• Lou, who appears on SBS Program 'Medicine Or Myth' uses tapping to manage stress. (SBS)Source: SBS
Tapping may seem like a far-fetched form of energy healing. But as new SBS series 'Medicine or Myth?' discovers, it might actually be a valid way to relieve your stress.
Yasmin Noone

3 May 2019 - 9:55 AM  UPDATED 27 May 2019 - 1:55 PM

As Lou was fighting the physicality of chronic fatigue, her mind and spirit were battling a serious episode of stress.

The Queenslander tells SBS that the illness took away her independence, career and friendships. But tapping, an energetic therapy based on Chinese medicine teachings, helped Lou reduce stress and reclaim her identity.

“My first tapping session changed everything,” Lou says in episode two of the new series, Medicine or Myth airing on SBS on Monday 27 May at 8.30pm.

Lou has since become a tapping coach and advocates that the alternative treatment can reduce stress and physical pain in all who try it. “Everyone should be doing it…It's free, there’s no prescription, you just tap and you feel different.”

“Everyone should be doing it…It's free, there’s no prescription, you just tap and you feel different.”

‘Tapping’ – the colloquial term for Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) – is a psychological intervention combining the acupuncture principles established within Traditional Chinese Medicine and neuro-linguistic programming.

The idea is that by using your fingers to tap the meridian points on your body (instead of an acupuncture needle), you can release the energy blockages that are causing you to feel fear, anxiety and stress.

The trick is to focus your mind on a problem you’re experiencing or, have a professional practitioner guide you through a verbal counselling session, while you’re tapping your body.

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Tapping practitioner and founder of the Australian Tapping Institute, Lorna Hollinger, explains that the technique is designed to rewire the natural pathways of the brain and reduce symptoms of illness like stress.

“Everything that happens in our lives gets tagged in your brain,” Scottish-born Hollinger tells SBS. “When you get frightened about something, it’s because your brain has tagged that situation as being ‘unsafe’ back when a fearful event occurred. But tapping un-tags these thoughts, ideas and reoccurring patterns in your brain.”

In essence, tapping aims to break down past programming that associates an action or event with a feeling of fear and stress, while reforming positive associations.

“Imagine someone who says ‘I’ve got anxiety or stress’. People usually treat these feelings as table top issues. But with tapping, we aim to fix the table legs: the issues that are holding the thoughts up together that are causing you to feel anxiety or stress.”

In essence, tapping aims to break down past programming that associates an action or event with a feeling of fear and stress, while reforming positive associations.

The other major benefit to the energy intervention, according to Hollinger, is the speed in which it works compared to traditional psychological therapies alone.

“When you’re tapping, it just feels like this amazing level of calm comes over you straight away. It also feels like my blood is moving in my veins as you feel the energy move through your body. The more you tap, the more calming it is and the more flow you feel.”

The simple remedy sounds amazing but does it work? Medicine or Myth put tapping to trial, testing it on people throughout Australia who had been experiencing stress for more than three years and showed symptoms such as anxiety and short temperedness.

Around 65 per cent of participants found that the technique relaxed them, while 90 per cent said they would continue the technique to reduce stress.

Other research suggests that tapping may be beneficial for the management of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and food cravings.

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A 2012 paper reporting a broad meta-study of acupoint tapping (EFT) research found that tapping with fingers on acupuncture points successfully releases the emotional pain associated with traumatic memories. The results were also found to be fast and long lasting.

Bond University in Queensland is currently undertaking research into tapping to determine how it compares to other interventions in relieving stress. Reports say the researchers will measure participant’s cortisol levels before and after they experience tapping, education and relaxation sessions to test the impact of each intervention.

This article provides general information only and does not recommend or endorse any particular treatment. It is not intended to replace the advice provided by your own doctor or medical or health professional.

Are alternative remedies simply a myth or do they have a place alongside modern medicine? Medicine or Myth? follows everyday Australians as they pitch their diverse and sometimes divisive health remedies to a panel of medical experts, led by Dr Charlie Teo, in the hope of being selected for a real-world trial.

#MedicineorMyth, an eight-week series, airs every Monday at 8.30 pm on SBS. or catch up anytime on SBS On Demand.