The Tapping Solution: A Revolutionary System for Stress-Free Living

The Tapping Solution: A Revolutionary System for Stress-Free Living

by Nick Ortner, Mark Hyman MD

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In the New York Times best-selling book The Tapping Solution, Nick Ortner, founder of the Tapping World Summit and best-selling filmmaker of The Tapping Solution, is at the forefront of a new healing movement. 

In this book, he gives readers everything they need to successfully start using the powerful practice of tapping—or Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT).Tapping is one of the fastest and easiest ways to address both the emotional and physical problems that tend to hamper our lives. 

Using the energy meridians of the body, practitioners tap on specific points while focusing on particular negative emotions or physical sensations. The tapping helps calm the nervous system to restore the balance of energy in the body, and in turn rewire the brain to respond in healthy ways. This kind of conditioning can help rid practitioners of everything from chronic pain to phobias to addictions. Because of tapping’s proven success in healing such a variety of problems, Ortner recommends to try it on any challenging issue.

In The Tapping Solution, Ortner describes not only the history and science of tapping but also the practical applications. In a friendly voice, he lays out easy-to-use practices, diagrams, and worksheets that will teach readers, step-by-step, how to tap on a variety of issues. With chapters covering everything from the alleviation of pain to the encouragement of weight loss to fostering better relationships, Ortner opens readers’ eyes to just how powerful this practice can be. 

Throughout the book, readers will see real-life stories of healing ranging from easing the pain of fibromyalgia to overcoming a fear of flying.The simple strategies Ortner outlines will help readers release their fears and clear the limiting beliefs that hold them back from creating the life they want.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781401939441
Publisher: Hay House Inc.
Publication date: 04/02/2013
Sold by: Penguin Random House Publisher Services
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 142,322
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Nick Ortner is the creator and executive producer of the hit documentary film The Tapping Solution. He has also produced the annual worldwide online event, the Tapping World Summit, which has been attended by over 500,000 people. Ortner is a dynamic speaker, presenting breakthrough live tapping sessions around the world. He lives in Connecticut. Follow Nick on Twitter @nortner and see him on Facebook at

Read an Excerpt

The Tapping Solution

A Revolutionary System for Stress-Free Living

By Nick Ortner


Copyright © 2013 Nicolas Ortner
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4019-3941-0



A Monumental Discovery

All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.

Arthur Schopenhauer, German Philosopher

Dr. Roger Callahan was in a bind.

He had been in this position before, but that didn't make it any less frustrating.

A traditionally trained psychologist, he was working with his client, Mary, who had struggled with a severe water phobia since she was a child. Mary wasn't just afraid of swimming, she was afraid of water in all forms—from bathtubs to rain to oceans to swimming pools. Her level of fear was so extreme that she couldn't even bathe her two children and was plagued by nightmares about water. This had been going on as long as she could remember. Now in her 40s, she had sought Dr. Callahan's help.

Dr. Callahan was doing his best, but it just wasn't working. He had been treating Mary for the past year, using all the traditional psychotherapy techniques in his tool belt: cognitive therapy, hypnosis, relaxation therapy, rational-emotive therapy, systematic desensitization, biofeedback and more. They were all he knew, and they were the techniques that were accepted by psychologists, psychiatrists, and the public at large.

This wasn't the first time those techniques had failed. Dr. Callahan had been disappointed with the lack of concrete results and the length of time it took for change to happen for many clients. He and Mary had made only minimal progress in the year they had worked together. She was able to sit on the edge of Dr. Callahan's swimming pool and put her feet in the water, but she was full of anxiety when she did. After sessions near the pool, she left with a pounding headache from the stress of the treatment!

Dr. Callahan, ever curious about the functioning of the body and mind, had around that time been studying the body's meridian points. Meridians, the basis of the ancient Chinese medical system of acupuncture, are defined as energy channels that carry the vital life force, or qi, to the organs and others systems of the body. Running up and down either side of the body, each meridian is associated with a different organ—stomach, gall bladder, kidney, etc. Each meridian also has what's called an "endpoint," a specific location where you can access the energy channel on the surface of the body. This point can be manipulated using acupuncture needles or simple touch (acupressure) to balance or unblock the energy flow through that particular meridian.

In one therapy session, Mary revealed that thinking about water caused a terrible feeling in the pit of her stomach. In a flash of insight, it came to Dr. Callahan that tapping on the stomach meridian endpoint—just below the eye—might alleviate Mary's pit-of-the-stomach sensation. So he asked her to tap that spot with her fingertips.

