By Jo Hainsworth
I was chronically ill for 16 years, starting at age 10, with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), recurrent sinus infections, and systemic candidiasis, and have long thought that the food sensitivities I had were as a result of the effect of the illness and the treatments for it. My partner, Rex, and I have recently learned EFT, so we decided to take on my dairy and wheat difficulties, and see what we could do.
I have been dairy and wheat free for 10 years, with the exception of occasional tests with small amounts of dairy and inadvertent “tests” when I’ve been unknowingly exposed to wheat. The reactions to dairy are nearly immediate after eating, though not as severe as the reactions to wheat, which after the smallest exposure can leave me seriously debilitated for several days.
We began our journey with EFT and allergies one day after seeing Carol Look make a comment on one of the EFT Training DVDs, to the effect that underlying a lot of allergy issues is a feeling of being unsafe. Given that, in addition to the food sensitivities I’ve long had chemical sensitivities as well, this resonated with me.
It prompted the memory of my mother telling me that I was born with the umbilical cord around my neck, and an email to confirm that also revealed that I had been administered a vitamin K injection shortly after birth. I also remember my mother talking about her having fear during her pregnancy with me. Body dowsing (muscle testing) confirmed that this was the place to start.
The First Session
We began with the earliest issue, and worked on me not feeling safe in the womb. Instead of assigning a level of intensity we used body dowsing to check when we were clear. Next we moved on to the umbilical cord and, as soon as I started tapping, I burst into tears and was filled with emotion. Two rounds took care of it.
We then moved on to the vitamin K injection, taking the approach that when I arrived in the world I felt unsafe as I was first nearly “strangled” (with the umbilical cord), then “stabbed” with the injection. While I initially started with no emotion, I soon started shifting to interesting new aspects, which after lots of tapping and some imaginative testing on Rex’s part, resulted in a great by-product of me losing my fear of needles!
We decided to end the session there, as it had been quite emotional, and give me a break before carrying on the next day. However, my body had other plans! Later that afternoon, I ate some pickled garlic, as I have been doing regularly over the last few months. An hour later, my abdomen was bloated and I felt very uncomfortable (I had not reacted to it on any of the occasions I’d eaten it before).
Rex suggested I tap on it, and all of a sudden I started crying as I flicked into when I had systemic candidiasis, and had been eating lots of garlic to try to kill the candida. This led to realizing that my body had been a war zone for so many years, with my main metaphor being that we had to do whatever we could to kill the “bad guys.” This was a big part of me feeling unsafe for years, as I felt so vulnerable to the “bad guys” for so long. Later that night, some of the minor symptoms that I used to have when killing candida came back, so I tapped on them, and they were gone the following morning.
The Second Session
We commenced the second session with the fact that (as told by my mother) I threw up every time she fed me, and she had to feed me again. We had concluded that perhaps after the initial traumas of my birth, I had just associated the next thing that came my way (milk) as traumatic as well, so tapped on: Even though soon after I was born I felt that food was unsafe for me, I now choose to feel delighted that my body can deal appropriately with all foods.
In arriving at this choice (and dealing with the psychological reversal standing in the way of getting there!), I finally realized that my reluctance to let go of my reactions was because I saw them as warning signs that I was in unsafe territory, and therefore I saw them as my friends.
We then worked on the fact that I was weaned from the breast at three months and introduced to dairy and wheat (my two main food sensitivities). After that we did a positive round on: It is safe for me to let go of my reactions to food. We continued with working on several aspects of feeling unsafe with food, then went on tp dairy products (cows, goats, and sheep separately).
At this stage, I felt ready to try some cheese, and I was pleasantly surprised at my reaction to Rex saying “I’ll have to cut the mold off the sides and tidy it up, the only cheese I’ve got is a bit gross.” Normally, something like that would trigger all sorts of warning alarms and there is no way I would eat it. The fact that it didn’t bother me gave me great encouragement that what we had done had really dealt with my feeling unsafe with food.
About an hour after eating two slices of cheese (and enjoying it!), I suddenly had itching all over my body. Rex body-dowsed and established that it was not a physical reaction to the cheese, but rather a reaction to my anxiety about the possibility of a reaction! We tapped a few rounds on the itching and there was no difference. Then all of a sudden, my level of intensity shot up as I realized that I had a major issue with the “It’s all in your head” phrase that anyone with something like CFS has heard or heard implied many times throughout the years. We tapped on that, and the itching started to subside but not disappear. The 9 Gamut and floor to ceiling eye roll brought the itching down to 0.
