Can EFT be used to make massage and other hands-on techniques more effective? Perhaps my session last night can provide some clues.
The client had a sudden onset of pain in her neck. It started early in the morning and was quite intense all day. She couldn’t lie down at all without spasms so severe she called them “labor pains in my neck” (she is a mother of two small children). Our session began in the late evening after a full day of pain. Using repositioning, gentle unwinding, and trigger point work, we were able to reduce the pain a bit. It didn’t seem like labor pain anymore, but it remained uncomfortable.
Working hands-on with the human body when it is in pain, we can often “feel” whether there is an openness to unwinding the tension and returning to balance… or, there is a resistance, a point at which it feels like the body doesn’t want to cooperate. This is at the energetic level. It moves from being “okay to proceed” to a feeling like “YOU CAN’T MAKE ME!” Again, it isn’t a mental thought; it is an energetic feel. And only some clients are initially body aware at the level where they can sense the difference.
To proceed (even at client insistence) when such resistance is present can take a lot of time and energy on the therapist’s part. Worse, sometimes the client will feel better after the session only to have signficant “rebound” pain later on. It would almost be better to STOP at that point where resistance is felt and do no more physical work. I say “almost better” because with EFT we have another option.
With my client last night, we stopped when I felt the resistance and started tapping. We explored whatever in her life that was “a pain in the neck.” Topics included house cleaning, kids pulling on her in different directions, her father… we just took whatever specifics came up and tapped on them.
My client definitely had physical pain. Parts of her system were misaligned and full of tension. The labor pains in the neck were real and paralyzing. So, is the pain physical or emotional? I say… we don’t know and don’t NEED to know. By using the metaphor of “pain in the neck,” certain people and situations popped into her mind. Don’t you have some people or situations that are pains in YOUR neck? We all do. Therefore, these metaphorical “pains in the neck” become doorways through which we can access the energy system that flows through the spine and all the muscles and nerves of the area.
By tapping on what shows up through these doors, we may or may not shift the pain. With my client, there were sensations of energy moving and shifting complexion—vertical green stripes of pain transformed to horizontal stripes of pain and then dissipated. We paid attention to both emotional context and specific body sensations. We tapped for about 15 minutes. Afterwards, she felt tired, so we took a break from direct neck work and focused on overall body energy flow with some lower leg and foot massage.
What was exciting to me as a practitioner was how the neck felt when we returned to it. The resistance was gone! From that point on, it felt clear to me that the neck and all the different layers of bone, tissue, nerves, and energy were working together towards healing—rapidly! The massage work felt easy, almost effortless, compared to prior to the tapping. By the end of the session, she had no real pain in the neck, it moved freely, and she was smiling again.
As we continue to explore how emotions affect us physically and our physical pains affect us emotionally, it is useful to keep in mind that our body is interconnected. We cannot draw distinct boundaries that separate the body from the mind from the spirit. Resistance on any of these levels leads to pain.
Can EFT always help remove this resistance? It did in this case. It has for many. It is an avenue worth exploring since it is quick and even at the beginner level of expertise can show significant results.
Where might this not work? When a strong emotion is not ready to be released. As an example, if someone is hurt in an automobile accident and hires an attorney to litigate for damages, studies has shown that recovery time is significantly longer for “pains in the neck” such as whiplash. Such personal injury lawsuits take a long time, and awards are based on pain, suffering, and impact on lifestyle. There are also often feelings of being “done wrong,” especially if the other driver was seriously negligent or intoxicated. I have seen EFT work on all these different aspects, yet to explore those emotions with persistence requires an eagerness to heal that may be… premature. And that’s okay. In my own life, I’ve healed when I was ready, and God help anyone who tried to push me. <smile>