Eliminating Physical Pain
August 19, 1999

[Editor's note: This article, and Gary Craig's introduction (he is the developer of EFT), was written quite a number of years ago. However, the content is still valid and useful. This article can also be found on Gary's EFT website. We include it here because the underlying idea can be used with any power therapy, such as WHH, not just with EFT.]

How do you feel ABOUT your body having pain?

Hi Everyone,

To the astonishment of many, tapping on physical pains often reduces or eliminates the discomfort. This is sometimes true of long standing, constant pain that has responded to no other treatment. The standard procedure is to address the pain directly by starting with Setup phrases such as....

"Even though I have this headache....."
"Even though I have this stomach upset...."
"Even though I have this numbness in my knee...." etc.
....and continuing through the EFT process.

When tapping directly on the pain becomes stalled or ineffective, it is then recommended that we start tapping on emotional issues behind the pain. I often ask the question, "If there was an emotional reason for this pain, what would it be?" This usually brings about success.

Grant McFetridge offers another way of approaching the emotional causes to pain. He asks people to focus on how they feel ABOUT their body having pain. Seems like a good idea to me--a direct way to get to the emotional causes. He reports very high success rates and shares his method & theory with us below. Thank you Grant.

Hugs, Gary Craig


Dear Gary:

I'd like to share with the list a way to use EFT more effectively for eliminating pain completely, no matter if there is a physical cause or not. This approach is so successful that we always have people eliminate pain (not just reduce it) to start our EFT workshops. In our private practice, we continue working until the client is pain and stiffness free, even in cases involving medical conditions such as a damaged spine or arthritis. I estimate this approach eliminates pain completely in well over 90% of the clients or workshop participants we see. Of course, the treatment needs to be repeated as new aspects come up, but if so we just repeat the same procedure.

Here's how: I have them focus on the feelings they have ABOUT their body having pain, and do EFT on those feelings. This is the key piece. Then we continue in the normal manner, eliminating any additional emotions that arise as the "onion" of their problem peels away. To help people focus on the original feeling, I have them pretend that their body is a car that has some sort of ding or mechanical problem, and ask them how they feel about their car being broken. For example, a client with a bad back might feel angry his body doesn't work well anymore, or sad his body is wearing out, and so on. In some cases, if the client can't get in touch with the feeling, usually because they're so used to it they don't notice it anymore, I ask them what someone else might feel about the pain if they had it. We don't bother having them focus on the pain directly while doing EFT as this emotional approach is much more effective. We tell our workshop participants that one might get lucky if one focuses just on the pain, but that for many people the pain and the emotional cause are disconnected in their awareness. Hence, tapping while focused on pain only gives occasional or partial relief.

To emphasize the key point in a different way, and to get a better understanding of what's occurring, let's look at the underlying biology. As we've worked it out so far, after an injury first occurs, we experience pain as a result of two different internal biological systems going into separation and conflict at the injury site. Later, whenever the memory of the injury is triggered, this conflict reoccurs and pain is the result. Thus, pain is NOT due to mechanical problems in the body, as the medical model suggests. One system is controlled by the body consciousness (the reptilian brain) and the other by the emotional consciousness (the mammalian brain) in our body. Thus, when we have an emotion ABOUT our body having pain, it's a way for our emotional brain to experience itself as separate from the body brain - it's viewing the body as separate from itself. With practice, our experience of pain becomes quite different. As one client reports, she'll have a momentary flash of pain due to an injury, which then vanishes as she lets the emotions about it go. Personally, I experience a body sensation that my heart settles down into my diaphragm as I release pain.

The principle can be demonstrated using other power therapies. For example, regressing a client to the moment of the original injury and healing that doesn't necessarily eliminate the client's pain. (Although I think it's a smart thing to do for other reasons). However, regressing them to the moment they had feelings about their body having the pain and healing that does eliminate the pain! Thus, EFT apparently is eliminating the body's access to traumatic feelings at particular moments, even though the client is not conscious of the traumatic memory in most cases.

A final note. In very rare cases, I've seen the pain mechanism triggered at the neck when the mind (primate brain) was trying to stay separate from the rest of the body's brains. And I've some data that indicates that an odd variety of pains occur when the body consciousness (reptilian brain) also tries to stay separate from the other two brains. However, these cases appear to be very uncommon.


Grant McFetridge