Touch And Breathe 2001

Touch And Breathe 2001 by John Diepold.

You can also find an online stress relief animation for a basic version of Touch & Breathe here:




An Alternative Treatment Approach With Meridian Based Psychotherapies

(Traumatology e, 6 (2), 2000)

Available at


John H. Diepold, Jr., Ph.D.

Moorestown, New Jersey




This paper reviews the origin of the use of tapping on acupoints in the treatment of psychological problems and introduces an alternative treatment approach. The theoretical and scientific aspects of this alternative treatment approach are discussed as well as the practical/clinical issues. Procedures for incorporating the Touch And Breathe approach into the Thought Field Therapy treatment paradigm are provided and are easily adapted to all other forms of meridian-based psychotherapies. Some research suggestions are offered.




An Alternative Treatment Approach With Meridian Based Psychotherapies


Tapping on acupuncture meridian points for the treatment of psychological problems has persisted over the 19-year period since psychologist Roger J. Callahan, Ph.D. introduced his Callahan Techniqueä. The Callahan Technique, also known in a generic way as Thought Field Therapy, has explored a revolutionary conceptualization of the nature of psychological problems and the rapid alleviation of emotional distress.


Callahan developed a causal diagnostic procedure gleaned in part from the insights and discoveries of chiropractor George Goodheart, D.C., who related neuromuscular function and organ system health to the acupuncture meridian system. Callahan (1985) utilized muscle testing methods found in Goodheart’s Applied Kinesiology and John Diamond’s Behavioral Kinesiology (Diamond, 1979) to therapy localize (identify) which acupuncture meridians were involved in psychological issues. Once the meridians are identified, Callahan has the patient repeatedly tap fingers on a designated treatment point along that acupuncture meridian to effect change or restore balance in that meridian. Frequently the causal diagnostic methods produce a sequence of acupuncture meridian points to be tapped.


As an outgrowth of the success of The Callahan Techniquesä, tapping on the acupuncture meridians has continued as a treatment and has been incorporated into other acupuncture meridian based psychotherapies (e.g., James Durlacher’s Acu-POWER, Gary Craig’s EFTä, Fred Gallo’s EDxTMä, etc.). Accordingly, tapping appears to have been established, without critical review, as the "Gold Standard" in the treatment of psychological and psychosomatic disorders.



Why Tapping?


In The Rapid Treatment Of Panic, Agoraphobia, and Anxiety, Callahan (1990) wrote:


...the tapping provides an external source of energy which, when done correctly,

at the right spot, with the mind tuned to the problem being treated, balances the

energy in a particular energy system in the body which is suffering from a deficiency

or imbalance. We hypothesize that the energy from tapping is transduced into the

system into usable energy as needed." (p. 7)


A couple years later Callahan (1992) commented on his practical and theoretical ideas related to tapping.


The points we tap are related to the ancient meridians of acupuncture.

Tapping the PROPER point when the person is thinking of the problem

is quite effective. . . . It appears to me that these points are transducers of

energy; where the physical energy of tapping can be transduced into

the appropriate (probably electromagnetic) energy of the body so that

the person with a problem can be put into proper balance by a

knowledgeable person (p. 11)


Callahan’s decision to tap acupoints originated in a procedure introduced by Goodheart in Applied Kinesiology (Callahan, 1985; Gallo, 1999). In the Five Minute Phobia Cure, Callahan wrote:


Rhythmic tapping at a specific point on a meridian will improve the condition

of the associated vital organ. This, they say, occurs because the "energy flow"

within that meridian is freed to move again. (p. 32)


The "they" in the above quote is most likely a reference to Dr. Goodheart, and Drs. Walther and Blaich from whom Dr. Callahan studied Applied Kinesiology (AK). Walther (1988) described a meridian technique in AK called the "Beginning and Ending Technique" (B and E), which involves tapping the beginning or ending acupoints of the Yang meridians. Nearly all the treatment points in The Callahan Techniques are at or close to the beginning or end points of the involved meridians.


