Acupuncture and Tapping

Online, there are many different websites that show the reader how to use the fingertips to tap a series of certain regions on the upper body in order to reset the nervous system (1). Other names for tapping include The Tapping Solution and the Emotional Freedom Technique. The cited benefit of tapping is to help remove emotional blocks to prosperity and to provide freedom from negative feelings and beliefs (2). In each system, the instructions describe how to locate various spots on the hands, face, head and upper chest to tap while considering or saying verbal affirmations aloud. After tapping the spots in a particular order, the tapper is often asked to reevaluate the emotional charge of the issue that was being considered during the first round of tapping; hitting all of the points with a light motion makes one round. Then, once the emotional charge has diminished greatly or disappeared entirely, the session comes to an end. Several rounds of tapping should only take a few minutes to complete.

From an acupuncture perspective, it is easy to see at a glance that every one of the tapping areas is an acupuncture point, some of which are known to help patients deal with emotional distress. Briefly, here are some of the points as noted in the Emotional Freedom Technique (3) and their names in Traditional Chinese Medicine (4) and in Japanese (5).

Tapping PointTCM NameJapanese Name, Kanji character
Karate Chop (KC)SI3gokei, 後谿
Top of Head (TH)GV20hyaku e,百会
Eyebrow (EB)UB2sanchiku, 攢竹
Side of Eye (SE)SJ23shichikukuu, 糸竹空
Under the Eye (UE)ST2shihaku, 四白
Under the Nose (UN)GV26suikou, 水溝
Chin (Ch)CV24shoushou, 承漿
CollarBone (CB)KD27yufu, 兪府
Under the Arm (UA)SP20shuuei, 周栄


Virtually anyone in their first year of acupuncture school or beyond would immediately recognize these tapping areas as acupuncture points. When we treat these areas in an acupuncture session, we probably would not address all of them in one treatment, and it probably would not work well to get the patients to speak an affirmation while the points are being treated. But the principle of tapping is very similar to what goes on in an acupuncture session ­– letting go is central to getting past emotional issues and some forms of pain in a healthy way. During an acupuncture treatment, for instance, we would rarely, if ever, just treat points on the upper body because it could be detrimental to the system to activate points above the waist without including a counterbalancing treatment of lower body points. In fact, the points of the lower body would actually be very helpful in a situation like tapping so that the ki does not get ‘stuck’ above the waist. Ki always needs to circulate for the best overall effect on the emotions and on the body in general. When ki gets stuck in the upper body, it is very easy to get a headache as a side effect of the tapping event. In fact, I just practiced the tapping technique by following the instructions in one of the videos, and I began to get a dull headache. I know how to fix it, and that is by working on some points in my legs and feet. In fact, rubbing and lightly needling some points at the areas where my toes meet the rest of the foot on both feet lightened the headache within a few minutes. I think tapping can be a useful way to calm ourselves down in a stressful situation or to help release old emotional blocks and some forms of pain.  These methods are convenient to use in between acupuncture treatments, where the issues can be resolved more deeply using needles and/or moxibustion. Just remember when you are tapping that you are actually stimulating acupuncture points in a way that was observed and described long before tapping was written about in an organized manner.




(4) Peter Deadman and Mazin Al-Khafaji with Kevin Baker, “A Manual of Acupuncture”, 1998.

(5) The Society of Traditional Japanese Medicine, “Traditional Japanese Acupuncture: Fundamentals of Meridian Therapy”, 2003.


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Kerri Winston, Ph.D., L.Ac., is a licensed acupuncturist with a practice in Atlanta, Georgia's Buckhead area. If you are interested in learning more about how acupuncture can help you or your loved ones, please call 404-949-0550 or send email to [email protected].