Therapist at University of Albany explores tapping therapy

Heart attacks are scary and for some patients having a heart attack can also be traumatic. A therapy that has seen success with PTSD patients is now giving some cardiac patients similar results.

Licensed social worker Mary Sise is also trained in emotional freedom therapy -E.F.T. - also referred to as tapping therapy.

As Sise explains, the brain processes trauma differently than other life experiences - in a sense, we don't get over that experience. The energy of it gets blocked from moving on we we keep relieving the experience. The tapping keys in on what are called meridians - sort of train tracks of energy in our bodies.

"The tapping part seems to activate the meridian system which helps de-stress the body and then the energy moves more fluidly through the system," says Sise.

The tapping, along with a series of eye movements, work together to facilitate the healing.

"And so what it begins to do is get your brain to fire differently. The trauma then processes similar probably to how things process when you're sleeping. But with trauma you wake up and you have nightmares so the processing isn't complete," says Sise.

Sise has been using EFT since 1999 with patients and says she's seen impressive success rates, but there are few studies on the effectiveness. So the University at Albany has given her a grant to study post heart attack patients. She's currently recruiting people like Paula - folks over 55 who've had a heart attack.

Study participants will undergo 6 treatment sessions - they'll discuss the traumatic experience and learn the tapping technique. Emotional freedom technique is a form of alternative medicine similar to acupuncture or energy medicine.

(Information courtesy NBC News)