How do the “Tapping Therapies” work?
Our thoughts are constantly creating patterns of electrical energy that cause the release of hormones, neurotransmitters, and other chemicals in the body, which we feel as emotions. The first manifestation of an emotion, either positive or negative, is a change in the body’s electrical state.
When there is a disruption in the body’s electrical flow, such as the “fight or flight response”, we feel it. If the electro-chemical disruption continues, it can lead to emotional distress and, eventually, physical problems. When the electrical disruption is removed, the distress stops.
Acupressure, a self-care tool that can be learned in minutes, works by neutralizing disruptions in your body’s electrical system, which then stops the chemical chain reaction and frees you from emotional and physical discomforts. As you gently tap or press on a point, neural receptors under the skin convert the pressure to an electrical impulse that is transmitted to the brain. It is the same thing as using a TV or VCR remote-control, or tapping a key on a key board to send an electrical signal to the computer.
Current research has validated this ancient oriental system. In the late Eighties Dr. Roger Callahan, a psychologist, combined elements of quantum theory, kinesiology, and acupressure to bring rapid relief for trauma, addictions, and phobic disorders. He called his method Thought Field Therapy.
In the 1990’s, Stanford-trained engineer Gary Craig found that certain meridian spots on the body could be identified as “short-cut” tapping spots, which may easily relieve emotional and physical stress. He calls his tapping system EFT for Emotional Freedom Technique. EFT uses a simple-to-learn combination of acupressure tapping, affirmations, and psychological-reversal statements in order to create a return to emotional stability.
What is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)?
EMDR, according to their website, is a method that can accelerate the treatment of a wide range of pathologies and self esteem issues related to both upsetting past events and present life conditions. Controlled studies of victims of Vietnam combat, rape, molestation, accident, catastrophic loss and natural disaster indicate that the method is capable of a rapid desensitization of traumatic memories, including a cognitive restructuring and a significant reduction of client distress. There are more controlled studies to date on EMDR than on any other method used in the treatment of trauma.
In 1987 psychologist Francine Shapiro literally stumbled upon the connection between eyes moving back and forth and the processing of disturbing thoughts. She discovered that these eye movements seemed to calm down the disturbing thoughts. She then developed a protocol in her work with PTSD survivors (particularly Vietnam vets) to help them to process and release trauma experiences.
Typically, PTSD symptoms such as nightmares, startle reactions, and rage attacks are reduced using EMDR, along with the accompanying negative core beliefs that trauma victims often have.