Many people reach for a pill when they have headaches, tooth pain, depression, anxiety and other types of physical and mental maladies. But Emotional Freedom Techniques teacher and practitioner Marcie Brewster teaches people an alternative called EFT or tapping.
“Tapping is similar to acupuncture,” Brewster said. “We are using our fingers to tap on end points of acupuncture meridians. Where an acupuncturist might put a needle in some of these places, we just tap on them. It’s an acupressure technique. It was actually discovered by a psychologist who was studying acupuncture.”
The tapping points are the top of the head, the eyebrow, at the side of the eye, below the eye, below the nose, below the chin, the collarbone and underneath the arm. Practitioners tap seven to ten times or so on each point while talking through challenges such a physical or emotional pain or following a script designed to give them relief.
“Tapping is a breakthrough in self-help technology,” Brewster said. “It’s easy to learn and effective on so many different things like pain, anxiety, stress and depression. Something happens, and you jump out of your body. Tapping helps bring you back to being grounded in your body.”
Brewster has been tapping for about four years. She started with online meditations and found that with EFT she was able to release suppressed emotions of things that happened that were not part of her conscious memory.
“I had a lot of grief and rage,” Brewster said. “I was able to clear a lot of that out. And I found after doing that, I just wasn’t getting depressed any more. I might get depressed for a minute or two, but not for a few days or weeks. The depression just didn’t seem to be able to take hold. I got such great relief and help that I started reading all the books on it I could. I started teaching it in the fall of 2016.”
Different ways to use EFT are being developed all the time. “The EFT movement is massive. It is worldwide,” she said. “This is the tenth year of the summit. It is growing really super fast, but there is obviously a huge way to go because so many people don’t know about it.”
Brewster does private sessions and also leads a tapping class Monday nights at 5 p.m. at the Flora Roja Community Acupuncture & Herbal Apocthecary. One benefit of the class is learning how to do it properly. But there are also what she refers to as “borrowed benefits.”
“We have a lot of overlap in issues,” Brewster said. “Nearly everyone had some trauma from childhood and throughout our lives we can accumulate trauma. We have all been wounded at some point along the way. And we are all being subjected to a lot of stress from our fast-paced society.”
Participants can take turn tapping on their issues, but also benefit from tapping with others on their concerns.
“If you can tap along with everybody in the group, you get a kind of group clearing,” Brewster said. “As you get to feeling better, you can forget how bad you felt before. Remembering to do it is one of the drawbacks to it. If you come to class, you get a reminder to tap.”
Brewster has seen remarkable results in students who have worked through physical or emotional pain that may have plagued them for a long time. For example, one student came to class one time with her head stopped up with sinus problems.
“She rated her headache as a seven or eight on a scale of one to ten with ten being the most painful,” Brewster said. “After tapping her sinuses cleared up and the headache went away. It can happen just that fast.”
As for the script or words said while tapping, Brewster says don’t get hung up on the words. While it can work best when specific issues are addressed, you can also just tap using whatever words and thoughts are looping around in your head.
Why does it work? Brewster said she believes that when people experience trauma, they bottle it up and the body stores it somewhere. That can result in illness.
“When you get older, the body can start to break down by trying to hold in so much emotion that hasn’t been released,” she said. “When we revisit something that happened that was painful or traumatizing while we tap, we are sending a calming signal to the brain that everything is fine. So, we are able to actually revisit the emotion and clear it out without being re-traumatized.”
If you just think about something you are angry about, you might just get angry again and get stuck again. But Brewster said if you revisit that anger while tapping, you can release it. The calming tapping signals are instantaneous, whereas our neurochemical reaction takes a few seconds. Tapping effectively overrides the “fight or flight” reaction.
It is normal to cry when tapping releases emotions, Brewster said, and you usually feel better once you cry. Even yawning can release a lot of energy.
Brewster thinks every doctor, therapist and psychologist should know about EFT and tell patients about it because about 85 percent of illnesses have an emotional component. If you can heal the emotional, the body can release pain and illness. She feels EFT can be especially helpful to someone who has gone around and around with doctors without being able to figure out quite what was wrong.
EFT is only about 40 years old, and much is still being learned from it. Scientific studies have confirmed its value showing it can significantly reduce cortisol levels, which is a primary stress hormone.
“Tapping has been shown to lower cortisol levels faster than anything else,” Brewster said. “It is particularly good for people who have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Dawson Church did a saliva study where they tested cortisol levels before and after one hour of tapping. The lab testing of samples indicated something was wrong with the equipment because they had never seen cortisol levels drop that dramatically. And now there are clinical studies showing tapping is more effective than antidepressants or psychotherapy for depression.”
Books she recommends on the topic include The EFT Manual by Dawson Church and any of the books on tapping by Nick Ortner. For more information, call Brewster at (870) 480-2826 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.