Nick Ortner: The Tapping Solution for Pain Relief – #219
By: Dave Asprey
May 15, 2015
Why you should listen –
Nick Ortner comes on Bulletproof Radio today and explains what “tapping” actually is, how tapping was discovered, how tapping can treat pain and stress, and his new book “The Tapping Solution for Pain Relief”. Enjoy the show!
Nick Ortner is CEO of The Tapping Solution, a company with a mission to bring simple, effect, natural healing into the mainstream through “tapping.” He is a bestselling author with his book, “The Tapping Solution: A Revolutionary System for Stress-Free Living.” Nick is the creator and producer of a breakthrough documentary film, “The Tapping Solution,” which chronicles ten people overcoming tremendous challenges using tapping. He has presented live tapping sessions and shared the stage with speakers of the caliber of Wayne Dyer, Louise Hay, Jack Canfield, Bob Proctor, Lynne McTaggart, and others.
What You Will Hear
- 0:16 – Cool Fact of the Day!
- 0:51 – Welcome Nick Ortner
- 5:47 – What is tapping
- 9:35 – How tapping helps
- 13:10 – EMDR vs. tapping
- 17:26 – Origins of tapping
- 20:05 – The Tapping Solution documentary
- 25:35 – Jumping in with both feet
- 32:18 – Tapping exercise
- 42:06 – The Tapping Solution for Pain Relief
- 47:12 – Top three recommendations for kicking more ass and being Bulletproof!
Questions for the podcast?
Leave your questions and responses in the comments section below. If you want your question to be featured on the next Q&A episode, submit it in the Podcast Question form! You can also ask your questions and engage with other listeners through The Bulletproof Forum, Twitter, and Facebook!
Dave Asprey: Hey everyone! It’s Dave Asprey with Bulletproof Radio. Today’s cool fact of the day is that some people really mean it when they say they know what you’re feeling. Those people have a disorder called mirror-touch synesthesia, which is a disorder of the mirror neurons that fire whenever they see someone else experience something.
They actually feel whatever they watch another person experience. I think the technical word for it is that would totally suck.
It’s healthy that we have mirror neurons because they allow us to empathize and it’s a core part of how we learn, how we connect to other people, but if it’s misfiring, that would be worse than normal synesthesia which would be cool to be able to smell the color red. That I would be up for trying.
Today’s guest on Bulletproof Radio is Nick Ortner, who’s CEO of The Tapping Solution. He’s a author of the New York Times bestselling book called The Tapping Solution and he’s created a documentary film by the same name.
You’ve heard me talk with Nick before because tapping’s a really interesting way to talk to your nervous system at a level that you probably don’t normally talk to your nervous system. He’s been on Dr. Oz and Psychology Today, Women’s Health, Huffington Post. He’s basically a kind of a famous guy. The Tapping Solution is a big deal, I think is the technical term for it.
Nick, welcome to the show!
Nick Ortner: Hey, thanks, David. Like you said, I’ve been on Dr. Oz, but I never watch the show so it wasn’t that big of a deal to be on there. I listen to your podcast all the time. It’s a regular on my podcast feed so I was ready for the cool fact of the day and I just remembered, I didn’t plan for the three things at the end.
Now I’m like oh man. I had years to plan for my three amazing things. I’m just going to have to be off the cuff with it.
Dave Asprey: That’s good because off the cuff is better. When people strategically plan the most important things, it’s always like they’re reading from a laundry list. We don’t want that.
Nick Ortner: Yeah. With your cool fact of the day answered a question for me. I had a buddy in college who when we were watching Friends, it was like a hot show on TV then, he could not watch it. Whenever there’s an uncomfortable situation going on, he would just freak out, leave the room. Absolute panic.
Dave Asprey: Really?
Nick Ortner: I think that he had … We all have this. It certainly plays into what we’re going to talk about today with our emotional system and stress. We all have this empathy where we connect with people, but he just felt it so deeply that he was just like I can’t watch this embarrassing situation. I’m out of the room.
Dave Asprey: Wow. That’s interesting. So you’ve actually met someone like that.
Nick Ortner: I don’t know if he had the disorder, but it was serious for him.
Dave Asprey: Wow. People are so unusual. Just the amount of wiring into the things that drive people nuts. I’m working on the Bulletproof Biohacking labs up here in my house, and we have a float tank. It just got installed.
Nick Ortner: Yeah.
Dave Asprey: One of the people who’s helping to clean it was in this thing. It was like a giant clam shell, like either spacecraft or coffin. She was getting the sawdust out that was left over from construction because we’re filling it.
One of the other guys was like here, let me close that for you. She just about jumped out of her skin because we have those little triggers in there. It was a claustrophobia thing. If you have that, it’s amazing.
Now, if you met someone like that who had claustrophobia, knowing that you’re basically hacking our nervous system with tapping, is there something you could do for someone who had a claustrophobia?
Nick Ortner: No doubt about it. No doubt about it. I could work with them and perhaps get what we call one-minute miracles where we literally tap for five or ten minutes and she never has claustrophobia again. Or it might need more time.
Yeah, I’ve seen it happen. It’s shocking, the speed in some circumstances, but I don’t want to say that that’s common or what happens all the time. Though it does happen. If it wasn’t that, within an hour of session, within a couple of sessions where we dig back and say okay.
What’s claustrophobia? Likely some experience at some point in her life that triggered that event. It could be as simple as being four years old, being in a closet when you’re playing hide and go seek and having panic set in, and then all of a sudden, the body, nervous system, everything says this is an unsafe situation.
Boom, claustrophobia sets in. Or it could be a really traumatic experience where someone really had something terrible happened to them. Sometimes it’s the simple things in life that set us up for failures in the future and to have these difficult experiences and sometimes it’s the complicated things that build up to create PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder, and so forth. Yeah, no doubt about it.