While describing the AK Melzack-Wall pain treatment, Walther stated, "The most productive tapping is when there is a bony backup to the tonification point. If possible, direct the tapping to obtain a bony backup " (Walther, 1988, p.263). Accordingly, it is speculated that tapping may cause a piezoelectric effect due to bone stimulation at the acupuncture points. The piezoelectric effect occurs when tiny amounts of generated electrical current result from stimulating the crystallized calcium in the bone, and thus impacts the meridian system (Gallo, 1999). Use of cold lasers, rubbing, imaging of tapping, and pressure holding of the acupuncture points, in meridian based psychotherapy, were also reported by Gallo to be "effective at times." Gallo, however,

provided no further explanation about the effective times or related circumstances but opined that "in most instances, percussing appears to more profoundly stimulate the acupoint and produce more rapid results" (Gallo,1999,p.150). Walther, however, writes an interesting hypothesis about when tapping fails to yield results (in pain reduction):


Another factor that may cause less than adequate results with the

Melzack-Wall technique is tapping at an improper frequency. It is

often necessary to reduce the tapping rate. Two to four Hz appear to

be the most productive (p. 263). [Italics are mine]


As Callahan followed Goodheart, Walther and Blaich, other interested energy therapists now follow Callahan in the continuation of the tapping treatment to effect change via the acupuncture meridians. Nevertheless, there is no empirical evidence from experimental studies to establish that it is the tapping that works in the treatment of psychological problems. This author has studied with both Callahan and Gallo and has exposure to the other similar meridian based psychotherapies. Like many others who have studied Thought Field Therapy, this author has tapped his way to psychotherapeutic success hundreds and hundreds of times. Tapping does work, as evidenced in clinical treatment and the multitude of anecdotal reports and patient testimonials. While it is true that nothing succeeds like success, this author believes that the time has come to empirically validate the tapping approach to treatment and to explore and evaluate alternate treatment approaches. We, as practitioners, have reached the point in the development of meridian-based psychotherapies where we need to re-examine what works and why. This ought to be done in the context of the patient and the increasing information about subtle energy fields.


It is this author’s intention to introduce an alternative treatment approach that also works (according to both therapist and patient reports) and appears more congruent with the current information about our bioenergy system. This alternative treatment for use with meridian-based psychotherapies is called Touch And Breathe (TAB).


Touch And Breathe (TAB)


The TAB approach is a gentle, mindful, and natural treatment, used in lieu of tapping, to facilitate Chi influence along the acupuncture meridians. Traditional acupuncture meridian theory holds that Chi is a form of bodily energy which is , in part, generated in internal organs and systems (Tsuei, 1996). Further, it is believed that Chi enters the body from the outside through breathing and the numerous acupuncture points. Chi, often called the Life Force, combines with breath to circulate throughout the body along complex pathways called meridians and vessels. In essence, breath facilitates the flow of Chi in its most natural state. Imbalance of flow or distribution of Chi throughout the body is the blueprint for physical and/or psychological problems. Such imbalances become evident at the acupuncture points through definite changes in electrical activity and possibly tenderness.


The TAB approach is consistent with traditional and contemporary Chinese thinking related to the flow of Chi and with emerging evidence of the complexity of bioelectric currents throughout the body. With TAB, the patient is invited to touch lightly the diagnosed treatment sites along the acupuncture meridians with 2 fingers and to take one complete respiration (at their own pace, usually through the nose) while maintaining contact at each treatment site. The TAB approach is an effective replacement for tapping in all TFT, EFT, EDxTM and other meridian based psychotherapy procedures. [ Note: TAB does NOT replace rubbing at the Neurolymphatic Reflex Area, the "sore spot" in the upper left chest. ]


The pioneering work of Reinhold Voll, M.D. revealed that acupuncture points show a dramatic decrease in electrical resistance on the skin compared to non-acupuncture points on the body. In addition, Voll and his colleagues found that each acupoints seemed to have a standard measurement for individuals in good health and notable changes when health deteriorated (Voll, 1975). Becker (1990, 1985) reasoned from his research not only that an electrical current flows along the meridians but also that the acupoints functions as amplifiers, which boost the electrical signals as they move across the body.