Mary did as she was asked. To their mutual surprise, after just a few minutes of tapping, she soon exclaimed, "It's gone! That horrible feeling I get in the pit of my stomach when I think about water is completely gone!" She went to the edge of the swimming pool to see if her fear had changed as well, and discovered that she felt no anxiety at being close to the water.

From that day forward, her water phobia and her nightmares about water were gone. That was 30 years ago, and Mary is still free of her fear today.

Imagine Dr. Callahan's astonishment at this turn of events. After working so hard with Mary, trying the range of conventional psychotherapy techniques and even some alternative techniques, he happens on the solution—tapping below the eye! And, perhaps more important, the phobia remains cured for 30 years, never to affect Mary again. How did this happen?

Tapping Evolves

As a result of the experience with Mary, Dr. Callahan deepened his study of meridian endpoints, exploring the combination of traditional psychotherapy with tapping on different parts of the body. He developed a set of "algorithms," or sequences of tapping, to address different issues. If you had a phobia, such as a fear of heights, you would use one sequence of tapping points (under the eye, under the arm, and at the collarbone, for example). If you were angry about something—i.e., if your boss said something that just set you off—you'd use a different sequence (eyebrow, under the eye, under the arm, and at the collarbone).

After learning and using Callahan's algorithms, one of Dr. Callahan's students—a man named Gary Craig—determined that the sequence of the tapping isn't as important as simply doing the tapping. To make tapping easier, he created a single sequence, which is the basis of what he later termed EFT, short for "Emotional Freedom Techniques." The EFT sequence was designed to hit all the major meridian endpoints, regardless of the issue. We will go into this sequence in great detail in Chapter 2, but as an overview, the tapping sequence starts with the hand, then moves to the inner eyebrow, the outer eyebrow, underneath the eye, under the nose, the chin, the collarbone, and the side of the rib cage, then ends at the top of the head.

Gary's genius lay not only in simplifying the process and adding some refinements, but also in creating a community around the technique. He documented case after case of people using it for themselves, and then shared their incredible results with the world. Thousands of people around the globe are now aware of tapping and use it in their daily lives.

Dr. Callahan had his breakthrough with Mary in 1979. In the three decades that followed, no Western scientific explanation for tapping could be found. How was it that Mary and so many others lost their phobias, anxiety, and other problems simply by tapping certain acupoints? In just the past few years, however, much has been learned about the science behind tapping.

When you're experiencing a negative emotional state—angry or upset or fearful—your brain goes on alert. It prepares your body to enter a full- blown, fight-or-flight response. This response evolved to mobilize the body to face an external threat—think of a tiger coming after your ancient ancestor. All the body's defense systems are turned on to support either fighting or fleeing from the danger. Your adrenaline pumps, your muscles tense, and your blood pressure, heart rate, and blood sugar all rise to give you extra energy to meet the challenge.

The stressors in ancient days were very real threats to survival. Today, however, the fight-or-flight response is rarely activated by a physical threat. Most of our fight-or-flight responses today are triggered internally, as in the case of Mary's fear of water: her body went into a threat response when she even thought of water.

For many of us, the internally generated stress response is triggered by a negative memory or thought that has its roots in past trauma or conditioned learning from childhood. The stress response in the body takes the same form, whether the trigger is the tiger (external) or a negative memory (internal). The adrenaline flows, the heart races, and so on.

Beyond prior experience or negative memories, daily life is filled with small fight-or-flight experiences. Your boss sends you an e-mail that upsets you; as you sit down to eat lunch, you stress about your weight; you go home to a messy house and a ton of chores. In all these scenarios, your body is preparing you to fight or flee.

You might be saying, "My body doesn't go into fight or flight over all these little events," but in fact it does! It's not the adrenaline and cortisol rush you'd get if you were chased by a tiger; it's a lower-grade response. But when you add up hundreds or thousands of these responses in a given week or month, the cumulative effect on the body and mind is massive. The ongoing fight-or- flight response leaves us worn down, sick, upset, overweight, stressed out, and just generally unhappy with our life situations.

What tapping does, with amazing efficiency, is halt the fight-or-flight response and reprogram the brain and body to act—and react—differently. Let's look at how that happens.