One of the things that my friends and family say about me and tapping is that don’t say anything is wrong around Nick because he’ll make you tap on it. If I was there and she was panicking, I’d say let’s explore this right now because that’s one of the things about this tool.
It’s so easy to explore. It’s not like you’ve got to go away for a week. It’s not that you have to study for a year. You can have an experience within five minutes and then decide for yourself. Is it working or not?
Dave Asprey: I actually failed to mention that we have a live studio audience today. It’s a live studio audience of one. Gordy Murgo from Business Week is here because they’re doing a profile. I’m just realizing that he probably doesn’t know what tapping is, which means everyone driving in their car right now probably also doesn’t know.
Nick Ortner: Exactly. They think we’re talking about tap dancing and they say Dave’s really gone off edge here.
Dave Asprey: I’ve got special shoes, man. I just realized that I should have led into that a little bit better for people who haven’t heard of your work.
What is tapping? Let’s define it and then we’ll go into what you would do in a case of claustrophobia or PTSD or something because it’s a fast thing. I’ve seen it work in ways that doesn’t even make sense.
Nick Ortner: Yeah. Tapping, we call it tapping because we are literally physically tapping on end points of meridians of our body. Another term for it, the type of tapping that I use is EFT, emotional freedom technique.
I generally describe it as a combination of ancient Chinese acupressure, that’s the tapping component and modern psychology. As we do this tapping, we’re focused on the issue in front of us, the stress, the anxiety, the overwhelm, the panic, the limiting beliefs, whatever is going on.
This has been around for over 30 years. For a long time the discussion around it was around the energy system in the body and energy fields and meridians and stuff that I do think we’re finding more research on. I think in time we’re going to be able to say we can see it now. We can pinpoint it, but that research is still lagging.
What we’re finding in the last couple of years, really last five years of research is that when we tap on these end points of meridians, we send a calming signal to the amygdala in the brain. Dave, you know and a lot of your listeners and viewers know that the amygdala is that fight or flight center. It’s the stressed part of our brain.
We’re focused on a difficult situation. Claustrophobia, for example. When she has that reaction, it’s her amygdala that’s controlling the show. It’s her amygdala that’s firing.
What we do with the tapping is we bring up that reaction or it happens naturally oftentimes, and we tap on these end points of meridians. Send a calming signal to the amygdala, and in essence, counteract that signal. Someone can go and then have the same experience, and the amygdala just doesn’t fire.
Why is it that some people fly in a plane and they’re comfortable and relaxed and other people just thinking about flying? I work with many people who fear flying, and we could sit, talking on Skype like this and I’d say, imagine getting on a plane and they start sweating. There’s no logic to that. There’s no immediate danger, but the nervous system is so trained to have that fear.
It’s my belief that literally everything in our life, every challenge in some way, shape or form comes down to that amygdala and to feelings of safety. Being safe in the body.
I mean financial things. If you’re stuck financially, if you’re stuck procrastinating and not doing the things that you want to do. If you have a book you’ve wanted to publish for 10 years and you just oh, I procrastinate. I never get it done.
What’s it all about? It’s not about that you’re not setting the time or you don’t have the right discipline. That all comes after we address the feelings of safety because if you don’t feel safe publishing that book, if you think the second I put it out there, it’s going to be on Amazon, it’s going to get criticized.
Dave, if you don’t feel safe having a reporter in your kitchen, you’re not going to take the steps to get there. You’re going to, usually unconsciously, sabotage yourself. You’re not going to return the phone call. You’re going to delay. You’re not going to write. You’re going to do all these things to keep yourself safe.
With tapping, whether it be claustrophobia and those kinds of active fears or limiting beliefs and beliefs about who we are. We’re always managing that safety and that fight or flight response.
Dave Asprey: You and I are 100 percent aligned on that, that fear is at the underlying or fear is the underlying thing behind pretty much every behavior you don’t like unless it’s I’m too tired because my biology’s broken.
As soon as your biology’s working, the next step is what am I afraid of that I don’t know I’m afraid of because it’s so scary that my nervous system told me not to pay attention to it. That is the challenge of being human and certainly the challenge of kicking ass.
There’s a ton of skepticism towards tapping. Heck, towards acupuncture and you’re basically [inaudible 09:40] acupuncture and meridians. Okay, you’re telling people here who are dealing with massive fears.
I’ve had PTSD. People on my team have had PTSD. It is heavy-duty gut-wrenching stuff and you’re saying that you can basically tap between your eyes and it just turns off? Do you see you …
Nick Ortner: Yeah, no, there’s no doubt about it. One of the things … I mentioned it’s been around for 30 years and I often ask myself … I’ve been doing this for over a decade and as you see, just one of my roles in the world is just to spread this.
I ask myself why has it taken it so long to get accepted because the results are there. We’re tapping now with veterans with PTSD. If a guy came back from Iraq and Afghanistan and nothing else is working.
Conventional treatment isn’t working, meds aren’t working, everything they’re doing isn’t working, and he does this silly tapping thing, six sessions or less, decreasing PTS symptoms dramatically. This is research, both the research is there and the user testimonials.
I think the fact that it is silly, that it looks funny, that it’s certainly a stretch from what we’ve been doing, is one of the things that’s held it back. People go oh, come on. I also think the fact that it works so well in some way hurts that.
A lot of the early proponents and there are a lot of psychiatrists or psychologists doing it now. Thousands of them. You’ll talk to them, all say I was doing it the other way for 30 years. I brought this into my practice. It changed everything. I’ve heard that 1,000 times.
I think the fact that it works so well, that it’s funny, that … What is taking some time, but for the skeptics out there, it’s really easy.
