As the founder of the Lyf Support app, I have witnessed firsthand the struggles many people face with feelings of sadness, loneliness, and the aftermath of trauma. In our journey to offer solace and support, we have embraced a simple yet profoundly effective technique known as the Butterfly Hug. This method, rooted in EMDR therapy, serves as a beacon of hope and a tool for self-soothing.

The Origin and Mechanics of the Butterfly Hug: Developed in the mid-1990s by Lucina Artigas during the aftermath of Hurricane Pauline in Mexico, the Butterfly Hug method was initially a way to help survivors deal with the emotional impact of the disaster. It involves crossing one’s arms over the chest, with hands placed on the upper arms, and alternately tapping each arm with the fingers. This bilateral stimulation is at the heart of its effectiveness, mirroring techniques used in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy.

The Science Behind the Technique: The Butterfly Hug taps into the biological mechanisms of self-soothing. Bilateral stimulation, a core aspect of EMDR, is believed to mimic the biological processes involved in Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, helping the brain to process and integrate traumatic memories. Studies have shown that EMDR can significantly reduce the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression.

Applications in Self-Soothing: For individuals grappling with sadness or loneliness, the Butterfly Hug offers a self-administered method of comfort. It encourages a focus on rhythmic, calming physical sensations, which can help to center and ground individuals experiencing emotional distress. The repetitive nature of the tapping can also serve as a mindfulness exercise, redirecting attention away from distressing thoughts.

Guiding Clients Through the Butterfly Hug: At Lyf Support, we advocate a gentle approach when introducing clients to the Butterfly Hug. The process begins with ensuring a comfortable and safe environment, followed by guiding them through the steps of the technique. We encourage clients to focus on their breathing and notice any sensations or emotions that arise during the process, fostering a sense of self-awareness and emotional processing.

The Role of the Butterfly Hug in Teletherapy: In the realm of online support and teletherapy, the Butterfly Hug stands out for its simplicity and ease of instruction. It’s a tool that clients can easily learn and apply on their own, providing them with a sense of empowerment and self-reliance in managing their emotional states.

Expanding Beyond Traditional Therapy: While the Butterfly Hug has roots in EMDR, its ease and non-invasiveness have made it a popular tool beyond traditional therapeutic settings. It’s used in schools, by first responders, and in various self-help contexts, demonstrating its versatility and wide-ranging applicability.

The Evidence-Based Benefits: Research into the effectiveness of the Butterfly Hug, while still growing, has shown promising results. It’s been found to help reduce the intensity of disturbing thoughts and to increase feelings of calm and relaxation. When used as part of a broader therapeutic approach, it can significantly enhance the treatment of trauma, anxiety, and depression.

Personal Stories of Transformation: At Lyf Support, we have numerous testimonials from clients who have found solace and healing through the Butterfly Hug. These personal stories highlight the profound impact that this simple technique can have on individuals’ journey towards emotional well-being.

The Butterfly Hug technique, a cornerstone of the support we offer at Lyf Support, symbolizes hope and empowerment. Its simplicity belies its power, providing a readily accessible tool for those struggling with emotional distress. As we continue to explore and embrace evidence-based methods like the Butterfly Hug, we reaffirm our commitment to helping individuals find peace, comfort, and resilience in their lives.


  1. Shapiro, F. (2001). Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR): Basic principles, protocols, and procedures (2nd ed.). Guilford Press.
  2. Artigas, L., & Jarero, I. (2010). The Butterfly Hug Method for Bilateral Stimulation. EMDR Research Foundation.
  3. Van der Kolk, B. A. (2014). The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma. Viking.
  4. Parnell, L. (2013). A Therapist’s Guide to EMDR: Tools and Techniques for Successful Treatment. W.W. Norton & Company.