Using EFT tapping for health related issues can be incredibly effective. Published research has demonstrated EFT to be effective for physical conditions ranging from generalized chronic pain, tension headaches, frozen shoulder pain, pregnancy related pain, fibromyalgia syndrome, helping to control pain in cancer patients, effective in helping to control glucose levels in diabetics, reducing psoriatic symptoms, case studies showing symptom improvement after traumatic brain injury…so as the founder of EFT Gary Craig said…why not try EFT on everything?
Now that being said, you should ALWAYS have a persisting physical condition evaluated by your health professional of choice to understand the diagnosis, breadth of condition and treatment options. I ALWAYS ask a client who seeks help for physical issues Have you seen a health care professional for this and has it been evaluated and diagnosed? This is important as large recent studies show that those with cancer who choose alternative treatments instead of conventional medicine are twice as likely to die, so it is important to look at EFT as part of a comprehensive plan for working on healing your body. But even more importantly, this question can be a source of great insight as the client often proceeds to share about their negative and even traumatic health care interactions as well as providing useful information about how they feel about their condition and what has or has not gone well in their healing journey.
Individuals using EFT as well as practitioners who work with physical conditions often wonder what kinds of questions to ask in order to get to the emotional issues and aspects that may be contributing to the condition, whether it be what may have triggered that onset of the condition or what continues to maintain or exacerbate the condition. Research continues to support the strong relationship between stress and chronic disease and published research has demonstrated EFT to be effective in reducing cortisol stress hormone levels as well as two recent studies showing EFT to effect epigenetic changes that upregulate health inducing physiological process including improving proteins related to upregulated immune function.
So what kinds of questions might be helpful in exploring the emotional contributing factors to when something shows up in the body? As a practitioner using EFT as a client directed relationship, I often begin by asking the client to tell me more about their condition, i.e. Can you tell me specifically about the what you are feeling in your body, such as the location, the size, the sensation you are experiencing right now, if you sense a color with it, what activities aggravate it etc. and begin with a round or two or three of Chasing the Pain (tapping merely on the physical descriptions and NOT addressing any emotional component). For those people who may have some difficulty in somatically describing their symptoms, a practitioner can offer an array of options to assist a client like saying: Is the pain sharp, stabbing, achy, tight, restricted, throbbing, nervy, numb, tingling, deep, surface or something else. This list should offer a string of options with an open ended offering at the end so as to not be overly directive. While I am fully aware that such methodology of this approach is often temporary and does not resolve the underlying emotional issues, it often develops great rapport with a client, as well as demonstrating EFT’s often rapid effectiveness in at least temporarily but immediately reducing pain symptoms by 25%-50% within a few rounds.
But to really achieve any long lasting results, you will need to explore the mind body emotions connection and get specific. The easiest way to begin I believe is by using the present moment as a specific event to ask: Right now, in this moment, what emotion comes up for you when you think about your condition? Then using Basic EFT on “Even though I feel this i.e. frustration that I have this lower back pain, I still deeply and completely accept myself.”
Since you have already asked about aggravating activities, you could then easily begin exploring either upcoming events that you or your client have concern about regarding their condition and use the future event to tap on. For example, asking: Is there an upcoming situation that is going to be effected by this condition that you are stressed about? Then tap on “Even though I feel really upset thinking about the not being able to go on vacation because of this flare up I am having, I deeply and completely accept myself.” Of course just as simple is asking: Has there been a recent time that this symptom/condition has affected you in a limited or negative way and what emotion comes up when you recall that time? I always begin with a new client with future, present or recent specific examples. This is because I am an advocate of using EFT as a safe and gentle approach. There is no way I know how any one person will respond to EFT. There is often information that the client has not shared with me and I cannot know all the possible traumatic connections to the condition that the client may or may not be aware of. Asking about: What things have changed in your life since the illness/symptoms started? This can be another great window in to the emotions associated regarding ways their life has been specifically altered.
Of course once rapport and safety has been established I then typically work back in time. I may ask: Can you tell me if you notice any themes or particular similarities of circumstances are/were going on in your life prior to the onset of your flare-ups? (Looking for potential known stress triggers).
