Note: This article was originally written to assist those with auto-immune illnesses, but after writing it I realised it could be of assistance to anyone with a chronic physical illness or chronic pain. While some of the specifics might not apply to your case, the article shows a possible comprehensive approach to healing. I consider auto-immune illnesses to include all of the following: chronic fatigue syndrome/ME, MS, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple food or chemical sensitivities or allergies (for just one or two specific allergies, see instead Common Sense Uses of EFT for Allergies), AIDs, recurrent thrush, systemic candidiasis, chronic sinusitis, cancer etc.
Anyone with any autoimmune issues will have no doubt been through the mill – visiting all sorts of doctors, all sorts of tests (a lot of which aren’t helpful) and trying all sorts of ‘alternative’ practices. What I’ve learnt over the last 25 years on my journey of healing from chronic fatigue syndrome and systemic candidiasis is that we need a comprehensive approach, which while it may look overwhelming to start with, is actually the fastest way to return to health.
It’s important to understand with autoimmune challenges that while there are so many symptoms, and it can seem impossible to deal with everything, usually the bulk of the symptoms are all being fed by the same core issues, so once you have collapsed those issues, none of the symptoms bother you any more. The most simplistic way to look at this is it’s like the adrenals are a burglar alarm,designed to be automatically activated when we are in need of protection and therefore cause the immune system to go into serious action. With the autoimmune challenges, more often than not the burglar alarm was set off time and time again earlier in life, due to issues making us feel unsafe, to the point where it becomes trigger happy and is set off by the slightest thing. Sometimes it is simply one major event that is very traumatic for us at the time, rather than ongoing events, for example, a stressful birth. Years and years later, the burglars are long gone, and yet the alarm is still continually going off. Alongside of this, if we have taken on a belief that we are not safe, or not able to protect ourselves as a result of one major trauma or a series of ongoing traumas early in life, we are constantly (without realising it) sending the message to our immune system that we are vulnerable and can’t protect ourselves. This results in the immune system being confused and malfunctioning. This programme is designed to find ways to switch the burglar alarm (adrenals) to ‘monitor’, knowing it will go off only when needed, and to clear the beliefs that are confusing the immune system, so it is able to correctly recognise friend from foe.
I have yet to work with someone with autoimmune issues who does not score highly on the “Highly Sensitive Person” test, and lot of people with other chronic pain or illnesses score highly as well. Healing issues around sensitivity can make a huge difference, and the best way I know to do this is to read Rue Hass’ book “This is Where I Stand – The Power and Gift of Being Sensitive”, and do the EFT tapping she suggests. There is a lot of, in my opinion, unhelpful literature around about highly sensitive people, so I wouldn’t recommend reading any other books or websites on the topic, those I’ve come across seem to approach sensitivity as a handicap, rather than seeing it as the incredible strength it is. Rue’s book helps us to see that there isn’t anything wrong with us, in fact sensitivity, channelled in the right direction, is what the world really needs.
If you are already up and running with EFT, and getting results, I highly recommend reading this book, then sitting down with a trusted friend, and tapping through the EFT exercises Rue lays out. I suggest that people work with a trusted friend, rather than alone, because most, if not all, people with autoimmune challenges have major issues around feeling safe, and you can easily be triggered with feeling unsafe working on your own at the start. If you have not already had good, lasting success with EFT, I recommend working with a good practitioner for a few sessions first, to ensure that the EFT you are doing is effective, then sitting with a friend to work through Rue’s tapping suggestions.
If you already have this tool in your toolkit, great! If not, I highly recommend learning it. It literally puts the healing in your own hands. I recommend three approaches with EFT, to get up and running with it so that you can really move issues properly:
a) Download the free comprehensive e-book “You CAN Heal with EFT” and print and bind a copy for ongoing reference. Work through the first two sections and try EFT on some simple issues to start with, before using the ideas in the book to start working on the bigger challenges.
b) If you can, work with a good practitioner, in person, or by phone, for a few sessions, to ensure that you are optimising your use of EFT. Each person needs to find their own style of working with EFT, and sometimes there are blocks that have to be dealt with before EFT will be effective for you, for example if deep down you don’t feel you deserve to heal, this needs to be dealt with early on, or it could result in EFT results only being temporary. If you aren’t able to work with a good practitioner, work through “You CAN Heal with EFT” with commitment and you may be able to discover any blocks for yourself.