The Almond in Your Brain

Science has established that the stress response begins in the amygdala. The almond-shaped amygdala (the word comes from the Greek for "almond") is one of the components of the limbic system, or midbrain. The midbrain is located between the frontal lobes (the cortex) and the hindbrain (also called the reptilian brain—the earliest, most primitive part of the brain). The limbic system is the source of emotions and long-term memory, and it's where negative experiences are encoded.

The amygdala has been called the body's smoke detector. "Uh-oh, here comes trouble," says the amygdala. "Something is threatening our safety." It signals the brain to mobilize the body in the fight-or-flight response. An early negative experience can program the amygdala to raise the alarm when something similar triggers it in the future. If you spoke in front of the class in fourth grade and someone laughed at you because of a mispronunciation or a stumble, your embarrassment may have caused the mind and body to connect "danger" with speaking in front of people. After that, similar experiences—or even the expectation of similar experiences—can set the amygdala off. Remember, the body does not distinguish between an actual threat and what the amygdala perceives as a threat. As a result of this early training, the daily stressors of life can signal the amygdala to raise the alarm.

Though we're not yet sure why, tapping seems to turn off the amygdala's alarm—deactivating the brain's arousal pathways. Tapping on the meridian endpoints sends a calming response to the body, and the amygdala recognizes that it's safe. What's more, tapping while experiencing—or even discussing—a stressful event counteracts that stress and reprograms the amygdala's response to it in the future.

The Proof

Research at Harvard Medical School over the past decade has shown that stimulation of selected meridian acupoints decreases activity in the amygdala, hippocampus (another part of the limbic system), and other parts of the brain associated with fear. In fMRI and PET brain scans, you can clearly see the amygdala's red alert being called off when acupoints are stimulated. This is exciting and cutting-edge research!

While the Harvard studies focused on needles, a double-blind study comparing the penetration by acupuncture needles with pressure (without needles) on the meridian points (as in tapping), found similar improvements with either method. Informal studies have shown that tapping may in fact work better than needles in the treatment of anxiety disorders.

Another study confirms the Harvard findings. In this case, researcher Dawson Church, PhD, looked at a different component of the fight-or-flight reaction: cortisol levels. Like adrenaline, cortisol is a stress hormone released during the stress response.

In a randomized controlled trial—the gold standard of scientific research—Dr. Church and his colleagues studied changes in cortisol levels and psychological symptoms in 83 subjects after they received either an hour- long EFT tapping session, an hour of conventional talk therapy, or no treatment (the control group). Cortisol levels in the tapping group dropped significantly, down by an average of 24 percent—with some showing results as high as 50 percent. Meanwhile, there was no significant change in cortisol levels for those in the talk therapy or the control group beyond the normal lowering in levels that happens during the day as time passes. The reduced cortisol levels in the EFT group correlated with decreased severity in anxiety, depression, and overall severity of psychological symptoms.

Dr. Church shared with me the behind-the-scenes story on this study, further demonstrating how powerful these results truly are. When he sent the samples to the lab to test for cortisol levels, he expected to get the results back in a few days, in time to present the findings at a medical conference where he was scheduled to speak.

He was dismayed when the results were delayed and he wasn't able to present them at the conference. In fact, they were delayed for several weeks. Upon following up with the lab, he learned that they believed there was either something wrong with the samples or with their equipment and that they were recalibrating everything and running the tests again and again.

Why? Because the results were so far beyond the normal levels of cortisol reduction that they were convinced there must be a mistake! Eventually they confirmed what Dr. Church knew all along, that there had in fact been a dramatic and unprecedented reduction in cortisol levels.

Working with psychological issues by tapping on the meridian acupoints is part of an emerging field known as "energy psychology," which has been called "acupuncture without needles." Numerous studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of acupuncture, a sophisticated healing system that has been in use for 5,000 years. Now there is mounting evidence supporting the efficacy of energy psychology as well.

In fact, the research on energy psychology compares favorably to standards set by the Society of Clinical Psychology (Division 12 of the American Psychological Association) as an "evidence-based approach." According to David Feinstein, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist who has served on the faculty of the department of psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, "the research evidence for energy psychology, coming from more than a dozen countries, suggests that it produces outcomes for a range of conditions that are unusually rapid, effective, and lasting."

In a research review published in a flagship APA journal, Feinstein reported that existing studies of acupoint stimulation appear to meet the Division 12 criteria for designation as "well-established treatments" for phobias and test- taking anxiety and as "probably efficacious treatments" for PTSD, public speaking anxiety, and depression. Three-fourths of the existing research had been published in the four years prior to his 2012 review, suggesting that research on energy psychology is quickly accelerating and that more conditions for which it is effective will be added to the list.

