The Benefits of Tapping

Man walking with merdians painted on his body
Therapy for body meridians.. Matthias Tunger / Getty Images

Tapping is a type of alternative therapy used to enhance emotional health. By tapping fingers on specific points on the body, practitioners are thought to clear away negative emotions.

A form of energy healing, tapping includes such therapies as Emotional Freedom Technique (also known as "EFT tapping"), Progressive Emotional Release, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, Neuro-Emotional Technique, and Thought Field Therapy.

How Does Tapping Work?

Tapping therapies generally focus on the same points used in acupuncture and acupressure. According to practitioners, each of these points lie on meridians through which the body's energy flows. While negative emotions are thought to cause blockages in the flow of energy, tapping on these points is said to clear up such blockages and release the negative feelings.

When practicing tapping therapy, individuals typically target a specific emotion that they wish to release. Focusing on a positive affirmation while tapping on the specified point is thought to enhance emotional healing.

Uses for Tapping

In alternative medicine, tapping is used to treat the following problems:

Tapping is also said to help promote recovery from traumatic events, alcoholism, and addiction, as well as improve wellbeing in people struggling with illness or chronic pain.

Benefits of Tapping

While research on the health effects of tapping is fairly limited, there's some evidence that tapping may offer certain benefits. Here's a look at some key findings from the available studies on tapping:

1) Stress

Tapping may help reduce stress, according to a study published in the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease in 2012.

For the study, researchers assigned 83 people to an hour-long EFT tapping session, an hour-long psychotherapy session, or no treatment. Results revealed that those assigned to EFT tapping experienced a significant decrease in their levels of the stress hormone cortisol, as well as significant improvements in anxiety and mood.

2) Anxiety

In a 2012 study of 45 people with anxiety disorders (published in the journal Explore), researchers found that participants treated with Thought Field Therapy experienced significantly greater improvements in anxiety symptoms than study members assigned to no treatment.

3) Pain

Several studies indicate that tapping may be of some benefit to people with chronic pain. In a 2008 study published in Chiropractic & Osteopathy, for instance, Neuro Emotional Technique was found to improve symptoms in individuals with chronic neck pain. The study involved 60 chronic neck pain sufferers.

In addition, a 2013 study published in Explore found that EFT tapping may be beneficial for people suffering from tension headaches.

Involving 35 patients with chronic tension headaches, the study determined that EFT tapping helped reduce headache frequency and intensity.

Alternatives to Tapping

A number of alternative therapies may be helpful in improving your emotional health. For instance, studies show that massage therapy, acupuncture, acupressure, guided imagery, and meditation may have positive effects on emotional well-being.


It's important to note that self-treating a chronic condition (such as depression) with tapping and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences. If you're considering using it, make sure to talk with your doctor first.

Working with a Tapping Practitioner

Although tapping can be performed on your own, working with a qualified practitioner is important for learning and understanding tapping techniques. 


Bablis P, Pollard H. "Anxiety and depression profile of 188 consecutive new patients presenting to a Neuro-Emotional Technique practitioner." J Altern Complement Med. 2009 Feb;15(2):121-7.

Bablis P, Pollard H, Bonello R. "Neuro Emotional Technique for the treatment of trigger point sensitivity in chronic neck pain sufferers: a controlled clinical trial." Chiropr Osteopat. 2008 May 21;16:4.

Bougea AM, Spandideas N, Alexopoulos EC, Thomaides T, Chrousos GP, Darviri C. "Effect of the emotional freedom technique on perceived stress, quality of life, and cortisol salivary levels in tension-type headache sufferers: a randomized controlled trial." Explore (NY). 2013 Mar-Apr;9(2):91-9.

Church D, Yount G, Brooks AJ. "The effect of emotional freedom techniques on stress biochemistry: a randomized controlled trial." J Nerv Ment Dis. 2012 Oct;200(10):891-6.

Irgens A, Dammen T, Nysæter TE, Hoffart A. "Thought Field Therapy (TFT) as a treatment for anxiety symptoms: a randomized controlled trial." Explore (NY). 2012 Nov-Dec;8(6):331-8.

Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis or treatment by a licensed physician. It is not meant to cover all possible precautions, drug interactions, circumstances or adverse effects. You should seek prompt medical care for any health issues and consult your doctor before using alternative medicine or making a change to your regimen.

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