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Energy. It’s flowing through us all the time. Though we can’t see it, we know it’s there. It’s happening around us and within us at all times. What if tapping into that energy could improve our health?

Healing with Energy

Energy work has become a blanket term used to refer to many different types of healing modalities. The common goal of each is to tap into an unseen and often-misunderstood energy, sometimes referred to as qi, prana, or life force.

There are many types of energy work (see sidebar on page 35), but they all rely on the same premise: we can use the subtle energies within the body to stimulate healing. The premise directing each is that energy is supposed to flow unhindered through the body, but when the energy gets “stuck,” it creates a blockage that may result in a physical or emotional symptom. To understand this, think about the electrical wiring in a home: When there is a short circuit, or wires are “crossed,” the lights will not turn on no matter how many times you flip the switch. The energy is not flowing; it’s blocked.

Energy work proceeds from the idea that the same is true in the body: when something “short circuits,” the energy or life force in the body doesn’t flow in quite the way it is supposed to. This may manifest as a headache, an emotional symptom, or even as a more serious or chronic illness.

Energy work is an ancient form of healing. The Chinese mapped out the acupuncture meridian system of the body more than 5,000 years ago. Traditional Indian medicine focused on seven energy centers in the body called chakras. Since then many other healing modalities have emerged. People visit acupuncturists, energy healers, reiki masters, and more in search of relief from a wide range of ailments.

Tap into It

One innovative energy modality puts the healing power in the hands of the patient—literally. In the same way that we can flip a light switch and cause the energy to flow and the lights to turn on, we can tap into our own internal energy source. Many people are doing just that: literally tapping their way to better health with a technique called EFT.

EFT stands for *Emotional Freedom Techniques,*® and it is an emotional form of acupuncture,” explains Shelley Hawkins-Clark, a transformational healer and coach in Idaho. “By tapping with the fingertips to stimulate acupuncture meridians on the face, hands, and torso, EFT releases blocked energy that contributes to negative emotions and therefore to physical problems.”

If it sounds simple, that’s because it is. People who practice EFT gently tap on seven to 10 different points on the body as they mentally focus on an issue they are trying to resolve. Practitioners use it to address a litany of physical and mental conditions, including phobias, addictions, trauma, depression, pain, allergies, insomnia, cravings, blood pressure, chronic disease, and much more. In fact, one motto of the technique is Try it on everything.

For example, if you’re struggling with a headache, you might rank the severity of the headache on a scale of 1 to 10; then proceed through the tapping sequence, tapping on the related acupuncture points on the body and focusing on different aspects of the headache, gradually bringing the severity level down to 0.

“I use tapping when I have headaches,” says Lindsay Robinson, a strategic planner who works in San Francisco. “I’ve tried every medicine and meditation practice under the sun, and tapping is the one thing that really works. It also calms me down and makes it feel like whatever stress causes the headache gets out of my system.”

How Does It Work?

EFT is based on the theory that all negative emotion is caused by a disruption of the body’s energy system. This emotion then contributes to stress and pain that can cause physical symptoms in the body. The technique allows us to access the energy meridians in the body and shift the energy blockage.

Hawkins-Clark discovered EFT when she was struggling with an illness of her own. Now she works with clients to help them heal themselves physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. She says one bonus of EFT is that it addresses the source, or root cause, of an issue rather than just the symptoms. For example, people who are addicted to cigarettes can use EFT to address not only the craving for the cigarette but also the reason behind the anxiety or craving.

“Instead of coming at the behavior from one side to control it, you’re coming at it from the source to eliminate the reason that the behavior is there in the first place,” Hawkins-Clark explains. “So, you’re expending a lot less effort. It’s exhausting to keep trying to control the behavior and just change the physical elements. Instead you’re going to the source of the problem.”

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Hawkins-Clark has seen tremendous results with the technique and is passionate about the unlimited possibilities for its use, including relationship issues, physical issues, work problems, and beliefs that keep you creating the same life problems. Here is a simple example: “If your goal is to lose weight, you can use EFT to eliminate cravings, anxiety, loneliness, compulsions to overeat, or whatever drives you to eat when you’re not really hungry,” she explains.

In other words, use EFT to get to the source of the problem and eliminate it altogether.

Try It

The field of mind-body and energy medicine continues to evolve. EFT is but one tool among many, and thousands of case studies have demonstrated its effectiveness. It’s a simple, noninvasive technique that can’t hurt and might help. At the very least, you’ll feel calmer after tapping, or you might even find long-held issues and resentments falling away.

Hawkins-Clark offers private sessions as well as group workshops and classes (live and via teleconference). Learn more at

Once you’ve learned the technique, you can use it anytime, anywhere!

learn the tapping techniQue

Anyone can learn and use EFT. Shelley Hawkins-Clark (pictured far left) suggests getting the basics by downloading the manual or learning from and working with a professional. If you’d like to start tapping, try one of the following avenues:

Download the free manual at

Take a workshop or class.

Schedule a private session with a qualified EFT practitioner. Find one at

Types of Energy Work

Want to explore energy work? Here are some modalities that might resonate with you.

EFT. Emotional Freedom Techniques® is an emotional form of acupuncture that involves gentle tapping on the face, hands, and torso.

Acupuncture. This ancient practice involves the shallow insertion of extremely thin needles into various points on the body to affect the flow of qi.

Shiatsu. Literally meaning “finger pressure,” shiatsu is a form of acupressure using the thumbs, hands, forearms, knees, and feet to apply pressure to the body to stimulate the flow of energy and restore balance.

Reflexology. Reflexology is based on the theory that the foot represents a microcosm of the body and that specific reflex zones on the foot correspond to organs and other body parts. By pressing on these reflex zones, practitioners can help alleviate problems in the corresponding body parts.

Reiki. In this noninvasive practice, practitioners channel energy by placing their hands above the recipient and allowing the person to draw the energy as needed. Reiki reduces stress and promotes relaxation, which triggers the body’s natural healing abilities and improves and maintains health.