are so many great stories of transformation. Here are a couple that come to mind:
Thomas had been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, and had chronic joint pain as a result. After about twenty minutes of tapping through emotions connected to his childhood, as well as a trauma he’d experienced about a year before his diagnosis, Thomas’s joint pain decreased. The next morning, he woke up with zero pain. A few months later, he went to the doctor, who was amazed to discover that the bio-markers for Thomas’s rheumatoid arthritis were no longer present. Last time I saw him, he was pain-free, taking long walks, and smiling more than he had in years.
Bobbie’s story was equally powerful. She’d had a verbally abusive alcoholic father, and the memories of his abuse had impacted every area of her life for decades. After tapping through one particularly painful memory from her 5th birthday party, her chronic knee pain vanished. She also transformed her relationship with her son and her husband. New career opportunities then began to appear. Last I heard, she’d also lost 25 or 30 pounds pretty effortlessly. All of that started with 20 or 30 minutes of tapping.
What are some reasons tapping may not be working for someone?
Often it’s some combination of a few different factors.
First, I think people sometimes try to force an issue. They want to transform their finances, so they sit down to tap on that, when their MPI, or Most Pressing Issue, is their insomnia, or stress around being late to work. Always tap on your MPI first.
Second, people overlook the body. It’s a powerful messenger. If it’s sending you pain, discomfort, tightness, clenching, that’s a great place to start.
Finally, people get stuck on what to say. If that happens, tap on it! Tap through the points while saying “I don’t know what to say.” You’ll experience stress relief regardless.
What is something most people don't know about tapping?
That there is no “right way” to tap, and there are no “right words” to say. Tapping is incredibly forgiving. Whether you tap for 15 minutes a day or 2 minutes when you can, the benefits add up. Just keep tapping!
Nick Ortner is passionate about supporting people in living healthy, abundant lives that are low in stress and high in fulfillment. To learn more, visit www.thetappingsolution.com