Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), the therapeutic practice of “tapping,” is rooted in both traditional Chinese medicine and cognitive behavioral therapy. The idea is to acknowledge and verbalize your negative thoughts, fears and worries as you simultaneously deliver calming feedback to your body. This is done by using your fingertips to gently tap nine acupressure points on the hands, head and torso, which are located on meridians, energy pathways reputed to impact emotion.

Skeptical? You’re not alone. “People may feel like it’s a little too woo-woo,” says Emily Capuria, LISW-S, CHHC, psychotherapist, life coach and author of Happiness Happens: A 10-Week Guide to Reconnect With Who You Are, Dream a New Dream & Make Magic Happen! (Balance & Thrive, 2019) who teaches tapping workshops.

However, research shows that EFT has helped people manage a variety of conditions that range from anxiety to chronic pain to obesity. According to research published in the Journal of Acupuncture and Meridian Studies, most acupressure points are located on or adjacent to nerve branches or receptors, blood and lymph vessels, and mast cells. Tapping on these specific areas creates a physical stimulus that impacts brain activity and physiological markers while helping activate your parasympathetic nervous system, reducing heart rate and blood pressure.