Basic Information

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Basic form : Doing together

Tapping Touch is very simple. It is easy to learn, and you can do it right away. However, because it is so simple, if you do it incorrectly the effectiveness will be reduced and the receiver may even become uncomfortable.

doing together

The most important thing when giving Tapping Touch to someone is to make sure that you touch gently and easily, without using force, so that your partner feels no physical or psychological discomfort. The process should be relaxing for both you and your partner. I personally like to use the image that the two of us are basking together in warm sunshine.

In Tapping Touch, there are basically 4 ways of touching. There are: "Tapping," "Soft Touch," "Cat's Knitting," and "Elephant-Trunk." In this section, I would like to describe how to give Tapping Touch using "Tapping"

First, the shape of the hands for Tapping Touch is like a hand of a person caressing a baby. The easy way to form the hand correctly is to briefly open your hands wide and then let go of the tension of the hands, which leaves you with gently rounded hands.

Then, you tap alternately, using the fingertips of the left and right hand to tap softly. Most people use all five fingers on each hand, but depending on what part of the body you are tapping, there are times when it is easier to omit the thumb or little finger.

I want to emphasize here that tapping should be very gentle. More precisely, it's somewhere between "tapping" and "touching." Intending to make it more effective, many people tap rather hard. In this way, it may have some massage-like effects on the receiver's body, but it seems to leave out his or her mind/heart. As you practice, please remember that Tapping Touch is not a form of massage.

The tapping speed is rather difficult to explain with words. But, you may find it easier to learn that the speed of tapping is about the same as that of easy walking. Or, it may be easier for you tap regularly between the left and right hands, with approximately one tap from each side per second, or little slower. This approximates the sound and rhythm of a slow heartbeat, which is known to have beneficial effects.

People naturally have a preference for receiving Tapping Touch at a certain speed, intensity, and/or area of the body. So, it is better to make it customary to check with the receiver, asking something like "How does this feel? Too much?" "Where else do you want me to do?" This will help both you and your partner to be more relaxed and comfortable with each other.

Much more can be communicated with gentle, relaxed touching than with "purposeful" or "goal-oriented" touching. This will become quite obvious to you after you have some experience. Much of our modern society is impetuous and oriented toward effectiveness and results. By doing Tapping Touch, we can return to our natural unhurried rhythm.

For the best results, it is better to take a turn and do Tapping Touch to each other. The recommended length of time for Tapping Touch is about 10 - 15 minutes per person. So, about 30 minutes is the ideal amount of time for you and your partner.

doing together

Sometimes, it is not appropriate to take turns as in a hospital setting where you are doing it for someone who is sick. In that case, of course, you don't need to take turns. Generally, the person who performs Tapping Touch receives basically the same effects, such as relaxation and calmness.

Many people in this modern society find it very difficult to spare time for relaxation doing something for others. Even for 15 minutes!

So, I would like to recommend that you intentionally set some time aside for relaxing and caring for each other. Usually, Tapping Touch becomes easier and more enjoyable after a few minutes; therefore, 15 - 30 minutes will feel very short and valuable.

Instruction (Basic form)

STEP 1 : Positioning yourself / Sitting behind the partner

After you explain what Tapping Touch is and the partner agrees to receive it from you, sit behind the partner.

The receiver should be seated with his or her back toward you. You can both choose to sit on a chair, or on the floor, whichever is comfortable. If chairs are used, the receiver should sit sideways (or straddle the chair) so that the back of the chair does not interfere with your touching.

STEP 2 : Shaking out the tension in your hands.

Shake your hands and arms before they begin tapping so that you will have relaxed body and mind.

STEP 3 : Positioning your hands / Touching your partner

instruction image 01

Position your hands lightly on a spot between the shoulder blades of the receiver, just below the neck. Your hand should be lightly touching, rather than pressing down, briefly (about 5 seconds). This will help the receiver to get used to the feel of your hands and to know that you will start tapping now. Have your partner relax and round his or her back a little, as if basking in the sunshine.

