What Is Tapping and How Does It Work?

What Is Tapping and How Does It Work?


The practice consists of tapping with your fingertips on specific meridian points while talking through traumatic memories and a wide range of emotions.

What is a Meridian Point?

Put simply, meridian points are certain points that can be mapped throughout the body. Energy circulates through your body along this specific network of channels. You can tap into this energy at any point along the system.

All negative emotions are felt through a disruption of the body’s energy. The body, like everything in the universe, is composed of energy. Restore balance to the body’s energy, and you will mend the negative emotions and physical symptoms that stem from the energy disruption. Tapping restores the body’s energy balance, and negative emotions are conquered.

How does Tapping Work?

The basic technique requires you to focus on the negative emotion at hand: a fear or anxiety, a bad memory, an unresolved problem, or anything that’s bothering you. While maintaining your mental focus on this issue, use your fingertips to tap 5-7 times each on 9 of the body’s meridian points. Tapping on these meridian points – while concentrating on accepting and resolving the negative emotion – will access your body’s energy, restoring it to a balanced state.

According to Dr. Dawson Church, “Acupoint tapping sends signals directly to the stress centers of the mid-brain, not mediated by the frontal lobes (the thinking part, active in talk therapy).” Because EFT simultaneously accesses stress on physical and emotional levels, he adds, “EFT gives you the best of both worlds, body and mind, like getting a massage during a psychotherapy session.” In fact, it’s EFT’s ability to access the amygdala, an almond-shaped part of your brain that initiates your body’s negative reaction to fear, a process we often refer to as the “fight or flight” response, that makes it so powerful.

Think of your amygdala as a personal alarm system. When you experience trauma or fear, the amygdala is triggered and your body is flooded with cortisol, commonly known as the “stress hormone.” This intricate chain reaction – your stress response – significantly influences and sometimes even causes whatever it is that troubles you, whether that’s an illness, injury, emotion, or even an external problem such as an issue with a friendship.

It’s estimated that 10 million people worldwide have used tapping

What’s so exciting is how incredibly quickly it can alleviate issues like depression, anxiety and insomnia, as well severe PTSD, physical pain, even illness.

These studies show that by stimulating these parts of your body – as we do in EFT Tapping – you can drastically reduce or eliminate the distress that accompanies or gives rise to these problems you face. By doing so, you can often eliminate the problems themselves!

Tapping is simple and painless. It can be learned by anyone. And you can apply it to yourself, whenever you want, wherever you are. It’s less expensive and less time consuming. It can be used with specific emotional intent towards your own unique life challenges and experiences. Most importantly, it gives you the power to heal yourself, putting control over your destiny back into your own hands.

Tapping Solution Foundation Brochure

Watch this short instructional video to learn where the Tapping points are:

You can find more research related to the benefits of EFT/Tapping by visiting thetappingsolution.com.


Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How can I learn how to tap?

A. To get started, check out the resources and how-to video here.

Q. Can Tapping can help with my (or my child’s) specific issues?

A. Tapping is a wonderful resource that can help provide relief for a variety of issues. To learn more about how it can help, please check out our extensive articles here: as well as our blog.

If you are looking for specific help for your child, Nick Ortner’s newest book, The Tapping Solution for Parents, Children and Teenagers covers a wide range of topics including overcoming fears, managing impulsivity, and addressing social issues. This book is available for pre-order here.

Q: How can I get Tapping into schools?

A: You can visit our Resource Center where you will find information that can be shared with school staff members about Tapping in schools.

Q. Do you have a children’s book on Tapping?

A: Yes! Gorilla Thumps & Bear Hugs: A Tapping Solution Children’s Story teaches readers about how to Tap while following alongside two elementary school students navigating their own concerns. You can find that book here.

Q. How do I teach Tapping to children?

A: We recommend you download our free Tapping in School Quickstart Guide.

Q. How can I become certified in EFT/Tapping?

A. While The Tapping Solution doesn’t offer certification, you can learn more about available programs.

Q. How can I find an EFT practitioner?

A. We have an open directory of EFT practitioners.

Science & Research

Scientific Research


A study published in the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, the oldest peer-reviewed psychology journal in the United States, found that Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) lowered the major stress hormone cortisol significantly more than other interventions tested.