c) Once you have EFT working well, use it for everything. The more you tap for anything that isn’t how you want it to be, the stronger the signal you are sending to your body that you want to heal. This is very important, because the power of intention is one of the most powerful forces in the universe, and our intentions are sent out to the universe every moment of every day. If you are tapping, you are intending health, rather than sickness and challenges. With auto-immune illnesses it has been shown time and again that the core belief is often in not feeling safe. The best way to discover these issues is to understand that while something may have happened that triggered the illness, it may not have been the originating cause. For example, a diagnosis of a terminal illness in a family member or close friend could trigger our feelings of being unsafe, which have been sitting below our awareness since a traumatic birth. In these cases it is important to use EFT to work with the originating events, and the beliefs and point of views we took on as a result of them, as well as clearing the later events that triggered the illness.
Our culture values the left brain highly, and doesn’t value anything vague or hard to put into words. However the left brain/conscious mind is not the best suited tool for all tasks. If it was ideally suited to healing, none of us would have any issues, because we’d just be able to think them through and we’d be done. The right brain is what we need to access in order to heal. The most effective way I’ve found to do this, is to learn a skill called Focusing. Learning this skill can make your EFT sessions far more productive, and will give you a tool for life, to help you to deal with anything that comes your way. When you have learnt Focusing, you are then able to join what I consider to be the most sustainable programme for health – a Focusing Partnership – where you are able to connect, without cost, with another person who has learnt Focusing, and help each other on your healing paths. You can find out more about this on the Focusing section of this website. The best way I’ve found to learn Focusing is to work with a teacher one on one. There is a fabulous teacher working out of Costa Rica, who is charging much lower rates than anyone else, and is a brilliant teacher. Suzanne teaches Focusing via Skype, enabling you to tap into an amazing resource for life.
Focusing can be quite challenging at the start – don’t be put off and think you just can’t do it if it’s difficult in the beginning. If once you have tried Focusing, you feel that it’s just not working for you, I highly recommend reading an article When Focusing isn’t Working.
Once you have learnt Focusing, remember to go within and use it whenever anything upsets you (unless you would prefer to tap with EFT). As with the statement above under the EFT section, any time you are doing this you are sending out a healing intention.
You are probably thinking “There aren’t any tigers where I live, this won’t be relevant to me”, but humour me and read on anyway, you may be surprised to find just how many tigers you are living with on a daily basis!
Imagine you are camping near a forest, and are sitting inside your tent eating your dinner. You have a cold, and aren’t feeling that great, so have decided to turn in early and give your body a chance to heal. All of a sudden you see a shadow on the tent, and you just know that there is a tiger who has decided he wants you to be his dinner. You get out of the tent and start running, the fight or flight response kicks in automatically, without you even thinking about it. Your heart beat races, blood is pumped to your limbs…
The body can’t be in fight/flight mode, and in healing mode at the same time, it’s one or the other. It’s either heal the cold or run to escape the tiger. If adrenaline is pumping to help you to escape danger, the immune system is sacrificed – there is no point lying there healing your cold, if you are about to be eaten by a tiger – and our body knows that.
Most people living in the modern world think they are living without any tigers around them, but think again. Every single thing that causes stress to you is a tiger. Our bodies still operate on the same fight or flight or freeze mechanism that our ancestor hunters had – stress causes the stress response. Many of us are living constantly with tigers, things that stress us out, and cause our body to respond by pumping adrenaline etc. This can over time totally exhaust us, and put severe limits on the time available for our bodies to be in ‘healing mode.
It’s important to have practices in your day that give you some tiger free time, and enable your body to heal. One of the biggest groups of tigers in our lives is anything that causes us to worry. A simple practice is to devote 5 minutes of each day to listing down everything that is currently worrying you, then tap through the list with EFT, or Focus on the issues if you prefer. Make sure you don’t just use this time to list all your worries and not tap or Focus – if you do, the inventory of worries you just create becomes yet another tiger in your life!
When we are stressed and in pain, it can be difficult to find ways to relax, however relaxation is so important, because it means tiger free time, and enables your body to really go into healing mode. One of the easiest ways I’ve found to relax, even at times when I was very ill, is a method called yoga nidra (a relaxation method you can do in any state of health). There is a free MP3 file that you can download from the Internet, and I highly recommend that if you don’t have another daily relaxation practice, that you download the file and set aside 45 minutes each day to practice yoga nidra.
