#14Days: Tapping in Times Square

Within the chaos of Times Square, Nick Ortner strives to create an oasis of calm. We may look bizarre tapping on our faces and armpits in public, but the best-selling author of "The Tapping Solution" claims that this practice, also known as the Emotional Freedom Technique or EFT, can calm the body in times of stress or crisis.

Nick says, "You can use the tapping to get to the root of the stress... and actually release the specific stressors that are going on in our lives."

Many people tend to reach for alcohol to calm the nerves after a long, hard day. Since you've joined the #14Days on the Wagon challenge and given up alcohol and any non-medically necessary drugs for 14 days, however, you may need some new techniques to help you cope with stress.

The tapping phenomenon has been growing in popularity since its founder, Roger Callahan, developed Thought Field Therapy (TFT) 33 years ago using acupuncture point stimulation to relieve traumatic memories. In 1995 his student, Gary Craig, developed EFT. Ortner got on board about ten years ago, and now even more clinical professionals are using it in addition to other types of behavioral therapy.

With roots in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Eastern medicine, tapping focuses on using specific language and affirmation as a person taps on key meridian end points on the face and body. The meridian system is a traditional Chinese medicine belief that there are pathways through the body in which life force energy, or "qi," travels. Several hundred acupuncture points, which affect a specific organ or part of the body, are considered to be located along these meridians.

Acupuncture has been studied and proven to have some therapeutic effects. It is often used as a form of alternative medicine to treat pain and stress. Tapping aims to provide some of the same benefits through rhythmic stimulation of the meridian points along with repetition of affirmative words and phrases.

One of the advantages of tapping or EFT is that, once learned, it can be easily self-administered any time a person needs it. And, unlike prescription medication, tapping produces no adverse side effects.

Ortner's website, The Tapping Solution, contains testimonials from many who've tried it, including self-help guru Dr. Wayne Dyer and best-selling author and cancer survivor Kris Carr. Many report feeling reduced stress after a tapping session.

Studies are being conducted to research the real effects of EFT on problems ranging from treating headaches to public speaking anxiety. In a study published in the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, EFT was shown to significantly reduce anxiety, depression, and levels of the stress hormone cortisol in nonclinical subjects.

In a randomized controlled trial of tension headache sufferers published in the Journal of Science and Healing, subject reported less frequency and intensity of headaches after doing two EFT sessions daily for two months. When subjects' salivary cortisol levels were measured, however, there was no difference found before or after the EFT intervention.

Though these studies show some promise, more clinical trials and further research needs to be done to prove whether tapping has scientific efficacy.

If you missed it, on Monday Tommy Rosen of Recovery 2.0 shared his tips to help you optimize your two-week substance-free journey.

Tomorrow , check out what Dr. Drew has to say about the #14Days challenge. And, join the conversation about moderation management.

Use the hashtag #14Days to share your stories and photos.

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    Parvati Shallow covers health and wellness for CBSNews.com