Emotional Freedom Techniques (or tapping) is a simple, non-invasive healing technique that moves energy in the body. It has been used to great effect to relieve anxiety, PTSD, improve sports performance, and more. EFT practitioner Bev Nerenberg helps us understand what it is, how it works, and how to get started tapping.
Bev has been tapping for decades now. She explains how it can help alleviate emotional and physical issues through a gentle tapping procedure, using the body’s meridian system. She tells the story of how she first came across EFT (what she calls “acupuncture without the needles”) and how effective it was at helping her deal with anger and other issues. She even walks us through a step-by-step tapping tutorial.
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Within the below transcript the bolded text is Hilda
EFT or tapping is a self-administered healing technique that moves energy in the body. It has its roots from thousands of years ago. It has been used to great effect to relieve anxiety, jealousy, anger, PTSD, improve sports performance and more. Are you willing to give it a try? This is episode 363 and our guest is Bev Nerenberg.
She was a Senior Vice President of Operations for a multimillion-dollar company when she discovered the Emotional Freedom Techniques, commonly known as tapping. This changed the direction of her life. Now she’s a certified EFT practitioner who empowers people to use this practice for themselves. In this episode, she explains what EFT is exactly and how it works.
She goes over how it can be used to alleviate emotional and physical issues through a gentle tapping procedure using the body’s meridian system, the energy centers that interplay with our cells, organs, moods and thoughts. She tells the story now of how EFT helped her deal with anger and other issues, as well as telling us about how science supports the use of this technique in a number of ways. She even offers a tutorial now, walking us through a tapping progression step by step.
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Visit Bev’s website: WellnessAtYourfingertips.com
Register for our upcoming Wise Traditions conference.
Get our free Nutrition for Mental Health brochure
Welcome to the show, Bev.
Thank you so much. I’m pleased to be here.
I have heard that EFT is like acupuncture without the needles. Can you explain that a little bit?
That is exactly what it is. It is a self-administered energy healing technique and it is based on some modern psychology and 5,000-year-old acupuncture but without the needles. What we do is we tap with our fingertips on some meridian points that acupuncturists have been doing for eons. Tapping has the incredible ability to take our nervous systems from being in the stress response, where we have cortisol and we have some bad hormones coming into our system. We can go from stress response to the relaxation response easily, quickly and effectively sometimes in minutes. Our body works optimally well and we can get over any negative emotion and physical pains. It is quite extraordinary.
I was talking to a friend who used to tap whenever she got anxious. She said, “Hilda, at first, I worked with a practitioner and then I learned to do it myself. I go from being angry or anxious to being calm and in a completely different state within a matter of minutes.”
That’s exactly what happens.
Why is it called EFT? Let’s back up a bit and tell us about that.
This started in this country around the ‘80s. It stands for Emotional Freedom Techniques. What it does is gives you emotional freedom. Because what we do is tap on these energy points on the face and upper body, it has become known as tapping. People recognize it because that is what we do and that is what changes it going from stress to relaxation.
You used to go to acupuncture regularly, right?
Very regularly. I started many years ago. I had a couple of things and my thumbs hurt me a lot. They hurt for about a year. I did not want to go to Western medicine. I did not know what I had. I did not want to take medication. I had heard about this thing for a lot of years. Before that, I heard about acupuncture on Bill Moyer’s show called Healing and the Mind.
They had an Asian woman who was going to be having some brain surgery. They needed her to stay up so they could test what was going on with her as they were probing inside her brain. All they used was acupuncture as an anesthetic. That stuck with me. I decided to try this thing called acupuncture since it was on my thumbs and not my brain. I had remarkable results. She made my thumb stop hurting immediately.
The second time I went to her, I told her that I was angry. I had so much anger. I worked with my husband and my kids. I was building a house and I was nuts. She worked on my liver meridian. She said, “It had a lot of energy stuck there.” She cleared that and I became a different person. It was astounding. Every single month I went and had an acupuncture treatment. I felt good and kept going.
EFT is a self-administered energy healing technique, and it is based on some modern psychology and 5,000 year old acupuncture.
Why did you swap to EFT?
I got a couple of emails. It said, “There is this new documentary that came out called tapping and it is based on acupuncture but without needles.” I thought, “This is certainly interesting.” I got the documentary and I was pretty blown away by it. I have that documentary on my website. People could go there and see.
Is it the same one you mentioned earlier?
It is called The Tapping Solution Documentary. I will give one page on my website, which has all this information. I wanted to learn everything that I could about it. I thought it was terrific. I downloaded a free manual online and I was going on a cruise to celebrate a birthday. I thought it was a perfect opportunity to take this and learn about it, which is what I did.
