By Nancy Gnecco, Master EFT Practitioner
The condition known as shingles is a very painful, slow-to-heal variety of the chicken pox virus that affects adults who have had chicken pox.
Once the person has had the pox, often in childhood, the virus lies dormant in the body until sometime in adulthood when the immune system has been compromised–often by stress. It then erupts in a rash of excruciating, itchy, fluid-filled lesions, the pain from which often lasts between 3 and 5 weeks, sometimes longer.
Pain medication is usually offered, and the doctor may prescribe antiviral drugs.
Over the weekend I had begun to experience a tingling on my tailbone that quickly became itchy. By Sunday blisters had begun to form, and the itchiness had developed into unrelenting pain. I couldn’t sit, or lie on my back. I also developed a headache, and a general feeling of malaise. I didn’t know what it was, but it was clearly going to require medical treatment.
I had a regularly scheduled appointment with a Psychotherapist with whom I had been working on weight reduction and my relationship with food, who also uses EFT. I was in so much pain that I simply couldn’t sit in the chair she offered me. I told her about my condition, and we made the decision to abandon the food issues temporarily and try to heal the rash on my tailbone.
We still didn’t know that it was shingles.
We looked at the symptoms and tried working with them as metaphors. I was asked:
- Is there any place in your life where you might be acting or feeling “rash?
- If there were an emotional cause of this rash, what might it be?
- what in your life is causing you excruciating pain?
It took practically no time at all to discover that I was in a lot of emotional pain regarding the relationship with my eldest son who had graduated from Duke Law School in May. He needed to get a job. (I needed for him to get a job.)
We had been supporting him for months while he studied to pass the legal bar exam, which would make him eligible for a position as an associate in a law firm. There had been conflict between us about whether or not he should take a part-time job to defray some of the costs to his father and me. I was also feeling resentful since there were things I could not do or buy while we were supporting him.
His father and I were both working hard, and in my view he was not. Later I found out that studying for this exam was the hardest thing he had ever done, and that he was literally studying 18 hours a day.
In my frustration, I acted in a manner that was “rash.” Essentially, I told him that we would cut off all financial support as of that May, whether he had a job or not.
He had taken the bar exam in February, and it was now April–plenty of time, in my estimation, for him to have found some job, even if it wasn’t the perfect job in a law firm. As it got closer to May and we had very little communication about his efforts to secure a job, my anxiety was escalating.
I was imagining the worst possible outcome, and I developed the shingles.
Here are some of the statements that we cleared during my therapy session:
- Even though I have this rash on my tailbone, I deeply and completely accept myself.
- Even though I am in excruciating pain about my relationship with my son, I deeply and completely accept myself.
- Even though my telling him that we were going to cut all financial support in May was, perhaps rash, especially since I hadn’t discussed it with his father, I deeply and completely accept myself.
- Even though what I really I want is to give J. a kick in the butt, but won’t, and I’ve developed a rash on mine instead, I deeply and completely accept myself.
- Even though I’m embarrassed to have a rash on my butt, I deeply and complely accept myself.
- Even though this rash is extremely painful, I deeply and completely accept myself.
- Even though I don’t know what this rash is about, I deeply and completely accept myself.
- Even though I can’t sit on the exercise machines at the gym, I deeply and completely accept myself.
The next day was Tuesday, and I had an early morning appointment to see my doctor. I wondered if I should even keep the appointment since I was feeling noticeably better that morning. However, I decided that, since I didn’t know what I was dealing with, it would be in my best interest to keep the appointment with the doctor.
When she saw the rash, the pustules had scabbed over, and the redness around them was practically gone. I could even sit in the chair in the examination room, something that would have been impossible the day before.
My doctor asked how long I’d had the rash, and was astounded that I’d only had it for 4 days. She commented that the healing was at the stage where she would expect it to have been at least 3 weeks. Since it was healing so rapidly she didn’t give me any medication, although the option of pain medication was available if I wanted it.
There was no need. By Wednesday the scabs had healed and by Friday (one week to the day from its eruption) I was totally well.
This demonstrates, once again, how stress can compromise the immune system, making us vulnerable to many diseases. I believe it is a testament to the power of the mind-body connection both to create disease and to heal it.
Having now researched shingles, and having an idea about the course of the disease, I am certain that the EFT was the direct cause of the physical healing.