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By Sue Ingebretson Have you heard of ERT – Emotional Release Technique? If not, ERT is a technique that blends a variety of healing methods together for streamlined results. It includes a tapping technique that’s similar to acupuncture – but without the needles. ERT blends cognitive therapies with ancient acupressure points and provides singularly effective tools to deal with a variety of issues. Scientists have discovered that by tapping with your fingers on a specific set of upper body acupressure points (in a particular sequence) that desirable results can be achieved. This tapping process can help to lower stress and anxiety so when combined with other protocols, it provides a valuable service. A verbal dialogue is spoken in conjunction with the tapping (often called a tapping script), which delivers profound and specific results. The tapping component of ERT has its roots in EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique). EFT has effectively been used for decades and it may interest you to learn more of this useful tool’s background. A brief EFT history In the 70s, psychologist Roger Callahan used his knowledge of Chinese medicine’s ancient meridian system and acupressure points along with his traditional counseling practice. His “tapping” technique was first used for his patients with phobias. He discovered that if he tapped on specific acupressure points while discussing their fears, his patients found relief from their symptoms. As he published papers and trained others on his findings, the procedure was simplified and streamlined, most profoundly by Callahan’s student, Gary Craig. Craig was the first to publish a manual to train others on the use and practice of EFT (in the mid-90s). He went on to publish The EFT Manual book in 2008. (I actually used Gary Craig’s EFT course as a set of CDs from the early 2000s.) (Church, 2013) EFT today The healing process of EFT can easily be learned by nearly anyone. It takes no special equipment, environment, or even an understanding of the science behind the results. (If interested, however, the fascinating science behind the effectiveness of EFT can be found in detail in the book, The Tapping Solution.) When I began my journey with EFT (which was also called MTT – Meridian Tapping Technique at the time), I was unaware of how it worked … I just knew that it did work. I discovered EFT through an article on where it discussed a simple (not to mention FREE!) tool for eliminating stress. I had nothing to lose, so why not try it? I followed the simple directions and tapped on various circumstances that plagued me at the time. I tapped on my pain levels. I tapped on my frustrations regarding the chronic health challenges that limited me. I tapped on my inability to find answers to heal my body. I tapped on anxiety over what would happen to me if I continued to get worse. With each tapping session, I didn’t know how to describe my results other than to say that I felt “different.” I was so used to carrying a knot of anxiety in my stomach, that when it wasn’t there, it felt empty and strange. I was dubious and questioned my results. How could tapping make me feel more calm and relaxed? After all, my problems obviously didn’t go away. I was still in pain and still worried about my future. But, I couldn’t deny that after tapping, I felt a release of tension. In my book, FibroWHYalgia, I refer to this as my “Internal Tension Meter.” I never thought of myself as a stressed or anxious person. After all, I didn’t act like a stressed person. Through tapping, however, I discovered that I was the type of person who carries stress on the inside. I also discovered how unaware I was about my negative self-talk and how it affected my symptoms. The benefits of EFT were part of my healing journey. Through time, trial, and error, I’ve added a number of other healing practices to my healing protocol. As a reminder, the term ERT is reflective of this combination. What topics can ERT address? Here are the main topics that are typically addressed as outlined in the book, The Tapping Solution. (Ortner, 2013) •    Symptoms and side effects •    Emotions •    Past events •    Limiting beliefs As you can imagine, each topic above is just the starting point. Stress, anxiety, overwhelm, and frustration are common themes among those with fibromyalgia and chronic health challenges. Tapping can help to alleviate the feelings of stress, so that we can more effectively address other concerns. Applying tools such as ERT can help us to lower our stress levels so that we can think more clearly. Among other things, this helps to improve our problem-solving skills. ERT can address any concern. Here’s a list that may include topics that surprise you: weight management, cravings, establishing desirable habits, self-sabotage, procrastination, smoking and alcohol cessation, finances, fear of change, grief, relationships, happiness, sleep, childhood issues/traumas, physical injuries, guilt/shame, rejection/loss, success, athletic performance, creativity, issues related to children, issues regarding your pet, and much more. Tapping tips: •    View tapping practitioner videos or podcasts that resonate with you. There are hundreds (if not more) to choose from on YouTube alone, so just keep searching until you find someone whose approach feels right. One of my favorite practitioners to listen to is Gene Monterastelli. •    Check out the Tapping Solutions books and movies. Nick Ortner’s newest book on pain is of specific interest, The Tapping Solution for Pain Relief. •    Find a practitioner to work with you one-on-one. We have a team of ERT practitioners at Depke Wellness to assist you in reaching new levels of health and happiness through mental/emotional release •    Don’t worry about not knowing what to say. NO ONE does when they begin. Be kind and patient with your progress. You can start by following sample scripts that are easy to find online. To search, Google the words — tapping script + your personal concern such as pain, migraines, overwhelm, anxiety, etc.). You’ll learn as you go. •    Don’t worry about how hard to tap or how many times to tap on each point. Simply tap a few times (with either hand or both) with a gentle touch. •    Don’t worry about “not doing it right.” If you’re doing it – then that’s the most important fact. You can’t go wrong. You’ll get better and better as you go. •    Do take a deep breath before beginning. Make sure you sit (or lie) in a comfortable position and that you’re free from distraction. •     Be as specific about your concern as possible. Think of the physical feeling that is the result of an emotion. For example, rather than tapping on “feeling anxious,” tune in to how it feels in your body. It’s likely that you experience it, at least in part, as stomach pain. Using that example, tap on the topic of your stomach pain in specific terms such as – the sharp, twisting pain that feels like a knot in my gut. •    Tap on one concern at a time and allow yourself to pause and assess how you feel before and afterward. •    Be persistent. The most common cause of “this tapping isn’t working” is from not doing it at all. This may sound obvious, but sometimes we give up quickly when results aren’t as we expect – or when we expect. My best advice? Just keep tapping. What do you think? It’s important to note that your results are not based on your thoughts about what it is or how it works. They’re not based on what you think about (or over think about) what’s going on. What matters most is getting results, and that happens from tapping consistently with patience and practice. By taking the step to learn more about ourselves through tapping, we may discover new strengths and interests that surprise us. Are you ready to take this step? Imagine what your inner world discoveries can teach you about the world around you. Church, D. (2013). The EFT Manual. Fulton, CA: Energy Psychology Press. Ortner, N. (2013). The Tapping Solution. New York, NY: Hay House, Inc.