Tapping for Pain

When I first started working with EFT it felt natural for me to focus on stress, anxiety, trauma and phobias. This still remains my main focus.

However there have been times when I’ve been asked to focus on physical pain. As a former Paramedic, who always had prescription drugs on hand to administer for pain, using EFT, or tapping for pain, was an interesting departure. I’m pleased to say I’ve been happy, and sometimes surprised, by the results achieved.

Using EFT or tapping for pain

It just so happens that I’ve had two opportunities recently to use EFT with pain. The first was last month when I was the speaker at a local ladies networking meeting in South Birmingham.

The group had expressed and interest in learning more about EFT – Emotional Freedom Techniques (Tapping) – so I had agreed to do a very brief introduction on the topic as well as giving attendees the opportunity to experience it for themselves.

Towards the end of the session I invited those wishing to take part to choose an issue to work on. Nothing major. It could be something emotional or physical in origin. Perhaps something that had irritated them driving to the meeting, an ache or discomfort, or anything that they felt negative about.

As it turned out, everyone came up with a physical pain or discomfort.

Give it a score out of 10

I explained that they didn’t have to tell me exactly what they had chosen to work on. That they should just focus on it for a moment and give it a score out of 10. 10 – the worst it could possibly be. 0 – not an issue at all.

Then I instructed them to forget about and just tap along as I worked specifically with just one member of the group who had volunteered.This person had discomfort in their ankle that was a 5 out of 10.

I asked a couple of questions:
“If this discomfort had a colour, what colour would it be?”
“If there was an emotion behind this discomfort, what emotion would it be?”

Now sometimes they may not have an answer to these questions, but on this occasion I found out that it was an annoying, blue discomfort. That probably all sounds very odd if you’ve not done EFT! But, it’s actually very helpful.

We commenced tapping.

First using a set up phrase where we acknowledged the issue repeating this 3 times. Then we tapped round the points using a reminder phrase (this annoying blue discomfort) to keep us focused. I had only intended to tap round the points twice, but all of a sudden it became ‘very annoying,’ blue discomfort.

A positive sign.

So I continued tapping for two more rounds. This was probably no more that 5 minutes tapping in all, but the discomfort reduced from 5 out of 10 to 2 out of 10.

A great result.

I then asked everyone else to connect back to their own issue and once again score it out of 10.

Others had a similar reduction. Two people said their pain had moved – also a good sign. Another volunteered that they felt more relaxed and others agreed.

Such inspiring results for just 5 minutes tapping!

EFT and stress

The second time I was giving a talk to an NHS Fellowship Group. My talk was Recognising Stress Early & Some Self Help Techniques.

During this talk I mention EFT and give a brief demonstration of how I have used it for myself. But, remembering the results of the week before, and in the knowledge that EFT is often better experienced rather than watched, I asked if they would like to try it for themselves.

This time I didn’t focus on an individual, and didn’t ask anyone what they had decided to tap on. But as before, I told them to give their issue a score out of 10. We then used a general, all encompassing set up phrase that we repeated 3 times.

This was followed by just 3 tapping rounds, where they remained focused on their own issue.

Then I invited them to share their experience if they wished. One person said their pain had reduced from 9 at the start down to 5!

So that’s two more really positive experiences of using EFT for pain. I will certainly be exploring this more in the future.

We don’t always fit the box

“We don’t always fit the box” I heard myself say that recently. There’s many a true word said in a cliché.

It started me thinking. We’re either “thinking inside the box” or “outside the box”. We either “fit the box” or “don’t fit the box”. We may even fit the box because we’re able to think outside the box..!

Do you fit the box?

Working as a Paramedic I would sometimes have patients that we said “fell into a grey area”.  This was just another way of saying they didn’t fit the box. We would know they needed help. But they weren’t ill enough to fit the criteria for treatment. They would have to either get better on their own, or get worse and then get help.

The reality was we just didn’t have a suitable box.

This could be especially difficult for those with mental health problems where the police had also been involved. Some may just have needed to see their own doctor. But it was outside of surgery hours, or there were no available appointments for a few days.

There were also times when people absolutely fitted the criteria for help or treatment. But when it was offered (and strongly professionally advised) they refused.

It is their right to refuse.

People aren’t box-shaped

I’ve come to the conclusion that we have lots of boxes. These are made out of our personal beliefs, opinions, what we have been taught or learned, societies’ rules, our social groups’ rules, our needs and desires.

It’s like another way of looking at our map of the world’.  All of which can change.

Wonderful things can come in boxes. But I don’t think people are box-shaped. Parts of us might fit the box for a time. Sometimes we might try hard to make ourselves fit and get uncomfortably stuck.

I prefer to think of fitting into numerous overlapping moveable boxes. Or, better still, perhaps we could be a completely undetermined, malleable shape, strong, but bending, growing, flexing, shrinking, curving, ever changing…

Look outside the box

I believe it’s totally normal to feel you don’t fit into a box, at least some of the time.

For many years I believed I would be a Paramedic until my retirement age. I fitted the box even though it was sometimes an uncomfortable fit!  But I became traumatised as a result of an emergency I’d attended.

Suddenly I was barely able to face working at all. Nevertheless, I found myself refusing the medication my Doctor offered me. I didn’t believe medication was the answer.

I had no idea what was. My distress was obvious I think, and my manager offered help through the Service’.


There’s always another option

In desperation, I finally approached the person they said worked with emergency services personnel. I had no knowledge, or faith, in the strange techniques she was using and was incredulous that she insisted I took time off work.

