Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Here she comes a-tapping. Wednesday, December 8, 2010.

“(The) combination of tapping the energy meridians and voicing positive affirmation works to clear the ‘short-circuit’ – the emotional block – from your body's bioenergy system, thus restoring your mind and body's balance.” –Dr. Joseph Mercola

Did you know there really are “snake oil salesmen” – people who literally sell snake oil? The oil comes from the Chinese Water Snake and is supposed to help with joint pain. Snake oil probably works better than a sharp stick in the eye. (But wait, that stick in the eye could be a distraction, so maybe it would be effective.)

In America, though, “snake oil” is a derogatory term for medical treatments that aren’t really treatments. Most people see copper bracelets sold as cures for arthritis pain as a kind of snake oil; a few people swear by them. Some people believe that all mind-altering pharmaceuticals are snake oil; I disagree.

I first heard about EFT, the Emotional Freedom Technique, from an open-minded Christian counselor who was helping me deal with stress. Two years ago, when my anxiety began to become truly disabling rather than simply a nuisance, I was desperate to find non-drug help and I ordered an EFT manual online.

EFT sounds a little silly. In EFT therapy, the client taps on acupuncture points, supposedly manipulating energy fields, while focusing on fears or traumas and thereby releasing them. As a journalist, I don’t buy into anything without checking it out first. Some of the studies on EFT have shown that it works; others have shown that it does not. When there is success, researchers attribute it to a variety of factors: either the placebo effect is happening, or the client is being helped by talking about their fears, or there really are energy fields that – when tapped – promote emotional healing. The bottom line is, no one knows for sure.

I recently started seeing a new psychologist, one recommended to me by my P-Doc. I never believed that my healing could come from pills alone, and as much as I liked my former therapist, I came to the realization that I needed someone who could help me go deeper.

Enter Dr. M., a bearded, Birkenstock-wearing Buddhist who believes in conventional medicine AND alternative treatments. A medical doctor, he’s covered under my insurance plan. And his office smells like lavender.

One of his treatment methods is EFT. And while I tried it on myself, unsuccessfully, right after my suicide attempt, I am willing to give anything a try right now. I don’t know whether or not I believe in EFT, but I do know that my treatment today opened my emotional floodgates. I tapped and cried. I tapped and cried harder.

So Dr. M. gave me a homework assignment – to do EFT on myself once a day, every day, until I see him again in two weeks. We shall see. We shall see.

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