Psychologist Roger Callahan discovered tapping in the early 80s, and Gary Craig’s EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) Handbook popularized the movement. It is a combination of ancient Chinese acupressure and modern psychology and this ground breaking, and simple healing system has taken the world by storm and is helping thousands of people around the globe heal trauma, stress, anxiety and much more. From transforming war veterans dealing with PTSD; survivors of the genocide in Rwanda; to parents, students and first responders of the Newtown, CT/Sandy Hook School shooting tragedy; the astounding effectiveness of this profound technique is undeniable.
What is this mystery technique?
It’s called Tapping, also known as EFT, and it is a powerful tool for improving your life on multiple levels: mental, emotional, and physical. It has been proven to effectively address a range of issues—from anxiety, chronic pain, addiction, and fear, to weight control, financial abundance, stress relief, and so much more.
How does it work?
Based on the principles of both ancient acupressure and modern psychology, tapping concentrates on specific meridian endpoints while focusing on negative emotions or physical sensations. Combined with affirmations and reinforcing statements, tapping helps calm the nervous system to restore the balance of energy in the body and rewire the brain to respond in healthy ways.
Nicolas Ortner is the CEO of “The Tapping Solution,” and Creator and Executive Producer of the breakthrough documentary, “The Tapping Solution,” which explores EFT or “tapping”, a healing tool based on ancient Chinese acupressure and modern psychology. We recently spoke with Nick and and we are keen to promote the tapping techniques he is using because it has helped so many people all over the world.
“Put away your skepticism; this really works. I have worked with Nick and had great results with tapping in my own life.”
— Dr. Wayne W. Dyer, author of Wishes Fulfilled
Soul Love interview with Nick Ortner
Soul Love: How did you get involved in the tapping Nick?
Nick Ortner: I found the tapping online about ten years ago and more people started talking about this tapping and EFT. I didn’t know what it was and it certainly seemed strange – why would we be tapping on meridians of our body? But I kept hearing it from people in different places and I got to the point where I said “All right, enough people are talking about this, there must be something to it”.
So I started using tapping for myself, sitting at home, reading about it and following the instructions and trying it with friends and family, over and over again. It worked and for a technique that looked so strange based on what we were expecting, it worked so well. You might feel a little silly the first time you’re tapping through the points, but you know in minutes something has happened, something has shifted.
During that initial exploration, while using it with friends and family, the running joke was: “Don’t say anything is wrong with you around Nick because he will let you tap on it”. I was so excited about it, it was like “Okay your arm hurts, you’re upset, you’re sick, let’s try the tapping”. About seven years ago I made a documentary film about tapping called “The Tapping Solution” and that’s what really started this adventure. I made the documentary with no filmmaking experience and financed the entire project with credit cards and credit lines. We just bought camera equipment on credit cards, having it shipped to my door and then trying to figure out what it did.
Although we had no filmmaking experience, we had the passion for the topic, we knew an existing community that believed in tapping and we knew that it worked. So we just had to get our camera and figure out how to make a movie.
SL: In your book “The Tapping Solution” you write about meridian acupoints. What are those and what happens when we’re tapping on them?
Nick: For a long time the discussion around tapping was about the energy in the body, sometimes talking about chakras, different systems and stuff that might well be true but we don’t have the real hard scientific data on that yet.
We do have data available directly related to tapping – the research is showing that when we tap on these end point of meridians – when focused on a certain problem, a challenge, a stressful issue, a fear or phobia, we actually send a common signal to the amygdala in the brain and most people know the amygdala is a fight or flight response centre. When you’re stressed out about anything in your life – that will light up the amygdala and cause the cells to fire. So when we focus on that stress and we do the tapping, we calm the amygdala and in essence we rewrite the brain processes, the emotion, the experience, whatever is going on.
SL: Life coach Anthony Robbins often teaches people how to erase certain traumatic emotions from their own ‘personal hard disk’. Tapping is not a mind eraser, it’s not erasing emotions and memories of the past, is that correct?
