[I’ve received questions about the appropriateness of energy medicine and techniques for Christians, and while I look forward to addressing these concerns in a dedicated series (after all, there’s a lot to think about with this topic!), for now, I’m just forging ahead with sharing what works for me.]
A Different Approach to Healing Emotions
Already in this Healing for Life series, I’ve mentioned emotional healing and “healing tools” as big parts of my personal journey. When I say I believe in holistic health, I mean that. I think it’s misguided to address only the body when it comes to physical illness, and equally misguided to focus only on the mind when dealing with emotions, stress, or depression. (Actually, I’m even more holistic than that, but we’ll get to that later!) The Tapas Acupressure Technique (TAT) addresses both mind and body. You might think of the TAT as a kind of do-it-yourself emotional acupuncture.
We usually think of our emotions as intellectual experiences, but they are physical as well. Every emotion has corresponding physiological (chemical) processes. As I understand it, the idea behind something like the TAT is that you can help the body process the emotions, leaving your conscious experience freer.
What I can say with most confidence, though, is simply that this works for me. It’s truly changed my life.
However it works, the TAT helps me not only relieve the experience of strong emotions like anxiety, anger, or abandonment, but also helps uncover and heal some of what’s underneath the emotions. It’s amazing. I always invite God into the process and ask for His healing, and He has been very faithful to show me where I am unfaithful and to guide me back to His truth.
You can do the TAT about an emotion that’s bothering you, or about an entire situation. One thing I love about this technique is that I don’t have to be able to articulate in words what’s wrong or how I feel. Sometimes I just feel anxious or blah and have no idea what’s going on, but I’m tired of feeling that way. That’s when I do a TAT. Or, I’ll do one when I know or suspect that there’s an area of my life that needs healing, as you’ll see below.
How to Do the TAT
I’m going to walk you through the technique with examples from a recent TAT I did. It takes about 15 minutes to perform, which I usually dread in advance but feel SO glad afterward that I did it.
I believe there are several variations on the TAT out there; this is the one that I was taught and have used successfully.
First, you need to know the hand position. It allows you to apply pressure to acupuncture points on the face while you follow the sequence.
The hand position: With one hand, place your ring finger and thumb on each side of the bridge of the nose near the corners of your eyes, with the middle finger in the center of the forehead about 1 inch above the brow line. Apply gentle pressure. You can watch this unintentionally hilarious video for a visual. (I wasn’t taught to use the other hand on the back of the head. You can do that if you want to. Oh, and just ignore the New Age bit, unless you’re into that.)
[Edited: I have now made my own quick TAT demonstration video, inserted below.]
Now, follow the 7 step sequence. Assume the hand position for each step and spend 2 minutes on each step. Set a timer so you’re not watching the clock.
I recently did a TAT on the issue of money and will use this as an example below in italics.
#1. Put your mind on the problem. The problem could be a feeling (if the feeling itself distresses you) or a situation or event. Experience it as vividly as you can, in your thoughts, feelings, and physical body. This can be very uncomfortable, but do your best to allow yourself to think and feel all of these things for this short time. Remember to breathe and use the hand position.
Pause and jot down any notes.
I plunged into thinking and feeling everything that I could about money. I felt anxiety, tension in my body, liking money, and all kinds of conflicted feelings. Toward the end of the two minutes, the central issue (at least for this session) came to the surface: I don’t know how to be “right” when it comes to money. I bank much of my security in life on being right, and when it comes to money, I don’t know how to have the “right” amount, make the “right” decisions, look “right” to other people, etc. Anxiety and fear accompanied this. I also had a real sense that subtle grasping, measuring, and holding on tendencies affect my physical body.
#2. Imagine what life would be like without this problem, what you would think and feel. Again, use all your faculties to experience it as vividly as possible. Breathe and keep your hand in place.
Pause and take notes.
I often find this step hard because I only know what life is like with the problem. In this case, I was able to imagine that, if I was living without the the craving to be “right” about money all the time, I could live peacefully and generously with a lot or a little, that I could be free in letting money come and go, that I could be in correspondence with God in any financial situation. I felt the confidence that would go along with this internal security and connection to God, not worrying about other people’s judgements or my own judgments.
#3. Say this clearing statement: “All the origins of this problem are healing now.” After 1 minute say, “God, thank You for healing all of the origins of this problem.” Breathe and maintain the hand position throughout.
Pause and take notes.
I didn’t have any thoughts for this step, beyond the idea that this problem didn’t spontaneously start with me. People have been ungodly in their relationships with money for millennia.
#4. Say this clearing statement: “All the areas of my life, mind, and body that are misoriented by this problem are healing now.” After 1 minute say, “God, thank You for healing all the areas of my life, mind, and body that are misoriented by this problem.” Keep breathing and maintaining your hand in position (switch hands if you get tired). (Think of misoriented as being oriented to something other than God and His way, as missing the mark.)
Pause and take notes.
Again, no specific thoughts, just a sense that I really am affected in all of these ways by my unhealthy relationship with money and, in particular, that it disrupts relationships, often simply because I am uncomfortable.
#5. Say this clearing statement: “All the areas of my life that have gotten something out of holding onto this problem are healing now.” After 1 minute say, “God, thank You for healing all the areas of my life that have gotten something out of holding onto this problem.” Breath and hand!
Pause and write.
Ouch! This was a painful step for me. I realized that one of the things I get out of this preoccupation with “right” and “wrong” about money is that it sometimes gives me the opportunity to feel superior to others, and other times to beat myself up when I think I was “wrong.” If I let go of needing to be right, then how will I feel like I’m better than other people?
#6. Say this clearing statement: “I forgive everyone and everything that I have blamed for this problem, including God and myself.” Repeat after 1 minute. (You can think of this as releasing the other person/people and letting go of whatever part of them you’ve been holding onto.) Breathe and keep applying pressure with your hand.
Pause and take notes.
This one was interesting! I discovered that it bothers me so much not to have the security of rightness about money that I blamed everybody. I blamed authority figures for not training me “enough” for me to get it right all the time (as if that were even possible!). I blamed myself for not being able to figure it out perfectly every time. I blamed God for making it “too hard” for me to get it right. It felt really good to let go of these things that I hadn’t even realized I was holding.
#7. Say this clearing statement: “I ask forgiveness from everyone and everything that I have hurt by holding on to this problem, including God and myself.” Repeat after 1 minute. Breathe throughout, maintaining the hand position.
Pause and write.
I had an overwhelming sense of what a waste it is to spend so much energy on trying to be right. But then it was followed by a sense of hope and purpose.
So, there you go! That’s a TAT. How weird was that?
I’m okay with weird these days. I used to be so afraid of my emotions, always running away from them, and thus, always subtly controlled by them. Now I not only have more emotional freedom, but I’ve been able to use strong emotions as a flag for discovering areas where God might want to show me something about myself and heal me. What a fabulous gift.
By the way, the TAT is one of the ways I cope with my fear when trying something new and help myself endure longer.
This is also one of the tools that I will be using during my Healing Hour this month. I have a lingering health problem that I’m distressed about and actively working to resolve, and I want to do a TAT every day about it. I’ve never done anything like that before! I’m eager to see what I learn, even if it’s just that I’ve beat the horse dead by day 5.
[Edited: You can read my comparison of the TAT and tapping here.]
Would you ever do something like the TAT? Have you found other ways to help heal yourself at the emotional level?