You give it five or ten minutes. You pick a personal experience. You pick something you’re angry about, something you’re stressed about, something you’re anxious about. You follow the process, you learn it. You’re going to know in ten minutes that something different happened. You’ll just know in your brain.
It still surprises me. I’ll be pissed off about something or I’ll be stressed and I’ll go oh yeah, there’s that tapping thing I should try. I remember and I sit there and I do it. Even though I’m angry that this didn’t work out the way that …
The feeling that comes over after me is so strange because what happens is … At least the way I can describe it. Everyone’s experience is so different. After you do it, there’s just such a disconnect from the anger.
You can try to reach for it. You can try to get mad again and just nothing happens because you’re just disconnected from the emotion. You’ve turned off the nervous system and it says I’m good to go. This is an old issue. It doesn’t bother me anymore. I’m moving forward.
In fact, one of the things that we do in tapping is whenever we’re working, we give it a number, whatever we’re working on, on a zero to ten scale. If we don’t give it that number before …
First, it’s great to see the progress and to measure it, but oftentimes if we don’t give it that number, I’ll work with someone, they’ll say I’m so angry at my mom. I can’t believe this.
I forget to give the number, we do the tapping and they’ve shifted their consciousness so much that they say I wasn’t ever really angry at her. I’m like can we rewind the videotape because just five minutes ago, you were fuming.
When we move forward in our lives, you know this. When you overcome a challenge, sometimes you’ll think back a year later and go oh man, that used to be a real challenge in my life and I don’t even recognize that anymore. I’ve fixed that. I’ve hacked that. This is just part of who I am now. That’s the human experience. If we move past something, we just go to the next thing.
Dave Asprey: I’ve had people on the show talking about EMDR, which is a technique and I’ve actually done it. I actually don’t have a lot of trauma left with all the [inaudible 13:19] like there aren’t a lot of triggers, but there was something I was just having a hard time practicing forgiveness on.
I don’t want to hold other people’s grudges so I’ll forgive stuff. I don’t have to tell the person I forgave them, but I’m just not holding onto it anymore and that allows me to run my business without fear and to be a good dad and all the other things that are on my list of things to do.
When I was doing EMDR, which is you move your eyes back and forth in a certain way to access a reset mode, my eyes got tired. The therapist switched over to tapping.
Nick Ortner: Yeah.
Dave Asprey: She was tapping on meridian points and that actually worked way more effectively for me than the eye movement thing. Is that a common thing?
Nick Ortner: EMDR is great. I consider it a cousin of tapping. I think they’re in the same family. My preference is towards tapping. One of the things that I love about it is EMDR has to be done with a therapist. Tapping can be done with a therapist and that’s great and it’s great to go to a trained practitioner, a coach, a therapist.
If you have a psychiatric disorder, don’t do this on yourself. Go to a therapist who uses tapping who can help you along. I hear this from so many …
We’ve trained a lot of people in my hometown and we can talk about that towards the end of the show, which is Newtown, Connecticut, the site of the Sandy Hook shooting so we’ve been doing a lot of training around that trauma.
One of the things I hear from therapists on the ground all the time is that they feel that when clients walk away, they’ve given them a tool they can use in between sessions. It’s one thing to be together for an hour a week and hey, that’s great, but what happens in the thick of it.
Giving them that tool so they feel empowered and I think that’s one of the baselines. There’s a lot of things going on with the tapping. Certainly the physical component, but I think one of the baseline things that makes it so effective is that people take their power back.
They’re finally able to say oh my gosh, I thought the anger controlled me. I thought the anxiety controlled me. I thought the pain controlled me.
For someone who’s been in pain for 20 years, I’ve seen people eliminate it completely with tapping, but even if they just reduce it a little bit, to know they can spend five minutes and take the edge off …
After spending 20 years and being at the mercy of doctors. Being at the mercy of surgeries. Being at the mercy of medications. Taking that power back is a big step forward to healing no matter what you’re doing.
Dave Asprey: These are bigger and bigger impacts that you’re discussing here. You’ve got some notable supporters. Dr. Mercola has came out with this.
Years ago when you first read about it before you and I had met and got to know each other, I was like alright, I’ll try this. I went to his post and I tried it. I don’t remember what on, but I totally didn’t get any effect.
Nick Ortner: Yep.
Dave Asprey: How common is that? It’s possible I was doing it wrong. It’s possible I was being overly analytical because I’m trying to monitor my own experiment. I have no idea, but it didn’t work. When I did it with a therapist, it did have a very noticeable impact on reducing the reaction that I was feeling.
Nick Ortner: Yeah.
Dave Asprey: Why the difference there?
Nick Ortner: Well, it certainly … It matters what you’re working on for your first experience. Oftentimes people just try to be really broad so they’ll say alright, let me see if I can work on fixing my whole life and the stress that I have, that’s not going to feel terrible.
As opposed to saying, for me, that initial experience, get really specific. That one thing that you can’t forgive that person for that is driving you crazy that you just can’t stop thinking about it. Focus on that.
There are certainly ways that I can cue someone in doing the tapping to be specific, to have the experience [inaudible 17:03]. I think there’s ways that you can refine the process down to have a better experience.
Some people might not feel it right away. They might have to try more or try it with a coach. Try it in different ways. Anything that you give five minutes to, if even 50 percent of the people have an experience and a result in five minutes, that’s pretty good.
Dave Asprey: How did you discover this in the first place? It’s not intuitive.
Nick Ortner: Yeah. I didn’t create EFT like I said. It was discovered … The tapping process was discovered 30 years ago by Dr. Roger Callahan. He was a traditional psychologist working with regular clients and being pretty frustrated.
