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A month of tapping.

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by James59, Mar 21, 2016.

  1. James59

    James59 Well known member

    It's been awhile since I've posted anything here, so before I begin let me fill you in on my background. My main symptoms (which have gone on for 10 years now) are neck pain and severe muscle rigidity throughout my body, especially in my limbs, which have a tendency to lock up on me several times a day. Plus my whole body feels like it's being squeezed in a vise. Nothing I've tried has helped, beyond providing some minor relief at first, then fails to do anything.

    About a month ago I decided to give EFT tapping a try. Due to my inflexibility, it is difficult to do more than one or two rounds at a time, but even with that small amount a few times a day I've had some curious results.

    When I do a round, one of three things happens.
    1. A wonderful sense of calm will come over me as if a weight has been lifted. The intensity of the feeling varies, but it always feels wonderful. This is often, but not always accompanied by small (like 10%) improvements in my range of motion lasting anywhere from a couple minutes to an hour or more. In fact, the second day it lasted for half a day, but I have not been able to repeat that.

    2. Nothing changes. Essentially a neutral result.

    3. I get more tense.
    The first two happen in roughly equal amounts, while the third happens less often.

    Before I started tapping I perceived my repressed emotions as a string of chronological events. Tapping has helped me see they're really a complex interconnected web. It's difficult to describe in words, but I spontaneously see new connections while I'm tapping. What an eye opener!

    Another wonderful thing happened. My overall attitude towards life improved. I was having fewer mood swings of reduced intensity and shorter duration. However, during the past 3-4 days this effect has reverted to my pre-tapping crappy "I'm sick of this pain" attitude. Is this to be expected?

    Unlike other things I tried, which involved a lot of effort with little or no reward, tapping is really easy, and the benefits, small as they have been, have vastly exceeded the effort I put into it.

    There has also been a down side, though. The slightest stressful thought now makes my muscles feel even more tense than ever before. I'm thinking this might be some sort of rebellion on the part of my subconscious. Not sure, though.

    Since tapping is so easy and provides some real benefits, I'm willing to stick with it. But I'm starting to worry that it will end up in the pile of things-I-tried-that-helped-at-first-but-then-did-nothing.
  2. donavanf

    donavanf Well known member

    I think tapping is powerful, but I wonder how much of it is Placebo. I have the same exact reactions you did. Either nothing, or something profound, both hallmarks of Placebo.
  3. Grateful17

    Grateful17 Well known member

    Tapping helps to interrupt the Stress Response. The 5 places that Faster EFT. (FEFT) has you tap on directly interrupt the fight or flight. (which most TMS'ers are in).

    This tapping is considered a competiting stimuli to the autonomic nervous system. (which is a good thing) as it can help to change the neural networks in the brain that is causing those conditioned responses.

    I have no idea why we sometimes get different responses to tapping. This happens to me too. Last year, I hired a private FEFT practitioner and did 2 hour Skype sessions with her. She took me back to some past traumas and we tapped them away. This really helped my physical symptoms. But I did have some abreactions first, before I saw improvements. With tapping, some people get what is called Abreactions which is just a temporary spike in their symptoms or what TMS calls extension burst.

    The places I use to tap are between the eyes, side of eyes, under eyes (on the bony area), chest area 1 inch under collar bone, then I grab the wrist, take a deep breath, blow it out (say Peace) and go to a quick positive memory
    James59 and donavanf like this.
  4. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi @James59, thanks for sharing your experiences. If you came back to share them, then that must mean that this community has meant something to you, and I'm gald to hear that.

    I've moved this thread to the General Subforum because it is turning out to be mostly about tapping rather than mostly about your particular case. :)

    Personally, I think that tapping can be useful, but that it is important that we don't expect too much out of it. The explanation that Grateful gave of how it works is, I think, spot on:
    I think of tapping as a form of exposure therapy in that if there is something that creates a strong emotional reaction in us, we can weaken that reaction by exposing ourselves to the stimulus while also exposing ourselves to the competing stimuli of the tapping.

    As such, I think it's only going to work if we have some sort of strong emotional reaction that exposure will help us with. Some people use it as a cure-all and, like Donavan, I think that they will be disappointed. However, just as there is scientific evidence that general exposure therapy works, there is also scientific evidence that tapping works. I describe the research and more thoughts in this post:

    When you get more tense, James, so you think that that might be caused by frustration? If so, you might want to check out the concept of "Outcome Independence."

    Mindfulness meditators are the masters of outcome independence. If you get fixated on "relaxing" or "doing it right" when you meditate, you will never get anywhere. That's why meditators just allow feelings about whether they are "doing it right" to come and then go. They simply bring their attention back to where it was before. This is how they avoid getting hung up on "outcomes."

    Does that sound relevant to you, or was it a miss?

