Mind Over Matter – ‘Way Over

Recently I watched a very interesting program in a  TV series called “Alternative Medicine”.  The host is Kathy Sykes, a physics professor in the U.K., and the theme of the hour-long show was an investigation of the placebo effect.  She travelled to Houston, Texas and Vancouver, B.C. to look into two examples of the way in which an administered placebo can produce results that rival, if not improve upon, an actual pharmaceutical or surgical procedure.

In  Houston, a group of people suffering with arthritic conditions of the knee were part of a program ostensibly to treat and relieve the symptoms of pain and stiffness.  While some had conventional surgery performed on the affected knee, for others there was only an incision made and sutured, nothing more.  A video was played showing an operation, and the medical team performed a “pretend” process the usual length of a real surgery.    In the weeks following, the patients were consulted about their outcomes.  Kathy Sykes interviewed one of them, a man who had been in excruciating pain prior to his “surgery”, and who had experienced very significant improvement.  He was never operated on – nothing more was done than an incision.

In Vancouver, another program studying patients with Parkinson’s disease was similarly conducted, this time with the administering of a pharmaceutical for one group, and simple saline for the other.  The Parkinson’s patient’s brain doesn’t produce sufficient dopamine and as a result the symptoms of progressive stiffness and uncontrolled movements occur.  Again, following this experiment, Kathy Sykes interviewed an artist who had received only saline and whose symptoms were greatly reduced.  Using scans to determine the effects of this test on the brain, researchers observed that the saline patients’ placebo response had resulted in their brain’s producing dopamine that considerably reduced the effects of the disease!

To a scientist trained in conventional principles, these conclusions were a revelation.  It was possible to attribute the results of these experiments only to the placebo effect.  The very fact that the participants believed their procedures would benefit them brought about positive results.  When I watched this program I recalled, as I described in my “EFT – The Ultimate Power Tool” post, how the confident reassurance of my naturopath when I was struggling with rheumatoid arthritis was a turning point for me.  I began to entertain the notion, despite all “conclusive evidence” by medical authorities, that it was possible to recover, and from that day forward my healing began.  The memory of that remarkable moment illustrates to me, as well, the undeniable effect of any consulting practitioner’s voiced opinion on the belief system of the client or patient.

There are many such stories in the world – bookstores abound with the research and investigations of spiritual teachers who have long known and taught about the mind/body connection.  But the big news now is that some inquisitive members of mainstream science and medicine are beginning to acknowledge that our thoughts and emotions may be playing a real and significant part in our physical conditions.

So, if we can use our belief to heal from disease and degenerative disorders like arthritis and Parkinson’s (and others, it’s thought, by medical researchers who conducted these experiments), what else do we powerful humans have the ability to create?  Well, the answer seems to be plenty.  If you read Gregg Braden’s The Spontaneous Healing of Belief, Dr. Bruce Lipton’s The Biology of Belief, or watch on DVD “The Living Matrix” – a few excellent resources representing the research and experience of many experts in science, branches of medicine and spirituality – it’s indicated time and time again that this faculty we call belief has extraordinary influence over our personal well-being, our levels of success and abundance, our relationships, and, when we combine our focus and intent with that of others, the world itself.

It’s a monumental concept to take in, and in the face of decades of teaching to the contrary – we function at the whim of fate, of the government, our financial institutions, our boss,  our bodies, and therefore our outcomes are largely beyond our control – it’s a concept that’s challenged by, yes, our belief system.  Despite all the excitement we feel when we hear the good news of our greatness, until we can delve beneath our creative conscious to the “gatekeeper”, our sub-conscious mind, where our files and manuals are kept and referred to 98% of our day, we will adhere to our perceived limitations and short change our extraordinary gifts and the possibilities they can bring to reality.

EFT has the unique capacity to gently and often swiftly loosen the grip of the programming that may have had its purpose in the past but now frustrates our thriving in all its aspects.  In addition it calms and comforts and helps to sharpen our vision of a longed-for future.  There is too much evidence now to deny the part we play in our reality – placebo is only part of the story.  We require the methods of freedom and discovery that will assist us in seeing beyond our limitations and remembering who we really are, and Emotional Freedom Techniques stands prominently among the most effective methods available today.