Again, when I talk to psychologists and psychiatrists, they mostly say I got into this profession to help people and I’m just frustrated that I work with someone for five, ten years and they’re not getting anywhere, that it’s the same stuff.
Callahan was the same way. He was working with a client by the name of Mary. She had a water phobia. Severe panic drinking water. It was just all out water phobia. You can’t imagine.
Dave Asprey: It’s bad for your skin.
Nick Ortner: Yeah. No, shower, everything. It was just an out and out illogical phobia. They did the traditional things. Talking about it, some exposure therapy. Okay, let’s look at it, let’s try to do some deep breathing. That kind of thing. Weren’t getting anywhere.
One day they’re sitting by Dr. Callahan’s pool at his home office and she’s looking at the water and saying you know, when I look at the water, I just feel queasy in my stomach. I feel like I have butterflies in my stomach.
Callahan had been hearing and reading about the acupuncture meridians and knew that the stomach meridian ends underneath the eye. Really just on a whim he says okay, try tapping underneath the eye. She starts tapping like this 30, 40 seconds. All of a sudden she goes it’s gone.
He was like what do you mean it’s gone? The butterflies in your stomach are gone? Yeah, those are gone, but the phobia is gone. Just like that to the point where she’s like I want to get in the water. He’s like I don’t know if you know how to swim. This is a lifelong water phobia.
You can imagine. He was blown away by that result. He proceeded to work on the different points and set up the system and one of his clients, Gary, Craig, is the guy who developed EFT. What he basically did was simplify. He said instead of doing different algorithms for different things, let’s just do the same thing every time so we can remember it, so we can share with people and for simplicity’s sake.
That’s what I learned personally over a decade ago. I started using it with friends and family. One of my first experiences was a little crick in my neck, which was just like woke up with pain in my neck. It’s pretty bad. I heard the tapping works for pain relief. I said why not. Let me try it. I tapped for five minutes. The pain was gone.
Since then, the last decade, what I’ve saved with pain relief, we can get into that later because it is just mind-blowing.
A couple years after my initial experiences, I decided to make a documentary about tapping and that’s The Tapping Solution film. I know that you’re in the mix of a documentary right now so you know the ins and outs of it. To give you an idea, when I started the film, I had no filmmaking experience at all. I mean literally zero.
Dave Asprey: Sounds familiar.
Nick Ortner: I bought $40,000 worth of camera equipment on credit cards and credit lines. I was in real estate at the time. I was buying, fixing up and selling properties. I knew nobody in the field. I mean not a single person in the tapping field, but I knew that this technique worked and I knew that if we could just start rolling and just start filming, we’d make it work.
Somehow we released it a year later. It’s gone on to sell, I don’t know, 150,000 copies at this point of the film and I think in large part because it works. People see it, the film demonstrates really clearly. We have some people in the film that we brought in to show the results.
One of the things that I wanted was … The Secret had just come out. It was like hot Secret time. I thought it was a great film and inspiring, but there was no real people in there and I wanted to say okay, this technique really works. Let’s bring people in.
We did this even where we brought ten people in from around the country. Filmed them at their homes beforehand. They come to the event. We tapped with them and we filmed them during the event and afterwards.
To me it was like let’s put this to the test in real life because that skepticism you talked about, it’s there. When you see John, Vietnam veteran with 30 years of chronic back pain, multiple surgeries.
You see his x-rays. You see everything the doctors told him was wrong with his back. The list of one thing after another. You see John do the tapping and wake up the second morning pain-free for the first time in 30 years. I mean 30 years?
That’s when you start saying there’s something going on here that we have to explore a little further. I think we need to be adult enough in these conversations to set aside the well, it looks funny and I don’t get where it’s come from and say there’s a man who had pain for 30 years and now he doesn’t. There’s a woman who had fibromyalgia for 15 years and now she’s symptom free.
There’s a bigger conversation to be had here about what we know to be true about ourselves and about pain and what we have yet to explore.
Dave Asprey: Are you a fan of Jon Sarnoff’s work?
Nick Ortner: Yeah. [Crosstalk 22:35]
Dave Asprey: Sorry. No, sorry.
Nick Ortner: Yeah, yeah. It’s amazing work. My next book is The Tapping Solution for Pain Relief and a lot of what I wrote in there builds on what he discussed. He’s absolutely right about the mind-body connection with pain.
Dave Asprey: I’m really stoked on your new book for that kind of perspective. Few people understand how much control you have over your own biology because your biology has layers in place to keep you from knowing you have control.
Nick Ortner: Yeah.
Dave Asprey: It tricks you into not having control. There’s something about that school of teaching that says you either distract the nervous system or you somehow find an interface to it and then all of a sudden you can do things that frankly, shouldn’t be possible except that they work.
I’m really pleased that the guy, Callahan, who discovered this. If he had been a little too skeptical and maybe gone through enough of a strict western medical school, he might’ve said oh, the phobia didn’t disappear because it couldn’t have.
Nick Ortner: Yes.
Dave Asprey: Despite the fact that the phobia is gone, it couldn’t have so it didn’t happen. I see this reverse science process all the time.
Nick Ortner: Yeah.
Dave Asprey: With nutrition and with mind-body and even just with functional medicine. It doesn’t work because it can’t. The data says it works so we can say it. We don’t know why it works and we don’t like it that it works and it’s annoying that it works.
Nick Ortner: Yeah.
Dave Asprey: Or it may be I don’t believe that it works, but let’s follow up. Either the experiment was wrong, but this outright dismissal of stuff like this is unscientific.
Nick Ortner: It is. It is and what you always here is the placebo effect. That’s always the question, was it the placebo effect. Well, the research studies are beating the placebo so that’s step one and a lot of research is coming in.
