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EFT Tapping for Stress Relief

Updated: May 1, 2023

Tapping is proven to be a powerful stress relief technique. It is based on the combined principles of ancient Chinese acupressure and modern psychology. As a stress relief tool, Tapping can make you go from feeling totally overwhelmed to good in just minutes.

There are numerous clinical researches on EFT Tapping for stress that provides measurable evidence of the impact of tapping on stress. A study by Dr. Peta Stapleton, published in 2012 in the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, found that EFT Tapping lowered cortisol significantly more than traditional talk therapy or resting. Study results show that the EFT Tapping group had a 24% drop in cortisol, while the non- EFT Tapping group only had a 14% drop in cortisol. They indicated EFT to be an efficient and effective brief treatment for reducing biological markers of stress.

Understanding the stress response

The part of the brain controlling the stress response also referred as the “fight or flight” response is called the amygdala. When someone experiences a stressful event, the amygdala, sends a distress signal to the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus activates the sympathetic nervous system by sending signals through the autonomic nerves to the adrenal glands. These glands respond by pumping the hormone epinephrine (also known as adrenaline) into the bloodstream. As epinephrine circulates through the body, it brings on several physiological changes. For instance, the heart beats faster than normal, pushing blood to the muscles, pulse rate and blood pressure go up with rapid breathing. Extra oxygen is sent to the brain, increasing alertness. Sight, hearing, and other senses become sharper. Meanwhile, epinephrine triggers the release of blood sugar (glucose) and fats from temporary storage sites in the body. All these changes happen so quickly that people aren't aware of them. It prepares the body and mind to have the energy and resources it needs to protect itself from potential danger. Therefore, stress is normal and sometimes even helpful.

The problem is when the stress response is turned on all time, and not only when there is a real danger. Human beings, because of the size of the neocortex, can turn on the stress response just by thoughts alone. The hormones of stress down regulate genes and create diseases.

How does Tapping release stress?

EFT tapping “is similar to acupuncture in that it uses defined acupoints for the tapping,” says Peta Stapleton, PhD.

The technique of tapping consists on focusing on uncomfortable feelings or concerns or whatever may be causing you stress, while at the same time tapping on specific meridians or acupoints on the hands, face, and body using your fingertips. These acupressure points correspond to traditional Chinese medicine acupressure points. Research suggests these acupoints aren’t simply random sites on the body, there is a physiological response to the stimulation of these acupoints. Stimulating acupoints produces a variety of brain chemicals, including endogenous opioids (pain-relieving chemicals), serotonin (which helps regulate sleep, mood, and memory), and gamma-aminobutyric acid (which has a calming effect on the body), according to a past research article (PDF). Tapping on the acupoints sends calming signals to the brain, letting it know it is safe to relax.

By Anita Kane

Biochemist, Founder of Alrana Natural Health inc.


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