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Remembrance to Redemption – EFT and PTSD

Eric Huurre is a producer and professional film maker with more than three decades of documentary and broadcast          television experience.  About five years ago he came across EFT online and his interest in energy psychology has become a central focus of his work.  Eric founded EFT4 Kids, a website that brings together families, community and professionals in a forum advancing the use of EFT for issues affecting children and adolescents.  He worked, as well, with EFT founder Gary Craig on a few introductory videos and, upon viewing a series of films Gary had recorded with a group of combat vets using EFT to deal with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) in the aftermath of their service (in some cases a very long aftermath), Eric felt a more comprehensive documentary on this pervasive and tragic issue would showcase the extraordinary healing properties of Emotional Freedom Techniques for men and women in unprecedented need of help.

 What followed was a two-year project in filming and editing that depicted five days of sessions between Gary and a group of EFT masters and experts, and twelve veterans who volunteered to address their various PTSD “symptoms”, among them pain, addictions, nightmares and antisocial and dysfunctional behaviors.  The film was released in June of 2010, and it is the most vivid illustration imaginable of the capability of this modality to restore peace, hope and a true sense of self-empowerment and well-being. “Operation Emotional Freedom – The Answer” is being made available for online viewing for just $4.95 during the month of November, in honour and recognition of Remembrance Day, 11.11.11. The DVD is also being offered at a 50% discount ($9.95), with the hope and intention that this powerful documentary will be viewed and shared in order to raise awareness and understanding of  PTSD and of what EFT can achieve when nothing else will – for combat vets and their families, and for the rest of us.

If you would like to learn more about the film and its production, download a viewing, or purchase a DVD, go to Operation: Emotional Freedom.  Eric has arranged for Trauma Awareness Day events to be held by supporters around the world, including showings and discussions.  As the beneficiaries of the sacrifices our service men and women have made for our freedom, by viewing the film and sharing its message with others we have the opportunity to turn a day of remembrance into a time of long-awaited redemption.

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Short Circuit – EFT and Dehydration

How much water have you had today?  I don’t mean what’s contained in your tea or coffee or other water-based beverage. If you are using EFT and having slow or unsuccessful results, believe it or not the solution could be as simple as drinking a big glass of Adam’s ale.

There is no substitute for the life-supporting benefits of natural water.  We are, after all, made in large part of the stuff – on average about 75%. Oddly, it turns out that despite that impressive percentage, around the same percentage of us are actually dehydrated.  Not only does water re-hydrate but there is also credible research to suggest that this ubiquitous and unspectacular liquid can relieve and even eliminate certain physical ills and disorders.  An interesting read is Your Body’s Many Cries for Water by Dr. F. Batmanhelidj (I call him Dr. Batman), one among a selection of his books about the curative properties of the most fundamental substance we take so readily for granted.  You may also find The Water Cure site a worthwhile visit.

But water has a specific property that proves essential to the effectiveness of energy therapies like EFT and Reiki.  It’s a great conductor of electricity, and we humans are electro-magnetic in nature.  It’s the energy meridian system of the body that EFT addresses, as does its “cousin” acupuncture, and the chakra (vital energy) system that Reiki works with, to re-align and balance and support all forms of healing.  With dehydration these processes are deterred and even halted because of reduced electrical conductivity. 

Experts generally recommend that we drink eight eight-ounce glasses of water daily – some suggest more, some less, depending on body weight and other factors.  It may take some experimentation to decide on the amount that’s right for you – even an extra glass a day is a step in the right direction.  I can hear you saying, “But it tastes awful,” and “Water is so boring – I need some flavour.”  Try a squeeze of lemon, lime or orange, or drink your water carbonated – some are also flavoured.  Chill your water with juice cubes to give it a bit more personality, or drink it hot with lemon – it makes a nice replacement for tea, with or without a meal.  If you just can’t go without your tea or coffee, try using decaffeinated, because it’s the caffeine in these drinks that can make them diuretic.  I bless my filtration system too, for the way it removes the “unique” flavour of treated municipal water.

Keep plenty of water nearby when you have an EFT session, and drink an hour before, then during and after.  You will avoid dehydration headaches and facilitate an easier and more successful tapping outcome.

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I Don’t Believe It!

“It doesn’t matter – it works anyway.”  I used to say this to others any time they verbalized doubt about EFT or Reiki and whether they would see any real results from them.  Well, I don’t say it anymore.  Does anything work for us when we don’t believe in it?

It’s about resistance.  We’ve all grown to adulthood with programmed belief systems from a lifetime of input from our family, our friends, others in our community and the world at large, and from our experiences.  We refer to these pre-set beliefs all day every day to support our choices and our actions.  When we come from conventional thinking about what treatments heal our ills and what approaches ease our troubles, there is bound to be resistance around new concepts like energy “medicine”.  Even when we’re looking in earnest for an answer to our problem, and consciously motivated to make a change, the old “tapes” in our sub-conscious mind replay a cautionary message to protect us from negative outcomes, and can sabotage our intentions.  The ability of the sub-conscious to exert this influence is evident when we understand that it controls our behaviors and outcomes 95-98% of the time.