Then the other component with the placebo effect and conversation is starting to change around that and that’s everything has a placebo effect in it. Everything. Everything that you do, because a placebo effect is the mind’s positive expectation of a positive outcome.
If you start there, that’s a good place to start. Whatever you’re doing, if you’re taking a pill, it’s like people say well, I’m trying to decide what to do with my cancer treatment and I’m so torn between going natural and chemotherapy.
Then I read all this stuff about chemo, but then I went and got chemo, but I was sitting there getting chemo and I was so nervous and anxious and I thought I was poisoning myself.
It’s like whatever you decide, go fully into it. If you’re getting chemo, you are just psyched, full of positive expectation. Positive endorphins, positive belief system that says I made this decision. I’m sticking with it. I’m going to relax. I’m going to reduce the stress in my body. Whatever you do, if you go alternative, good. Buy into it fully.
I think that’s step one to everything you do and we can’t discount that and say well, it’s got [inaudible 25:29] positive belief in here and that’s what’s affecting things. Well, great. Let’s do it.
Dave Asprey: Jumping in with both feet is amazing, just having the right attitude. I had a chance last year to meet the CEO of a very big company who had pancreatic cancer, the same kind that Steve Jobs had.
Nick Ortner: Yeah.
Dave Asprey: He doesn’t have it anymore. He found out just like you said. He’s like I’m going to go for it and he jumped in. Strict ketosis diet, injected himself with insulin during chemo when the doctors weren’t looking.
Nick Ortner: Yeah.
Dave Asprey: Just full on just manages like a boss and did enough to shrink his tumor to make it operable and did it. His family never knew because he didn’t want to freak out his kids.
Nick Ortner: Wow.
Dave Asprey: I so admire that, but that’s that whole jumping in. If you come in with that fear and uncertainty, I honestly don’t think you’d probably be around.
Seeing that kind of thing happen is remarkable, but are you proposing in your new book, the pain book, that people who have a hang-up about something like surgery or about chemo or whatever it is that they’re going to go through, that they can do something, tapping in the right spots in order to reduce their own internal resistance to jumping in with both feet?
Nick Ortner: 100 percent, so if someone has a surgery scheduled, what I would say is you sit down and you make a list of all your fears about the surgery. You read here that this could go wrong. You don’t know how it’s going to heal. You’re stressed about this, you’re stressed about that. Then you do the tapping process on each of those individual things.
You want to walk into that operating room … I’m not saying that you’re going to walk in like there’s not an ounce of nerves, but it’s like comparing to speaking on stage. If you have stage fright, we can bring down the stage fright so you walk out there maybe with a couple butterflies in your stomach. Like oh, this is exciting, but it’s not that you’re sweating and refuse to go on stage.
That’s what we want to do with surgery. That’s what we want to do with … One of the things I see with pain relief is that people get so stuck on the diagnosis that they’ve been given. It’s like a death sentence. They are told this and if we look at the situation, you’re going into …
You’re scared already. You’ve been in pain, something happened. You were in an accident. There’s pain that won’t go away. You go to a doctor. They run all these tests. These aren’t usually comfortable environments. They’re just not. There are busy people, they’re well-meaning people. The news usually isn’t delivered in the nicest fashion and usually because this is what the doctors have to do legally, they lay out everything that could go wrong.
They lay out your time frame, your prognosis, etcetera. I would love doctors to say here’s your diagnosis, but just so you know I’ve seen people heal from this. I’ve seen people … But it’s always like don’t get false hope. It’s as negative as can be.
Now think about that individual. Already in a stressed state, already in pain. In a vulnerable place, listening to an authority figure with a white coat. It’s like a parent, it might as well be a parent, say this is the truth about your life. This is the reality about your back. This is the reality about your pain, about your cancer, about whatever’s going on.
To me, the energy of that, the physiological processes that go on in the body … If we’re looking at that amygdala and the fight or flight response, it is firing on all cylinders. It doesn’t just stop firing then. You drive home and you’re stressed out about it. You tell your friends and family and you’re stressed out about it.
You wake up the next morning and you think oh, man, was that a bad dream. No, I was just given this diagnosis yesterday. You’re stressed out about it. Your whole physiology is in that fight or flight mode.
You know this, Dave. Body had two switches. It’s either growth … It’s either like growing, relaxing and healing or it’s fighting. It’s in the fight or flight response. We’re either being chased by a tiger and we’re running away and that’s where our bodies, the processes, or we’re relaxed. We’re growing, we’re healing.
I believe tapping, mindfulness, [inaudible 29:41] all of these things are just moving us in the direction of activating that healing response.
Whatever we do, whether we do chemo or whether we take drugs, whether we drink green juice, drink coffee, meditate, all these things, if we do them with a basis of this relax response, the results are going to be just through the roof. They’re going to be absolutely exponential.
Dave Asprey: Let’s say someone listening to Bulletproof radio right now is mid-level to senior-level executive.
Nick Ortner: Yeah.
Dave Asprey: Stressful job, okay relationships. Not exactly kicking ass, but not exactly failing by a long shot.
Nick Ortner: Yep.
Dave Asprey: How would they apply tapping to just performing better in general?
Nick Ortner: Yeah. Well, again, going back to that stress response. It’s my belief that for us to perform at our best, to have the creative insights, to be able to write for two hours, to be able to make great decisions, to be able to communicate effectively. A CEO, if he gets stressed out, he’s just not communicating effectively. It’s the bottom line.
Now sadly, most of our society believes that you have to be stressed. You have to show the signs of your stress because that way the rest of the company knows how hard you work.
You have to burn the candle at both ends and just power a way through it, but you and I know that that is not the most effective CEO. The most effective CEO is the one that says okay, let me look at these challenges that I have.
