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Q: When EFT relieves physical pain, does it mask the pain and consequently interfere with pain”™s function as a warning signal?

A: EFT can be used in a variety of ways for pain. In the beginning, people usually use tapping for the physical sensation of pain (e.g., severity, intensity, or the impact in their lives), but it can also be applied to any emotions associated with pain. People with acute pain (e.g., an injury that has just happened) report that EFT helps with coping until they receive medical care. EFT is not designed to stop pain that is appropriate. Acute pain is a signal there is something wrong, but EFT can help with coping until you obtain medical intervention.

Chronic pain, however, is typically described as pain that persists beyond the period of time when the body has repaired an injury. Sometimes there is no origin for chronic pain either; it just starts one day without an event or incident. In this case, EFT can be applied to symptoms (pain rating out of 10), everyday coping, the emotions associated with having this long-lasting pain (e.g., angry it never goes away), or even to the event that started it (if there was one).

In my own study of chronic pain sufferers, an overwhelming 82% discussed the stigma they experienced from health professionals not believing the extent of their pain, and only 4% indicated they received any pain relief from psychological treatment. We taught them EFT for four hours in an intensive workshop. They reported a significant de­crease in the severity and impact of pain during this time and a significant improvement in their overall psy­chological distress. There was also a sig­nificant improvement in their depres­sion, anxiety, and stress symptoms. A significant asso­ciation was found between pain and psycho­logical distress. After six months, the participants still reported positive gains.

Peta Stapleton, PhD, Certified EFT Practitioner, Trainer, and Mentor

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