If you’re tired of tossing and turning in your bed in search of some shut-eye, here’s an approach to try: brain tapping. This technique involves tapping your face and body with fingertips while repeating mantras to reduce stress and anxiety levels.
You may have seen videos of TikTokkers tapping their fingers on certain areas of their face and body while repeating phrases such as “I release tension and fall asleep”.
This concept is called “brain tapping” or the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) – and, according to proponents, it helps reduce stress and anxiety before bedtime.
Inspired by Chinese medicine, this trick has become a hot wellness theme on TikTok within just a few months, with the hashtag #efttapping having already racked up 96 million views. And unlike some of the dangerous trends that can be found online, brain tapping is a risk-free method that’s easy to do at home.
Dr Daisy Mae, a sleep expert who spoke to the “Huffington Post”, describes brain tapping as “a recently recognised technique which combines cognitive-behavioural therapy with somatic stimulation using acupuncture pressure points”.
“It utilises some of the principles of traditional Chinese medicine and kinesiology,” she said, the latter referring to a form of therapy that uses muscle monitoring (biofeedback) to look at imbalances that may be causing stress and disease in the body.
So, how does one practise brain tapping? In her TikTok video, user thesimplestself shows how to use the technique before bedtime.
EFT is performed from the top of the head to the bottom. She begins by tapping the first point at the top of the skull, then the one between the eyebrows.
She then taps the temples, under the eyes, nose and mouth, finishing with the collarbones, arms and chest.
It’s also possible to tap the hair and wrists to maximise the relaxing effect on the body. These movements are generally performed while repeating motivational phrases such as “I’m falling asleep” or “I’m relaxed”.
And the method is scientifically approved. According to 2019 research published in the National Library of Medicine, EFT has been shown to help reduce anxiety levels, while having other beneficial effects on the body and brain.
“Numerous studies prove that the gestures act on the amygdala, the part of the brain that evaluates the events to which we are exposed in order to activate or not the physiological mechanisms of stress,” said Camille Junot, clinical psychologist at the Institut du Sommeil et de la Vigilance in France.
“Gently tapping these points sends a reassuring signal to the amygdala, preventing the onset of stress symptoms and helping you to fall asleep,” she added.
However, results vary from one individual to another as the technique targets emotional reasons that may be preventing you from getting to sleep. Junot stresses that it’s “important to identify the emotional cause of insomnia so that we can remedy it”.
If you have problems with persistent insomnia, it’s best to consult a sleep or healthcare specialist to determine and address the cause.