Here’s what happens with tapping. This is what … It’s such a beautiful process to do with meditation, to do alongside as a practice.
Let’s say a CEO is looking at something and saying okay, I have this problem. I have this challenge that these numbers aren’t working out, whatever it is. Having problems with a staff member. Doing the tapping on that specific problem. Going through the process, thinking about it and then calming the amygdala, calming the body.
What happens next? All of a sudden, there’s this insight. You know what, I didn’t even think about this. I could’ve done it this way or I can communicate this way to this employee. I can restructure what I’m doing here. I didn’t even think about that marketing idea.
If we think about when we have our best ideas, what do people always say? Oh, it’s in the shower in the morning. Oh, it’s walking in nature. I’m soaking in the bathtub. I had my eureka moment when I wasn’t actively focused on this problem.
With tapping, we’re focusing on the problem, calming the amygdala and then allowing that new creativity, that new insight to come forward.
Dave Asprey: Walk me through the tapping points and if you’re … Keep in mind half the people are watching this on iTunes video or on YouTube.
Nick Ortner: I do so many radio interviews that I will take them delicately through the process.
Dave Asprey: The other half are not on video so [inaudible 32:32], but I imagine you’re good at this by now. Alright.
Nick Ortner: Let’s actually have a little bit of an experience so people out there will take five minutes to just say okay, let’s see if something’s happening here.
Step one, we got to pick what we want to focus on. If you have pain in your body, that’s a great place to start. Even aches and pains. You’ve got some stiffness in your shoulders. You go man, I’ve been holding a lot of tension in my neck. Just pick a place in your body where it feels like it’s a little tight or tense.
If you don’t have that, if you’re calm and relaxed, pick one thing that you’re a little stressed out about. It could be petty and annoying.
Something someone said to you a week ago and you just keep … You keep running that email through your head and you just can’t let it go. Something you’re angry about. Some future event that you’re anxious about. Just pick one thing to focus on. Okay?
We have our target. Now give it a number on the zero to ten scale in intensity that way we know the shift and just pick a number. You go I’m kind of angry. It’s kind of like a six. I’m not that mad, but I’ve been thinking about it for awhile.
Then we’re going to the tapping. I’m going to use very general language. If I was working one-on-one with you or anyone else, we could go specific on them, but as long as your mind is focused on the issue, don’t worry about the language being perfect.
We’re going to start by tapping on the side of the hand. It’s called the karate chop point and it’s on the outside of the hand below the pinky. You take one hand to tap on the other. It doesn’t matter what you use and you’re using four fingers of one hand to tap on the outside of the hand. You’re just tapping continuously and then repeat after me.
Even though I’m holding onto the stress …
Dave Asprey: Even though I’m holding onto the stress …
Nick Ortner: I choose to relax now.
Dave Asprey: I choose to relax now.
Nick Ortner: While we’re still tapping on the side of the hand, we’re going to say that two more times. Even though I’m holding onto this issue …
Dave Asprey: Even though I’m holding onto this issue …
Nick Ortner: I choose to let it go.
Dave Asprey: I choose to let it go.
Nick Ortner: And one more time. Even though I’m holding onto the stress in my body …
Dave Asprey: Even though I’m holding onto the stress in my body …
Nick Ortner: It’s safe to relax and let it go.
Dave Asprey: It’s safe to relax and let it go.
Nick Ortner: Now we’re going to tap through the points. First point is the eyebrow point. Inside of the eyebrow, right where the hair ends and it meets the nose, you can take two fingers of one hand, the other hand or both hands. The meridians run down both sides of the body so just tap gently. You’re tapping five to seven times, not counting.
Focusing on your issue, thinking about it and just repeat after me. This stress.
Dave Asprey: This stress.
Nick Ortner: Now moving onto the side of the eye. It’s not at the temple. Right next to the eye on the bone. Again, one side or both sides. Thinking about your issue, this stress.
Dave Asprey: This stress.
Nick Ortner: Now under the eye, right under the bone. Again, one side or both sides. Focusing on the issue, this issue. Now under the nose, this stressful issue.
Dave Asprey: This stressful issue.
Nick Ortner: Under the mouth, it’s above the chin, below the lip in that little crease in there, right on the bone. You can curl your lip down if you want to hit it. Again, focusing on what your challenge is, this stressful issue.
Dave Asprey: This stressful issue.
Nick Ortner: Three points left. With the collarbone, just feel for the two little bones of the collarbone and you go down just an inch out to each side about an inch. You can tap with all ten fingers of both hands. This stressful issue.
Dave Asprey: Under the collarbone or on the collarbone.
Nick Ortner: It’s right underneath the collarbone. Yeah, right on the meaty part there. This stressful issue.
Dave Asprey: This stressful issue.
Nick Ortner: Underneath the arm. Three inches underneath the armpit. It’ll be right on the bra line for women. A little further down. There we go. Again, one side or both sides. This stressful issue. You can tap with all five fingers or all four fingers there.
Dave Asprey: This stressful issue.
Nick Ortner: Now last point. At the top of the head, right at the crown. This stressful issue.
Dave Asprey: This stressful issue.
Nick Ortner: Okay and now let’s do one more round now that we know the points. Back to the eyebrow and just take a moment to focus on the anger or the anxiety, the pain in your body. Whatever it is you’re feeling and just tune into it.
Now let’s go to the side of the eye. If this was something that happened or something someone said or did to you, see them saying that. Still on the side of the eye. Just see yourself thinking about it.
Now under the eye. If this was an event, play the event in your mind’s eye.
Under the nose. If this is something that’s happening in the future, just think about that. Under the mouth. If you have pain in your body, just tune into that pain. Tune into that tension.