In a randomized controlled trial 83 subjects were randomly assigned to a single hour-long session of EFT, talk therapy, or rest. Their cortisol levels were measured via a saliva test before and after the session. Cortisol was measured because it is known as the “stress hormone” of the body. As stress goes up, cortisol levels go up.

Originally designed to help us survive life in the wild, the “fight or flight” response was essential when our ancient ancestors were faced with sudden, brief danger like, let’s say, a tiger.

However useful in short bursts, releasing cortisol too frequently, as we seem to be doing in response to the ongoing or “chronic” stress of modern life, may have serious, even scary, impacts on our physical, mental and emotional health.

In fact, living in this kind of biological “survival mode” may be making us more vulnerable to everything from cancer to heart disease, and more.


The normal rate of cortisol decline is 14% over the length of an hour. The 1st group (Tapping) demonstrated a 24% decrease in cortisol levels, while the 2nd and 3rd groups showed only the standard cortisol reduction that happens with time passing. The 10% improvement in the 1st group (Tapping) is statistically significant. The EFT group also exhibited lower levels of psychological symptoms, including anxiety, depression, and other, as measured by the Symptom Assessment-45 (SA-45), a standard psychological assessment tool.


Pyschotherapy alone relieves stress, but over a long period of time. The immediate benefits of psychotherapy don’t register in your body, where excessive amounts of the “stress hormone” cortisol still run rampant, putting your health at risk.


Tapping balances activity between the sympathetic and parasympathetic regions of your brain, producing “a neutral emotional state,” the gold standard of health and wellness. It’s also the state of well-being people have sought to achieve for millennia through meditation, prayer, yoga, and other mindfulness practices.

Dr. Feinstein, a clinical psychologist who uses EFT in his own practice, adds that EFT is an “unusually precise, rapid, and direct for shifting the neurological underpinnings of a range of psychological problems.”

In fact, he adds, “the number of therapists using EFT has been rapidly increasing over the past decade, and now peer-reviewed research is showing that their instincts have been right. Surprisingly rapid outcomes with a variety of disorders are being documented.”


“The Tapping group did report a significant decrease in their levels of test anxiety, as compared to the control groups.” – Dr. Peta Stapleton 

You can read more about these results and other studies here:


“The Science and Research Behind Tapping”– David Feinstein Ph.D.

“Acupoint Stimulation is Treating Psychological Disorders: Evidence of Efficiency” – David Feinstein Ph.D.

“Clinical EFT as an Evidence-Based Practice for the Treatment of Psychological and Physiological Conditions” – Dawson Church



At long last …
Findings from a world-first study aimed at scientifically proving a simple ‘tapping’ technique have shown the method is effective in reducing food cravings. This is the first time anywhere in the world that Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging scans (fMRI) have been used to see physical, scientific evidence of exactly how EFT self-help techniques work on these conditions by changing the brain’s neural pathways involved in addiction and food cravings.

After 4 weeks (2 hours per week) of EFT Tapping, participants’ brain scans showed a remarkable reduction in activation. The control group who did not receive any EFT did not change.

The full paper and scans are available online now through Dr. Peta Stapleton’s website https://petastapleton.com/the-science-behind-tapping/

Trauma Relief

“Based on my clinical experience and my reading of the research literature, EFT is the treatment of choice for rapid intervention in traumatic situations like Newtown that trigger overwhelming emotions in individuals and groups. Its use can prevent the future development of full-blown PTSD…”
-Eric Leskowitz, MD from the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School

Below are a number of excerpts from a paper written by David Feinstein, Ph.D.
Download and read the full paper.

“(Energy Psychology) brings about, with unusual speed and precision, therapeutic shifts in affective, cognitive, and behavioral patterns that underlie a range of psychological concerns related to disasters.”

“Energy psychology has been applied in the wake of natural and human-made disasters in the Congo, Guatemala, Indonesia, Kenya, Kosovo, Kuwait, Mexico, Moldavia, Nairobi, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Thailand, and the U.S. At least three international humanitarian relief organizations have adapted energy psychology as a treatment in their post-disaster missions.”



1) Immediate relief/stabilization
2) Extinguishing conditioned responses
3) Overcoming complex psychological problems, and
4) Promoting optimal functioning

“The first tier is most pertinent in psychological first aid immediately following a disaster, with the subsequent tiers progressively being introduced over time with complex stress reactions and chronic disorders.”

