I’m sat in an East Sussex conservatory rapidly tapping various parts of my body. I’m not at an ape imitation school. I do not have fleas. And nobody has sprinkled itching powder under my blouse. So what the heck am I doing?
It’s a complementary therapy called EFT, (Emotional Freedom Techniques), also known as tapping and I’m under the expert guidance of clinical hypnotherapist and EFT practitioner Liz Davies, a sunny character with a smile bright enough to illuminate Brighton Pier.
Often referred to as ‘psychological acupressure’, the approach fuses elements of the Chinese meridian energy system with modern Western talk therapy and is growing in popularity as a way to treat stress, anxiety, fear, insomnia and chronic pain.
If it sounds a little new-age you’re right, but last Autumn it emerged that the Duchess of Cornwall had reduced her fear of flying by using the technique.
In the same year researchers at Australia’s Bond University also scientifically demonstrated that the approach could help rewire the neural pathways of obese patients.
So, when Liz – who goes by the name of the ‘Miracle Coach’ – invited me to try a session I jumped at the chance.
Tapping is said to help release blockages within the energy system, which are the source of emotional intensity and discomfort. Ongoing upsetting or stressful situations or traumatic events that may have occurred in the past can all be contributory factors which, if left unresolved, may manifest as symptoms including physical health problems, limiting beliefs, anxiousness, emotional disharmony and feelings of being stuck.
In a nutshell, tapping aims to clear the emotional attachment that our subconscious clings onto, to help us lead more fulfilling and positive lives.
“Often people end up in cycles, perhaps in relationships that aren’t necessarily good for them, as the subconscious tries to recreate the past to make it better again,” Liz points out.
“Tapping helps address the subconscious, clear the energy and enables you to see the world with fresh eyes. There’s no emotional triggering so you can choose people, activities and things on the basis of what’s really good for you rather than a trigger that’s just pulling you along.”
At the start of the session, Hove-based Liz asks me to set some intentions. “If you could wave a magic wand, what would be your goal at the end?” she enquires. “To be able to go to a restaurant and eat and drink whatever I want without worrying about having a tongue-swelling reaction,” I reply.
“Great, are there any others?” I rattle off a few more before I’m asked to list them in order of priority. “It’s always best to go with what you instinctively feel is the strongest – tune into that feeling,” advises Liz helpfully.
I hone in on one that has been causing me immense worry and fear.
“Where’s the feeling in the body?” she gently asks. “The pit of my stomach,” I reply. “On a scale of 1-10 how would you rate it with 10 being the worst?” “10.” “What colour and shape is it?” “It’s a dense circle – maroon brown.” Liz continues: “Does it feel like it’s moving around or stuck?”
“It’s stuck.” “And how would you describe it?” “As fear and unease.”
Your subsconscious is saying ‘thank goodness you’re listening to me’
Liz explains that colours and shapes are used because they’re the language of the subconscious. “Once you start talking in those words it creates a clear communication. Most of the time what we do is we try to ignore what the subconscious is telling us because it feels uneasy or unpleasant so we avoid it. Instead, we use our conscious mind, which is rational, but what we need to do is talk to the subconscious because that’s where the emotional stuff is.”
Then something peculiar happens.
We haven’t even started the tapping but I feel as though the ball has already shifted up from the pit of my stomach. “Yay,” Liz replies. ‘It’s because your subconscious is saying thank goodness you’re listening to me, you’re paying attention to me. That’s perfect.”
We embark on the first round of tapping and I follow Liz’s actions and copy her words.
Using three fingers I tap the karate chop point of my hand seven times and repeat after her: “Even though I have this dark maroon brown feeling stuck in my tummy, I still love and accept myself anyway.”
My eyes dart around the room – I wasn’t expecting that.
Next, I’m tapping the crown of the head….“All this fear.”
Followed by my eyebrows…”In my tummy.”
Then the side of the eyes…“This dark maroon brown fear.”
And the top of the cheekbone… “Stuck in my tummy.”
Underneath my nose… “All this unease.”
Followed by the middle of the chin… “I feel unease,”
Then underneath the collarbone…“I don’t like it.”
The process continues and I’m tapping again just beneath my armpit…“All this fear.”
Then the wrist…“This round dark fear.”
Followed by taps on the side of each fingernail…“This fear in my tummy, this maroon brown fear, this uneasy feeling, I don’t like this dark fear.”
Before finishing at the karate chop point… “In my tummy.”
Liz asks me to take a deep breath in before breathing out slowly. Round one complete.
“Can you rate the intensity of the ball now?” I’m lost for words and start laughing hysterically. “This is ridiculous,” I blurt out. “I can’t believe it but it feels lighter, like a three. Weirdly, it feels as though it’s shifted up into my heart area. It’s transparent and kind of an oblong shape. It no longer feels like a ball.”
“What emotion would you give it now?”
I smile again. “I’m sorry, I can’t…it feels insignificant.”
It sounds like you’ve had a one minute miracle
Liz nods: “Basically what you’re doing is processing your feelings by speaking them out loud and accepting them. Tapping at the same time is physically allowing the emotion that got squished down in your body to come up and release. It sounds like you’ve had a one-minute miracle. This does happen.
“When positive words come out or you can’t say anything negative that means the energy that was holding you back has cleared and your real true self, your bright spark is able to speak louder. When you can hear yourself clearly everything else starts to flow easier because you’re not driven by fear anymore.”
I celebrate yawns
We embark on the second round of tapping. Halfway through I experience an intense surge of excitement – butterflies if you will – in my stomach and for the first time in an age, I feel as though I’m truly alive again. Embarrassingly, though, I stifle a huge yawn at the end.
Liz doesn’t mind. “I always celebrate yawns. It’s also another way of release. And the butterflies…wow. That’s your real self coming up. This is what tapping does and why I say it’s so magical. Sometimes just hitting on what needed to be said and tapping at the same time can be so effective.”
I hug Liz at the end. I’m feeling incredibly relaxed and also as though I’ve been given a new lease of life.
Sceptics might argue the placebo effect but I definitely felt a physical and emotional shift.
Besides, if tapping helps to improve our outlook, positivity and induce a state of calm – whatever the reason – it has to be worth a try.
Relax Ya Self to Health was invited to try this session by Miracle Coach Liz Davies in exchange for a review. As always, reviews are based on my honest opinion.