Our results in life are strongly linked to our beliefs and expectations, which aren’t always “visible to the naked eye”.  In the EFT world, the term Psychological Reversal (coined by Roger Callahan, founder of TFT or Thought Field Therapy) refers to this phenomenon in which, despite our conscious perspective and positive intent, the “gate-keeper” maintains blocks to achieving what we think we want.  If the reversal isn’t dealt with effectively it can stop tapping in its tracks.

As someone new to EFT you may be curious but skeptical, uncomfortable with the foreign idea of healing’s being “an inside job” rather than from an external source, or embarrassed to take part in what looks like silly hocus-pocus.  If your background and experience are of a conventional nature – and you’re in the majority in our society if they are – it’s understandable that you will have reservations about tapping, despite growing scientific evidence of its powerful properties.  Or you may be resistant for reasons unknown to you, and so you simply don’t believe this series of techniques can possibly be effective.  To move beyond these roadblocks you can use the standard EFT protocol, not at first for the issue you want to address, but for your doubts about tapping itself.  Here’s an example, and remember, you can choose your own words to substitute if they have greater meaning to you!

If you aren’t familiar with the tapping points and the general EFT routine, watch this three-minute video by EFT Master Judy Byrne first, for a clear explanation. 

Start by saying aloud, “I don’t believe EFT will work for me.”  On a scale of 0 to 10 notice how true that seems to you, check in with any physical sensations you experience when you say those words, and make a note of the information.  Then proceed as follows:

Set-up Phrase:  Tap on the Karate Chop Point continuously while repeating aloud and with emphasis, three times –

“Even though I don’t believe this EFT will work for me,

It’s ridiculous to think tapping on my face will change anything,

And it looks weird too,

I don’t believe in all this energy stuff,

I deeply and completely accept myself anyway and how I feel about EFT.”

Now, tap on the eight points and say aloud:

Eyebrow: I don’t believe in this EFT.

Side of Eye:  How can tapping on myself fix my problem?

Under Eye:   It just looks weird.

Under Nose:  I really don’t believe it.

Chin Point:  I feel silly tapping all over my face and body.

Collarbone Point:  This isn’t anything like I’ve done before and it doesn’t feel right.

Under Arm:  I don’t believe EFT will work for me.

Top of Head:  I’m so uncomfortable with all this weird tapping.

Take a deep breath. Once again say, “I don’t believe EFT will work for me,” and record your 0-10 level.  If the number seems to have changed only a little, repeat the phrases on the eight points for several rounds, then re-check your level.  Note any changes in your body sensations through this process, for future tapping.

When your “I don’t believe it” number is down to less than 5,  you can do some positive tapping.  Here are some suggested phrases:

Eyebrow:  What do I have to lose?

Side of Eye:  Maybe it’s worth feeling a bit silly at first.

Under Eye:  I might get some relief from my problem after all.

Under Nose:  It’s easy to do and I’m feeling more relaxed.

Chin Point:  I feel a little more comfortable with this tapping.

Collarbone Point:  It’s new for me but I think it might help.

Under Arm:  I can see myself using EFT.

Top of Head:  I’m open to suspending my disbelief and trying out this EFT.

Take another deep breath and assess your 0-10 level.  You can’t overdo the tapping so repeat rounds as desired until you’re feeling your resistance has been resolved and you’ve reached a zero.  At this point you can turn to the issue you want to tap for, unobstructed by sub-conscious blocks to success.  When EFT appears not to work it isn’t because of EFT.  Psychological Reversal (PR) is primary among several possible but manageable contributing factors – more on these in my next post. 

As Judy Byrne says in the video, be persistent, and be amazed!


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Bullying – How EFT Can Help

As the target of two schoolyard bullies (I still remember their names – Gary and Bruce) many years ago, and the mother of a mercilessly bullied child not so many years ago, I’m glad to see the media, concerned individuals and organizations are finally beginning to take a hard look at this often devastating issue.  Until the relentless cruelty of bullying is endured firsthand, either through fear and frustration for a loved one or for oneself, its potential to inflict lifelong injury at many levels is not fully understood.