I had watched the documentary and had not learned about it yet, but I certainly saw what they did and how they did it. Our first tour on the cruise was going to be climbing up the side of a mountain. We were in the Mediterranean. We were going to climb up the mountain and go to Chirakijja, Italy. I do not do mountains. I am petrified of heights.
The night before, my hands got a little sweaty. My heart was pounding. If you have the phobia, you know what that feels like. I started tapping on the bed. Even though I am panicky about going up this mountain, I accept myself anyway. I am nervous. I do not know how I am going to do this. I did it two times. It took me less than five minutes. The next day we get up and I start walking. My husband was going to leave me up while I kept my eyes closed but I started walking. I was fine and I kept being fine going up the mountain.
What our readers do not know is that as you were describing to me, the night before that, you were tapping on the meridian points on your face and body. That is what it took.
I never needed his help and I never got anxious. I had no anxiety whatsoever. We got to the top of the mountain and they had a pipe railing there on the edge. I even inched over to that. I looked down and said, “This was a miracle.” My husband said that two more of those and he is going to call the Pope. That week many things happened. I fell and hurt my leg. I tapped. It did not hurt. I had a fever blister that started coming out. I tapped about that. It did not come out. I got angry at one of the people we were with, I tapped and I stopped being angry. That was that. I came home complete. I could not stop talking about it.
You are a tapping maniac.
I talked to my acupuncturist about it and I wanted to teach this in hospitals, especially in healthcare. Nurses are a pretty stressed bunch. My acupuncturist said, “If you think you are going to go to a hospital and teach them how to tap on their face, it is not going to fly. You better get certified.” That is what I did to become a certified practitioner and I never looked back.
When you said you wanted to work in a hospital, I thought you meant you wanted to help the patients who were dealing with pain, but you wanted to relieve the stress of those attending to them.
My husband had been in the hospital on a number of occasions. I tapped with the nurses, patients and the families of the patients who were stressed and concerned. You feel better. It works all the time.
Let’s tap over to what we were saying momentarily ago. I want to know more about how tapping works. I’m wondering how it works with the meridians, how it works to relieve the anxiety and help heal the body and spirit.
What our body does automatically, when we are upset for any reason whatsoever, even if you are a little nervous or anxious or if you watch any news nowadays, that certainly comes up. Anything that does not feel good, whether it is emotional, physical or psychological, if it does not feel good, your body puts you in a fight or flight or freeze.
Your sympathetic nervous system is engaged. It does that automatically. When that happens, one of the first things that go is the blood behind your forehead. It is the part of your brain called the prefrontal cortex. All the blood drains out of there and from the rest of your body as well goes to your large muscle groups. You can fight and flee from whatever it is that is disturbing you because the purpose of your brain is to keep you safe from saber-toothed tigers. This goes back eons and eons.
Every organ is affected in your body. That goes on because we are all energy. Everything in the universe is energy, including us. We have energy that flows along these channels in our body called meridians. This is what the Chinese discovered 5,000 years ago. We have energy blockages along these meridian channels when we are upset.
What we do by tapping is we break up these blockages along these channels. We use the same points no matter what the issue is, and when we break up the energy blockages and the energy is allowed to flow in our body, our body automatically corrects itself. We go into the parasympathetic nervous system, which is known as the relaxation response. We feel better and everything starts working optimally well. We get the blood back into our prefrontal cortex. We can now think clearly and creatively, and all of our organs start working properly again.
You did this without a practitioner. You saw that video and decided, “I’m going to start trying to do it.” Can this be done by anybody?
It depends. They may need some guidance but they are teaching a whole lot of kids in schools these days. It can be done by anybody.
I was with a friend who was talking with someone who was stressed and my friend was probably certified in EFT. She asked this woman, “Can I tap on you over this situation?” She did. The woman said, “I feel more release and more at peace.” Could I tap on one of my kids if I thought they were struggling with thunderstorm anxiety or whatever it is? Can you tap on someone else too?
Absolutely, you can. I would like to talk about a resource that I use. There is a gentleman and he is a practitioner. His name is Brad Yates. He has over 1,100 taps on his YouTube channel. There is not a topic that you can think of that he does not have a tap along for. He also has a children’s book and he has videos for kids. They are wonderful. My littlest granddaughter was three when I learned how to tap and we had terrific results with her for all kinds of things.
Help us walk through the steps a little bit. Perhaps you can talk to us a little bit about how you go about it. If you are getting started with tapping, what are the points that you need to touch on and for how long?
