Deep stories, the ones we tell about ourselves that keep us stuck in a different point in time…that is the stuff of therapy, for sure, but it’s also the stuff of a technique called tapping. Tapping is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: you literally tap on yourself at key acupressure points to release energy that’s stuck. Whether you believe in the concept of bodily energy systems or not, you would be hard pressed to find a healing technique that requires less of you than the 30 – 60 seconds you will spend tapping your breastbone. In this case you’re going after the thymus gland — the master gland of the immune system which is connected to the entire energy system. Located about an inch below where you would wear a bowtie, this percussive method of tapping sends a force of energy through the thymus gland to clear the stress and stressful emotions. Or at least offer some momentary relief.
Here’s the entire maneuver: briefly acknowledge what you are feeling and the simple fact that this emotion is here and it’s with you. Then tap on your breastbone for 30 – 60 seconds while focusing on the emotion. You can pair the tapping with a phrase like, “let it go, let it go, let it go,” which helps give the body permission to let it go. That’s pretty much it.
Permission to let it go…it’s funny why we so often need permission, but maybe that’s what the young part of us needs. I’ll take it. And with that permission I’m letting Ben Limecooler go. You can tell just by his name alone that he’s a cool kid who comes from an arty family though his clothes which are groovy and his hair which is long also bears this out. My parents, on the other hand, were as square as parents could be and I just wore clothes. Regular second-grader clothes. The only thing we had in common was the table we shared in second grade art class, which meant I was sitting right there when Ms. Dinehardt stopped by with a handful of pipe cleaners, bending down low to whisper in Ben’s ear that she’d brought an extra supply for him to use for his home-based artwork.
My ears perked up. I loved pipe cleaners. I loved them with a passion. I whispered to Ms. Dinehardt that I, too, had art projects I was working on at home and would very much like an extra supply of pipe cleaners to take with me. “Oh, I’m sorry,” Ms. Dinehardt said for my misunderstanding. “Ben has serious art he works on at home.” And in that moment a deep story was born.
You probably have a good idea how this deep story imprinted on my 2nd grade psyche: not special, not serious, not artistic, not worthy of extra pipe cleaners or probably anything else. It’s a perfect example of an old story worth tapping out when it surfaces, as our vast human supply of deep stories most definitely will. I’m guessing that just reading about Ben Limecooler and the pipe cleaners has brought to mind a deep story of your own.
You can find out more about how Amy Scher, an energy therapist, uses the technique of tapping to help in the healing process and how our thoughts, emotions and beliefs can directly affect the physical body in this podcast. While tapping doesn’t replace standard medical care, it can provide some relief and peace in the moment and “when you feel even a little bit better it’s easier to feel a little better still.”