Chronic pain is the body's way of informing us that it is not at peace; it is diseased. It is also a guaranteed way of getting our attention. An enormously effective, safe and non-intrusive way we can respond to pain is by applying Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT). In fact, one of the much-publicised benefits of EFT is pain relief.

As an EFT Practitioner, and Progressive Emotional Release (Pro-ER) Practitioner specialising in serious illness, I work with people experiencing chronic physical, emotional, or mental pain on a daily basis. Indeed, in 2003 when wheelchair-bound and seriously ill with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), I struggled with chronic pain too.

Gary Craig, the founder of EFT claims: "The cause of all negative emotions is a disruption in the body's energy system." That is, a thought or memory triggers a disruption in the body's energy system and this is experienced as psychological or physiological pain. While experiencing or focusing on a specific problem, and tapping on the meridians that carry the energy, disruptions are cleared and normal function can resume. When EFT is applied appropriately, a cognitive shift takes place, which frees us from our negative emotions, thoughts and beliefs, restoring health and wellbeing.

Our unresolved negative emotions contribute significantly to most physical pains and diseases. When we are unable (for whatever reason), to express emotions such as anger, resentment and grief, they are swallowed and repressed. They later show up in the body as pain and illness.

At the time I became ill, I didn't know how to resolve the hurt and resentment I was experiencing, due to issues at work and in my relationship. Plus, I was dealing with the unexpected death of my aunt to whom I was particularly close. The subsequent symptoms of extreme fatigue, joint and muscle pain, brain fog, noise and light sensitivities, and digestive disorders certainly attracted my attention - my body was shouting out to be heard.

Seven months later when I was introduced to EFT, my practitioner helped me release many stressful memories, which had led to the hurt and resentment I was holding on to. Very quickly, I was able to review previously bothersome memories with neutrality and acceptance: I was still aware they had happened; only my perspective had changed. Simultaneously, I noticed that certain symptoms were easing or disappearing, specifically, my joint and muscle pain, and the issues with my digestion and food intolerances.

Unlike many forms of talk therapy, with EFT it is not necessary to dig deeply and relive unpleasant memories in detail. Rather, what seems to occur is that once one or two unpleasant memories are cleared, other related memories are collapsed without needing to be worked on specifically.

Peeling away the intricate layers of chronic illness and pain can be complex and delicate. There may be literally hundreds of "unpleasant memories" to work through which have resulted in repressed emotions and subsequent illness. Also, on a subconscious level, a chronic illness or pain can serve a person very well. Suddenly they have a purpose. When someone is seriously ill or suffering chronic pain, there are fewer expectations put upon them, so they can feel safer: they no longer have to prove themselves, be successful or "perfect".

When I start to work with a client coping with chronic pain I ask specific questions designed to obtain some insightful clues as to the root cause of the pain. One such question is:

"What is the upside of holding on to this pain/illness?"

Naturally, the first reaction is, "There is no upside, I want to be healthy!" but when the question is reframed to suggest, "What would be the downside to recovering?" the client tunes in to how their life was prior to becoming ill.

When I asked a client suffering from Trigeminal Neuralgia (intense facial pain causing spasm) this question recently in her first private session, she answered, "If I recovered, I'd have to be perfect again and I'd have to look after and help everyone." It transpired that as one of six children she had been expected to look after her siblings because her mother was quite ill for a period of time. She had felt resentment as a result. She had continued this role of looking after everyone else when she married and had a family of her own, always putting herself second. Now, suffering from intense pain, she was finally in a position to be looked after and helped by others. She focused on the resentment and the memory of her childhood, and we applied EFT until she no longer felt any emotional intensity or response to the experience. At the end of the session, she told me the desperation she'd felt about her facial pain was "lighter" and "didn't seem to matter as much now". Of course, there was still more work to be done addressing her inability to ask for what she needed (making her body ask for her) and in organizing her life and relationships so that she wasn't having to 'give' all the time, but could also 'receive'.

Another question which offers insight is:

"If there was a person or event in your life which you'd just as soon skip, who or what would it be?"

One client told me she would never have taken that vacation to Florida as a young woman, because it had been the catalyst for her health issues. Not long after returning, she was diagnosed with CFS and later, multiple chemical sensitivities and ulcerative colitis. She had repressed emotions of anger and regret ever since. Forty years later, she was housebound and still seriously ill. We used EFT on the vacation memory. Not only were we able to neutralise the negative beliefs she'd felt about herself as a result of the vacation, but she was able to see new possibilities for her future. Since then, we have worked together closely and now she can tolerate more varied foods, is able to leave the house regularly, exercises, and has a part-time job writing.

Ultimately, if the right questions are asked, we get to the root cause quicker and get the answers we need to heal the issue. Moreover, if we are able to resolve the emotional reasons for physical illness and chronic pain, surgery may not be necessary.

Author's Bio: 

Annabel Fisher was introduced to EFT when seriously ill with M.E. (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome). She was wheel chair bound, completely exhausted and in constant muscle and joint pain. She began using it regularly and had some really positive results: she had reduced her chronic pain by 60% in 4 months and by 100% within 6 months. Annabel used EFT effectively on other symptoms including digestive disorders, insomnia, light and noise sensitivities, depression and anxiety. She was astounded by EFT's simplicity and effectiveness. Feeling passionate about EFT, it seemed a natural step to qualify as an EFT Practitioner and later as an EFT Trainer, drawing on her teaching background. Since discovering EFT, she has been treated by Gary Craig (the founder of EFT) and received advanced training from him in England and America. She has also received specific training from various EFT Masters in the UK and USA. In Cornwall, England, Annabel had a successful EFT practice and ran regular training courses before moving to BC, Canada in 2006.

She now combines EFT and Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) in her practice, seeing clients privately and working over the phone. She leads regular EFT workshops and teleseminars, plus training programmes which qualify individuals to become EFT Practitioners. She specialises in:
* Coping with serious illness and chronic pain
* Overcoming stress and overwhelm
* Increasing self worth, confidence and the motivation to recover
* Reaching your fullest potential
* Leading EFT Workshops and Practitioner Training Discover the power of EFT with The Essentials of EFT Guide and a one-hour EFT Q&A audio recording, all yours absolutely free by visiting or calling 1-888-206-8426 (toll free)