Emotional Freedom Techniques in Action: An Amazing Healing of Endometriosis
It was the first morning of a large outdoor event that Virginia and I had helped bring together. She asked me for an EFT treatment for menstrual cramps, saying that she didn’t want to become bedridden and unable to participate. As she expressed it to me, the cramping was so severe and the onset so sudden that “I don’t want to be in public when it happens.” Later, she told me that the time from the first discomfort to helplessness was typically about half an hour.
Virginia had had menstrual cramping since the age of 12. The cramping became incapacitating at age 15 and continued that way. She was diagnosed with endometriosis at age 21, and was 26 at the time of this experience.
Tylenol was ineffective for the pain. She had been using Chinese herbs and acupuncture, but her supply of the herbs had run out just before she came to me on that weekend.
I asked her, “When you think about having endometriosis, what emotions come up for you?”
“Fear… I’m afraid of the pain.”
“That’s understandable, but not what I’m looking for… What emotions do you feel when you think about your body betraying you this way?”
That did it. She was immediately quite upset, with tears, and identified anger (8/10 on the scale we use for measuring distress) and shame (6/10), commenting, “Why should I feel shame?”, then sadness (4/10) and fear (7/10).
I suggested that she not think about the reasons for the feelings of shame, and asked her just to close her eyes and experience her emotions as fully as possible. I invited her to experience the color, texture, and intensity of each emotion and to say “Okay” when she was fully into the “soup” of emotions. Then I tapped. With two rounds of EFT there was a decrease in the fear, anger, and shame, but a surge of sadness during the second round. The overall intensity did not decrease.
At this point I invited Virginia to “get into the soup again”, and to indicate when she was fully in the emotions. A few seconds later, she said “Okay”, and I then directed her to go back in her memory, to an earlier time when she had those same emotions.
Almost immediately she mentioned a memory from age “12-ish” and indicated that the shame had become much stronger again in conjunction with this memory. I directed her to go back farther, and after a few seconds she said, “Okay, I’m there.” I asked how old she was, and she responded, “Five”.
Again I asked her to look earlier. She could not find an earlier memory that was associated with that mix of emotions.
It was obvious from her tears that she was at a high level of intensity. I did not ask what the memory was. Virginia tapped three rounds for herself, using “this experience at five” as the focus phrase. I provided occasional verbal prompts.
Halfway through the third round she stopped tapping, opened her eyes, and smiled at me! I said “Okay?”
“Okay.” (She was obviously “okay”. Her entire demeanor had changed.)
“Let’s get some lunch.”
I next saw Virginia at another outdoor event six weeks later. She ran to me, gave me a big hug, and said, “I’m cured!”
She described the experience to me, beginning with a historical note: “The month before [our EFT session described above], I biked 20 minutes to my doctor’s office on the third or fourth day of my moontime. Usually the cramps were on the first day of the cycle, so I thought I was in the clear, but when I got to her office, the cramps hit me. I could hardly breathe, and couldn’t even lie down for the acupuncture. She stayed with me for about 15 minutes until my breathing returned to normal.
“After we did our session, I was due for my moontime the next day. I had no problem except for a bit of discomfort, like what I used to get just before the cramps hit. That was after an hour-long bicycle ride. Then I went swimming with no problem. I was waiting for the bomb to drop, and it never did.”
Virginia has had one menstruation since this experience. She said, “I was shocked – I can’t remember the last time I was surprised by my moontime!” There was no discomfort at all.
For me, the remarkable part of this story is that the successful EFT treatment essentially ignored the physical pain or the potential for it, dealing instead with an experience of many years ago that was linked with the physical issues only by emotion. The emotional “soup” provided a temporal conduit through which Virginia travelled in her memory to the experience that was, I believe, the initial cause of the disruption that manifested as endometriosis.
I did not, and still do not, know what the experience was beyond the age at which it occurred and the emotions associated with it.
I did not tap directly for Virginia except at the beginning of the session. I had had two previous successful sessions with her, where we also used the technique of verbal prompting with me modelling the process of tapping.
She is a delight to know and a delight to work with.
Four months after this session, Virginia called me and asked if we could do another session by telephone. The cramping had returned, and though it was not as severe as before, she wanted to be free of it. During the telephone session we dealt specifically with four more memories, one of which ( the most recent, five years ago) was a home invasion during which her life was threatened by a male with a knife. In each case the emotional impact was gone in one or two rounds. The last round we did was at my invitation, using “I’ve been afraid of men all my life” as the reminder. When we were done, she expressed astonishment about how powerful the phrase was for her and delight about being free of that fear.
Later she sent me an email saying, “I should tell you that after I hung up with you I danced around the house for a while singing ‘I am not afraid of men anymore’ (my partner thinks I’m crazy!) and it felt so good to say it, mean it, feel it. I have a good handle on EFT now and I do it at school when I feel myself getting sucked in to the negativity.”
Today Virginia has a great partner (same guy), two amazing children, and a wonderful life.