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Practical Guide to EFT Tapping for Fibromyalgia

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Have you ever had fibromyalgia-related health challenges pile on all at once? I had a new client share with me recently that she was completely overwhelmed. She said that she felt like a boiling tea kettle with the lid on too tight. She wanted to whistle (let off a little steam), but feared an imminent eruption.

What do you do when you feel like an eruption is fast approaching?

One definition of overwhelm is – to cover over completely, to submerge, and to take over by force.

By that definition, it makes sense that when we’re overwhelmed, we experience a “drowning” feeling. Our problems overpower us and leave us feeling out of control and out of alignment.

What can we do?

In my recent article, “Tapping into Healing Success for Fibromyalgia with EFT,” I detail a few of the methods and the benefits of a healing technique called, Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), or tapping.

Wouldn’t we all like a little more freedom? Especially freedom from our fibromyalgia-related symptoms.

As a quick summary, tapping is a technique similar to acupuncture, where acupressure points on the upper body are tapped in sequence. (No needles involved!)

After writing the previous article, I was asked from a number of sources to share a bit more about this intriguing protocol and provide some practical usage details. I’ve compiled the information that I share the most and provide it here for your convenience. These are the four most common questions I’m asked regarding tapping.

1.  What circumstances can tapping help? And, when should I try it?

The short answer is; tapping can be used in nearly all circumstances and at any time.

  • Tapping can help alleviate emotional stressors such as anxiety, fear, frustration, overwhelm, fatigue, loneliness, racing/unresolved thoughts, anger, sadness, etc.
  • Tapping can help alleviate physical stressors such as localized and/or generalized pain, migraines/headaches, cramping, digestive upset, dizziness, cravings, habit creation, respiratory concerns, racing heartbeat, fatigue, addictions, and more.

It’s typical to begin by using tapping on anxiety or stress. I love to share atypical examples however, so here’s one about tent camping!

I’m not fond of camping. I’ll just start there. I’m also not fond of being cold and I easily become over-chilled. Years ago, on a family Boy Scout campout in Southern California, the overnight temperature in this desert area took an unexpected dive. I was wearing everything I brought, was in the warmest sleeping bag available, and surrounded by my toasty family. They slumbered in peaceful bliss.

I did not. My teeth chattered and my body trembled along to the rhythm of my vibrating molars. I could either see my breath, or I was hallucinating that I could see my breath — I wasn’t sure. The more I worried about freezing to death, the more I shivered. My heart raced and I felt panic set in. In my head, logically, I knew that I was okay. But, my body signals said otherwise. I prayed to stay calm and fall asleep. I tried meditating, too. Instead, the shivering worsened and I knew I needed an intervention of some sort.

I began to tap.

After just a few rounds of tapping, my rapid pulse began to normalize; my breathing became regulated. I told myself that I was warm, safe, and that the sun would soon come up and bring me the heat I was looking for.

I felt warmth creep slowly to my extremities and I shivered less. I continued to tap on the feeling of increasing warmth and comfort. I can’t say I heated up my internal thermostat entirely, but there was definite improvement.

At last, the sun did rise. When my family awoke, I asked how they managed to sleep when it was freezing cold. My husband joked that I liked to exaggerate. He said it was nowhere near freezing.

He lifted the flap of the tent and brought in a bucket of water to get a drink. He shot me an apologetic look when we both noticed the thick layer of ice inside the bucket.

I could say that the moral of the story is that Boy Scout Jamborees are dangerous (at least for parents who have internal thermostat problems). But … no.

I actually learned a valuable lesson on that trip. One that’s served me well for the past 17 years. You see, I’d been using EFT, or tapping, for a while at that point, but I was using it only as a stress management tool. I was unaware of the mind and body connection and had no idea that it could actually be used to help my body regulate, re-establish balance, and find a sense of peace and calm.

That discovery seemed ground-breaking to me.

So, I began to tap on just about any circumstance and encourage you to do the same. Go ahead and tap on situations where you feel overwhelmed, uncomfortable, or frustrated. Even if you feel it might work (or might not), why not give it a go?

2.  Can I tap by myself or do I need to see a practitioner?

One marvelous benefit of tapping is that it can be done alone and wherever you are. You don’t need to tap with a practitioner; however, the results you seek may be achieved more efficiently when working with someone else. It’s a simple fact that we have a difficult time “seeing our own stuff.”

When you work with a practitioner, he or she may be able to cut to the chase more quickly and address issues or blocks that you may not otherwise be aware of.

This isn’t to say that you can’t find success on your own. You can.

I tapped on my own for many years. In fact, I only tapped on my own (following the information I’d gleaned from books, videos, and recordings) until very recently. I met an EFT practitioner about five years ago and enjoyed working with him.

3.  How will I know if I feel better?

This may sound like a silly question, but it’s actually quite common. If you’re in so much pain that you’re tapping, it’s one thing to get significant relief, but how would you know if you’re somewhat better?

When tapping on an emotional or physical symptom, it’s important to first assess your interpretation of the problem. Assign it a number between zero and ten. Zero being – it’s not a problem at all, and ten being – it’s a very big problem. This is sometimes called a SUD score (subjective units of distress).

When you’ve finished a round or two of tapping, simply “tune in” again and re-assess. Do you feel much better or just a little better? What number would you give your problem now?

Keep tapping on an issue until you can feel relief and get that assessment number as close to zero as possible. You can learn more about this process, specifically, at The Tapping Solution.