[Inaudible 37:21] back to the collarbone point, focusing on the issue. Under the arm, focusing on the issue. Last point, top of the head. Then take a deep breath in and let it go.
That was a round or two of tapping. Now the first time you’re trying to figure out the points. What we do after every round or two is are two things.
One, tune into the original number. So you see okay, it was an eight. Great. If it was an eight and it’s a seven now, something’s shifting. Then we also pay attention to what else came up because what will often happen through the process … We did two and a half minutes there.
As you work on it longer, what you’ll find is happens is that you’ll start tapping on one thing, your back pain and all of a sudden you’ll start thinking about your boss and something that happened three months ago. Maybe that’s a clue that it’s somehow connected. It’s our unconscious mind giving us these little clues.
Really one of the beautiful things about this process that as opposed to sort of traditional therapy if you’re sitting down with someone on a couch, they’re usually leading you a bit and re-framing things for you. Well, have you thought about this? What if you forgave your mother? What if did that?
This is more of a self-directed process, whether you’re doing it with a practitioner or by yourself. As you go through the process, you find huh, I hadn’t thought about that in a long time. I wonder how it may be related to what I’m working on today.
Dave Asprey: Very cool. It sort of made me tired. I noticed that.
Nick Ortner: Well, so there’s another thing. I joke that when I speak on stage, I’m the only public speaker that doesn’t get upset when half the audience is yawning because yawns are a big part of the tapping process and it’s relaxing your body.
That’s why people yawn. That’s why people burp. I see it as a good thing. I see it as oh, your body’s finally … I’m sure you’ve been going all day and busy times and a lot happening. It’s your body’s … Saying hey let’s slow down a bit and that’s a healthy thing.
You can also use it to energize yourself. You can set that intention. You can clear blocks of being tired, but I don’t think … Getting a little tired is a good sign that maybe it’s time to breathe a little.
Dave Asprey: Who are some of the notable people who are using tapping? Are there celebrities and people like that who are …
Nick Ortner: I know some celebrities in the UK. There’s some … Well, okay, so here’s a list. Sports teams. I’ve found through the underground channels that there’s some teams that have been using it extensively, which is really exciting. The team that won the world series a couple of years ago.
I know publicly that … A lady who I know well who works for the Saint Louis Rams. She does tapping with her players.
Golfers. You got to think golf is such a mental game. A lot of golfers do it. As you know, they have the challenges that nobody talks about it because if the golfer’s doing it and it’s working for them, why is he going to give his … Guys playing against him a leg up?
What other teams? There’s the Rams, there’s the team that won the world series. I can’t say who it was, but they made a … They actually started doing it mid-season when they were way behind so you can try to figure out who it was from that.
A lot of doctors. You mentioned Dr. Mercola. He had been doing it for a long time. He’s a huge pioneer. Dr. Mark Hyman, who’s our mutual friend.
Dave Asprey: Yep.
Nick Ortner: He wrote the foreword to my book. I just spoke this integrative conference in New York City where Woody Merrill who runs Mount Sinai’s integrative center. He was there.
What all these doctors are finding is that they need better tools to manage the stress, the anxiety, the overwhelm that their patients are facing. One of the beautiful things about tapping is that it can come in to those little moments.
I love meditation. I think it’s a huge part of my life and I know it’s growing in a big way, but it’s tough to say to a patient hey, why don’t you meditate on this pain. It’s a tough thing to do passively.
Tapping on the pain, you can feel results in literally a matter of minutes. People say I got a result, I can keep doing it. It’s something that can be shared really easily with others and I think that’s one of the reasons that it’s spreading so widely.
Dave Asprey: Well, congratulations on taking a tool that can be immensely valuable and just getting it out there. There’s so many things that can help a lot of people that they’re just not aware of so they don’t ever hear.
Tell me a little bit more about, specifically, the tapping solution for pain relief. Your new book that’s just coming out, obviously mention the URL and stuff like so people who are eager to hear about this, can pick up a copy, but also walk me through why is this a different book than the last book you wrote.
Nick Ortner: Great, so it’s thetappingsolution.com is our main site where everything lives. You’ll see everything about the book there.
The difference is … In my first book, there was a chapter on pain relief. I covered the topic. The difference here is that I’ve gone deep into breaking down specifically what are the things that it takes to heal.
I mentioned the diagnosis, the energy of the diagnosis. The experience, what gets locked up in the nervous system if someone has a negative diagnosis. Once you clear that, oftentimes the pain goes away.
If there’s an accident, the trauma of the accident is huge. If every time … You had a car accident five years ago and I say hey, Dave, think about that car accident right now and you start sweating and you clench up and you’re like I don’t want to talk about it. That means it’s affecting you on a daily basis and it’s likely contributing to your pain.
In the book, I break down specifically what happened, when did it happen, how are there ways to tap on it. The book itself comes with eight tapping meditations and these are tapping processes that I take people through. A 10 to 15 minute process they can use on a daily basis, a guided process to go through the tapping.
The other thing I’ve found, Dave, is that when someone’s been in pain for a long time, it becomes part of their identity, just becomes part of who they are. It’s wired into their nervous system.
Their brain knows how to do pain and their life knows how to do pain. Oftentimes when that pain starts going away, there’s some scary decisions that have to be made.
If someone is on disability because of pain, I’m not saying oh well, they’re in pain because they don’t want to work. They want to be on disability, but it’s a factor and when it’s time to say the pain is going away. Now I have to go back to work and guess what, I hated my last job. This is a scary thing. Those things need to be addressed.
Some of the people that I found who are in the deepest pain, likely in part because they’ve had pain for so long, they’ve just lost a vision for their life. They’ve lost a vision for themselves, for what’s possible so I spent a lot of time in the book trying to bring that back to life.