Dozens of studies have now demonstrated the effectiveness of tapping for a variety of disorders and issues. You can find a detailed account of these studies at

These studies clearly show EFT's efficacy regarding some of the most challenging issues we face as humans: PTSD, trauma, phobias, and more. If tapping works so well on the hardest issues, then it stands to reason—and I'll demonstrate in the rest of this book—that it should be just as effective, if not more so, on the "smaller" issues we face, such as problems in relationships, weight loss, limiting beliefs, and trouble with finances.

Beyond the Science and Research: Observable Evidence

While I'm delighted by the recent progress in research backing up what many of us have known for a long time—i.e., that tapping works—I think it's important to note that we need to look beyond specific research studies, which are expensive and laborious to conduct, to another powerful element of truth: observable evidence. This is where EFT shines. Thousands of case studies, both individual and those written by practitioners, clearly document the results. The remainder of this book, where I share personal experiences and those of other practitioners, joins this growing body of evidence.

You Can Change Your Brain

To look deeper into why tapping is so successful in stopping phobias, anxiety, PTSD, and other problems, let's go back to the limbic system. Not only does tapping halt the stress response, but the combination of stimulating acupoints while thinking of an upsetting event or problem also retrains what's called the limbic response.

Retraining the limbic response is the basis of the psychological technique called exposure therapy, which is what Dr. Callahan was doing with Mary. Over time, he had Mary approach the swimming pool and later dangle her feet in the water—gradually exposing her to the source of her phobia.

In exposure therapy, the person is exposed either in vivo (e.g., in a real situation, like Mary at the pool) or by imagining a scene or event that creates limbic arousal or "triggers" the response. But this kind of conventional exposure therapy often works very slowly. In Mary's case, after a year and a half, her anxiety level during her in vivo treatment was still high and caused her painful headaches.

When you tap while recalling an upsetting scene from your childhood, you are doing a modified version of exposure therapy. The exposure happens when you think about the upsetting scene. Tapping often retrains the limbic system rapidly. Here's how it works. When you think of something that causes you anxiety or other uncomfortable feelings, the thought sets off the amygdala fire alarm. Tapping as you trigger your fight-or-flight response sends the message that the amygdala can deactivate, even though the threatening thought is still present. With repetition, the amygdala gets the message: this thing that was previously filed as "dangerous" is not, in reality, a threat.

Why Focus on the Negative?

One of the questions I often get when I first share the tapping process with people is, "Why are we tapping on negative thoughts? I don't want to think about negative things! What about the law that 'what you think about increases ...'?"

It's a great question. I absolutely understand where people are coming from. But the reality is that these so-called negative thoughts are present, whether you think about them consciously or not. Like the pile of bills that you stick in a drawer because you don't want to look at them right now, they're still there—and they're still due! Our unprocessed emotions, beliefs, and traumas are still operating and controlling our lives. We need to address them—to look at them, admit they are there, and work through them—in order to clear them.

We're not harping on the negative, we're focusing on it for a short period of time. Tapping addresses the issue and clears it. Then we can move on to positive ideas, inspirations, and affirmations.

Excerpted from The Tapping Solution by Nick Ortner. Copyright © 2013 by Nicolas Ortner. Excerpted by permission of HAY HOUSE, INC..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Foreword Mark Hyman xi

Introduction xv

Chapter 1 A Monumental Discovery 1

Chapter 2 Quick Start: Experience Tapping Now 13

Chapter 3 Relieving Anxiety, Feelings of Being Overwhelmed, and Stress 33

Chapter 4 Overcoming Your Resistance to Change 51

Chapter 5 Tapping Through Your Past 63

Chapter 6 Healing the Body 79

Chapter 7 Releasing Physical Pain 95

Chapter 8 Losing Weight and Letting Go of Fear, Guilt, and Shame Around Food 109

Chapter 9 Creating Love and Healthy Relationships 129

Chapter 10 Making Money and Achieving Your Dreams 145

Chapter 11 Eliminating Phobias and Fears 165

Chapter 12 Clearing Other Life Challenges 179

Chapter 13 A New Vision for Humanity 195

Chapter 14 A New Vision for You 209

Resources 215

Endnotes 217

Index 219

Acknowledgments 227

About the Author 229

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