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By Lisa Browdy
"Mens sana in corpore sano" is the Latin expression for the human ideal, "a sound mind in a healthy body." It seems to me sometimes that the healthy body part is a lot easier to achieve than the sound mind. Stress, anxiety, depression and other mood issues plague a lot of us, and the traditional treatments – therapy and medication – are expensive, time consuming, and don't always work as well as we hope.
What if there were a way to treat these issues (and the physical ailments that often accompany them) with a simple treatment that costs you nothing but a little time and willingness to experiment?
It sounds bizarre and looks even stranger, but tapping into your body's energy meridians (the same ones used in acupuncture) is a remarkably easy and effective way to deal with anxiety, stress, and even physical ailments. Best of all, it's free.
It goes by several names, including Energy Tapping, Meridian Tapping, or Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), depending on who is teaching it. It is done simply by tapping the fingers of one hand on a short series of energy points on your hand, head and torso. Building upon the ancient principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine, this practice activates the body's own energy meridian system to release the blockage of energy, or "Chi" that causes physical and mental distress.
The tricky part is saying out loud what is bothering you and voicing your self-acceptance while you do the tapping. It might seem at first like these are the affirmations that come from books like "The Secret" and philosophies like The Power of Attraction, but it goes deeper than that.
Many times when I'm upset about something, I react by beating myself up. "Why did I eat three chocolate cookies when one would have been enough? I have no willpower!" or "I have only written one blog post this week, I'm so lazy and disorganized!" The verbal affirmations counteract that tendency by voicing the stressing situation paired with a message of self-acceptance: "Even though I am not getting my work done, I deeply and completely accept myself."
Tapping has been shown to provide relief from chronic pain, emotional problems, disorders, addictions, phobias, post traumatic stress disorder, and physical issues. It can be used when faced with food cravings or just to help focus on positive goals. Headaches, shortness of breath and other physical problems that arrive with stress can be alleviated, and there are stories of those who have cured themselves of some pretty serious pain and disability with this technique.
It is probably best to start practicing EFT when you have time and space to be alone, because anyone walking in on you tapping and talking will be a little bit mystified. If your house is always full, just go to the garage and sit in your car. Later, you can teach these techniques to the rest of your family and they'll understand it better.
Here are some websites for more information:
Dr Joseph Mercola provides a comprehensive article with complete instructions and a very helpful short video will get you going.
The Tapping Solution provides another video and a free e-book if you sign up on its website.
Thriving Now will send you "scripts" to practice tapping to for things like success, abundance, relationships and self-image as well as stress and health.
Keep at it. The first few times I tried it I had to get a Kleenex box from the next room because I was sobbing so much. But after a few days I was much calmer and felt greater self-acceptance and peace. Tapping is something I return to whenever I am faced with a stressful situation (even being stuck in traffic) and it provides a welcome distraction and a feeling that I am doing something constructive to add to my sanity.