“Energy psychology, as most commonly practiced in clinical and post-disaster situations, is an exposure-based treatment. The effectiveness of exposure therapies with PTSD and other anxiety disorders is well established. Exposure is, in fact, the single modality for which the evidence is sufficient to conclude, according to stringent scientific standards (National Institute of Medicine’s Committee on Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, 2007), that the method is an efficacious treatment for PTSD. Other treatments that have strong empirical support in treating PTSD, such as cognitive-processing therapy, stress inoculation training, and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR ), also generally incorporate substantial exposure components (Keane, Foa, Friedman, Cohen, & Newman, 2007).”


“Johnson kept a simple but ultimately provocative set of statistics during his visits to Kosovo and other areas of ethnic cleansing, warfare, and natural disasters. He tracked the number of people treated, the number of traumatic incidents identified, and the number of incidents where full relief was reported (i.e., hyperarousal to the traumatic memory was completely neutralized according to the person’s subjective report). Table 1 shows his tally. Johnson, who holds diplomate status with the American Board of Professional Psychology, acknowledges that such figures raise even his own skepticism. While recognizing that ‘well-controlled research is essential before results like these can be accepted,’ he affirms that the figures accurately reflect his experiences and that he ‘recorded them exactly according to what happened.’ After interviewing Johnson, the author of this paper interviewed several therapists who worked on these teams, and their reports corroborate Johnson’s.

“Johnson emphasizes that reducing the impact of traumatic memories with Energy Psychology, as reflected in the [below] numbers, is not the end of a person’s healing journey. ‘Often,’ however, ‘it is a new beginning,’ providing people an opportunity to rebuild their lives without the oppressive emotional weight of their traumatization.”

Also noted in this article, Lynn Garland, a social worker with the Veterans’ Healthcare System in Boston, reports that she, along with numerous colleagues using [Energy Psychology] in the V.A. (Veteran’s Administration), are having ‘dramatic results in relieving both acute and chronic symptoms of combat-related trauma’ (Feinstein, Eden, & Craig, 2005, p. 17).”

Read the full 24 page paper.


“Particularly poignant are reports that have been coming in from the Trauma Relief Committee of the Association for Thought Field Therapy Foundation about their work with the El Shadai orphanage in Rwanda. Many of the children had seen their parents die by machete during the ethnic cleansing twelve years earlier or were reliving the horrors of the massacre of 800,000 Rwandans. Daily flashbacks and nightmares were common, as were bedwetting, depression, withdrawal, isolation, difficulty concentrating, jumpiness, and aggression. Standardized pre- and post-treatment tests for PTSD (translated into Kinyarwandan) were administered to 50 of these children (27 boys and 23 girls), ages 13 through 18, and a children’s PTSD assessment tool for parents and guardians was administered to their caregivers. Treatment, provided in April and May 2006, generally involved three TFT sessions of approximately 20 minutes each. The tests were structured after DSM IV criteria for PTSD. Average symptom scores, based on both the tests taken by the children and the caregivers’ observations about the children, substantially exceeded the cutoffs for a diagnosis of PTSD. Scores after the three sessions were substantially lower than the cut-offs. Immediate reductions in flashbacks, nightmares, and other symptoms were common. Retesting a year later showed that the improvements held. Details of these findings are being prepared for publication (C. Sakai, personal communication, March 7, 2008).”


“Energy Psychology in Disaster Relief” – David Feinstein, Ph.D.

“Energy Psychology Treatment for Post traumatic Stress in Genocide Survivors in a Rwandan Orphanage: A Pilot Investigation” – Barbara Stone, Lori Leyden, & Bert Fellows

“Energy Psychology Treatment for Orphans Heads of Households in Rwanda: An Observational Study” – Barbara Stone, Lori Leyden, & Bert Fellows

EFT, also known as Tapping, can help alleviate all types of stress. This video will show you the results Tapping can achieve and some of the studies Tapping has undergone:

Visit thetappingsolution.com to get a Free Ebook on EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques). This documentary on Tapping features energy and abundance experts such as Jack Canfield, Bob Proctor, Dr. Joseph Mercola, Carol Look, Joe Vitale, Cheryl Richardson and more.