Further exploring their healing journey with other providers can be incredibly fruitful for specific event tapping. For example:
Has your condition been medically diagnosed and if so how was that situation handled? Have things gone well with your other treatment providers and have you felt supported in the process?
A deeper inquiry into the onset of when their symptoms began is almost invariably a key tapping exploration. Using questions like: Can you tell me about what was going on in your life that may have been particularly stressful prior to the onset of you symptoms/illness, even up to 6-12 months prior? What was life like for you at that time/what was going on?
As they offer insights into their emotional theme related to their physical condition, i.e. describing their skin condition, say eczema or psoriasis as just so sensitive that they don’t want to be touched and upset if anyone tried to….an inquiry into: Were there earlier times in your life in which perhaps you also felt like you “didn’t want to be touched and upset if anyone tried to” can be a powerful doorway in to the underlying mechanisms that the body may have used as a strategy for keeping safe from other people. Such earlier originating events may never have been considered but by listening to a client’s words and exploring the felt sense of a physical condition it is possible to uncover powerful connections and strategies that the body may have begun the process of early in life.
Listening to the words you or your client use to describe their symptoms/illness/condition can be tremendously enlightening and allows the subconscious to offer important clues. Often a client when asked to describe what they are experiencing will say something like: It feels sharp, like someone is stabbing me in the back, or that my neck pain feels like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders, or a person with vertigo describes things spinning out of control…the metaphorical language that can appear can beg the next question of So is there anyone who you feel recently has stabbed you in the back? Have you been under a significant recent increase in pressure or responsibilities? Is there a situation going on in your life that makes you feel out of control?
Working with chronic conditions implies the likelihood of the involvement of issues of Secondary Gains. This has been called “the upside of the downside.” IN other words, what might be the unconscious benefits of maintaining the condition? This issue needs to be explored very cautiously and with great rapport if working with a client and I never explore this in a first session. Inherent within chronic conditions is a person’s learned adaptation to having an unwanted condition. They learn to live with something they do not want in order to suffer less. So addressing these are critical but need to be done very gently as someone may or may not be yet ready to address this aspect. Why would I want to be in pain, they may say. Are you telling me this is all in my head and I am responsible for creating this? This can create and support their belief that yet one more person they thought might help them is now making them wrong and only serves to further validate their belief that no one can help them. But when it is time, you may consider the question: I/You are courageous to be doing this deep work and yet possibly there is some small part of you that is feeling scared or not ready or not safe enough to resolve/get over this issue…and like a small boat rudder, that small voice of concern can steer the boat…if you were able to hear that voice, what might it have to say?
Another variation might be to ask: If we take the idea that the body in all its intelligence is always striving to heal, and yet there is this part of you that is having a hard time healing, would you be open to having a conversation with that part and ask it what it needs from you, or what it is trying so hard to tell you that perhaps you have not yet been able to hear?
The fears about getting well, the concerns of what others will see if you do get better, the loss of income sources like disability, the loss of newly found time off, the potential loss of compassion and attention, the way life may change for others around you…all of these factors and more can slow or even stop the healing process from occurring and are worth exploring when a person feels safe enough to explore the vulnerable emotional underbelly that often lies beneath chronic conditions.
Another consideration is to explore the use of a META Health approach that offers an even more personalized and directed approach to help a person create a specific road map for exploring the connections between the emotional stressor and underlying traumatic events and themes in their lives that are tied to what conditions and symptoms they suffer from. Working with a META Health practitioner to help guide you and facilitate the process is a powerful option for those frustrated with not getting the results on their own.
While I know there is so much more that could be covered on this subject, hopefully this provides some further direction and insight that can be useful for you on your tapping journey towards health. Here is also a video of a presentation I gave at Bastyr University on tapping for physical symptoms.
By Craig Weiner, DC, AAMET Master Trainer and META Health Practitioner
- PubMed Health Behind The Headlines – Health News from NHS Choices ‘Alternative cancer therapies’ may increase your risk of death, Wed, 16 Aug 2017 12:33:00 EST https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/behindtheheadlines/news/2017-08-16-alternative-cancer-therapies-may-increase-your-risk-of-death/