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The Neurochemistry of Counter-Conditioning; Theories of How Tapping Works

Citation: Lane, J. (2009). The Neurochemistry of Counterconditioning: Acupressure Desensitization in Psychotherapy. Energy Psychology: Theory, Research, & Treatment, 1(1), 31-44. Click here for the Abstract and Full Paper http://goo.gl/j63DTu

Abstract

A growing body of literature indicates that imaginal exposure, paired with acupressure, reduces midbrain hyper-arousal and counter-conditions anxiety and traumatic memories. Recent research indicates that manual stimulation of acupuncture points produces opioids, serotonin, and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), and regulates cortisol. These neurochemical changes reduce pain, slow the heart rate, decrease anxiety, shut off the fight/flight/freeze response, regulate the autonomic nervous system, and create a sense of calm. This relaxation response reciprocally inhibits anxiety and creates a rapid desensitization to traumatic stimuli. This paper explores the neurochemistry of the types of acupressure counterconditioning used in energy psychology and provides explanations for the mechanisms of actions of these therapies, based upon currently accepted paradigms of brain function, behavioral psychology, and biochemistry.

Editor’s Note

James Lane, PhD., an Arizona clinical psychologist, offers an excellent mechanism paper that proffers that “imaginal exposure, paired with acupressure, reduces midbrain hyper-arousal and counter-conditions anxiety and traumatic memories…this paper explores the neurochemistry of the types of acupressure counterconditioning used in energy psychology and provides explanations for the mechanisms of actions of these therapies, based upon currently accepted paradigms of brain function, behavioral psychology, and biochemistry.”