I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – Thought Field Therapy (TFT), or Tapping is an absolute gem of a skill to know. When it comes to diet and weight loss it can help eliminate, or ‘collapse’, negative feelings, such as cravings or lack of motivation. It can also be used pretty much at any other time that causes stress in your body, specifically to collapse negative emotions, anxiety and past traumas.
We know that very often when we overeat it’s because of sadness, or some upset in an aspect of our lives. When we eat when we’re not hungry, we’re seeking solace in the sensation that food gives us. By doing this, we become anchored to feeling better when we eat – as we know this is called ‘comfort eating’. Removing the causes of the negative feelings, whether it’s a past trauma or anxiety means that the need to eat to ‘get rid of’ that feeling by comfort eating disappears. Tapping is a great way of dealing with this, clearing emotional baggage and moving you into feeling better about yourself so you are not using food as medication.
Tapping works by using the meridian system – this is the invisible energy pathways used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine, particularly in acupuncture. Whereas an acupuncturist would insert a needle, with TFT you simply ‘tap’ the same spot. These pathways work like a circuit, flowing and conducting energy throughout the body. It might be helpful to think of the meridians as ‘emotional highways’ or roads. If there’s a crash on a road, it creates a blockage and traffic cannot flow. In the same way, a trauma or anxiety can cause a blockage in your meridians that prevents energy from flowing, causing emotional or physical distress, or both.
The beauty is that you can do TFT on yourself, any moment of the day – there are absolutely no harmful side effects and even if you do it wrong, it doesn’t matter. It won’t work, but you will do yourself absolutely no harm at all; it is the safest of all therapies.
Gary Craig trained with Dr Callahan (the founder of TFT technique) and went onto develop EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique). Ostensibly the main difference between the two tapping therapies is that with TFT you only tap on specific points, as Chinese medicine teaches us that each emotion has a prescription or algorithm that specifically targets that specific thought, whereas with EFT you tap all the points and repeat out loud statements or affirmations. Having trained with Dr Callahan myself, my own preference is for TFT, as it is more diagnostic and in my experience often works better, but of course that is not to say EFT doesn’t work, it’s a personal choice.
Measuring positive and negative is one of the most important concepts in TFT so we can measure its effectiveness (apart from the fact that you can feel the emotion has gone or changed) using the polarity of your body. When you are ‘positive’, cells can function normally and the process of growth and repair can take place naturally. When the cells’ polarity is negative, however, healing and regeneration cannot take place. Imagine the battery in your TV remote being put in upside-down – the remote just won’t work until you change it around to get the positive connection. Your body is the same.
Physical exercise, and the generation of endorphins can correct the imbalance, but it’s not always practical to put on some lively music and dance around laughing to generate an endorphin boost! Thankfully, TFT offers us a simpler way of restoring the correct balance – it’s called the TFT Triangle. Through tapping on very specific meridian points that balance the body’s energy, it can return us to ‘positivity’. Just like a battery has a positive and a negative charge at each end, your body also has both, and the palm of your hand is positive and the back of your hand negative.
The side of your hand is a meridian line, where the top of your hand meets the palm. It’s the most important meridian point in the body for balancing polarity, so even just tapping the side of your hand when you feel a bit confused or flustered can be a very useful technique. Get in to the habit of doing this simple exercise regularly throughout the day, whenever you need a boost.
Many athletes are beginning to realize the power of maintaining a balance in order to perform at their best, especially when there’s an intricate skill involved such as shooting or hitting a board accurately as in triple jump. I teach all my clients to do this before crucial meetings or when writing important articles. Prevention is always better than cure so rather than waiting till you feel negative or start to self-sabotage, get into the habit of tapping the side of your hand every time you wash your hands.
This sequence is called the ‘triangle’ because you start with one hand, work up to the face, and then work down to the other hand, making a triangle shape. You can use the ‘triangle’ to collapse negativity, but, as I have mentioned, it is also important to prevent negativity before it occurs, too, so get into the habit of doing the sequence every morning and every evening before you go to sleep.
Another quick and powerful technique that takes just a few seconds and can change your brain chemistry is to trace the infinity symbol on your forehead, across your third eye. You are highly sensitive to touch here and if you close your eyes, clear your mind and trace the symbol whilst taking two or three breaths it can genuinely change your ‘brain juice’.
This exercise, along with the tapping of the side of your hand and the positive anchors we’ve already learned about, can all change and create new brain chemistry quickly.