I have a diagram that is clear and it is on my site. People can have easy access to that. There is one thing you need to know about this. That is it looks a little strange. It is funny looking. People can get over that and they are home for it. It is easy to get used to it. Why don’t we try something with you? You do not have to necessarily talk about what it is, but if you have something that you might be a little concerned about, worried about, fearful or some negative emotion that you might be feeling. I will ask you and our readers as well can pick on something that is bothering them. It can also be a physical issue if they have pain someplace. Give it an intensity of 0 to 10 and see how intense it is.
What I’m thinking of, I’m giving a 4.
Tapping has the incredible ability to take our nervous systems from being in a stress response to relaxation.
I will assume that everybody out there has thought of something and has an intensity. Follow along with me. I’m going to keep this simple and we are going to start tapping lightly. You can tap on either side of the body and use either hand. I tend to do two at the same time but you can use either. We are going to start tapping on the side of the hand like you were going to give somebody a karate chop. It is fleshy that is right between your pinky and your wrist. Tap on that fleshy part.
We would say, repeat after me, “Even if I have this issue, I accept myself anyway.” We are going to say that two more times, “Even though I have this issue.” If you people sometimes can’t accept themselves, we can say, “I’m open to the possibility of accepting myself.” That has softened it a bit. One more time, “Even though I have this issue, I accept myself and how I feel.” That is a setup that we do. That is where modern psychology comes in and does some cognitive rewiring in your brain. There is a lot that goes into all of this, which we can’t go into now, but that is what that part does.
Now we start tapping through the points, the top of the head, at the crown. Very light tapping right on the crown of your head and we say a reminder phrase. I will say this issue and you will think about what your issue is. The next point is at the beginning of the eyebrow, just where the hair starts, near the bridge of the nose. We tap lightly there and say this issue and you would think of your issue.
The next point is in the corner of the eye. You can feel the bone in the corner of the eye and say this issue. We go underneath the eye, right on top of the cheekbone, this issue. Under the nose, this issue. Underneath the bottom lip, right in the crevice, above the chin, this issue. The next we called the collarbone point, which is below the collarbone. If you feel your collarbone and drop right down into a depression there, this issue.
We go on the side of the body. For women, it is on the bra line and for men, it is about 4 inches below your armpit. Tap there and say this issue. Sometimes you might hit it someplace that is a little sensitive and that would mean when you have an energy blockage, it can be sensitive. The last point I do is there are meridians at your fingertips. If you take one hand, hold it up and wrap your other hand around the wrist and stimulate the hand that is wrapped around. You will stimulate the meridians that flow through the top of the wrist and the bottom of the wrist. You hit all five of those.
Is it like you are giving yourself a handshake but shaking the wrist instead?
Yes, that’s great. The reason I like this and not many practitioners do this one is that you can do this in public. If you are feeling apprehensive around the conference room table or any place and you keep your hands on your lap and you stimulate the wrist a little bit, you will feel relief. That is one round through and those are the points. We would do it again. I still have some of the remaining issues. I tap through the points again. You can check in with yourself and see how you feel. We did one round through, but why don’t you check in on what your issue was. You had a 4 and see how it feels.
It does feel less but I have a question. I have a friend that does NLP, which is Neurolinguistic Programming. They talk a lot about taking thoughts and making them smaller. It seems to me, if I’m dwelling on a thought, I’m making it bigger.
That’s very possible. Mindfulness is a big buzzword now, and it is important to be mindful of how you are feeling. When I discovered tapping and I studied mindfulness many years ago. Tapping affects the energy in your body. When you are working with energy, it is a whole different ballgame than anything with something you are thinking about, mulling over or trying to make smaller, thinking about something else instead, all of that stuff.
You have to keep remembering that this was discovered 5,000 years ago. It has a lot of staying power. Now, we have functional MRIs and a lot of sophisticated equipment where they can look inside people’s brains and see what is happening with their brain waves. There are all kinds of things that they did not know about before. You can see what a difference it makes in everything in the body.
Can you tell us a little bit about what they are observing in the brain?
They can observe some cognitive shifts. They can see different areas of your brain that light up. For example, if it is the prefrontal cortex, they can see what happens with that area as the blood goes back into it. You can think clearly. When you are upset, you can’t think clearly. There is a reason for that. It’s because you have no blood there anymore. Tapping on these points and breaking up energy blockages makes a huge difference in everything that happens in your body.
Coming up, Bev points out how neuroscience corroborates the relationship between how we feel and how our bodies work. She also tells the story of a woman who was divorced and used tapping to handle resentment toward her ex.