It seems no age, race, occupation, orientation or other life category is immune.  In the last few years, for example, the workplace version has made “a day at the office” an insufferable experience for a growing number of employees.  The act of threat and aggression among children and adolescents, however, is so prevalent throughout our society now that we can’t continue to turn our attention elsewhere and hope it will just go away.  It will not – and long after the name-calling, ridicule and physical injuries have stopped, the repercussions on the prey of bullies will continue if they’re left to subside on their own.

Recently a 15-year-old Ottawa teen, Jamie Hubley, made the decision that he could no longer withstand the pain of being tormented by peers for being openly gay.  His last words online were, “You can’t break…when you’re already broken.”  Each year about five hundred of our children in Canada end their promising lives, and we can only guess how many of those deaths are the tragic result of bullying.  For the ones who somehow brave the ongoing abuse of their peers there is the likelihood that tomorrow and the days that follow will bring more of the same, and quite frankly, to tell them “it gets better” isn’t good enough.

When you are the target of a bully you’re not interested in “some day”, nor are you interested in what unhappiness or dysfunctional background motivates that bully’s conduct.  It’s very difficult to be philosophical when you’re forced into a constant state of fight or flight.  A toxic soup of fear, anger, betrayal, isolation and more erodes stability and self-esteem and weakens the will to ignore the attack, tough it out or, in some way, even the score.  Your energetic “signal” to the world changes and you become a magnet for more of what you yearn to escape.  Bullies need to experience a strong response to their aggression, and the disrupted energy and accompanying anxiety of their target provide that satisfaction.

Antidepressant prescriptions, talk therapy and group discussions; the concern and actions taken by family and community; and the intervention of school authorities (when you can get it) are efforts, of varying effectiveness, to control and hopefully end the behaviors of the bully and the suffering of the victim.  The place where the most profound change must be made, however, is within the heart and mind of the sufferer.

Bullying is trauma in the truest sense of the word.  The body’s reaction to trauma is a self-protective mechanism known as the freeze response.  When we are cornered by an aggressor or find ourselves in any threatening situation, we undergo mental and physical changes that prompt us either to defend ourselves (fight) or to escape (flight).  Our freeze response, however, occurs when the mind perceives an oncoming trauma and we shut down – a part of us splinters off – in self-protection from what we can’t bear to experience.  The energy of that traumatic event “freezes” within us at the cellular level, and as long as it remains unresolved – literally released from the body – it can colour our perceptions, reactions and decisions over time, in ways that may have nothing to do with the original trauma but that are triggered by its energetic memory. 

EFT, with its blend of physical tapping and verbal expression of the issue at hand, can locate and discharge the embedded trauma energies, releasing associated painful emotions.  The domino effect of bullying is well documented – siblings, parents and caregivers, extended family and friends and concerned community members are each subjected to its impact.  For all who are involved EFT can be a powerful support for balance, calm and clarity in approaching and rectifying the issue.

When a child or youth is no longer immersed in feelings of helplessness and intimidation, no longer feeling “broken”, as Jamie Hubly said of himself, and demeaned by the taunts of a bully, whether online or face-to-face, the key to that bully’s effectiveness is no longer present – the captive audience.  The energy of fear and submission is gone and there is no reaction from which to gain the momentum to continue.  While all possible external measures must be taken to put an end to the tragedy of bullying in our society, EFT can facilitate profound relief to those who suffer both big “T” and small “T” trauma in all its forms.  The part we must remember, though, is that whether it’s tapping or talking with others about bullying or taking an active role in its elimination, it’s a deep and lasting wound in our society and one to which we must give our full, unremitting attention and effort to heal.

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To “Summit” up: Tapping for Pain Relief

One of my favourite experts in the energy field is EFT Master, Carol Look.  Her interview during the Pain Relief World Summit was, for me, the highlight of the message the event attempted to convey – stress and how its effects can ultimately impact our body with pain.  She described stress as being present “any time we have physical, mental or emotional tension around any issue.”  I believe it underlies the great majority of our ills, affecting our entire body community of fifty trillion cells.  As an energy practitioner using Reiki and EFT, I’m aware that stress compromises the strength of the immune system and in turn leaves us open to eventual sickness in many forms.  But beyond the physical consequences, on a daily basis it robs us of our vibrant life energy.  We become, in short, less capable of feeling happy and peaceful and at ease in our own skin.

There is no lack of stimulus for us to feel stressed in this world.  We dwell in a culture of fear, and unless you’re a Yogi meditating on a distant mountaintop there’s no way to completely avoid it.  We’re conditioned for this response by media, with strategically placed pharmaceutical ads on TV and nightmare-inducing bedtime news, not to mention primetime programming with Armageddon-like themes; the bevy of advisors and those “in the know” about worrisome issues; and well-meaning people in our immediate environment, including our families who imposed their fears on our impressionable childhood minds in their effort to protect us (Don’t talk to strangers!  Don’t touch the dog – he may bite!).