More recently, the research and theories of Stanford University’s Professor Emeritus in Physics, William A. Tiller (1997), have shed more light on the interplay among mind, body, spirit and subtle energies. His work is particularly relevant to the applicability of Touch And Breathe for use with meridian based psychotherapies. Considering the complex array of electrical and electromagnetic circuitry in and around the body, Tiller theorizes that "the body can be thought of as a type of transmitting / receiving antenna" (p. 107).


Tiller cites the autonomic nervous system (ANS) as a signal carrier, waveguide, and signal conductor utilizing both sympathetic and parasympathetic branches. He describes the acupuncture points as a set of antenna elements that "provide an exquisitely rich array with capabilities exceeding the most advanced radar system available today. These sensitive points are coupled to the ANS via the fourteen known acupuncture meridians" (p. 117). Walther (1988) also reported that Goodheart observed "an antenna effect" regarding the acupoints that he believed could be easily demonstrated.


From the above, it could be argued that the body’s acupoints have the potential to transmit and receive Chi , in accordance with the meridian system's need to restore balance. This author hypothesizes that the inserted acupuncture needles serve as literal

antenna / transmitter extensions of the acupoints. When we touch an acupoint we perturb it and stimulate ion flow, "which reacts at the etheric level to unclog the meridian flow channel" (Tiller, 1997,p. 121). In maintaining the contact by touch, we extend the antenna / transmitter capacity of the body system with a direct feed to the held acupoint. In contrast, while tapping perturbs, it also connects then disconnects the circuits and thereby creates an inconsistent and disrupted signal to the body. Empirical study is warranted to evaluate this hypothesis. While anecdotal reports indicate that tapping and TAB are effective treatment approaches, research is needed to discern quantitative energetic differences between the two approaches as well as qualitative differences experienced by individual's utilizing tapping and TAB.


In TAB, the use of one complete respiration (one easy inhalation and exhalation) is the natural vehicle of Chi circulation, which also creates a piezoelectric effect via vibration and sound (sonic resonance). In this regard Tiller writes:


an additional indirect mechanism exists for emissions from the body.

Here, the primary stimulus comes from the sound spectrum (also called

the phonon spectrum) of the body’s cells, muscles and organs associated

with their relative motion. The sonic resonances for a particular body

part occur in a significantly lower frequency range (by a factor of ~1 million

to ~10 million) than its EM [Electro Magnetic] resonances. This is so because

the sound wave velocity through tissues is about 1 million times slower than the EM

wave velocity. Because collagen, tissue and bone are all piezoelectric materials,

the small stresses produced by the sound wave patterns generate associated

electric field patterns and thus emit EM wave patterns. Thus movements

of a particular body part give rise to two emitted EM wave pattern signatures.

One signature occurs at a very high frequency due to direct ion movement

while the other occurs at low to intermediate frequencies via electrically

neutral mass movement coupled to the piezoelectric response mechanism. (p. 106-




It appears that the natural motion and sound of the breathing process creates a powerful energetic influence involving the piezoelectric response mechanism. The radiation of this energy conceivably enhances the antenna / transmitter function of the body as it is directed to the specific acupuncture points by way of sustained touch. Perhaps this connection explains why various types of breathing and movements have been such an integral aspect of many Eastern practices (e.g., Yoga, Qigong, Shiatsu, etc.) used to facilitate a balanced flow of Chi. Additionally, Goodheart recommends that when there is difficulty therapy localizing (diagnosing merdian involvment), "have the patient quit breathing for ten seconds prior to testing; this slows down meridian activity" (Walther, 1988, p. 262). [Italics are mine.]