Next I started thinking about how people have said that if you haven’t eaten dairy products in a long time, your body doesn’t have the enzyme to digest them, and so we tapped on that too, just to be sure.
That afternoon, something incredible happened. It was like I was all of a sudden redefining my whole beliefs about food. I realized for the first time in my life that, despite my lifelong battle with dairy, my body does not have a problem with food; it’s the subconscious beliefs that cause the reaction, not the substance itself. I wasn’t able to realize this until after we’d cleared the “It’s all in my head,” and as we cleared that, I ended up tapping on “It really is all in my head, and that’s okay!” (and got to the point where I could laugh about it!)
I later found myself asking Rex all sorts of questions on how he saw different types of food, and I began to sort my food beliefs into valid and untrue. I realized for the first time that white bread is not nutritionally useful, but it is not poison to the body (as I had long claimed). I found myself for the first time ever entertaining the idea of actually choosing to eat small amounts of food for their taste, even if they aren’t nutritionally great (I’ve been very strict with my diet ever since my candida days, and although I have enjoyed what I’ve eaten, I’ve now come to realize that my metaphor with a lot of food was the same as my metaphor with the candida: a war zone, with my body trying to “kill” the bad guys (like dairy and wheat). I actually found myself daydreaming about trying the chocolate croissants they make here in France, made with two former “poisons.”
The next evening, we decided to go for broke and really test it. Rex made cauliflower cheese, which for me was the greatest test–milk, butter, and cheese all in one dish. I ate a good helping and had no anxiety, except feeling a bit strange that I didn’t have any anxiety! I was a bit phlegmy the next morning and sneezed a couple of times, but that’s a reasonably regular occurrence for me, so we concluded there is no reason to believe that my body cannot handle dairy products, it being a far cry from past reactions to even small amounts of dairy.
I have had multiple chemical and food sensitivities for at least 20 years. For the first time in my life I can now see that it is not a case of something poisonous invading my body, but rather an overreaction caused by my seeing myself as unsafe and under attack. This has been a major revelation to me.
My metaphor has for so long been that of the canary in the coal mine–alerting the world around me that what we are doing to the environment and our own bodies is not okay. The metaphor has now changed, and the canary is now out of the cage and flying free; however, I still have real concerns about our bodies needing safe ways to alert us when what we are doing is not okay. This is something I think I will integrate over time.
When we started the third session, we felt that we had made huge inroads into all my allergy issues as a result of dealing with the issue of not feeling safe and the realization that it wasn’t actually my body reacting all that time; it was as a result of invalid associations in my subconscious.
I was, however, still quite nervous about trying wheat, as a result of the severity of past reactions. I still also felt I had an issue with not wanting to let go of the allergies due to feeling like if I did, nobody would believe that I had ever been sick (this is common for people with illnesses like CFS who have had the “It’s all in your head” implications throughout their lives).
As we tapped on this particular aspect, I realized that the main issue was that while I was very sick but the doctors couldn’t find anything wrong with me, I started to doubt my own sanity. We were unable to get past psychological reversal on clearing the wheat, until we addressed this aspect.
It was interesting to note here that once we started on this issue, I started crying and accused Rex of making light of the issue and not taking me seriously! It was very hard for him to understand, and I would imagine that any therapists who have not had severe allergies might not realize just how significant this was for me or others like me.
We also addressed the issue that once I no longer had reactions, I needed to choose to rely on my intuition to let me know if it wasn’t a good idea to eat something. And the lifelong dairy “allergy” had disappeared so rapidly and easily, I felt it also important to do a round on “It’s just too easy!” We also did a round with a choice, choosing to be free by learning to choose my own limits, instead of letting my body set them for me.
We then started on the wheat itself, and tapped on the three most recent and severe times I could remember reacting to wheat, and we tapped on: Even though I recently heard an “expert” say that wheat is incredibly difficult to clear even with EFT… We then worked on cravings, as I had noticed that I’d been craving cheese ever since the first bit of testing a few days prior.
