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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

EFT and MS

I recently had an e-mail request asking for advice on whether (and how) EFT can be used to help ease the symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis.  Here is my response: 

It is really a loaded question that you are asking, as there are so many factors that go into a condition such as MS (any chronic condition really) and I have to admit that as a practitioner, I have limited personal experience in treating people with MS.  However, I have seen results using EFT that lead me to say that I have confidence that EFT can be used to alleviate a lot of what you are experiencing, and ultimately bring improved quality of life.  I do have to caution that as "magical" as EFT can be, it is still a PROCESS and certainly PERSISTENCE is the key.  It's important to tap often by which I mean every day, several times throughout the day.  Make it part of your daily routine until it becomes a habit.  That's number 1. 

The 2nd part of it is becoming a true INVESTIGATOR.  Think of it as a process of self-discovery.  Be open to looking at your situation from several different angles, and really have the willingness to "get to" things (emotions/thoughts/judgements as well as physical feelings) that you may have been conditioned to avoid or play down.  I've found that this ability to be truly honest with yourself and your experience can often come easier with the presence of a practitioner that can hold that space for you (as well as give you angles to tap on), but it also develops as you gain trust in the technique itself.  What I mean by this is that the more you use the EFT, the more you consciously see and EXPERIENCE how it actually dissipates intense emotions, the more you can subconsciously give permission for more intense things to come to the surface - afterall, you now have a tool to deal with it.  This "under the surface" intense stuff is what we could call the Core Issues, which once addressed, is where real healing takes place.  It's a wonderful journey of discovering yourself, and though the symptoms start out as the main focus, symptom relief almost becomes a side-benefit as the healing begins to take place on other levels.

The third part of my answer would be to give you some concrete suggestions, in terms of what to tap on.  (On the assumption that you know the basics of EFT, if not there are several resources online that you can access.)  This is just a beginning, to give you some ideas:

- Start with what you are feeling NOW.  Your feelings about using EFT, hopes that it will work, disbelief that it actually might, fears that it won't, any inhibitions about your ability to get it to work for you, any reasons why it wouldn't work for your case, including beliefs about MS not having a cure, how hard or impossible it is to get rid of, what the medical community believes about MS, it's origins, and what contributes to it...

- What was going on in your life when you first began experiencing the symptoms of MS.  The first sign of a problem before the diagnosis.  What was going on in your closest relationships at that time (and how did your symptoms affect those relationships).  What was going on in your work life or career.  Were there other traumatic experiences that don't seem to be linked but occurred around the same time - accidents, deaths, divorce, move, birth of a child, any major life transition.

- What were the events that led up to the MS diagnosis.  Tap for the doctor visits and tests leading up to the actual diagnosis, and definitely tap for all of the details of the diagnosis, how it was presented to you, what words were spoken, how was MS explained to you (use the words of specific anatomy, as you understand it - nerves, myelin sheath, brain or spinal cord, etc)  Also, how was the "life of someone with MS" presented to you, what options were you given, what were your feelings, what were the reactions of those in your life closest to you.  How did you share your diagnosis with others, and what does it mean for you to be a person with MS, in your own words.

- What other methods have you tried to address your MS symptoms.  What other medical procedures, medications, physiotherapy, chiropractic, changes in diet, etc.  How well did they work, or not?  In your mind, are you "fighting the disease" of MS?  How does it feel to be in combat, winning or losing.  Tap out feelings about trying to take control, or feelings of loss of control.  Have members of the medical community offered you continued hope or let you down?  Do you have anyone fighting the battle with you?  What support systems are there for you, do you feel on your own?  Does it have to be a battle?  Have you resigned yourself to living with MS, do you try to make the most of a life with MS?  Is depression an issue?

- What Kind of MS do you have - is it progressive or remittant (sorry if those terms aren't right.)  Do you have MS "attacks" that come and go or do you experience slow deterioration?  As you tap, describe YOUR unique experience of MS, as I know it is different for everyone.  If you do experience "attacks" it's beneficial to tap for each attack (that you remember) as an individual experience.

- What does it mean to you to be a person with MS.  What changes has MS brought to your life.  How do you identify yourself now, compared with before the diagnosis.  How has it changed Who you are, as well as How you live.  What have you had to give up, and in what ways has MS brought you some benefit (however small.)  For some people, this may be only of a financial nature, but I do have a friend who is aware that now since she can no longer DO for everyone around her, she has learned to accept others doing for her, and she has more time to learn how to just BE.  Seek out what those benefits might be in your life, and tap for them as well.

- Address each symptom individually, starting with what is your biggest pain.  Describe it in great detail, in terms of location, type of pain, level of pain, when it's worse, when it feels better, use specific anatomy terminology, use metaphors "It feels like..."   "this pain is like a big red hot..."  

- How do you feel ABOUT the symptom (pain, stiffness, numbness).  It's important to tap on the exact words that are in your head.  "It hurts like hell"  "I can't stand it"  As you tap express all your frustration, helplessness, anger, despair about the pain and articulate exactly what "the pain" does to you.

- If the symptom was a person in your life, who would it be?  Seems like a strange question, but if someone just popped into your mind, tap for that.  "Even though it seems crazy but this 'pain' is somehow a lot like 'my ex-boss', I can love and accept myself completely."

- What does the pain remind you of?  Have you ever felt stiffness like that before?  When was the last time you felt so frustrated or helpless?  What other memories came up for you as you tapped through all of the above topics.  They may seem completely un-related to MS or your current symptoms, but honor your intuition or inner wisdom, and tap on the details of those other memories.  Almost everything problematic that we experience in our lives today has bits and pieces of related unresoved issues from our past.

I also have a few resources on my site, if you haven't already seen them.  Particularly my tapping videos, called The Most Worthwhile Hour, address some of the subconscious reasons we hold onto something that we consciously know is problematic in our life.  You can tap through "MS" as your problem to start with, but I also recommend going through all of the videos for each of your existing symptoms specifically. 

The beauty of EFT is its simplicity.  It's not necessary to tap on all the points, or even to tap them in a specific order.  Many who have MS are limited in their ability to tap on themselves.  If all you can do is tap on your leg, do that. 

Also, don't let all this information overwhelm you.  Simply reading through these ideas will bring things into your awareness, so all you have to do is read and tap.  You can even tap without words, knowing that the intention behind the tapping is to accept whatever you are feeling, even though it doesn't feel good.  When you are ready to do more, do more.  Start where you are at.  The important thing is to just START!!!  Tap a little bit at a time, but tap OFTEN! 

As an aside, if you are interested in a hands-on therapy that can benefit those suffering from MS, CranioSacral Therapy uses light-touch to release soft tissue restrictions, improving the function of the brain and central nervous system.  I've found the site of this Advanced Practitioner to be very informative, outlining some of her treatment cases, including clients with MS (scroll down her page to read about clients experiencing paralysis.)  I thought I'd present it as another option for you, and a great way to complement any tapping you do

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