Immersed in it all, we’re accustomed to the messages of lack and vulnerability, so accustomed that we often don’t consciously recognize them and how they affect our thinking processes, our resulting emotions and, over time, our physical condition.  We “soldier on” or attribute our unwanted results to our own failing.

We can’t snap our fingers and change what’s going on “out there”, but we can make a choice about how we respond.  We can always make a choice.  We think of stress as an external matter over which we have no control, but in fact the situations and events we witness are only that, situations and events, and our judgment of them as sources of stress is a mindset.  Perception.  What is perception?  Thought.  And what is thought?  Energy.

As best-selling author and speaker, Wayne Dyer, has been famously quoted, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”  But there’s the rub.  How do we come to the place where we’re aware of what we’re choosing and empowered to find new, healthier and happier options for our response to stress?  There are beneficial tools that help – affirmations, meditation, guided imagery and visualization, journaling and vision boarding are among them.  They can be long in taking effect, however – new programming requires a mental “re-wiring” process, and we’re bound to encounter resistance along the way.  In EFT we call those niggly little internal comments “yeah-buts” or Gary Craig’s favourite, “tail-enders”, and they can seem to be set in stone.  There are behavioral changes we make that can also end in delay and frustration – how many of us have started diets on January 1st, with every intention to lose those excess pounds, only to fall off the wagon by mid-month?  We face a formidable competitor when it comes to creating change in our viewpoint and from there, change in our life – our sub-conscious mind.

EFT meets this competitor with a series of techniques that works at the deepest level of our thought patterns and beliefs about ourselves and the world – the energetic level.  From this point the “frozen” imprint of a traumatic memory, limiting belief, fear or other acquired negative emotion can be quickly and gently accessed and dispelled, promoting freedom and vitality in the mind and body, and a welcome release of pain.

Another great favourite of mine, pioneering metaphysical author and speaker, Louise Hay, has said, “The only thing we are ever dealing with is a thought and a thought can be changed.”  Easier said than done?  That sounds like a limiting belief to me – try tapping!

Next time – Bullying: How EFT Can Help

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About a Tapping Point Question

Thanks, Judy G., for your comment following my ” The Ultimate Power Tool” post.  These are great questions and I’m sure there are others who’ve been following the Pain Relief Tapping Summit and wondering the same. Your questions give me an opportunity to offer some tips about the tapping points and clarify how they’re used.

These days EFT Masters and practitioners will differ somewhat in their choice of tapping points.  Some will include the “top of the head” point you asked about, some not, some will use the “wrist” points, some not, and still others will include the “liver” point or “hand” points as additional support for certain situations. While the standard seven points form the basis of Gary Craig’s original EFT algorithm (tapping sequence), over time some variation and a few additions have come about.  This sounds more confusing than it is – let’s start with the “top of the head” point.

This one wasn’t part of the algorithm until an acupuncturist named Michael Gandy introduced it to Gary a few years ago.  In Chinese medicine/acupuncture terminology, it’s known as “Bai Hui”, which means “A Hundred Meetings” – it’s also called Governing Vessel 20.  This point is located on the crown of the head (where a lot of us have a cowlick), and it’s the place where all the major Yang meridian channels come together.

The wrist points, referred to in the Pain Summit interview you listened to, are called “Nei Guan” or Pericardium 6, and they’re connected to the upper Yin meridians and associated with the lungs, pericardium and heart.  These points can be found the width of three fingers up from where the hand meets the wrist, and over the two little ligaments that run up the inside of the forearm.  They can be tapped on with the fingers or you can tap the wrists together – your choice.

The long and the short of it, in answer to your question, is no, the wrist points aren’t a substitute for the crown point – they each have a different function in the body, as do the other tapping points we use.  Just for the sake of interest, here’s a list of the areas addressed by the EFT points:

Eyebrow (EB) – Bladder 2

Side of Eye (SE) – Gall Bladder 1

Under Eye (UE) – Stomach 1 (remember “Mary” in my “Weird or What?”  post?)

Under Nose (UN) – Governing Vessel 27                                                

Under Mouth (CH) – Central Vessel 24

Collarbone (CB) – Kidney 27

Under Arm (UA) – Spleen

If you have a particular issue with an area such as the stomach or bladder, you can certainly put emphasis on tapping on the corresponding points during your sequence; but here’s something important to keep in mind about EFT.  You don’t have to have a degree in Chinese acupuncture or a meridian chart hanging on your wall to have wonderful success with your tapping.  In fact, you could tap just about anywhere on your head and body and reap some benefits just from stimulating your subtle energies.  The EFT points have been selected because they’re largely the “end” points of the meridians, closest to the surface of the body, effectively tappable and they comprehensively cover the energy system.  Put simply, they work, there are just a few of them, and they’re easy to learn and use.

As you continue to tap you’ll likely discover “your point”, the one that feels more powerful, more calming and clearing.  Mine is the Karate Chop point (KC), located on the side of the hand between the wrist and the pinky finger and used primarily (although not exclusively) for the Setup phrase mentioned in my “I Deeply and Completely What?”  post.

When it comes to the tapping points I admit I’m a bit of a purist, having taken my early training from Gary’s program.  I’ve added the crown point, as he did, to the original algorithm (often called the Shortcut version), and I use it at the end of every round of tapping.  On occasion I’ll add the hand points that were part of his longer 14-point sequence.  The hand points have largely been shelved because it’s considered that since we’re already tapping with our fingers on each point, we’re stimulating the meridians in the hand anyway.  But I do find use for them now and then, and they can be a valuable tool when we’re “stuck” on an issue, at which time I’ll include them in the “9-Gamut” procedure, a brain-balancing technique that I’ll save for a future post.  If you’re interested to know what areas the hand points address, here they are:

Thumb (TH) – Lung 11

Index Finger (IF) – Large Intestine 1

Middle Finger (MF) – Pericardium 9

Ring Finger (RF) – Triple Warmer 1

Little Finger (BF) – Heart 9

Karate Chop (KC) – Small Intestine 3

What do I recommend to get the best benefit from the tapping points?  Well, considering it takes less than a minute to do a round, why not use them all?  Tap the original seven plus the crown point, and if you’re so inclined add the wrist points or the hand points you’ll see on the tapping points chart on this site.  You can’t go wrong – tap them all, tap a few, tap from top to bottom, from bottom to top, tap one side or both, go back if you forget one – just tap.  Use light pressure, something similar to drumming your fingers on a tabletop, and tap seven to 10 times or more – you can’t overdo it.

The Pain Relief World Summit is almost over – the final interviews are tonight, and there’s been some valuable information shared on a universal subject and how EFT can be a safe and successful part of its treatment and elimination.  My comments on the program are coming up soon.

If you’d like to be notified of my newest posts, just click on the RSS feed button in the header on this page, or click “Subscribe” in the sidebar and register.  Thanks for visiting!

Next time – To “Summit” up:  Tapping for Pain Relief

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A Tapping Story

I usually post weekly but I’m back early because I have a pain story to tell you.  The Pain Relief World Summit I mentioned in my last post begins tonight, and I think you’ll be interested in what happened to me a few weeks ago – it’s just a hint of how powerful EFT can be when you’re hurting.

One Sunday evening I was baking fish in a sizzling 425 degree oven.  My daughter was here for dinner that night and we were in the kitchen, talking while I was cooking. The timer sounded and I grabbed a potholder to pull the baking sheet from the oven.  A tip – when handling a searing hot baking sheet use two potholders, or preferably a pair of sturdy oven mitts!

The contents of the sheet began to slide to one end as it tipped on its way to the stovetop, and I grabbed it instinctively to keep everything from landing on the floor.  There was just a momentary connection between my index finger and the hot metal, but enough to cause a painful burn.  I danced around the kitchen for a moment, then headed for the sink to run cold water over my hand.  As long as my finger was submerged the discomfort level wasn’t too bad, and I left it there for about five minutes to stop the burn process, but once I turned the water off my inflamed finger started throbbing in earnest and a small blister had formed.

At that point I delved into the fridge freezer to find a bag of peas and wrap it around the injury, thinking that it was going to be a challenge to finish making dinner while wearing frozen vegetables on my hand.  Frustration stepped in and I went to sit on the couch in the livingroom and decide what to do next.  EFT?  I’ve used it for many issues over the years, and I’m always reminding clients to make it a regular part of their self-care routine, but for a fresh burn?  It was worth a try, and I had the comfort of knowing there would be no negative side-effects – not always the case with some other remedies.

