When I say that I deal with pain every day, I think many people can relate. We all have little aches and pains that plague us throughout our lives; that knee injury from high school, back and shoulder pain from stress, or recurring headaches that can’t be explained. I even include emotional pain in this definition.
Physical chronic pain has become a widespread issue affecting more than 100 million Americans while remaining an invisible illness. It doesn’t receive attention because there is no way to compare levels of pain or measure how much it improves or gets worse. We all can believe our pain is worse than others’ but that doesn’t help us feel better.
Pain and Fatigue
I assume that for anyone dealing with pain, it can cause severe exhaustion. As a person with narcolepsy, when I have a headache or something that hurts, I am constantly trying to save face and continue functioning in the day to day. When I can finally sit down alone and stop pretending that I’m okay, the exhaustion of putting on that act sets in and I sleep. But it’s not restful sleep, I often awake again and again in pain so when I wake up in the morning, the cycle starts all over again. How many of you can relate to this cycle? What if I told you there is something you can do now that will reduce or even remove that pain? You don’t need to see a doctor and it won’t take much time.
This sounds like magic! But it’s more like science. It is called the Emotional Freedom Technique and it blends the principles of Chinese Acupressure with modern Psychology.
What is EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique)?
Before I get into the technicalities of it, I will admit that it saved my life. I was completely flabbergasted by what it was able to do for my mental health. My first experience with it was through a professional psychotherapist. But that doesn’t mean you need to see a professional for it to work. Since then I have done extensive research on how to apply it to my own life on a day to day basis.
EFT is awesome because you do not need any training to start getting results. It can be used for literally almost anything in the world. Once you start googling it, you will find EFT courses for pain, productivity, leadership, personal finance, career development, happiness, mental health, stress and so much more. You may be skeptical because it works for so many different things, but the reason it works is that it gets to the root of the problem and doesn’t treat the symptoms.
Let’s get started
It’s best to start with something simple. Maybe you want to see physical proof that this works before you devote another minute to it. While there are no guarantees, there are visible ways you can see this in action. But just because you don’t see the results you want immediately, on the first try, don’t give up.
I think the best way to start using EFT is to start with some physical pain you are feeling. It could be a headache, a knee that’s been troubling you for years, or even just a stiff neck. Most of us that don’t sleep properly are carrying around a myriad of issues, and we can use this on many of them. But choose something physical first so you can see how the experience works.
If you prefer to learn through videos, here is one that will walk you through the process. The actual tapping starts around 10 minutes into the video. While explaining the process, Nick Ortner says something that really resonates.
“The moment we accept ourselves as we are, is the moment we can change. That’s the moment where everything can shift.”
The EFT Method
When we tap we start with a set up phrase like, “Even though I _______, I completely love and accept myself.” This helps us focus on the issue that we want to address while telling our inner selves that we do not need to be fixed, we simply want to release these negative feelings that are holding us back.
Here’s the method for how to tap. In this example, let’s focus on pain.
1. Identify the problem you want to focus on. In this case, try to find some pain in your body. If there isn’t any, choose something like anxiety or stress you are feeling. Be as specific as possible.
2. Consider the pain and how you feel about it now. Rate the intensity on a scale of 0 to 10 with zero being the lowest and 10 being the highest.
3. Compose a set up statement like mentioned above that acknowledges the issue you want to focus on and affirms yourself as a person. Here are some examples:
Even though I have this awful pain the back of my head, I completely love and accept myself.
Even though I have this debilitating chronic back pain, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.
Even though my stomach always hurts in the morning, I completely accept and love myself.
Even though I am so stressed about this presentation at work, I completely love and accept myself.
4. Then get ready to begin tapping! We start with the Karate Chop point on the side of your hand (see the picture). Repeat the setup statement three times aloud, while tapping on the Karate Chop point. Breath deeply afterward and really focus mentally on this issue you want to address.
5. Then tap about 5-7 times on the other 8 points in the image. Don’t worry if you don’t do it perfectly. You will also find different sources have more or less tapping points. You can do whatever is most comfortable or effective for you. Continue to focus on the issue at hand, and repeat some reminder phrase like, “This pain” or “my head” to help you stay mentally focused on your issue. Be aware if other things arise in the process but just continue tapping.
Here is a summary of the points:
Eyebrow Point (EB) Where the eyebrows begin, closest to the bridge of the nose.
Side of Eye (SE) On the bone directly along the outside of either eye.
Under Eye (UE) On the bone directly under either eye.
Under Nose (UN) The area directly beneath the nose and above the upper lip.
Chin Point (CP) This is the area just below your bottom lip and above the chin, right in the crease.
Collarbone Point (CB) Starting from where your collar bones meet in the center, go down an inch and out an inch on either side.
Under Arm (UA) On your side, about four inches beneath the armpit.
Top of Head (TH) Directly on the crown of your head. And take another deep breath!
6. Now that you’ve completed the sequence, focus on your pain again. How intense is the pain now, in comparison to a few minutes ago? Give it a rating on the same 0 to 10 scale. Did you notice a shift? Did anything else come up while you were tapping? Maybe your phrase changed from “this pain” to “this stress” without you intentionally thinking about it. That can indicate stress is the source of your pain. So you can go back and tap again on the source instead of the symptom for even better results! In this way, tapping allows us to dig deeper and deeper!
7. If your pain rating is still above 2 or 3, you can do another round of tapping. I recommend taking a few deep breaths first and relaxing. It is often helpful to switch to a more positive round of tapping. You may use a similar setup statement, or you can affirm that you are ready to release the cause of the pain. You can use phrases like:
I am making so much progress
I am releasing these old emotions
I am ready to let go of this pain
I can be relaxed and completely free of this pain
8. Continue tapping through the sequence using some of these positive affirmations and they will make an even greater impact on you since you are using the flow of energy and tapping on meridians to really dig deeper into your feelings and emotions.
This is a simple explanation of one tapping sequence. There are an infinite number of ways to apply this method. In the beginning, it can be helpful to use youtube videos to guide you or follow a tapping script. But as you delve deeper you may find your own words and specialized phrases are even more effective. Feel free to begin by altering scripts until you get to be more comfortable with the process.
Ask for help!
If you have experienced psychological trauma, please do not try this alone. It can bring up difficult emotions and feelings that are best dealt with a professional present.
If you have deep-rooted mental health issues, I also recommend finding a professional to help you through the steps to make sure you are getting to the root of your issues.
Here are other resources to use: