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What is “Tapping” and Does It Work?

Emotional freedom technique (EFT), or tapping, is a recently popularized evidence-based intervention for substance use disorder (SUD) and mental health treatment. The basic premise of tapping is that by repeatedly tapping on specific points on the body — meridian points — while focusing on a particular problem or issue, it’s possible to retrain the brain to no longer be troubled by that issue. 

The Research

A growing body of research has shown that tapping can effectively treat various psychological problems, including anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Dr. David Feinstein, a clinical psychologist who uses EFT in his practice, adds that EFT is “Unusually precise, rapid, and direct for shifting the neurological underpinnings of a range of psychological problems.” Additionally, he says, “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. As a result, surprisingly rapid outcomes with various disorders are being documented.”

Given its potential to help people overcome difficult emotions and situations, it’s not surprising that tapping is also being used to help people recover from SUD. While more research is needed to determine the long-term effectiveness of tapping for this purpose, initial studies have been promising in reducing cravings.

Meridian Points

Meridians are channels in the body through which qi, or vital energy, flows. There are 12 main meridians, each associated with a different organ system, which are traditionally targeted in acupuncture and other forms of traditional Chinese medicine. These 12 points are located along 12 main energy channels, or meridians, which run from head to toe on either side of the body. 

The 12 main meridian points are: 

  1. Lung
  2. Large Intestine
  3. Stomach
  4. Spleen 
  5. Heart
  6. Small Intestine
  7. Bladder
  8. Kidney
  9. Pericardium
  10. Triple warmer
  11. Gallbladder
  12. Liver

Each of these organs is associated with a specific meridian point and is thought to correspond to different areas of the body and various aspects of physical and mental health. In Chinese medicine theory, imbalance in any of these 12 areas can lead to disease or illness. By stimulating these points through acupuncture or other means, practitioners can help restore balance and promote health and well-being.

EFT is a newer technique based on the same principle. EFT uses tapping on specific points to balance the body’s energy and help release emotions that may be causing distress.

Regulating the Nervous System

The nervous system is responsible for regulating many of the body’s functions, including mood, heart rate, and blood pressure. It also plays a role in the brain’s reward system, which is why substances like drugs and alcohol can be so addictive.

For teens suffering from SUD, learning to regulate the nervous system is integral to treatment and recovery. This can involve therapy methods like yoga and meditation, which can help to reduce stress and promote relaxation. It can also involve medication, which can help to stabilize mood and minimize cravings.

EFT is a simple but effective self-help tool that helps regulate the nervous system. Tapping can be an extremely useful tool for teens struggling with SUD to promote healing. By gently tapping on specific points on the body, teens can help to calm their nerves and reduce stress levels. Tapping can also help to release negative emotions and ease physical pain. It can be a powerful tool for helping teens maintain sobriety when used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan.

Tapping for Stress

It’s no secret that stress can have a negative impact on our health. Chronic stress has been linked to a variety of health problems, including heart disease, anxiety, and depression. New research is now shedding light on the role that tapping may play in reducing stress.

According to research, the act of tapping releases neurochemicals that help to reduce stress. The study also found that tapping can help to lower cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone the body produces in response to stressful stimuli. When cortisol levels are too high, it can lead to anxiety, depression, PTSD, and other mental health problems. 

EFT helps the body relax by releasing endorphins, hormones that increase feelings of happiness and well-being. Furthermore, tapping releases oxytocin, a hormone that promotes bonding and trust. Tapping is a drug-free, alternative treatment that helps teens stay sober by reducing stress and balancing the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. When tapping, pressure is applied to specific points on the body while focusing on a particular negative emotion. 

This focus, combined with gentle pressure, sends a signal to the brain to shift gears from the “fight or flight” mode associated with stress in the sympathetic nervous system to the “rest and digest” mode in the parasympathetic nervous system. 

The release of these neurochemicals through tapping helps to reduce stress and promote relaxation. As a result, tapping can help to alleviate symptoms of anxiety, depression, and PTSD, as well as cravings for drugs or alcohol. It can also improve sleep quality and overall physical health. For these reasons, tapping can be an effective tool for helping teens stay sober and lead healthy lives. 

Here is a diagram of tapping points in the body.

Emotional freedom technique or tapping, is a type of evidence-based intervention that has shown promising results for treating teen substance use disorder. Tapping is a method of stimulating specific points on the body called meridians by tapping on them with the fingers. This method is thought to help improve emotional regulation, decrease cravings, and lead to a healthier lifestyle. Tapping can be effective in reducing both the frequency and intensity of cravings, as well as improving other outcomes such as abstinence rates and quality of life. Tapping is an easily accessible tool to help adolescents manage urges to use and regulate overactive nervous systems. The technique is easy to learn and practice at home. For more information on how tapping can help your teen create and maintain a life in recovery from SUD, call Clearfork Academy today at (817) 259-2597.

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