My daughter, who’s been around EFT for as long as I have, my frequent “guinea pig” in early months, and someone who’s continued to have positive results in our sessions together, offered to reverse roles and be my “practitioner.”   We spent the next ten minutes or so doing a tapping sequence for the pain of the burn and it began to subside.  I had rated it as a “10” on a scale of 1 to 10 for intensity, and it fell to a “6”.  The pain was more intermittent and it seemed to change from pinching to dull.  I looked at the finger and was interested to see that the inflammation was less, and the blister had somewhat reduced.

While it was decidedly better, the burn was still there.  Now the fascinating part began.  My daughter, who has learned through the EFT process how often a physical symptom can be a reflection of a deeper, emotional aspect, asked me questions about what the word “burn” meant to me and how it made me feel.  I had, around that time, been dealing with a situation that had left me feeling a lack of respect by a significant person in my life – quite literally “burned” – and we followed that lead with another few minutes of tapping.  By the end of twenty minutes from beginning to end, I was without pain.  Zero.  The redness of my finger was almost completely gone, and I was actually able to touch, even rub the injured area with no discomfort.  The following day there was no sign that I had ever been burned.

When we use EFT for any condition, physical or emotional, we never know what the outcome will be.  This series of techniques works directly with the subtle energies of the body and each and every case is different.  We all have individual backgrounds, experiences and, as a result, belief systems about ourselves and the world, and for this reason every result will be individual.  I was there to witness my own result of using EFT for a painful burn, and truthfully I was astonished to be completely relieved in minutes.  But such outcomes aren’t uncommon – the stories of recovery from a spectrum of conditions are legion.  I chose pain as a specialty in my practice because I know how many need to find a safe, simple and exceptionally effective way to live without its distraction and interference to their happiness and productivity.

This week’s Pain Relief World Summit will explain further why it’s a great idea to have “EFT in your medicine cabinet”, along with your aspirin and Tylenol!

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I Deeply and Completely What?

Chances are, even if you’re brand new to EFT, you’ve heard the term “tapping.”  There are many who have, but their actual knowledge of it is often partial, and for that reason their success in its use can also be partial.  Most know there is physical tapping involved – and I have to say I’ve seen some very creative interpretations of the eight tapping points generally used – but that’s usually about it.  Somehow over the years this remarkable technique has more than occasionally been, like a joke, passed on and altered to the point where it’s an altogether different version, and as a result misunderstood and even disregarded as quirky or too simple to work.

Among the twenty-nine EFT Masters in the world, a distinguished group of highly skilled and experienced practitioners and trainers who have achieved the true “art of delivery” of Emotional Freedom Techniques, are professionals in the psychotherapy, social work, counselling, education, science and medical fields.  Many other practitioners work in these and other professions, and EFT has become a significant part of their practices.  Now it’s time for the rest of us to know more about a technique that, while easily learned by anyone and, yes, unusual, is universal in its application and eye-openingly effective.  Like any tool, EFT works best when used correctly (and frequently) and to the scope of its purpose and function. 

Tapping is one part of EFT – there is another, and it’s what sets the technique apart from its “cousin” acupuncture.  The other part is the spoken word, the expression of an issue that is negatively affecting us in some way.  It may be a pain – a migraine or lower backache; it may be a fear of heights or snakes or flying, or possibly public speaking; or it may be a worry about money, a relationship or an upcoming exam.  The possible applications for EFT are endless, and the key to resolving each issue is to be specific in describing it in words, to bring it into focus and keep it there while we tap the energy that underlies it.

So we use something called a Set-Up Phrase that does exactly that – it sets up and pinpoints the issue we’re dealing with, and it does something equally as important.  It’s designed to help us get past what blocks us from resolving the issue. What blocks us?  We do – or more accurately our usually long-held limiting and self-sabotaging beliefs and thought patterns do.  The technical term for this snag is Psychological Reversal, and it can stop us in our tracks when we are attempting to rid ourselves of a behaviour or condition that doesn’t serve our well-being.

Let’s assume you have a pain in your left big toe.  While you tap on what’s called the Karate Chop point, the standard Set-up Phrase you will repeat three times, is – “Even though I have this (pain in my left big toe) I deeply and completely accept myself.” 

Yes, I hear you.  What?  I accept myself for having a pain in my toe?  Come on!  Granted it sounds illogical, but the main purpose with this statement is to assert that regardless of the nature of the current issue you can accept yourself exactly as you are.  In future posts I’ll offer alternate phrases that may be more comfortable to use to release possible Psychological Reversal (PR), but it’s absolutely essential that this step is taken or you may tap yourself blue in the face and make no progress.