But the impact on me, of some of the work she did during our 4 sessions, stunned me.  I had to learn more and do more.

When I did return to work, I found I no longer fitted the box.

It seemed to me that many of my patients, who didn’t need my paramedic skills, could really benefit from the new techniques I had learned. Especially some of those patients that fell into the grey areas.

Parts of what I’d learned did transfer to my paramedic role, but much did not.

So after 31 years it was quite a surprise to find myself deciding that it was time to move on. Now, as The Stress Medic’, I work differently with people but it is just as rewarding as my work as a Paramedic.

Two boxes that overlap..

If you are experiencing a difficult situation, and it seems you aren’t getting the type of help you need, my advice is to look outside of the box.

Be open to different ways you could find support.

My experience of this has been life changing, and is included in some of the group talks I regularly deliver to WI and friendship groups. You can view the full list here.

I wish you luck on your journey.

£5, Parachuting & Me

I’m not sure when I developed a fear of heights.  As a child I climbed trees but I grew to be a shy, anxious, introverted teenager.

My first jump. We didn’t have tandem jumping when I was training!

I found two things I loved.  Playing the piano – but only for myself!  And dancing.  In my mid-teens I as was introduced to Ballroom and Latin American dancing.  When I was 18, my examiners started to encourage me to compete.  At the time, there were more girls than boys dancing, this made finding a suitable partner difficult.  I also wondered whether I’d love it as much, as I’d need to spend most of my free time practising.

So, instead of dancing competitively I joined 18+.  A local social club for 18 to 30 year olds.  I got involved in lots of activities.  Often they’d finish with a take away and a group of us putting the world to rights into the early hours.

Fear of heights

On one occasion we went to the theatre.  We ended up with seats high-up in the circle. I walked happily (whilst laughing and joking with friends) through the door to the circle. I suddenly found myself violently frozen to the spot.  The height hadn’t dawned on me at all! Now, having walked into the circle, I was faced with a steep drop down into the stalls.  Every muscle in my body felt rigid.  My friends took my arms and somehow managed to drag, push and manoeuvre me to my seat.  It was a very uncomfortable experience, and the first time I’d realised the effect my fear of heights could have on me.

Here we are getting ready to jump. I’m second from the right with a big smile!

Jump out of an aeroplane? Me?

A while later the chairman of Bromsgrove 18+ asked if I’d do a sponsored parachute jump to raise money for charity.  I was horrified!  How could he ask me to do such a thing?  Since the evening at the theatre, my fear of heights wasn’t exactly a secret. I rounded on him saying, “don’t be stupid, I’m terrified of heights!” or words to that effect… I wasn’t prepared to entertain the idea – at the time anyhow.

Back at home I was very indignant as I ranted on to my Dad about the Chairman’s request.  He listened quietly and then, without any memorable comment, went off to do something else.  “That’s odd” I thought.  But, at least I’d been able to let off steam a bit. Sometime later he casually came back and said, “if you do the parachute jump I’ll sponsor you £5.00.”

Aren’t Dad’s supposed to protect their daughters?!

Well, it gave me the push to decide I could do it. And I’m glad it did. Conquering this fear is just one of many challenges I would face over the coming years.

I also continue to do my bit for charity.  Last year I supported the Midlands Air Ambulance’s 25th Anniversary celebrations and 2017 will be my second year supporting Healing Hands Network in Sarajevo.

Group talks

The lovely ladies of Swanpool WI recently gave me my first opportunity to deliver this new talk. So, in addition to my popular Hereford & Worcester’s 1st female paramedic and Recognising Stress Early talks you can now book £5, Parachuting & Me.

See the my full list of group talks.

When are you going to write your book?

This was the question I was asked by one of the 60 or so members, of the ‘Bromsgrove NHS Retirement Fellowship’ group earlier this week. Very flattering, nonetheless the voice in the back of my head questions that a whole hour (or so) of me rabbiting on isn’t enough? But I keep getting this message, and find myself thinking, maybe I just might…..!

Later in the day I also got to speak to Hollywood WI, a smaller group of about 20 lovely ladies, and after I’d finished they agreed I could take a picture, it’s not great quality but you can see their lovely smiles.

My thanks go to both groups for their donations in support of my continued work in Sarajevo.

“I never looked at my watch once!”

Stress Medic group talksIn addition to my one 2 one client sessions I am very lucky to have a busy schedule of Stress Medic group talks. My latest was last Thursday for the Wyre Forest Friendship group meeting, held at Stourport Community Centre. Megan, who booked me to talk, was smiling and relieved when I arrived, with just 5 minutes remaining before the start of their meeting. I’d taken a wrong turn on the way and been held up by roadworks.

Wyre Forest Friendship Centre is a thriving group. Fifty or so of the members had arrived for the meeting. I often talk to WI groups, which I really enjoy, but it was nice to see a mixed audience.

They had chosen my most popular talk ‘Hereford & Worcester’s 1st Female Paramedic’. This has a lot of content and, noting that no one was yawning, I will admit I did run over a little. This really is not something to be encouraged in a speaker! So, that’s why I was delighted at how surprised a gentleman seemed when he came to tell me “I never looked at my watch once, and I always do!”

I chatted with several of the members over a cup of tea and biscuits. It was a lovely way to spend a morning and my thanks go to Megan for inviting me.

If you are looking for a different talk for your group or society, you can find a list of my Stress Medic group talks here.

Image courtesy of www.stourportcommunitycentre.co.uk