Emotional Stress Underlies Physical Pain
A lot of you may know that emotional stress often underlies any number of physical pains and illnesses, and that if you can find a way to deal with the emotional stress, it relieves the physical illness.
I had a client a few years ago—we’ll call her Sally—who, for 2 years in the recent past, had suffered from severe acid reflux due to irritable bowel disease, so bad that she was hospitalized several times. It had started happening again in the last few months. Each time, her stomach would start to burn, the burning would rise up through her esophagus and throat and, every time, she would end up vomiting. It was extremely painful. This was frequently happening again lately. Doctors had tried several medications but nothing helped. They were out of ideas. Sally was open to trying EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques).
How EFT Works
Researchers have discovered that physical pain is often the result of stress, which makes sense, because, when our nervous system is stressed or traumatized, one of the ways this manifests is physical pain. For example, our muscles might cramp, our stomach might hurt, we might get headaches, or burning feelings, etc. So, if we can calm the nervous system, it often leads to pain disappearing. EFT is great for that. We tap on energy meridians (it’s like acupuncture without the needles!), while focusing on the emotional pain underlying the physical pain. EFT Tapping is more effective than many other modalities because it also deals with the parts of us that might be afraid of making changes.
Anger—the Underlying Emotional Pain
When she first came in, Sally was going to visit a cousin, to whom she used to be very close. This person was her best friend and had helped her through the craziness of her family during childhood. But now he was very jealous of her for a number of reasons and they argued a lot. Sally was angry at him and full of anxiety.
As she was talking about this, her stomach started burning!
We started EFT Tapping, focusing on the anger. The burning lessened, and she noticed that now she was sad that she couldn’t share with her cousin and that she was actually giving up on him. This was a huge loss for her.
Sadness—the Second Underlying Emotional Pain
We did some more EFT Tapping, this time on the sense of sadness and loss around giving up on the relationship. The burning stopped!
She Had Never Been Able to Stop the Burning Once it Started
But this time, it stopped. She felt a shift inside herself. She cried, because she was so moved that this time, the burning didn’t get worse and worse, rising up in her throat, and making her vomit. It just stopped.
Getting to the Emotional Cause Cured Acid Reflux
At a follow-up appointment, Sally said that, every time the burning started, she was able to stop it by just beginning the tapping. She didn’t even have to go through the whole sequence of tapping. After several times of tapping by herself, the burning never even started up again. In a few other sessions, we worked on another physical illness, which was also cured. The acid reflux never came back.
Contact Zoe Zimmermann, MA, LPC, Certified EFT Practitioner
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