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Articles & Ideas


Rhythm, Pulse & Percussion In Tapping Treatments

Important Note: This article was written prior to 2010 and is now outdated. Please use my newest advancement, Optimal EFT. It is more efficient, more powerful and clearly explained in my free e-book, The Unseen Therapist™.  Best wishes, Gary

Hi Everyone,

You should find this interesting.

Silvia Hartmann from the UK explores various means of stimulating the meridian points. In the past, I have had good results doing a version of her suggestions. For example, I have used a rhythm variation while tapping on someone through mental means. Without saying anything to the client, I "imagine tapping" on them while they are talking about their issue. Before doing so, however, I match their posture and attempt to "tune in" to their heartbeat so that, hopefully, our heartbeats are the same. This is an important rapport technique I learned from my NLP training. Once done, I use our joint heartbeat rhythm to establish my mental tapping cadence.

Silvia shares other thoughts along these lines.

Hugs, Gary


It is interesting to observe people "tapping themselves".

People have very different natural rhythms, and then there's of course a great variance in how hard or softly someone taps.

Some tap very half heartedly, barely touching the spots at all, others tap so hard it hurts. I was once tapped by a practitioner who nearly drilled holes into my head and I had to physically stop them because it was so extremely unpleasant.

Considering what fine and responsive systems we are dealing with here in the form of complex meridian points and nerve junctions, it stands to reason that the "how to" of tapping with fingers on skin has a lot to do with how effective the treatment is.


There are, of course, alternatives to tapping. In Touch & Breathe, you just hold the points (here, once more, is the issue of how hard you push down or what "holding" means to an individual).

I personally like to gently and lightly massage the points with a single fingertip in a very small circular movement. There is a technique called Tellington Touch where acupressure points are stimulated by sliding the skin over the point first in a full circle (from 12 o'clock to 12 o'clock) and then, without releasing the light pressure that holds the skin steady, back to the 6 o'clock position. Try it for yourself, it is an interesting effect.

Stroking downwards as though you were removing a small stain is another movement that is nice and stimulates the area in an unusual way.

The non-tapping, more massage orientated ways of stimulating the points is a good alternative on "painful points" where tapping is actually rather uncomfortable. Young children and people who have been traumatised, for example by being hit in the face, can also feel much happier when the points are stroked gently or lightly massaged instead. In cases of headaches, toothaches or any other type of pain that is made worse by the application of percussive beats, these are the only possible choice.


We usually nowadays talk of tapping, but when the techniques were first invented, it was called "percussing" on the points.

The reason for this phrase was that the tapping movement has a fast "touch - release" pulse to it, like one would tap on a drum to make it ring out.

This is a particular movement because if you "follow through" too much with your original tap or impact, it deadens the resonance response and in the case of a drum, the sound is dull and stops dead after the impact. In order to allow the drum to resonate, a pulse has to be swiftly put in and then the pressure removed so the drum's skin may resonate and vibrate backwards and forwards to make the sound.


This is similar to the effects of tapping - the most responses are received when the tapper knows how to do the swift "tap and release" movement. In trainings, I sometimes have practitioners practise this on any object that serves like a drum to find the exact type of movement that gives the most resonance and doesn't "deaden the instrument".


Many times, people tap themselves and nothing seems to happen; yet when a friend or a practitioner takes over the tapping for them, with the self same opening statement, often the shift we are looking to create does occur.

I have noticed in other areas that people have *one preferred rhythm* which they will produce under many different circumstances time and time and again - whilst walking, dancing, breathing and performing repetitive tasks. It is also oftgen reflected in their choice of music.

It would be interesting to speculate that if they tap in that self same rhythm as they would naturally do, does a sameness to the already existing conditions makes it less effective.

Unless you tell people to try some different rhythms, they will usually fall back on the "one and only" preferred type of pulse that generally pervades them.

There are a number of ways to try different tapping rhythms. One would be to just speed up and slow down, but more interesting rhythm possibilities develop when one considers, for example, a well known song that "matches the problem" and then applies that rhythm to the opening statement.

Non-rhythmical tapping is another interesting possibility to unstick stuck states (i.e. problems or opening statements that have been addressed many times but nothing seems to happen). It is actually quite difficult to not fall back into one's preferred rhythm and that in and of itself adds a new dimension and new possibilities as established, old patterns are being challenged with a "new rhythm".


Try different types of strength, rhythms (from a woodpecker beat to a slow, steady heartbeat and the range in between) and also what I call "echo pulses" where you give one tap and wait for all reverberation to have ceased, then place another pulse after it. This gives a particular rhythm which is usually completely different and entirely dependent on the opening statement or issue you're currently working with.

In conclusion, I would encourage anyone who uses tapping therapies to play with all the aspects of stimulating the meridian points. Especially notice what people are actually doing as well as noticing how making changes in "the way you tap" affects the outcome of the treatment.

Silvia Hartmann


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