By this time, I was feeling ready to try some organic wheat bread we had purchased for the testing that morning. My only concern was that I wasn’t concerned!!! After enjoying a slice without any symptoms, we made some soup to enjoy the bread with for lunch, and the rest of the day was symptom free. It took a bit of getting my head around this, as past exposure to wheat had left me in pain and with all sorts of horrible symptoms for several days, starting within a couple of hours of eating the wheat.
I noted later in the day, that the cravings I had had for cheese since eating the first lot to test had stopped, and I was not craving the bread at all, which is very unusual as I usually even crave the wheat-free bread I eat sometimes. Something else that really stood out for me is that I am normally very paranoid when handling wheat; I always wash my hands right after giving the dogs a biscuit to avoid touching anything that I could later touch before eating. After the tapping, I was very comfortable handling the wheat and had no desire to wash my hands or clean up every crumb on the bench.
That evening we decided to go for broke, and I ate wheat bread, together with three different types of cheeses, with dinner. I enjoyed it, no anxiety at all! A little while after dinner I noticed I was starting to swallow a bit of phlegm. I did a couple of tapping rounds on it, and discovered that I was feeling guilty that I’d eaten so much and expected my “poor body” to be able to cope with digesting it all, for the first time in so long. The phlegm stopped.
A few days later we had dinner with a friend, and as I sat debating in my mind whether to ask what the dessert was, and what it was made of, I realized that it was the first time in 10 years that I had been able to trust that it was okay to eat something without knowing exactly what was in it. I realized that I have used controlling my food as a way of giving myself a false sense of security, masking the feeling deep down that I wasn’t safe in the world. It was a real eye opener.
This whole thing has completely blown me away. To think of all the hell I went through during all those years, and it was just because I arrived in the world feeling unsafe and continued to “build evidence” that that was true as I grew up.
I’m having to revisit everything I’ve “learned” about allergies over the years, and am integrating the fact that it appears that for all these years, my body has not been reacting to substances, but rather to my perception of the lack of safety of those substances. It’s been hard for me to come to terms with, particularly as I’ve had occasions in the past where I have reacted when neither Rex nor I knew that I’d ingested wheat and only discovered after some detective work after the symptoms appeared that Rex had unknowingly used stock with a small amount of wheat in it.
However, despite what my conscious or unconscious mind thinks, I know I am now symptom free after eating dairy and wheat (and some chocolate for the first time in many years!) and looking forward to enjoying a life without so many limitations. The food is only a very small aspect of this, because clearing this issue has completely changed my understanding of healing and health, and I now feel that the sky truly is the limit. I’m excited about taking on a 20-year muscle spasm in my neck next!!!
Note on my use of EFT
While I use the word “tapping” in this article, in actual fact I don’t tap at all. I have practiced and taught Reiki for many years, and have used Reiki to do a lot of emotional healing in the past. I now combine the two, and all of this work was done with me running Reiki through my fingertips at each of the EFT tapping points, for a few seconds each round. For anyone who does Reiki, I believe that combining it with the EFT makes it very powerful indeed.
Note on the aspects with fear of needles
While not of interest from the perspective of allergies, the side path we went down on my fear of needles might be of interest to some. As we were tapping on the vitamin K injection soon after birth, the aspect of my fear of medical needles came up.
This led to all the countless blood tests I’d had that hurt but yielded no benefit, as for so long the result was always “we can’t find anything wrong with you.” Then it moved on to the painful twice-weekly injections of B12 I’d had during a six-month period when I was very ill. Then all of a sudden, once that was cleared, I suddenly realized for the first time in my life that my fear of sewing needles being put down on the floor might be a little irrational (for as long as I can remember, if someone has placed a needle down while sewing, I haven’t been able to take my eyes off it, for fear of standing on it and it going into my bloodstream and killing me!).
After I thought we’d dealt with this issue, some deft testing on Rex’s part got my intensity level right back up again. Eventually after several lots of testing, I remembered I had been avoiding getting a splinter out of my finger because I can’t stand needles, and suggested perhaps it would be the ultimate test. When Rex first got a needle out, I exclaimed that he wasn’t going near my finger with such a big needle, then after another round of tapping, it didn’t seem quite so big after all! When Rex had difficulty getting the splinter out with the needle, I surprised both of us by reaching out for it and saying, “Here, I’ll do it,” and proceeded to successfully dig it out of my own finger with no drama!