    Overall, I wish more people would do tapping. I feel that a little bit of tapping is good for anyone with stress (i.e. everyone) just like a certain amount of journaling is good for anyone with a human mind. I wonder, though, if you are reaching a point of diminishing returns and it might be time for you to explore something new.

    Eager to read your response. :)
    donavanf likes this.
  5. James59

    James59 Well known member

    I don't quite get why it was moved since it was support, not a general discussion, that I was looking for. But it may be just as well. I wasn't getting any responses until it was moved.

    I think I get more tense for the reason described by Grateful17 above. Her explanation seems to have the ring of truth.

    Tapping is the "something new" I'm exploring. I was experiencing diminishing returns with everything else I tried. So far tapping has been giving me an increasing sense of calm in my mind. (The setback I mentioned in my original post was only temporary.) And even though my physical tension has increased somewhat, I'm getting much less frustrated with it. I'm hoping that as I use tapping to calm my mind my body will eventually follow along and calm down as well. It's the first time I've felt any hope in years.
    Grateful17 likes this.
  6. jlm

    jlm Peer Supporter

    I've not tried tapping for the inflexibility of some of my muscles, but I have used it for numerous traumatic events from my past a and few less traumatic current ones. It has worked in a way no other modality has come close to. Journaling was temporary, writing angry letters and burning them was liberating for a time, but the issue returned. Nothing that I have tapped on long enough to reduce the charge to at least a two has reoccurred. I realize you aren't able to tap as long as Nick Ortner recommends, but are you doing the set up sentence? As he says, you can't wash a window if you look at the dirt first. Are you able to say, "I completely love and accept myself?" I've recently added Yin Yoga to soften the fascia and release some of my inflexibility. I will add tappng. Thank you for bringing it to the forefront for me. I would love to release the left side of my neck, to say nothing of the muscles in my legs and back.
    Grateful17 likes this.
  7. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Heya, James, I'm glad to hear you're feeling more hope and that tapping is helping give you a sense of calm.

    In terms of where this thread goes, threads about a specific person go in the support subforum and threads about a specific topic go in the general subforum. Since this thread effectively seems to be about tapping and since I thought that the people in the general subforum would appreciate that, I thought it was good here. I'm happy to move it back if you'd prefer, though. PM me if you do. It sounds like you understood the software, but many people don't and just press "New Thread" in whatever subforum they happen to be viewing. Usually, I have to move threads about a specific person (and without a broader topic) from general to support, but occasionally there is a thread with a topic (like tapping) that I move in the other direction.
  8. Phaedrus

    Phaedrus New Member

    I've been having a lot of work stress and am feeling pretty bad about some things. Reading this makes me think I should give tapping another try.
    Grateful17 likes this.
  9. James59

    James59 Well known member

    Well, it's been about two months now. Here's a status report:

    Generally speaking, tapping continues to help keep my mind calm. I get angry much less often than before, and when I do get angry it doesn't feel natural or necessary as it once did. Anger is tempered by a feeling that "I don't really need this."

    Strangely, though, my body seems to be going in the opposite direction. I feel greater muscle tension than ever before, and I'm forced to move even more slowly than before I started tapping. A couple weeks ago I got kinda stressed over a local political issue and had acute lower back pain for about a week, and it still lingers a bit. (I used to have lower back pain on and off from the time I was a teenager, but haven't had any episodes for a few years until now.)

    But because my mind is calmer, the increase in physical symptoms doesn't seem like a big deal. I'm almost laughing at it. I suspect the symptoms are worsening in order to distract me from my calmer mental state, and I'm acting in accord with that assumption for now. But the thought that the worsening symptoms will become permanent nags at me a little.

    I don't want to get my hopes up too high, but I am hoping these are favorable signs. Any thoughts on these developments are welcome.
  10. Lori

    Lori Well known member

    I like tapping and do believe it is valuable. You are tapping on meridians or the same places used for acupuncture. There is science behind it although some of it can't be explained. Kind of like TMS: Why was my back aching? Why did I have such numbness?

    Anyway, I also think tapping can be used concurrently with journaling and have done so myself, and also with a tapping practitioner. Along the tapping points just talking out loud about what the issue is. And like the journaling method I favor, after getting the negative feelings out, always turning to what I can learn from it or changing my perspective about something, etc.; something that causes a shift. e.g. I'm open to seeing how this can work for me. It's very interesting to me.

    I personally don't see it as a placebo.

    James, what you believe will be true for you. If you think tapping will stop working for you, it will! If you believe it will help you, it will! People have had amazing results with it. Did you watch Nick Ortner's original The Tapping Solution film? Absolutely amazing stuff. regarding belief: I believed in what I was doing to heal myself, and it did work. dancea

    Different things may work better for some than others. Just like some authors and books resonate differently for people. :) It's all ok.

    Best wishes for healing, all!

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