Nurses who are working with patients during this pandemic “are particularly vulnerable to emotions such as fear and anxiety, due to fatigue, discomfort, and helplessness related to their high intensity work.” A new paper published Dec 2020, The effect of Emotional Freedom Techniques on nurses’ stress, anxiety, and burnout levels during the COVID-19 pandemic: A randomized controlled trial reports the benefits of just one online session of EFT (emotional freedom technique) or tapping.
As this paper mentions, “The basic principle of EFT is to send activating and deactivating signals to the brain by stimulating points on the skin that have distinctive electrical properties, usually by tapping on them.”
The study participants were shown a picture of the acupressure points and shown how to “gently tap on them using their index and middle fingers. After this demonstration, the participants followed the basic steps of an EFT session, following the researcher’s example:
- Identify an anxiety-evoking issue and determine the SUD level [the SUD is a subjective unit of distress ranging from 0 to 10 with 10 being most severe]
- Creating a personal acceptance and reminder statement in the general form of “I accept myself despite this ……….”
- Tapping seven times on each acupressure point
- After tapping these points, the affirmation/reminder statement is repeated.
- A sequence of physical movements and vocalizations called “The Nine Gamut Procedure” is carried out.
- Steps 3 and 4 are repeated.
- Another SUD rating is given [in other words how they felt afterwards on a scale of 0 to 10]
The study conclusion is as follows: “A single online group EFT session reduced stress, anxiety, and burnout levels in nurses treating COVID-19.” You can read the full study here and see the picture of the acupressure points.
This is a powerful intervention for nurses, other healthcare and frontline workers – and anyone dealing with anxiety, stress and burnout!
Tapping leads to psychological and physiological improvements
As well as psychological improvements, tapping also leads to physiological improvements. In a 2019 study, “after a 4-day training workshop on tapping, the researchers reported that happiness increased by 31% and the following declines in psychological symptoms in 203 participants were reported:
- anxiety (-40%)
- depression (-35%)
- posttraumatic stress disorder (-32%)
- pain (-57%) and
- cravings (-74%)
I find it fascinating that EFT/tapping leads to physiological improvements too. In this same 2019 study these changes were reported:
- resting heart rate (-8%)
- salivary cortisol (-37%)
- systolic blood pressure (-6%) and diastolic blood pressure (-8%)
- heart rate variability and heart coherence
- salivary immunoglobulin A (SigA) (+113%)
You can read more about this study here: Tapping (or EFT) for reducing anxiety, depression, pain and cravings, plus physiological changes in cortisol, heart rate, blood pressure and SigA
Combining tapping with nutritional approaches for easing anxiety
As I mention in the above blog, I have great success with amino acids like GABA, tryptophan and glutamine to provide quick anxiety-relief, end the overwhelm and stop the carb cravings for my clients. So until recently, I hadn’t really felt the need to look into tapping.
However, I believe we need to use everything at our disposal. We also respond differently to different approaches and what may work for one person may not work as well for someone else.
I love that EFT/emotional freedom technique/tapping compliments the dietary/nutritional/biochemical approach I use with my clients for helping to ease anxiety, overwhelm and stress.
Ideally these nurses (and you and anyone who is stressed or anxious) could could use tapping/EFT and combine it with nutritional support for possibly even more benefits:
- Use targeted amino acids such as tryptophan or 5-HTP for the low serotonin worry-in-your-head anxiety where folks may also experience fears, panic attacks, ruminations, phobias, insomnia, PMS, anger, irritability and cravings; and GABA for the low GABA physical-anxiety that also includes muscle tension, overwhelm, insomnia and the need to self-medicate with alcohol to calm down
- DPA (d-phenylalanine), also an amino acid, boosts endorphins (in a similar way to acupuncture) and helps my clients who are experiencing weepiness, pain and are big comfort/reward eaters. I blog about this here: DPA for weepiness, pain and comfort and reward eating)
In April last year I blogged about nutritional and lifestyle approaches after reading a very somber and eye-opening article in the New York Times titled: The Psychological Trauma That Awaits Our Doctors and Nurses. You can read about B vitamins, melatonin, nature and more on this blog here.
If you’re new to EFT/tapping and would like to learn more, the 13th Annual Tapping World Summit airs online starting Feb 22, 2021:
- This is a great introductory video from summit host Nick Ortner (register to watch it and get access to the summit)
- Here is the main summit registration page
Nick has also written a best-selling book “The Tapping Solution: A Revolutionary System for Stress-Free Living” (my Amazon link)
Are you a nurse or other frontline worker who has used EFT with success?
Do you use both with success: EFT and the amino acids like GABA, tryptophan, 5-HTP, theanine or glutamine? What about EFT and dietary changes like no gluten, no sugar and no caffeine?
I also want to give a shoutout to all the nurses and other frontline workers who are doing so much during this pandemic. We appreciate you!