STEP 4 : Tapping on the upper back (2 or 3min.)

Tap gently and rhythmically, alternating your left and right hands, at the place where your hands rested, as shown in the illustration.

instruction image 02

Keep your hands separated by about the distance of a clenched fist and tap gently with the round fleshy parts of your fingers.

It is best to tap in a regular pattern between the left and right hands at walking speed.

Be careful not to turn it into a massage. Tapping Touch looks somewhat like percussive massage, but the fundamental principles are quite different. The tapping should be very light, with relaxed arms. The key words here are "gentle" and "comfortable."

Here you are establishing the basis for Tapping Touch, so spend a little extra time.

STEP 5 : Moving down to the lower back (2 or 3min.)

Now move down your partner's back to the lower position. There are many acupressure points on either side of the spine, within two inches on both sides. So, tapping along these areas have health facilitating effects.

Since many people keep a great deal of stress and emotion bound up in the lower back, spend some extra time here. It is easier to tap the lower back if the receiver leans forward slightly. Be sure not to tap hard. Here you can also try out "Elephant-Trunk" touch (described on page 21).

Sometimes you will encounter a person who sits up very straight and tall, with a stiff spine. Ask him or her to relax, or to round his or her back, in order to receive the tapping with less tension.

STEP 6 : Tapping the shoulder & arms (2 or 3min.)

instruction image 03

When you are done with the lower back, go up and tap the shoulders and arms. It is easier to stand up (or kneeling) when you tap the shoulder and above.

Although many people have stiff shoulders or lower backs, please make sure that you keep tapping gently. The speed and strength of tapping is basically the same throughout.

STEP 7 : Tapping the head and neck area (2 or 3min.)

Since the head and neck areas are sensitive for most people, it's better to ask the receiver if it is okay for you to do there. Also, because of the sensitivity, it's usually more comfortable for the receiver if you touch gently. There are numerous acupressure points on the shoulder, neck and head, as well as on the back.

STEP 8 : Tapping freely (2 or 3min.)

instruction image 04

After you finish the shoulder, neck and head areas, tap freely across the back. It is also the good time to ask the recipient if there is any place where he or she would like you to pay special attention. Here, you might want to try out "Soft Touch" and "Cat's Knitting" (p.19-20) and see how the receiver likes them.

STEP 9 : Touching and being with the partner

instruction image 05

After you have finished tapping, position your hands lightly on a spot between the shoulder blades of the receiver, just below the neck. This is the same posture that you used at the beginning. But this time leave your hands there quietly a little longer (about 30 seconds), so that the person can enjoy the full benefits of Tapping Touch. This way of finishing brings a deep and abiding sense of peace, and it is a very enjoyable part of the interaction.

STEP 10 : Brushing your hands down the back to finish

Gently brush your hands several times down your partner's back and arms. This signals that the Tapping Touch session is over, and nonverbally communicates: "You are all right. Everything is all right."

STEP 11 : Ending and switching positions

The recommended time taken for Tapping Touch is about 15 minutes per person. After finishing and sharing the experience with each other, you can switch positions.

Instruction Pamphlet

Pamphlet (PDF file format)

Four ways of touching in Tapping Touch

Basically, there are 4 ways of touching; "Tapping," "Soft Touch," "Cat's Knitting," and "Elephant-Trunk." Generally, Tapping is performed first and then touching in the other ways can be done according to the receiver's needs and preferences. They provide different sensations and effects.

  1. "Tapping"

    Gently tapping alternately with the balls of the fingers

  2. "Soft Touch"

    Softly touching alternately with the palms of relaxed hands

  3. "Cat's Knitting"

    Pressing down alternately with the soft parts of rounded hands

  4. "Elephant Trunk"

    Gently hitting alternately with the backs of relaxed hands

Copyright 2010, The Association of Tapping Touch.