Dear EFT Community,
In this article, Expert EFT Practitioner Baerbel Froehlin writes how difficult fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS)/chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) can be to treat. She shares her thoughts on why EFT is the most valuable tool to treat these types of syndromes because of its simplicity, its gentle and universal use, and the creative EFT applications for becoming symptom-free.
- EFT Universe
By Baerbel Froehlin, Expert EFT Practitioner
When I started my fibromyalgia/chronic fatigue group, I believed it would work well for overall symptom management. I had just started using basic EFT applications in my office and had noticed how well it worked and how much it increased success rates.
Since starting the EFT support group, I've been in contact with many former group members; all of them are still symptom-free. I believe EFT had the greatest impact on the improvements all participants experienced. After having talked to approximately 80 fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) sufferers and working intensely long time with more than 30 acutely ill FMS clients, I had some women who were completely symptom-free after 6 weeks of weekly group sessions, and still remain symptom-free years after.
Most of the others are at least able to reduce their very severe symptoms to as little as 10% or 30%, with symptom-free times in between sessions. Flare-ups appeared only in extreme stress situations, or when the client did not stick to the relaxation routine she learned during group sessions.
EFT was an important part and applied regularly each time in the most basic form.
Clients would tap the side of the hand point, face points, and collarbone point only for two or three rounds, addressing silently in their minds anything that felt disturbing or painful at that time. Before and after FMS symptom charts were filled out with SUD Intensity numbers between 1 and 10, to rate the typical symptoms. Filling out the charts was a potent psychological motivator since the pain numbers dropped drastically low after using EFT.
In the beginning of the group sessions, I often had individual participants address their concerns and pains which the group then tapped on.
Everyone to some extent shared the concerns and later the healing. Tap for one; get six free I used to think to myself. Besides being depressed and anxious FMS sufferers did not want to invest any time, energy or money, they needed to be motivated constantly during the first time of their therapy. Motivation to exercise, to be patient, understanding and loving with THEMSELVES was a crucial part of therapy.
FMS clients needed to regain trust in them, to consider themselves worthy enough. There was rarely any knowledge of body-mind connection.
I had to work hard to achieve overall body relaxation, motivate them to especially let go of much pain-causing tension, had them follow me into guided imagery, never forcing or pushing into actually doing something. EFT was the most gentle help and motivator during those times and could cover everything that needed to be addressed.
The typical FMS/CFS client shied away from ANY type of commitment. Very understandable since she never knew what her next day would be like, if she could function at all. The typical FMS/CFS client I worked with could not plan anything in advance, not a trip, not a dinner party or other social get together.
I worked with a 79-year-old lady with severe CFS.
Her only trip out of the house was the Sunday morning church visit. Every second Sunday or so she would faint, she fell out of the bench to the floor, unconscious, the whole congregation watching her. Another client, a woman in her fourties could never make it through her weekly grocery shopping; she became always paralyzed by pain in the midst of it.
I learned then that Fibromyalgia really “explodes” as an illness when triggered or when clients have accumulated enough traumas in their lives – in their bodies. Emotional and physical trauma of any kind.
All those car accidents, when nothing “really” happened, all those sad and hurtful times, those losses of friends and family members, parents that had to leave early in life, abuse of all kinds, divorces, loss of jobs, loss of identity, suicide of friends, the list goes on and on.
Apparently trauma is stored in our bodies, maybe to different degrees for different people, we just HAVE to deal with the things that happen to us in order not to get sick, if we like that or not. In the healing field we have known for a long time that the body does not forget anything that ever happened to it, so does the mind.
EFT definitely came to the rescue here. My clients were either on disability, not able to work any longer or not able to move around without help, or all of them when they first came to me. Symptoms typically included widespread pain and fatigue.
Very often FMS comes along with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).
Symptoms include pain in soft tissues, skin, organs throughout the body, muscle spasm, pain in neck, shoulders, feet, back, facial pain, headaches, sleep disturbances, flu-like symptoms, environmental hypersensitivity, gastrointestinal problems (IBS), irritable bladder, depression and anxiety.
The pain is unpredictable and more generalized than it is in arthritis or regional pain disorders, there is also a chronic dysfunction, decreased attention span and often impaired short memory noticeable in clients who suffer from FMS/CFS. “Relaxation Therapy” is a gentle but determined approach and works beautifully well. It’s a technique any therapist can adopt, follow and even create more and more of as they go.
It consists of EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), guided imagery, metaphors and suggestions for physical and emotional well-being, some coaching techniques, tools for re-empowerment of the client,), exercises and tools for re-gaining self-confidence and self-love, explorations of how trauma manifests in body and mind, establishing awareness of the body-mind connection, art expressions to explore and communicate with Self.
EFT here is especially important for stress management; it is easy to apply once clients are motivated to use it. Included in this therapy were the audiotapes (yes, it is such a long time ago!) that I customized for my clients. There is a basic procedure and sequence of tapes clients listened to daily. Here EFT was used to tap along while listening to the tape. I greatly encouraged that and of course, I still do.
Tapping along with positive messages for healing works powerfully well to quickly establish physical and emotional well-being.