The goal is obviously pain relief, but at the end of the day, the people who have already read the book and gone through it, the people who have gone through the different pain programs that I put out, they find yeah, the pain is going away, but my life is turning around.
That’s what I’m excited about. I’m certainly excited that the pain can go down. I’m more excited when someone says I found hope again. I found freedom again. I found passion. Really with anything, whether it be pain or any other physical challenge, disease, etcetera, that vision forward is a big component of it. That’s just one of the things that I get into with the book.
Dave Asprey: It’s a good read. It’s definitely [inaudible 45:18] alternative treatments and stuff and with one of the more alternative ones, but I think there’s a legitimacy to it.
I’ve seen it work remarkable wonders on people for sure so it’s worth of consideration and also, if you’re a biohacker and you’re tracking yourself and you think this can’t possibly work, think about it.
It’s cheap and easy to try. If it does work and it shouldn’t, then you had false assumptions and you can actually go out and figure out why it actually does work or you can say oh, it just doesn’t work for me, period. Then you can test that out, but to say it doesn’t work …
I think there’s enough evidence in your movie and your first book and through just practitioners I know who use it that there’s something going on here. We probably don’t know everything about it.
Nick Ortner: Yeah. Well, and I think … To me, the ultimate test and some of the work that I’m most proud of is what we’ve done with The Tapping Solution Foundation and various charitable efforts.
When we’ve been working Rwanda for the last five years and when kids who have lost their parents and siblings in the genocide. When they can find hope again, when they can clear the trauma.
I mentioned earlier that my hometown is Newtown, Connecticut. It’s the site of the Sandy Hook shootings. Literally the shootings took place seven minutes from my house and since that day two years ago, we’ve been working on the ground training practitioners. Working with first responders, working with parents who lost their children.
We’ve just been one of many people who’ve been in the community trying to help, but what we hear again and again, especially two years later. People think oh well, aren’t people okay now, two and a half years later.
No. PTSD and trauma, and when people eventually find their way to us, what we hear them say is I tried everything else and nothing made me feel better. I did this and I walked out feeling better. That’s it. Feeling better. To me, that’s the ultimate.
Dave Asprey: Very, very well-said. Speaking of the ultimate thing to say, we’re coming up on the end of the show, Nick.
Nick Ortner: Yes. Oh, boy.
Dave Asprey: Did you do some tapping about whether you had your three recommendations for kicking more ass ready or not?
Nick Ortner: I was too busy trying to describe the points accurately. I’m just going to have to go off the cuff. Here we go.
Number one, and I know this seems so obvious. You hear it all the time, but for peak performance, you have to regulate stress. It just plays such a massive role. Again, we use it as a badge of honor all too often. I catch myself doing oh.
We’ll say things like oh man, I’m so stressed and then you say well, I’m actually not, but I just said it because this is what everybody else says. Whatever you do, tapping works for you, fantastic, meditation. To perform your best, you have to regulate stress. It’s just the bottom line.
Number two and I think this is perfect for this podcast. This is why I listen to your podcast and to other podcasts. It has transformed my life. Listening to audios. The opportunity. It’s kind of a joke.
We compare it to 20 years ago, the information we had available. Books, yes and [inaudible 48:24] tapes that will be at the … Stick in the Walkman and some good stuff there, but there is cutting-edge stuff everywhere. Fill your brain with it. Just fill your brain with it. Every waking hour. Don’t be crazy, but there’s so many opportunities.
I love doing errands and chores. It’s like oh, do the dishes. Yeah, absolutely. I’m delighted to do the dishes. I get to listen to Bulletproof radio. This feels good to me. These are the opportunities and fill them up.
Dave Asprey: Thank you.
Nick Ortner: Number three. I think one of the things that we take for granted when we’re biohacking, when we’re looking to improve our performance, when we’re focusing so much on our body is we lose track of our relationships.
What I mean by that is that in the same way that stress is such a huge component in your life, the quality of your relationships is massive. That means if there’s someone you haven’t talked to in 20 years because you got into a fight, it’s affecting your nervous system right now.
If you don’t have good relationship with your parents, whether they’re with you or not, if you haven’t forgiven them, it’s affecting you right now.
Dave, you mentioned you used it. You were using it on forgiveness to let go. Not to condone the behavior or say anything they did was right, but because you care to not have those attachments.
Have to look around at our lives and say where are the places where I have unfinished business? One of the things that tapping can do so beautifully is you can go back to a break-up from high school. Someone could’ve broken your heart and when you think about it now, it is unfinished business.
It hasn’t healed for whatever reason. Heal those places and just watch how the rest of your life transforms.
Dave Asprey: Wow, some powerful advice, Nick. Tell me your URL one more time. I think a lot of people who are listening to this now will be checking out your book, but just drop that so people can learn a few more tidbits of wisdom from a guy with a pretty good answer for that top three question.
Nick Ortner: You got it. Thank you. The, so just T-H-E, tapping, T-A-P-P-I-N-G, solution.com, thetappingsolution.com.
Dave Asprey: Alright. Nick, it is always a pleasure to get a chance to hang out with you and even more of one to have you on Bulletproof radio. Thanks a lot for doing your work to help people get more control of their nervous system and thanks for being on the show.
Nick Ortner: Thanks, Dave. It’s a pleasure.
Dave Asprey: If you appreciated today’s show with Nick Ortner, do me a favor. Go ahead and check out his work. It’s good stuff and while you’re at it, check out Bulletproof coffee.
Better yet, go buy a copy of the Bulletproof diet book for someone that you care about who’s fat. Give it to them and they’ll become a nicer person and you’ll help me sell my next book to my publisher. Please help. Have an awesome day. Talk to you soon.