To complement the article “Don’t Gamble with Your Health: 3 Steps to Less Stress” in the September 2014 issue of MASSAGE Magazine. Summary: Massage therapists can use Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) as a part of their self-care routine to reduce stress, as well as facilitate healing.
Tapping lightly on specific acupressure points or meridians can lower cortisol levels, decrease stress, lighten anxiety, lift depressing emotions, reduce exhaustion, balance heart rate, decrease the need to overeat, reduce fear, increase calm and restore personal balance. The most prominent meridian-tapping technique is the Emotional Freedom Technique.
Using the Emotional Freedom Technique to address these issues as part of your self-care routine is easy. There are 10 most-used acupressure points with tapping. (See photo.) However, using even one of these points can often be quite effective. The simple process consists of tapping about seven times on each point while using your own words to describe the negative feeling you are experiencing, then altering the language as your feelings or thoughts change. (Using negative wording might sound like a way of reinforcing negative thoughts, but this aspect is important, because it’s the negative we want to change.)
To use this technique, think of a specific problem you would like to address—the more specific the better—such as: “When I get home from work, I feel stressed and can’t relax.” Then follow these steps:
- Think about the feeling and assign it a number on a scale of 0 to 10, 0 being the experience of feeling no stress and 10 the experience of feeling the most stressed.
- Tap on the side of your hand, which is called the karate chop point, and say out loud: “Even though I feel stressed every day after work, right here, right now, I’m still OK.” (This is not to convince yourself. It is just what in EFT is known as setup—pairing the negative with an acceptance statement.) Repeat your statement three times, tapping on the karate chop point the entire time.
- Move on to the other points (see photo), starting with the point on the inside of your eyebrow, and repeat your statement as you tap.
- Repeat this statement while tapping each of the points, moving completely through the cycle.
- After completing the last point, reassess your stress feeling, again using a scale of zero to 10. You can repeat the process as many times as you need to until the feeling of stress is close to or at 0.
This is a very basic example of how to use the Emotional Freedom Technique. There are a variety of training materials available online, as well as qualified practitioners who can help you learn to address more extensive and in-depth issues. But, even in its most basic form, the Emotional Freedom Technique can help you; and one of the great things about it is you can use it easily anytime, anywhere.
When to tap?
Some ideas for when to use the Emotional Freedom Technique tapping during the day:
- When a massage client is late
- While billing
- While reading an upsetting email, before replying to the email—especially before you hit send
- Before making an important phone call
- After a stressful conversation
- While worrying about anything at all
- While making difficult decisions
- While watching the news
Remember, there are no rules. Often you can just tap and feel better.
Karin Davidson, C.H.T., E.F.T.-C.P.R.O.F. (www.howtotap.com), is the co-author of Emotional Freedom Technique certification manuals; an Association for Meridian & Energy Therapies Emotional Freedom Technique Master; an Alternative Healthcare Professionals Emotional Freedom Technique Trainer of Trainers; and a Certified Matrix Reimprinting Trainer and Practitioner who teaches workshops around the world.