I like to think I have a pretty open mind when it comes to complementary therapies. I don’t have any regularly, but I have tried a few different methods at various stages in my life. I’ve had reflexology, massage therapy, reiki and acupuncture, but I’d never tried tapping until a couple of weeks ago.
I first heard about tapping – also known as the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) and Thought Field Therapy (TFT) – when a friend of mine learnt how to use it to calm her anxiety, and raved about the results. I watched as she tapped on different parts of her face and hands, and thought, well, she actually looked a little bit crazy!
It involves tapping on different pressure points on your hands, face, head and chest repeatedly, to tune into energy pathways and correct any disruptions we may have. It works a little bit like acupuncture, but uses no needles, and can be done easily and fairly quickly on yourself once you learn the techniques.
The thought of trying tapping myself wasn’t on my radar at all until I wrote a post for Mumsnet at the start of the year. It was read by a lady called Yolanda Saez Castello, who commented saying she would love to help by offering me an introduction to tapping. How could I say no to that?
I spoke to Yolanda, who runs her practise Tap It Better from her Jersey home. About a week later I was booked in and had my first ever session in EFT from the comfort of in my lounge, over Skype.
When I watched my friend’s demonstration all those years ago I remember thinking how on earth would that have any effect on your emotions at all? You are just tapping the side of your hand – and looking strange while doing it! But like I said, I like to think my mind is open to all possibilities and if it worked for her, then maybe it could work for me.
Yolanda told me: “Brain scan research shows tapping reduces activity in the amygdala, the area of your brain that deals with stress and fear, and where the fight or flight response starts off.
“In essence, when you are in fight or flight, your body is behaving as if there was a tiger after you. When you get rid of the tiger, that’s when you can make good decisions, or simply move on from a traumatic experience and get on with your life.”
She said tapping can really help with trauma, feeling stressed out, or just worried.
“In these situations, your amygdala will be highly stimulated, and will receive comparatively more blood than other areas of your brain. When you can tone down that response through tapping, your emotional response to whatever caused it greatly decreases.”
No-one is saying tapping will change how I feel deep down about losing my husband. But what it could do is change the reaction I have when I think about all the terrible things that have happened over the past, I’d say three years. I had two sessions with Yolanda, both just over an hour long, and I don’t know if it’s a coincidence or not but I actually do feel able to think more clearly and process my thoughts a whole lot better these past few weeks.
So if that’s down to tapping then I will definitely take that, and thank Yolanda such a lot for reading my post and getting in touch. As she said, bereavement is trauma with a capital T and a classic example of how people can benefit from ‘toning down’ their feelings.
If you want to know more, please do have a look at Yolanda’s Facebook page.
I have my friend Karen to thank for taking these photos of me trying to look deep in thought while tapping!