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Here is the best news ever. Neuroscience has corroborating that how you think and how you feel dictates how your body works. If you are not feeling good, your body is messed up. Our immune system can do miraculous things for us. Every part of our body can. The main objective is to keep your body working optimally well. In my experience, tapping has been able to do that better than anything else I have come across.
That has been your experience personally. As a practitioner that has helped people utilize this tool, can you tell us 1 or 2 stories of a client who benefited from tapping?
I teach this to a lot of seniors. I teach at a hospital, Kaiser Permanente, every month. There is a client of mine who went to visit her mother and her father. Her father was having his 90th birthday party. They were divorced for 50 years. She was staying with the mother and the mother kept talking about how awful he was. She can’t get any resolution from him. He broke her heart 50 years ago. She was going to go to the party the next day and she was complaining. My client said, “Would you like to try this thing called tapping?” Her mother said, “Okay.” They did that.
They woke up the next morning. Her mother said, “I can’t believe this. I feel completely resolved with him. I feel completely at peace with him.” She went to the party. She was talking to him and his girlfriend. She let go of that resentment and that upset that she had been holding on to for 50 years. Believe me, we all have a lot of things that we have been hanging onto for a lot of years. That is one example.
We’re all energy. Everything in the universe is energy, including us. And we have energy that flows along these channels in our body called meridians.
My granddaughter was diagnosed with Asperger’s. There was a lot of acting out about things in the beginning. She has since gotten some therapies and is doing well, but she was doing a report in school and she was like, “I’m done. I do not want to do it anymore.” I said, “Let’s tap about it.” She starts tapping, “I do not want to do this anymore. I’m tired of doing this. Let’s do something else.”
She would express whatever was on her mind while we did some tapping. She calmed down, “Do you want to work some more on the report?” “Okay.” We did that until she had another little upset and we tapped again. We stopped and started doing it four different times and completely finished the report because she knows how to calm herself down by using this.
This sounds amazing. I love that it is easy, free and accessible. What do you say to the skeptic like, “I do not buy this.” Have you ever come across people like that?
Of course. I would say there is a link in EFT Universe and there are over 100 trials. In order to prove the efficacy of tapping, my mentor’s name is Dr. Dawson Church. He is an amazing guy. He becomes a researcher. All these trials are listed. You can click on any link and there are all different topics like anxiety, PTSD, sports performances, and they prove the efficacy of this technique. The Veterans Affairs has now accepted it as a safe intervention for PTSD. That was a big deal and that happened several years ago now. They could teach this. It is completely non-invasive. There is no meditation involved and I’m telling you, working with energy makes a big difference.
One thing that comes to my mind now is sometimes links and even studies, people’s eyes glaze over if they are obstinate and not interested at all. If they try it, they might experience the difference it feels and how it feels in their body.
When I first started teaching this, I used to explain and now I explain very little. I say, “It is based on acupuncture without needles.” Most people have heard of that and Modern Psychology as well. We tap and they can experience it. It is a whole different story.
You said this has a 5,000-year-old history. Can you tell us more about its beginnings as far as we understand it?
There is a woman here who wrote a book on energy medicine. Her name is Donna Eden. She can see energy. There are people who can look at someone and see the energy flowing in their body. It seems like that is what happened 5,000 years ago. They were able to see the energy in the body and see what happens. Other than that, I do not have an answer for how they found it out 5,000 years ago.
They could see the blockages so they could address them. Now, we do not see them but we feel them.
We do not feel where they are. I can be upset and angry and I do not know exactly where it is blocked in my body. It has a lot to do with emotions. There are always emotional reasons for any physical manifestation. We address emotions too when we tap.
I interviewed Dr. Eileen McKusick and she does tuning in the biofield of humans. She said she could feel with a tuning fork where people were stuck. Often, an ache or pain in the shoulder would have an emotional root of a loss.
I will tell you a quick story about that. I used to teach this in person. Now it is all virtual pretty much. One woman, when we tap, she says she can’t reach her hands up to tap the top of her head or anything because her shoulders hurt. I asked her a question, “Do you feel like your shouldering a burden?” She said, “Yes.”
Our body speaks to us in terms of what bothers us. You are shouldering a burden. Using metaphors for different parts of the body can be effective. We tapped and if you can’t reach a point and forget a point, that is fine. This is such a forgiving process. You can do it and not say anything. Just tap. It is cleaning out the energy blockages like you brush your teeth. You are cleaning out your energy blockages.
When people say, “The situation makes me sick to my stomach,” there is probably some blockage or emotion sitting.
