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"Tapping" The Pain & Fear Away

MIAMI (CBSMiami) -- It's instantaneous. She can feel the tears bubbling up the second I ask her about her mother. Jennifer Alluard is about to break.

It's what happens every time she talks about the loss of her mom five years ago.

"Whenever I talk about my mom, I get emotional,"said Alluard.

Now, Jennifer has a way to soothe the pressure and pain. Almost like a reflex, she presses hard on the side of her hand the moment her mother is mentioned and the tears disappear.

"Basically it lowers the intensity of the emotion. I'm still going to feel sad and I'm still going to feel lost but it's not that same intensity. See, now I can talk about my mother without crying."

What Jennifer is doing is a more discrete variation of a technique called tapping. You literally tap on specific pressure points on your body. It's also known as EFT, emotional freedom technique.

"Think of a pressure cooker, you have the little escape valve, and you move that so the pressure can release little by little or else it's going to explode. You can think of EFT as the release valve on the pressure cooker," said Lisa Daniel, a certified tapping practitioner.

A couple of years ago, Jennifer had intense anxiety, an emotional breakdown so she went to Lisa for help.

"She made me realize that it was because I was still grieving over the passing of my mother," said Jennifer.

"If you keep suppressing your emotions, sooner or later something is going to give,"said Daniel.

Lisa was able to help Jennifer release some of her pressure through EFT.

So how does EFT or tapping work?

Well first you have a simple conversation in an effort to figure out the root cause of your anxiety or fear.

"We sit down and in a few sessions we got into very specific events that had to do with the trauma," said Daniel.

Then you have to heighten your fear. Lisa does that by having you repeat sentences that could cause you anxiety and at the same time you tap on a pressure point. It's a way of confronting that anxiety, it's known as counter-conditioning.

"All the phobias disappear. We never work on the phobias they are just a symptom of something that happen to that person."

So, for Jennifer, the death of her mother was the trigger of her symptoms. That's what Lisa helped "tap" away.

"I was able to empty out my cup a bit and deal with the rest of it," said Jennifer.

Tapping can be used for anything. It doesn't have to be something as traumatic as a death. Athletes have even been known to tap to focus during a game and If you're feeling stressed at work, EFT techniques could be a good way to calm your nerves.

"If you have a fear of speaking in public you can use EFT for that, or even if you have a fear of lizards," said Daniel.

Lisa says keep in mind EFT doesn't cure your cravings or your sadness, but she says tapping can help you find a way to keep going despite it.

"It means if someone you loved died, and the grief is this intense, we are hopefully going to get rid of the excess quickly, so instead of being in this amount of pain you can reduce it to this," said Lisa.

Lisa is quick to clarify she is not a therapist. She gives no advice or opinions. She says EFT is a way to control the sadness, anxiety, or other emotions that interfere with your everyday life.

The buzz that surrounds tapping isn't going away anytime soon. "The Tapping Solution" cracked the New York Times best-seller list in 2013, and tapping summits last year have drawn more than half a million people worldwide.


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