Another practice which I cannot recommend too highly to achieve this relaxation is Reiki. See the section below for further details on this.
It is important to have a comprehensive approach to healing, and one of the most supportive methods I learnt on my journey back to health is Reiki. If you are not familiar with this term, you can read an introduction about it in the Reiki section of this website.
Reiki is a wonderful method that you can use for your own healing, and to help others. While having treatments from someone else is great, it’s really good to be able to do Reiki for yourself, because then you can have a tiger-free space in your day each day, while also clearing energetic blocks and getting the energy flowing. If it is at all possible for you to find someone locally who is teaching Reiki, I highly recommend learning it. Beware anyone charging a fortune to learn this beautiful method, unfortunately there are people teaching Reiki solely for money. Make sure that you learn with someone who is passionate about Reiki and can demonstrate to you that they live what they teach, as sadly, there are lots of people who have just done a weekend course and don’t use Reiki except to make money from. It’s such a support on your journey, it is well worth investing a reasonable sum in doing the first workshop, but it shouldn’t come at an exorbitant price.
6. Triple Warmer
Anyone who has an autoimmune challenge is likely to have an overactive triple warmer meridian. The triple warmer meridian is what governs the fight/flight/freeze response. It’s like the burglar alarm analogy at the start of this paper. It is crucial to find ways to sedate the triple warmer meridian. All the methods written about above will contribute to this, however there is also a very simple thing, that most people aren’t aware of, that you can do.
Each of our meridians is more active than the others for approximately 2 hours in each day. The triple warmer meridian is most prominent between 9 and 11pm. It is very common for people with autoimmune challenges to get into a pattern of not being able to sleep, and staying up late, but this is counterproductive to sedating the triple warmer. I seriously recommend doing whatever you need to in order to change your daily pattern, and make sure that you are in bed no later than 10pm. If you find that at first it is simply impossible to sleep at that hour, then put on the yoga nidra mentioned above, and use the time to deeply relax that way. You can also use EFT to help change your sleeping patterns if needed, or use Focusing to go within and hear what needs to be heard in order to change them. This simple thing can make a huge difference for you over time.
Our bodies need good nutrition in order to be able to heal. While that’s a simple thing to say, it’s not always as simple to implement, particularly when we have a health challenge that is constantly sapping our energy. If you are finding it impossible to eat a good diet, with all the other challenges you are dealing with, the most important thing to do is to relax, because otherwise your concern about your diet simply becomes another tiger in your life. You will find that as you implement the other aspects of this programme, you will start to feel better, and your body will want better food. In the meantime, it can be a good idea to take some high quality multi-vitamins and ensure that you are getting plenty of Vitamin C.
One aspect of nutrition that is prominent in those with autoimmune challenges is allergies. In my experience, both in my own life and working with others, allergies are simply an extension of the burglar alarm aspect. Once you deal with the core issues underlying the issues (in my experience usually aspects of feeling unsafe), you will find you are no longer bothered by allergies. I was reacting to just about every food and every product going, and now have no allergieswhatsoever.
This paper cannot possibly list every aspect of healing, and some important aspects, such as getting some exercise, have intentionally been left out, because it is likely that your body will start to crave what it needs once you start to heal.
It is easy, when working within the medical system, for those of us with autoimmune challenges to start to think that perhaps it is all in our minds. The medical profession simply does not have the understanding required to deal with these issues. Doctors are trained in disease, not health. They deal with symptoms, rather than causes. While it’s important to do what you need to in terms of medical support, take with a grain of salt anything doctors say that make you feel like you are losing your mind (making a list of every comment doctors have made that has affected you, and tapping through each incident with EFT can be very supportive here.)
The most important thing to know is this:
YOU CAN HEAL!
There is a reason that you have the challenges that you have, and with the combination of methods above, no matter how sick you are right now, no matter how many physical challenges you have, you can regain your health. There are enough of us around now to be living proof of this. I have gone from being so unwell that I was unable to walk down the 5 steps and the 10 metres to the letterbox to get the mail, or to have enough energy to have a shower, to living a full and productive life, and have great health, and I am not alone. I recommend staying away from any support groups whose existence is reliant on members of the club being sick, and instead reading stories about those who have healed, sharing your concerns with them and in doing so being inspired to heal. http://selfheal4me.com/ComprehensivePlan/