Ep. #106: Tapping to Heal with Marcella Friel

Today’s guest, Marcella Friel, brings us the wonderful world of tapping (Emotional Freedom Technique, or EFT). Marcella is a food and forgiveness mentor for health conscious women, and one of her specialities is using tapping to heal. In this episode, Marcella does a round of tapping with me that you can follow along with if you’d like to give it a try!

Tapping can be so helpful! Personally, I’ve been using an app called The Tapping Solution recently, and it’s been a really excellent way to wind down and connect with myself.

In the upcoming months you’ll be hearing from LOTS of guests, as I’ll be taking a bit of a maternity leave. There will still be a new episode every Thursday, just fewer solo-casts until after the baby is born.

Food & Forgiveness Mentor

Marcella considers herself a food and forgiveness mentor for health conscious women. Her main tool? Tapping! This is also sometimes referred to as EFT or the Emotional Freedom Techniques. She has a book, two bestselling courses on The Daily Om, and an online mentorship academy all centered around healing our relationships with our bodies, food, and emotions.

Marcella shares that she grew up with an immigrant background, and never remember dieting as a young woman. The older women in her family didn’t read fashion magazines or take part in “diet culture”, so she didn’t have much awareness or interest in that area.

Later, Marcella attended culinary school and continued to grow her interest in the healing properties of food. As she continued learning, she decided to combine tapping with her therapeutic food work. As she started hearing her client’s stories, she recognized the power of using food to cope with emotional pain and trauma.

Even though she hadn’t experienced dieting, Marcella had dealt with her own trauma and pain. Now, she’s that food and dieting are not the answer to emotional pain and healing.

Tapping to Heal

I shared with Marcella that I found tapping after I had already healed my relationships with food. Even though it wasn’t part of my early intuitive eating journey, I definitely see how it could play a powerful, helpful role!

She shares that the idea of emotional freedom found in tapping isn’t about freeing ourselves from all negative feeling. Instead, it’s about keeping emotions from becoming trapped inside. Too often, we hold onto heavy negative emotions, rather than allowing them to leave our bodies. This impacts the limbic system within our brains. Practicing EFT allows us to use tapping to release them.

As we call forward a difficult or stressful experience or feeling, we use our fingertips to tap against our skin, often on the head and face area. The tapping is used to down regulate our limbic system, and allows us to release.

Marcella shares that she used tapping to release shame and negativity around comments her sister had made about her body as a child. Even though they may have seemed like silly, childish things, some of those comments had stuck! EFT helped her release them, as well as the body shame she had held as a result.

Who Do You Think You Are?

When she started her career, Marcella kept feeling doubt around her ability. The words, “Who do you think you are?” kept ringing through her head.

Marcella worked with a tapping practitioner to revisit early memories that had created the belief that she had to be alone to ever succeed. With tapping, she was able to choose a new belief that was empowering and positive. By engaging in the emotional healing process herself, she was better equipped to work with others who desired the same freedom.

Another way to use tapping? To deal with the present! Recently, Marcella realized that the fires and environmental tragedy on the west coast had really been impacting her. Recognizing the amount of grief and pain she held, she used tapping to access and release it.

Tapping is part of soul healing. It’s a chance to really transform at the deepest levels, and it is a powerful way to work through body shame, emotional eating (allowing yourself to feel instead of consume!), and disconnection with self.

If you’re thinking your problem is “sugar addiction“….think again! As you resolve the emotional issues, you’ll find your own, organic relationship with any food or substance that has felt problematic in your life

Archetypes of Feminine Power

Marcella shares that, with her clients, she uses the seasons to work with various female archetypes. This includes the Maiden, Mother, Queen, and Crone, and can encompass many ways of feeling and being. Throughout this rich cycle, client work includes tapping, reflection, wholistic nutrition, Ayurveda work, and more.

I love holistic approaches, because they show how many elements are included in our relationship with food! From relationships with power, to how we were mothered….food begins to connect to so many things in our lives. Tapping to heal is powerful because it allows you to enter into this relationship in a new way, and finally release things that have been pain points.

Marcella notes that this is one more reason why dieting just doesn’t work. When you don’t deal with the emotional elements of food, restriction and binging won’t serve you in the long run. Instead, you hold things together as long as you can, and then everything falls apart. This is painful, and creates more shame and guilt, which usually kicks off another dieting cycle.

A Tapping Demonstration

Let’s try it out! We’re going to be using the phrase “I don’t like the way my body looks.” as a starting point. You can be even more specific if you have a body part you’re specifically struggling with.

For tapping to heal, here is a basic framework to get set up:

  1. Identify the issue you want to tap on.
  2. Ask yourself what emotions come up around that issue: shame, disgust, overwhelm, panic, etc.
  3. Gauge how distressed you feel about the thought/issue, using a 1-10 scale.
  4. Create your set up statement by tapping the fleshy, outer part of one hand with the fingers of your other hand.
  5. Move through the rest of the tapping points with a variety of statements and questions.

In our session, the statement we used to start with was:

Even though I feel __________ when I __________ I deeply love and accept myself anyways.

If you listen in, you’ll hear how we move through different tapping locations and statements in our session. Tapping can feel really strange, because you use a lot of seemingly negative statements. However, speaking true things out loud (even if they are hard) while engaging in tapping can be a powerful form of release and freedom!

Honor & Acknowledge

Once you’ve honored and acknowledged a possible hard truth….you can start to question it. What if that “terrible” idea really isn’t true at all? And what if you can actually choose a new belief?

Starting with a hard truth that feels really, really REAL and true is powerful, especially if you’ve gotten used to the overly positive self-help world that seems to always be pushing us towards positivity. The relief of feeling hard things, and even saying hard things out loud, is incredible.

If you haven’t tried tapping before, you might find it a useful healing modality! (And if you don’t connect with it, that’s okay too!)

And if you do give it a try….I’d LOVE to hear about it. Send me an email or a DM and let me know how it goes!

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