In 1972, Tiller observed and reported that variations in mental alertness caused significant changes in the electrical characteristics of the acupuncture skin points. This author suspects that this reflects the influence and impact of intentional thought attunement, which is paramount in TFT and the other meridian based psychotherapies. Tiller’s experiments from 1977-1979 (several thousand) revealed that mind direction or intentionality is evident and measurable and is not indicative of a "classical electromagnetic energy" (p. 10). Accordingly, this author hypothesizes that treatment of therapy localized acupuncture meridians, which are diagnosed while attuned to the specific problem, will be more profound using the TAB approach rather than tapping or pressure alone. Empirical and clinical study is also recommended regarding the effectiveness of imagined-Touch And Breathe (where the patient only imagines touching the treatment point while also taking one full respiration).


While the aforementioned information and hypotheses appear reasonable to explain the development and use of TAB in treatment, the origin of this discovery and subsequent application was derived from listening to and watching patients. It has been this author’s understanding that many therapists employing the tapping treatment have heard various patient criticisms and reports of discomfort regarding the tapping. It was common to hear comments like: "This looks / feels stupid. This is silly. I can’t do this in public. It hurts if I do tapping too much. Tapping distracts me. I couldn’t remember how many times I was suppose to tap. How hard do I tap?" Compliance with "homework" as follow up self care also suffered because of concerns like those voiced above. In addition, there have been therapist reports to this author that tapping was completely out of the question for some victims of abuse who refused to tap on themselves. Nevertheless, the vast majority of patients do perform the tapping, as it is a requirement of successful treatment. The use of TAB extends meridian-based psychotherapies to these reluctant and/or sensitive populations.


Watching patients while they tapped proved most interesting. Often it was observed that a full breath or sigh accompanied the tapping procedures. Additionally, when patients were not reminded about the number of taps to do, it was observed that they would tap as many times as matched a full respiration before inquiring or looking for guidance. In response to these observations, the author began to experiment and develop the Touch And Breathe approach to treatment. Much to this author’s surprise, every single patient preferred the TAB approach to the tapping, and they reported more profound, comfortable, and relaxing effects. Consequently, this author has exclusively employed TAB over the last 15 months while working within the TFT framework in doing psychotherapy. In addition, this author has demonstrated and shared the TAB approach over the past year with over a hundred therapists for use with their patients. Again, the patients were reported to respond positively, as did the therapists when they were treated using TAB.


Incorporating The TAB Procedure


The TAB procedure is easily inserted into any meridian based psychotherapy in place of tapping. This includes treatment of all acupoints in a Major treatment sequence, the 9 Gamut treatment, the Eye Roll treatment, and all treatments for Psychological Reversal and neurological organization that do not use the NLR area. All treatments are done while the patient is attuned to their problem.


For treatment of any given acupoint, the patient is directed to lightly touch the

acupoint (usually with 1 to 4 fingers depending on the location), AND "Take one full

respiration" while maintaining contact at the treatment site. Afterwards, simply move

to the next treatment point or procedure.



For treatment with the 9 Gamut sequence, have the patient lightly touch the Gamut

spot, AND "Take one full respiration" while maintaining contact at the Gamut spot.

Then have patient proceed through the 9 Gamut sequence while maintaining contact at

the Gamut spot and breathing normally. The reader unfamiliar with the 9 Gamut

treatment is referred to Durlacher (1994), Callahan & Callahan (1996), and Gallo

(1999), for a detailed description of the procedure.


For the Eye Roll treatment, have the patient lightly touch the Gamut spot, AND

"Take one full respiration" while maintaining contact at the Gamut spot. Then have

patient proceed through the Eye Roll treatment while maintaining contact at the

Gamut spot and breathing normally. In the Eye Roll treatment, the patients first close

then open their eyes, then they look directly down at the floor. They are then

instructed to take 5 to 7 seconds to roll their eyes slowly upward to the ceiling.