This isn’t a quantifiable or finite number. Simply do your best and know that your awareness will increase over time and with repetition.

4.  What do I say?

I’m asked this question more than any other. A partial answer to this, as well as other tips, have been addressed in the previous fibromyalgia EFT article, so be sure to review that first.

To give you a basic understanding, I’ll outline four different ways and reasons to tap. Of course, there are many more, but this will give you a good start.

If you haven’t already, please download a diagram of the tapping points.

Establish a beginning number (your SUD score), between zero and ten that reflects the intensity of your current problem.

Next, we follow what’s called, the Setup.

Take a deep, cleansing breath. Then, referring to your tapping diagram, locate the Karate Chop Point on the side of one hand (it doesn’t matter which one). Tap on that point with the other hand while stating the problem and an acceptance phrase such as:

Even though I have this problem (name the problem or circumstance), I truly and deeply love, respect, and accept myself.

Repeat the setup phrase three times and finish by taking another cleansing breath.

The purpose of the setup is to acknowledge the problem and identify self-acceptance of the situation. You can find more examples of setup statements in this link where they’re referred to as Affirmation Statements.

You’re now ready to begin the tapping sequence.

You may wish to — tap on the EMOTION

While tapping on the various acupressure points outlined in the diagram in sequence, you can repeat phrases that express how you feel such as –

I’m frustrated …
I’m angry …
I’m anxious …
I’m fearful …
I’m sad …
I’m disappointed …

You don’t have to come up with anything more profound than simply repeating the dominating emotion you feel at the time. Repeat your chosen phrase at each tapping point until you’ve gone through the sequence at least once.

Reassess how you feel and determine if your number has changed. Has it stayed the same or gone down? As long as you’re comfortable doing so, continue to tap and see if you can lower your number to zero.

Finish with another deep, cleansing breath.

You may wish to — tap on the PROBLEM

Follow the same beginning steps as before, but in this scenario, you’ll focus your words on stating the problem as specifically as possible. Here are a few examples.

I’m so annoyed at my thoughtless next-door neighbor …
I’m afraid of failing at work when I give a big presentation …
I’m so angry that I my insurance won’t cover a procedure that I need …
I’m upset about the conversation I just had with my spouse …
I’m so confused about this home repair decision that I need to make …

Follow the remaining steps as before.

You may wish to — tap on the desired SOLUTION

Follow the beginning steps and then tap through the sequence of acupressure points while simply stating how you’d like to feel. You may wish to say comforting words such as —

Peace …
Calm …
Serenity …
Love …
Acceptance …
Joy …

Follow the remaining steps as before.

You may wish to — tap on the PROBLEM then the RESOLUTION

In this example, I’ll use the scenario of what you may say after finding yourself in a fibromyalgia symptom flare. What follows is called a tapping script and you may follow it as written, or change it to suit your circumstance.

Tap through the sequence of acupressure points while saying —

I can’t believe I did it again!
Here I am, flat on my back …
I should have known better … why did I have to overdo it?
I knew this would happen!
I’m so frustrated and mad at myself …
I’m frustrated at the limitations of my body …
I’ve been right here before …
I’ve been mad and frustrated before …
But, I guess that being mad at myself hasn’t changed anything …
I’m still mad, but I wonder if my anger is making me feel worse?
Maybe I could feel something else instead?
Maybe I can just feel neutral about it …
A flare is what it is … being mad doesn’t make a difference …
It’ll last as long as it needs to … as long as it takes for me to recover…
I may as well take care of myself as best I can …
I can start now by listening to what my body needs …
I think it needs rest and understanding …
My body is just doing what it can to recover …
I didn’t try to overdo it and have a flare …
I just need to rest now … and let my body heal …
I can care for myself as best I can until I recover from this flare …
I guess that’s my only job at this moment … to rest and recover …
And, that’s good enough for right now…

Follow the remaining steps as before and be sure to finish any tapping session by drinking plenty of clean, pure, filtered water.

Before you go, here’s a little nightcap

Now that you have several examples to follow and can start your own tapping sessions at home, would you like some tips on getting a better night’s sleep?

Here’s an article entitled, “Key Strategies for Optimizing Your Sleep.” It features an easy to follow tapping video, so there’s no guess-work involved.

Here’s to your tapping experimentations, and your tapping success!

_______________

Sue Ingebretson (www.RebuildingWellness.com) is an author, speaker, certified holistic health care practitioner and the director of program development for the Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Center at California State University, Fullerton. She is also a Patient Advocate/Fibromyalgia Expert for the Alliance Health website and a Fibromyalgia editor for the ProHealth website community.

Her #1 Amazon best-selling chronic illness book, FibroWHYalgia, details her own journey from chronic illness to chronic wellness. She is also the creator of the FibroFrog™– a therapeutic stress-relieving tool which provides powerful healing benefits with fun and whimsy.

Would you like to find out more about the effects of STRESS on your body? Download Sue’s free Is Stress Making You Sick? guide and discover your own Stress Profile by taking the surveys provided in this detailed 23-page report.

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One thought on “Practical Guide to EFT Tapping for Fibromyalgia”

  1. terriejw121 says:

    Years ago, my preteen daughter had an extreme fear of storms. She finally put her hand through a glass door trying to get inside from a storm. I took her to a therapist friend who recommended tapping. I was very susceptible but we tried it and it was very successful for her. She overcame her fear of storms. I keep thinking i should try it myself but keep putting it off. I will strongly reconsider it after reading the recommendations. Thank you.

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