Check out the “Tapping Points” tab on this site to learn the main points and their location, including the Karate Chop point I’ve just mentioned.  I’ll take you through the full tapping sequence soon, and in the meantime, if you want to learn the basics of EFT right away, you can click on the EFT Universe link in the sidebar to order the new edition of Gary Craig’s EFT Manual through Amazon.

On another note, starting on Monday, October 3rd, at 8:00pm EST, there is a six-day online Pain Relief World Summit being made available, free of charge, with a 24-hour replay.  Nick and Jessica Ortner, who produced “The Tapping Solution” DVD a few years ago, are hosting this event, and it will be an information-packed lineup of EFT experts discussing many aspects of pain, an issue that affects just about everyone at some point and can have a great impact on our quality of life.  If you’d like to attend, go to http://www.painreliefworldsummit.com/to register.  The work of EFT with acute and chronic pain is a specialty of mine and I’ll be reviewing this event on my next post.  I’ll look forward to your feedback from the summit!

Next time – EFT and Pain: Been There, Done That

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EFT – Weird or What?

Let’s just get it out of the way now – EFT, popularly known these days as tapping, looks strange at first sight.  You have a pain in your back that’s hung around for days, you’ve taken meds and rested and it still hurts.  Someone tells you the pain will lessen and even go away if you tap a few places on your head and body with your fingers.  You’re highly skeptical and probably a little amused by the idea, but that’s nothing compared to watching your friend demonstrate EFT to you – it looks downright silly.  Your back is still throbbing, though, so you decide to give it a try.  Why not?  No one else is around to see you.  You do a set-up and a couple of rounds.  The pain is gone.  What’s going on here?

Have you ever had an acupuncture treatment?  If so you know it’s an age-old method of relieving many different conditions with the use of fine needles inserted in the skin to stimulate and re-balance the body’s energy system.  I have good news – EFT doesn’t use needles.  Instead, we apply a light tapping with our fingertips on similar points (called meridians) to those an acupuncturist uses.

There’s where the similarity ends.  The term “Emotional Freedom Techniques” suggests there’s an aspect of the modality that has to do with our emotions, and that’s the key to understanding the power and uniqueness of EFT.  What does that headache have to do with how you feel about something?  You’d be surprised.  Remember my last post about what turned around my experience with arthritis?

How can the simple act of tapping positively impact our emotions? Here’s a brief background story about how tapping came to be discovered.  A psychologist named Roger Callahan, back in 1986, was working with a woman who had a tremendous fear of water.  She couldn’t even take a bath deeper than an inch or so, and despite all his efforts Roger had had no success in helping her release her terror.  One day he was in a session with “Mary” on his property where he had a swimming pool.  During their work together she complained of a stomach ache.  Roger knew only a little about meridians and acupuncture points, but he did know that the stomach meridian was directly below the eye.  So he could continue the session without further interruption, and having no acupuncture needles at hand, he suggested to Mary that she tap with her fingertips on the point.  In moments she exclaimed, “It’s gone!”  When he asked her what she meant she replied, “My fear of water!” and she headed for the swimming pool.  Assuring Roger she still had a healthy respect for the fact that she couldn’t swim, she stepped in the pool without hesitation.  From that point Roger Callahan developed Thought Field Therapy or TFT, and in the nineties Gary Craig, a Stanford engineering graduate, simplified the system to what we largely know today as EFT.

Science is validating beyond doubt the fact that our thoughts and feelings have a direct influence on our physical state, and we experience that reality when, for example, we’re gripped by fear and anxiety and feel a tightness, pressure or even pain in our chest or belly. Long periods of stress often end in a gigantic cold or case of flu.  A scary event can have us running for the nearest washroom. Connected?  You bet. I think of the body as a flesh-blood-and-bone “version” of our inner mental and emotional workings which are, in turn, signposts of our programming – more about that later.  Arthritis was my physical version of the immobilizing self-criticism and resentment I carried around for months before the painful symptoms began.

EFT is based on the discovery statement that the cause of all negative emotions is a disruption in the body’s energy system.  We have a disturbing thought or memory, the smooth flow of energies is interrupted and creates a sort of “zzzzzt,” like interference on a radio, and the outcome is an emotion like sadness or fear or anger.  Tapping restores balance and calm to those energies, the negative emotion is neutralized, and an associated physical malaise is often notably relieved or happily gone altogether.

Visionary physicist John Archibald Wheeler once said, “In any field, find the strangest thing and then explore it.”  Don’t be fooled by what may seem like a kid’s playground game – it’s worth a little “weird” to get to “wow.”

Next time – Tapping – “I Deeply and Completely What?”

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