For the treatment of all Psychological Reversals NOT corrected at the NLR area,

have the patient lightly touch the appropriate treatment site (e.g., side of hand, under

the nose, etc.), AND "Take one full respiration" while maintaining contact at the

treatment site. Have patient proceed through the appropriate corrective affirmation

statements (when they are used) while maintaining contact at the treatment site and

breathing normally. The reader unfamiliar with the treatment of Psychological

Reversal is referred to Callahan & Callahan (1996), Gallo (1999), and Durlacher

(1994) for a detailed description of the procedures.


For treatment at the Gamut spot for depression, sadness and pain, have the

patient lightly touch the Gamut spot, AND "Take one full respiration (pause), and

continue the respirations for as long as you feel change continuing, or as long as you

might need" while maintaining contact at the Gamut spot. Often a patient will

continue for 5 to 8 respirations before spontaneously releasing the touch. The Gamut

Spot--the 3rd point on the Triple Heater meridian on the back of the hand between the

little finger and ring finger knuckles--is often used in algorithmic and diagnostically

determined treatment sequences involving pain and depression related issues.


For the Collarbone Breathing Treatment (CB2), have the patient touch the

collarbone spot (K-27) with 2 fingers of one hand and lightly touch the Gamut spot

with 2 fingers of the other hand. Begin each sequence of breathing positions (for

fingers and knuckles) with "Breathe normally, one full respiration". In lieu of making

5 taps on the Gamut Spot for each breathing position, have the patient gently maintain

touch at the Gamut spot for 2 seconds at each breathing position. The reader

unfamiliar with CB2 is referred to Callahan (1990) and Gallo (1999) for a detailed

description of the procedures. This author uses a modified breathing pattern when

using CB2 which incorporates forced-in and forced-out breath positions based on the

original procedures used by Blaich(1988).





In Conclusion: Benefits Of The TAB Approach


The TAB approach permits energy treatments within meridian-based psychotherapy to become more versatile and user friendly. Gone are patients' critical comments and resistance previously related to tapping. Instead patients enjoy a pleasant, mindful, and

comforting procedure which appears to intensify the energy activity that the treatment purports to create. Patient comments are now of amazement, relief at not having to tap, relaxation, and "Wow, I like that so much better." Follow up self care at home is more palatable and less conspicuous to others with TAB and, therefore, more likely to enhance compliance. Therapists who have employed TAB with their patients have described this treatment refinement as "Natural, …powerful, …elegant" and "a major contribution" when using meridian based psychotherapy.


The TAB approach is consistent with traditional and contemporary Chinese thinking related to the flow of Chi via breath and with the emerging evidence of the complexity of bioelectric currents and circuits throughout the body.


When using TAB, the treatment site for the Bladder meridian is now restored to the Bladder 1 acupoint (inner eye/medial canthus at the bridge of the nose) without risk of injury to the eye. Walther (1988) cautioned about the possibility of an eye injury when tapping the Bladder 1 acupoint. The Bladder 1 acupoint is the preferred acupoint given the Beginning and Ending Technique used in Applied Kinesiology with Yang meridians.


This author has found only one relative disadvantage in using TAB. One full respiration takes a few seconds longer at each treatment site compared to 5 quick taps. However, it is believed that the few extra seconds in total treatment time is well worth the investment given the energetic connection and patient satisfaction.




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Callahan, R.J. (1992) Special report #1: The cause of psychological problems. Introduction to theory, second ed. Indian Wells, CA.


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Tiller, W.A. (1997). Science and human transformation: subtle energies, intentionality and consciousness. Pavior Publishing, Walnut Creek, CA.


Tsuei, J.J. (1996). Scientific evidence in support of acupuncture and meridian theory: I Introduction. Institute of electrical and electronic engineers. (with permission from IEEE, Engineering in Medicine and Biology Magazine, Vol. 15 (3).


Voll, R. (1975). Twenty years of electroacupuncture diagnoses in Germany. A progress report. Am. J. Acupuncture, Special EAV issue, Vol. 3, 7-17.


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