top of page
Emotional Freedom Techniques
Emotional Freedom Techniques

by Karen Lewis

How to Get That Extra Mile from Your Herbal Medicines with a Simple Tapping Procedure

I know that herbs, these beautiful, gentle remedies provided by Mother Nature, do a wonderful job of restoring our bodies to a state of wholeness, working as well as many modern drugs, but with few, if any, of the toxic side effects. Utilize the right selection of herbs and you can get fantastic results.

However, occasionally the herbs we have so carefully chosen, even intuited, don’t seem to work as well as we know they should. It’s certainly happened to me when I was in practice, and also when trying to benefit my own personal health.

A couple of years ago, I came across one of the ‘newer’ energy meridian therapies, based on the ancient Chinese and Japanese forms of acupuncture/acupressure.

Emotional Freedom Techniques, also known as EFT, is one of the more recent incarnations in the use of the meridian system. It is very simple and easy to learn and to apply. Its founder, Gary Craig, likens it to “psychological acupuncture without the needles” as you tap with your fingertips on certain parts of the face, torso and hands, where the meridians endpoints surface.

Gary’s premise is that “the cause of all negative emotions is a disruption in the body’s energy system” and that “unresolved negative emotions are major contributors to most physical pains and diseases.”

This is something that I noticed with my herbal patients, that many physical manifestations of illness appear to have their beginning, in unresolved emotional problems. Many times, in consultation, asked what they could remember about events going on at the time of, or just before, their problem started, patients mentioned bereavements or crises, etc., which were still affecting them now.

EFT incorporates an emotional element to the healing process, addressing those unresolved underlying emotional issues, and thus allowing physical healing to take place.

By tapping on the meridian acupoints, the body's energy system is gently realigned, and re-balanced, disconnecting the physical discomfort we associate with certain memories, and quite often removing the resulting symptoms.

Usually, the herbs we use work well; they are able to help solve the physical and even many emotional problems in a gentle, natural way. The body responds positively to the herbal stimulus and comes back into balance. But for those more obstinate cases, where the herbs don’t pack their usual punch, I have found that combining the use of EFT with the herbal medicine can have the effect of potentiating the herbal actions.

My belief now is that when we hit a stumbling block with getting well, to consider if there may be an unsuspected underlying emotional issue, which is effectively sabotaging any attempts to improve our health. This is often known as Psychological Reversal (PR), the principal cause of negative thinking at a subconscious level, which results in self-sabotage and doubt.

If PR is present it blocks progress and healing, whatever healing route one takes. However, never consider it as a default of character or willpower. It just is. The EFT Setup Phrase (see below) acknowledges this underlying doubt and negativity, even when we don’t know the exact details at a conscious level. When it concerns improving our health status, the underlying, subconscious emotional factor may be that we don’t actually deserve to get better, odd though that may sound.

A simple example of PR in action can often be seen in the making of New Year’s Resolutions. How many people actually keep them? Yes, we’ll quit smoking, stop over-eating, get more exercise, etc. It is logical, makes sense. But a day or two down the line you are back in your old habits. PR has struck – negative thoughts, doubts, self-sabotage. If I quit smoking, I’ll get fat, because that’s what happens to people who stop. If I stop eating the stuff I like, I’ll feel deprived and/or stressed. Exercise – I just don’t have the time.

Another thing to consider is covered by the psychological term “secondary gains”. Even though we may logically and outwardly want to get better, subconsciously we recognize that there are benefits to staying as we are. Perhaps it is more attention from the family and friends; perhaps it’s time off work; perhaps it’s a way of avoiding certain responsibilities that come along with being healthy.

As a result, whatever we do to help ourselves, is likely to be less effective. Let’s take as an example, regularly forgetting to take your medicine (guilty, m’lud!). It is surely an easy thing to leave it where you cannot miss it, to make an extra attempt to remember to take it. You may have no idea of why you are resisting doing that which can do you good, or even be aware that you are doing this.

But even if you are meticulously downing your herbs, there are still times when you just don’t get the results you expect. The subconscious can exert a powerful pressure on our body’s physiology.

So how can we use EFT to help in this kind of situation? First, you need to learn about the tapping points and the procedure to follow (see below – EFT Self-Help).

Usually the most difficult part is to come up with a Setup Phrase to cover the issue you wish to work with. This phrase comes in two halves.

The first half of the Setup Phrase acknowledges the negative issue or problem; lets your psyche know that you are tuning into the issue to work on it.

For example, “Even though I keep forgetting to take my herbal medicine, …”

The second part states that you accept yourself regardless, or that you are at least open to the possibility that you can accept yourself. It acts as a positive affirmation to neutralize any negative thinking, the result of Psychological Reversal. The default phrase that is used is “I deeply and completely (love and) accept myself”.

“Even though I keep forgetting to take my herbal medicine, I deeply and completely (love and) accept myself.”

So, in the first part, we acknowledge that we keep forgetting to take our medicine. In the second part, we are telling ourselves that despite that fact, we accept ourselves, we are not going to beat ourselves up about it.

You can do the same thing with any problems that may come to mind. For example:
“Even though I feel a bit queasy when I drink my herbal remedy, I deeply and completely (love and) accept myself.”

“Even though my herbal remedy doesn’t seem to be working for me, I deeply and completely (love and) accept myself.”

In this case, you could actually alter the default affirmation phrase to read something like, “Even though my herbal remedy doesn’t seem to be working for me, I choose to let my body allow the herbs to do their job, to bring about healing and wholeness.” Once you have come up with your Setup Phrase, you come up with a short Reminder Phrase (less cumbersome to speak as you tap).

“Forget my medicine”, “Feeling queasy”, “Herbs not working”, etc.

You then need to put a number (SUDS - Subjective Unit of Distress Scale) on the way you feel. For example, “Feeling queasy” might rate a 7/10, where 0 = ‘I feel fine’, and 10 = ‘I feel absolutely terrible’.

Now follow the tapping routine, starting with 3 repetitions of your Setup Phrase and either rubbing the Sore Spot, or tapping the Karate Chop point. Then you tap on each of the meridian endpoints, saying your Reminder Phrase as you go along and include the 9 Gamut process before starting at the eyebrow tapping point for the second time. At the end of this, take a deep breath. Then reconsider that rating you started with. Has it changed? Come down?

In many cases, that one round will bring about quite a change, but if you have only got down to say 4/10, then you do a repeat of the above, changing the Setup Phrase to include “remaining” or “still”. For example, “Even though I still feel a bit queasy when taking my herbs, …” with a Reminder Phrase of “remaining queasiness”.

You can either carry on till you reach zero, or feel that you have done as well as you can for now. If you find yourself yawning, sighing, tummy grumbling or with watery eyes, they can all be a sign that energy has moved, shifting emotional blocks that might underlie your current state of being. You don’t have to know what they are, but many people will receive insights, often from their early years, which may be pertinent to their issue. Sometimes it seems that just bringing it out into the open allows healing to proceed.

It’s surprising just how effective combining EFT with herbal remedies can be. So if you do find your remedy is not as effective as you expected, or you are responding a bit negatively, why not give it a try and see if it works for you too? I’d be interested to hear how you get on.

5-22 cleavers1.JPG
bottom of page