Nick: Yes, it’s not that you forget what happened, you change the experience of it, you really rewrite, so most people will remember the event but it won’t have the emotional charge behind it. I like the word “charge” in terms of what we’re looking to remove. When we think about something that happened 20 years ago, there are two ways you can think about that memory – It will only be a memory, like “Yes, 20 years ago I had a bad relationship, my girlfriend dumped me, it was terrible, I was heartbroken for a year but I am fine now. I feel that I have healed and I am happy”. Or… you’ll think about the memory and you’ll say “ugh, I still feel it, it still hurts, there is still a charge”. What we want to do is approach these memories, rewrite them and take that charge out so that the negative emotional experience is gone. Anthony is actually a tapper – we met and he’s a big fan of it and he talks about it.
SL: So, what’s the difference between tapping and meditation, like in the example you just described? Can’t we achieve the same result with meditation?
Nick: Yes, I think you can in some ways, but it will be difficult with some of the deeper, harder emotions or experiences. Let’s say someone has a fear of flying, it’s a very primal fear, usually it’s based on the fact that they had a bad flight or they have associated something with it and if that’s a true fear and you will sit someone down and say: “Let’s meditate and imagine yourself flying safely”, it will be very hard for them to get to that, because that primal instinct is so strong.
With the tapping we’re quieting that primal instinct. If someone has to fly within the hour and they’re scared of it, I can handle that with tapping. If they would meditate for an hour it’s unlikely that they’re going to be able to rewrite that program.
SL: Do you still need tapping?
Nick: Yeah, I do! To me, life is a series of challenges – I have replaced what I consider “bad problems” with “good problems” and what I mean by that is maybe a decade ago I’d be tapping for fear of standing out in the world and for financial frustration, for not loving what I was doing and now I am tapping for “Okay there’s a lot going on and there’s stress and responsibilities so how do I calm that, how do I stay centered, how do I get clarity on the decisions that I want to make in my business and in my life?” So I continue to use that.
To me tapping fits into a trinity of meditation, yoga and tapping. Somebody asked me about a year ago “Where do you want to see tapping, what’s your vision for it?” I told him that I believe it can exist in many places but the next step forward is to be accepted as part of that conversation. And it works really well – meditation is more of a mental process, quieting the mind, yoga is a more physical process and tapping is kind of in between – You’re a little bit of both, you’re doing the mental process and you’re doing the physical with it. A lot of people use tapping before meditation in order to gain clarity because it’s hard to sit and meditate when you’re angry or upset, but now you can do the tapping, quiet the mind and then meditate.
SL: We are both inspired by Wayne Dyer and one of his favourite quotes is: “You’ll see it when you believe it”. So why do we have to focus on the negative rather than the positive when we’re tapping?
Nick: Louise Hay has a similar quote and she says: “If you want to clean the house, you have to see the dirt”. You really have to see where the dirt is so that you can take the broom and sweep it up. And that’s what we’re doing with tapping, we’re just acknowledging the negative for a short period of time. It’s not about living there, it’s not about going there every single day. It’s about acknowledging how we feel.
What I found is that there are a lot of people who have taken on the idea of positive thinking and positive affirmations, which I believe in completely, also when tapping we do positive affirmations and thinking. But quite a few people have taken it to the extreme, so what will happen is, someone will do something that offends them, that will make them angry and they initially react angrily because they’ve been attacked in some way and they very quickly think “No, I need to be positive and they will swallow it down”. What we’re doing with tapping, we’re saying “Let’s take a moment to acknowledge how I feel, not to reject how you feel”.