I had a new client and something happened. She had something going on for seventeen years. I said, “What was going on in your life seventeen years ago?” People have traumatic things that happen and it affects them. It can get a little complicated. I do not recommend that people try and handle a significant upsetting issue when they are younger and have had some physical or mental abuse. They should use a certified practitioner to help them in case some tough emotions come up. Even if that happens, if you keep tapping, especially around the collar bone point, you will get relief.
I mentioned that my friend had been tapping this woman who was carrying some heavy burdens. She started crying. I imagine sometimes emotions will be released as we are in the tapping process. We should not be scared by those. Part of it is understanding and accepting ourselves as we are.
Sometimes that is hard, but there is a lot that we can tap on about that. We can tap about being willing to accept ourselves. One quick story to end this and I have mentioned Brad Yates. I have his information on my website because he is such a wonderful resource. He was contacted by somebody who put together these swag bags for the Oscar nominees. It is a twenty-year tradition or something. It is a six-figure swag bag for these people.
They put an article. It was called Distinctive Assets. They reached out to Brad on LinkedIn because they had heard about tapping. They wanted to include the Wizard’s Wish, the children’s book that he wrote, in a swag bag. It turns out that Brad’s wife also wrote a book about the sandwich generation, taking care of young kids, having to care for adult parents and the stresses of all of that.
The guy said, “That sounds great too. Let’s include that book.” They included those books in the swag bags. Brad said, “How exciting? All it is going to take is some star trying it with their kid and doing a tweet which could be fantastic for what this could do for tapping and getting it out there.” It is worth trying and doing. It works. What else could I tell you? It is fantastic. To make yourself feel better is great.
This is why we wanted to include it in this mental health track because each guest that I have interviewed has offered a piece of the puzzle for someone to try whether it is nutrition or some techniques for relieving anxiety, this is one of them, which is fabulous and free. We are so thankful that you spent time with us. I want to ask you the question I like to pose at the end now. If the reader could do one thing to improve their health, it could be related to tapping or not, what would you recommend that they do?
I recommend that they tap that and they are mindful about how they feel. They pay attention to how they are feeling. It is very important to do that physically and emotionally. If they are not feeling good for any reason, tap. It will make a huge difference in your life.
Thanks again, Bev. This has been a pleasure.
Thank you for having me.
Our guest was Bev Nerenberg. Go to WellnessAtYourFingertips.com for videos and resources. She offers free tapping circles every other Saturday from 11:00 AM to noon. You can join these virtually and for free. Email Bev at Bev@WellnessAtYourFingertips.com and ask to be added to the tapping circle list. You can find me at HolisticHilda.com.
Now, for a letter to the editor from my recent journal, “I never thought I was the huggy kissy kind, but the hugs I got and gave at the conference were simply the best part of the show. It is worth $1 million. I cannot tell you how joyful it was to hug hundreds of like-minded souls, smile, joke, swap horror stories of idiocy and eat good food. If you had no talks, no amazing speakers, no awesome topics, it would have still been worth every penny of the admission. I am reinvigorated and grateful.” That is from Susanna, a chapter leader in Sonoma County, California.
Susanna, thank you for your letter. Honestly, it means a lot and I am super excited. One of my favorite things about the Wise Traditions Conference is simply connecting with people. If you would like to join us at the conference, it is in Knoxville, Tennessee in October 2022. Go to WiseTraditions.org for the early bird pricing so you can be there for sure. Mark it on your calendars. It is from October 21st to the 24th, 2022. I hope to see you there. Stay well, my friend. Thank you for reading. Hasta pronto.
- Earth Runners
- Women’s Meditation Network
- Optimal Carnivore
- Healing and the Mind
- The Tapping Solution Documentary
- YouTube – Brad Yates
- EFT Universe
- Wizard’s Wish
- Nutrition for Mental Health brochure
- Dr. Eileen McKusick – Wise Traditions past episode
About Bev Nerenberg
Bev Nerenberg was a Senior Vice President of Operations for a regional multi-million dollar, Inc. 500 (#144) computer distribution company and then a Director of Operations for a chain of Montessori schools. Everything shifted for her in 2008. That is when she discovered Emotional Freedom Techniques, commonly known as Tapping. It changed the direction of her life. From her first experience with EFT – disappearing her lifelong acrophobia (fear of heights), to the relief she got from anger, jealousy, physical pains and worry, she knew she wanted to share this modality with as many people as she could. Bev became Certified as an EFT Practitioner and started Wellness At Your Fingertips.
Bev does this work because of her love of teaching and empowering people with this life-altering tool. She is able to help them overcome stress, pain and illness and have the opportunity to become healthier, happier, more successful, and in general, live their best life possible.🖨️ Print post