By Dr. Carol Look
About 18 months ago I had a session with “John,” a New York City doorman, who described searing pain at least once a day from migraine headaches. He had finally returned to work after months of medical treatment following an incident where he ended up in the middle of a street fight.
He had been hit over the head with a lead pipe and ended up in the hospital with his skull split open. He has no memory of the accident. After weeks of hospital procedures and recovery, his final surgery was to place a metal plate in his skull.
In my office, John’s current headache was only a “4” with pain and aches traveling down his neck to his shoulders. His eyes looked watery and he was clearly uncomfortable. He said a “4” wasn’t too bad since he lived with “8’s”, “10’s” and “off-the-chart” pain on a regular basis.
In fact, he was a little disappointed that my scale [SUD Level 0-10 intensity] only went to a “10.”
We tapped as follows:
“Even though I have this dull headache, I deeply and completely accept myself.”
“Even though my head always hurts, I deeply and completely accept myself.”
“Even though my neck and shoulders are tight/sore, I deeply and completely accept myself.”
“Even though my head is throbbing, I deeply and completely accept myself.”
“Even though I can’t see when I have these headaches, I deeply and completely accept myself.”
We “chased the pain” in regular EFT fashion as it moved locations and changed either quality or texture. I used the exact words John used and tapped on myself at the same time.
When John’s current headache was reduced to a “1,” we moved to work on the trauma of the accident. Since John had an amnesic period of about 3 days, he couldn’t “tune in” to rate the trauma on a 0-10 scale. I asked him to follow my words and tap for it anyway, knowing that aspects of the trauma were stored somewhere, even if currently inaccessible by normal channels of recall.
“Even though I’m upset that I got caught in the fight, I deeply and completely accept myself.”
“Even though I don’t remember what happened, I deeply and completely accept myself.”
“Even though I got hit over the head and my head still hurts, I deeply and completely accept myself.”
“Even though I suffered from the accident, I deeply and completely accept myself.””Even though I suffered through the surgery, I deeply and completely accept myself.”
“Even though I have headaches, I deeply and completely accept myself.”
Then we talked more about John’s recent headache patterns and why he never took anything stronger than Advil for the pain.
He said, “All my life I’ve never gone near a painkiller.” I asked, “What do you mean, ‘all my life…’ ?” To my surprise, John told me that, BY THE WAY, he had suffered from migraine headaches since he was a little kid!
He said that when he first had migraines, no one knew what they were and he would tell his mother he “had one of those fevers again.”
I had mistakenly assumed his headaches were a direct result of the accident, and had missed this HUGE aspect.
We continued tapping:
“Even though I’ve always had migraines, I deeply and completely accept myself.”
“Even though my head has hurt me since I was a little kid, I deeply and completely accept myself.”
“Even though I have no idea why I’ve had migraines all my life, I deeply and completely accept myself.”
“Even though I don’t know the SOURCE of my migraines, I deeply and completely accept myself.”(This phrase seemed to hit a target as evidenced by facial movements and a sigh or two.)
Of course we couldn’t rate these issues on the 0-10 scale, but I listened to that intuitive “pull” to use these phrases.
John left the office looking and feeling much better (no glassy eyes) but was still skeptical about the strange treatment. He knew nothing about acupuncture and didn’t “believe” in therapy, so the analogy of EFT being a form of “Psychological Acupuncture” fell on deaf ears.
I gave him the homework assignment of tapping every morning for “Even though I’ve had migraines all my life…” and tapping each time he felt a migraine beginning to brew.
When I spoke with John last Thursday for a follow-up discussion, he reported that he hadn’t needed to do any tapping other than during the first two weeks since our session because his migraines were totally gone. His friends had mocked him [re: tapping] during that first two week period, but since he was able to effectively reduce any pain to a “1” or a “0” each time, he didn’t care.
John was beaming about the success of the treatment and the empowerment it gave him, and of course, he was enormously grateful for the pain relief. “No more lying down in the middle of the day.”
John explained that he used to take unscheduled breaks from his doorman shifts to lie down when his migraines became unbearable.
I asked several questions, checking and testing for details about his symptoms. “No more headaches whatsoever?” John said, “Well, once in a while I get a little headache if I’ve stayed out too late or if I don’t get enough sleep…” (don’t we all…) “but nothing like what I used to get.”