The tapping could start like this: “Even though I have this problem I deeply love and accept myself”, you’re acknowledging you have this problem and that you accept yourself with it. What I find is when you do that, people feel such a sense of relief, they can speak like “Yeah I am angry about it” and they do the tapping and next thing you know they’re not angry anymore. They’ve let it go. But we need to acknowledge those primal parts of ourselves that do get angry, that do get anxious, that feel threatened. When we don’t acknowledge them, when we bury them deep and they usually end up bursting out in other places.
SL: The majority of people have some sort of addiction, it can be related to alcohol, drugs, sex, gambling or eating. How effective is tapping for people with an addiction?
Nick: It can be very effective, I consider tapping a tool. People will bring tapping into ‘twelve-step recovery programs’, they will make it a component of the work they’re doing. The tapping works on addiction in two primary ways:
1. The physical craving and the addiction – I’ve seen it work, again and again with that; and
2. The emotional part of the addiction
SL: In your book you write: “Every human being wants to succeed – on the conscious level. Unfortunately, our unconscious mind often has its own agenda”. Tapping is an action of the conscious mind. How will it affect the unconscious mind then?
Nick: We often start tapping on an issue that we think is the issue and that we think is going on. As we do the tapping we’re calming the body, we’re getting into a more relaxed state and that’s when the unconscious mind starts bringing things up. Similarly, with meditating you get some thoughts or an insight, the same thing happens with tapping. You could be tapping on back pain and that’s your focus, and next you’re thinking about something that happened twenty years ago. Where did that come from? That’s the unconscious mind feeding a little message that it might be connected, that there might be something going on. That’s how this works together, the inner play of it – focusing on the issue, tapping, relaxing, see what else comes up and continually work through that.
SL: You claim that tapping is one of the easiest and fastest practices to learn. But we’re also dealing here with underlying emotional issues and events and limiting beliefs we’ve been holding on to for years. Can you elaborate on that?
Nick: Absolutely and that’s a great point. I think it takes five minutes to learn the basics of tapping and it takes a lifetime to master it. I am still mastering it – for myself and for my clients. During a new experience with a client, I might have ideas, I might have guidelines and past experience that can point me in the right direction, but I am often surprised about what comes up, like a limiting belief that I have never heard before.
My role as a practitioner and as an author and teacher is to help piece those together and for the individual it’s the same thing. You can learn the tapping in 5 minutes, you can have an experience and say “This works, I was angry before and now I am a little less angry or I’ve let it go”. For the deeper change it’s more work and it’s an evolving process.
Right now I am working on my second book which is “The Tapping Solution for Pain Relief”. At the simplest level tapping on pain relief I can get results with people in 5 – 20 minutes and having a significant shift in their pain. The more complicated cases are just that – more complicated – and what ends up happening; pain is an example of how something gets layered and of how one issue stacks on top of the other.
What starts as – somebody has a car accident and they hurt their back, that seems pretty simple. But then you layer on top of it the anger they feel for the person that hit them, and then you layer the anger they feel for the doctor who didn’t communicate well in the hospital and in that hospital they had this terrible experience. Next you layer that when they go home and their sister didn’t believe that they were really in pain and thought they were making things up. Finally, you layer how their identity changes because they are now a person with back pain all the time. All these things stack on top of each other, often in a short period of time and the same applies to our lives, even if we’re not in pain. We started stacking experiences when we were 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 years old, so the pain is a really interesting condensation of that. If we want to change something dramatically we need to unpack all of it, we need to see it in order to change this fully.
SL: How does the western medical world react to tapping?
Nick: There’s is significant amount of acknowledgement. I have spoken to many doctors who use it in their practice, psychologists and psychiatrists incorporating it into their existing practices and veterans with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) who are using it so we’re getting there.
One of my efforts beyond the book and beyond what I do with the business is just that: “What else can we do to influence the influencers to get more research done?” This takes a long time and it is expensive to do. I am fully convinced that over a period of time the tapping will be an accepted modality. It just works too well not to be. That’s the bottom line.
INTERVIEW BY: DIRK TERPSTRA – SOUL LOVE FOUNDER