I first heard of tapping from a friend in Delhi who swore by it. He is a fashion designer and said that he “tapped” every day, and especially before a fashion show. The next time I heard about it was from a lady in Bengaluru who said that she had helped her son overcome his asthma attacks through tapping. An acquaintance in Mumbai casually mentioned that he coped with his fear of flying by tapping himself into calmness on the tarmac. What the heck was tapping and how is it that everyone seemed to be doing it?
The full name for this is Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), and it sure does involve a lot of tapping—on acupuncture points. Most of the practitioners insist that it works even if you don’t believe in it, which is a nice difference from those alternative practices which use belief as an alibi: “Oh, visualization works only if you believe in it,” or “Pranic healing works only if you believe in it.”
Carol Look is a master practitioner of EFT. What was compelling about her was a study she conducted on 100 people in which their vision improved after eight weeks. Yes, Look taught people to look or see better.
This was intriguing. I was ready to ditch my spectacles. So I contacted Carol Look.
The fantasy is life without glasses of course. I had read reports about Carol Look’s study. Here is one from her website.
“In 2006, Dr. Carol Look conducted an 8 week study wherein over 100 people followed written instructions to use EFT for a variety of emotional and vision issues. The participants were worldwide and both the written instructions and the feedback were done via the internet. Accordingly, this qualifies as an experiment rather than a pristinely controlled scientific study. Nonetheless, the results are eye opening (pardon the pun). Also, great care was taken to properly report the details and statistics regarding the experiment.”
The full study is reported in detail on her website. And yes, it isn’t a double-blind randomized controlled clinical trial. But rather than attacking the physiology of vision-impairment, EFT deal with the emotional anchors of illnesses.
As has been reported in many EFT books, the participants in Look’s experiment got the most vision improvement when they released anger. There is precedence for this. Chinese medicine links vision to the liver which is the seat of anger, according to TCM, or Traditional Chinese Medicine. Release your anger and your bile/liver improves, as does your vision.
EFT is a classic mind-body philosophy that links emotions with maladies. It takes five minutes to go through one cycle of EFT and involves tapping on specific acupuncture points while repeating certain “scripts” that are set up for you. Countless videos and websites teach the technique for free. There are randomized controlled trials that show that EFT caused “significant reduction” in adolescent anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Most EFT master practitioners have advanced degrees in psychotherapy.
Carol Look works on a seeming paradox: fear of success. We all say that we want to be successful, and then hold ourselves back; do something to sabotage ourselves. This is both a truth and her conviction. Some of us say that we want (more than anything else) to start our own company and then procrastinate, or do other things, or stagnate. Some of us say that we want to be famous and then refuse to put ourselves “out there” on Twitter or other social media. Through internal biases and deep-rooted unconscious convictions, we don’t act on our stated desires. Look tries to peel away these unconscious self-constraints through EFT and tapping.
She starts with two simple questions: What is the downside of becoming successful? What is the upside of playing small?
And then she probes, using EFT tapping spots to push the thought. Some people are afraid of success because they feel that it will change them. So she asks: why is success dangerous, and why does staying under the radar seem safe? She asks if you are worried about displeasing others by rocking the boat; if you are anxious about keeping up the pace of success; worried about someone’s jealousy; and whether you don’t feel safe about being successful.
Then she goes to the flip side. How does it serve you to hide or play small? And she gives a whole host of reasons: I won’t get criticized if I play small. I don’t want to be visible and if I get successful, I would get noticed and pulled down. I don’t have to deal with everyone’s expectations if I am not successful. I don’t like the responsibility of being successful. If I am successful, I will leave my loved ones behind. If I become rich, my brothers will be sad. Hiding my gifts, staying under the radar will protect me from the evil eye of others.
What about being visible would be dangerous? Look’s goal is to “trigger you” to see where your emotional vibrations are. Then, she uses tapping to clear the internal and emotional conflicts that hold you back.
It takes at least a dozen sessions of about 30 minutes each to do her online. A lot of it is listening and repeating the scripts that Look has created. She says them, you say them, and you tap at prescribed places. At the end of it, you analyze if your emotional charge has changed, whether you feel less anxious about “shining,” as she calls it.
Like yoga or meditation, EFT is a practice that needs to be done consistently in order to experience some difference. There are some die-hard believers and practitioners around the world who think of it as a wonderful tool to release stored and unconscious emotions that stand in the way realizing your potential. Others may view it as mental mumbo-jumbo. Regardless of where you fall, one easy way to see if this is for you is through the free content available on Carol Look’s website. After all, just a look doesn’t hurt anyone.
Shoba Narayan is an author, journalist and columnist. Besides writing, she is interested in nature, wine, gadgets and Sanskrit. Her lifelong mission is to get fit without exercising and lose weight without dieting.