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Pain Management

Calming and Clearing Chronic Pain with EFT... for Practitioners and Clients

Important Note: This article was written prior to 2010 and is now outdated. Please use my newest advancement, Optimal EFT. It is more efficient, more powerful and clearly explained in my free e-book, The Unseen Therapist™.  Best wishes, Gary

Hi Everyone,

In this well done 10 part series, EFT Master Rue Hass thoroughly explores Chronic Pain and how EFT can help.

Hugs, Gary

Part 1: Introduction
Part 2: Mapping the Healing - Letting a Caged Spirit Fly Free
Part 3: Mending A Broken Heart: Healing and Re-Empowering a Sensitive Temperament
Part 4: Reframing Sensitivity
Part 5: Open The Cage of Anger and Pain
Part 6: Open The Cage of Feeling Invisible
Part 7: Open the Cage of Fear
Part 8: Open The Cage of Overwhelm
Part 9: Open The Cage of “I Have to Be Perfect!”
Part 10: Honoring Your Dark Angels

By Rue Hass, EFT Master

Part 1: Introduction

Chronic Pain IS an emotional freedom technique.  This is true of all chronic conditions.

I believe that chronic pain can emerge from years of hiding, holding back, caging, repressing our deepest self-expression.  Chronic pain is the body’s expression of emotional and spiritual pain.  Pain gets our attention!  It is calling us to free our deep spirit.  

We are only just learning how to respond to that call, and EFT is our key to the cage.  This series of articles on calming and clearing chronic pain will describe some of the primary emotions and beliefs that hold the cage in place, and how we can use EFT to, literally, free our souls. 


This approach to chronic pain emerges from my experience in working with people who have had it.  I do not have chronic pain myself, although I have learned that I have the temperament for it.  If I had had an abusive family experience instead of “just” the emotionally neglectful one that I did have, I would have been a good candidate for fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic fatigue, irritable bowel or one of the auto-immune disorders that are baffling medical science. 

I have learned from several sources: from wide and deep personal study, from teaching a class for several years with a physician who healed herself from chronic pain, and from working with many many experts—the people who have the condition themselves.  My physician colleague, Nancy Selfridge, taught the class participants (and me) about the enlightened medical approach to fibromyalgia, and I taught them (and her) how to do EFT with fibromyalgia, as well as a different way to think about being ill.  Nancy is now Chief of the Integrative Medicine clinic of a Wisconsin HMO.  Her highly readable and valuable book, written before our work together, is Freedom from Fibromyalgia.

Even though I have become well self-educated in the field of these new disorders, and in the effectiveness of EFT as a treatment modality for them, what I say in these articles are my views only, unless I am quoting someone.

The large frame I want to put around these articles is that in my mind chronic conditions are not “diseases” so much as they are the evidence of a spiritual dis-order.  I believe that when the human spirit is confined over time by negative emotions, thoughts, beliefs, or environments, and is not allowed or encouraged to give itself full expression, the resulting anger and grief eventually show up in the body as pain.  By “spirit,” I mean what is best in us.  I believe deeply in our innate goodness.  In reading these words, please feel free to substitute your own spirituality for mine.  I think it all draws from the same well.

Chronic pain gets our attention.  To me, chronic emotional or physical pain is the spirit screaming.  The message of the scream is basically “Let me out of here!” Skillful, thoughtful EFT, practiced individually or co-creatively with a practitioner, invites and makes possible the freedom of the human spirit from its cage of negative thoughts and beliefs.  We have in our hands a tool that can change everything! Chronic pain is a technique of the body-mind-spirit that calls us to emotional freedom. 

So these articles will be for you if you have pain or other chronic conditions, and for you if you are a practitioner who wants insight into how to work with it, or both.   This is not a definitive treatment of pain disorders.  My intention here is to share the beliefs and emotions that create the structure of chronic pain , emotional and physical, and hold it in place.  Once we can grasp the structure, we can use our own intuition and the excellent tool of EFT to re-frame and re-build it.

I will begin with a definition of chronic pain from an “enlightened medical perspective,” from the energy psychology perspective, and from a spiritual perspective, as I understand it.

The “enlightened medical perspective” on chronic pain.

Let’s begin with a few words from Nancy Selfridge herself. This is the outline form of her part of the presentation we gave together a few times at the ACEP  (Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology) conference.  Here she is talking about fibromyalgia specifically, but most of what she says is true more broadly for chronic pain as well.  It will give you an overview.

A Mind-Body Model for Understanding Fibromyalgia

 I.  A.  Is fibromyalgia all in my head?

1.  Pain is a complex neuro-physiological process

We do not completely understand the science of pain

An intact brain is required for humans to experience suffering with pain

All humans experience pain – it is adaptive, has “message” and “meaning”

2.  How the normal brain experiences pain

3.  In fibromyalgia the normal process of pain/symptom production is deranged

Research shows abnormal activity in the brain

There appears to be an amplification of pain with exposure to painful stimuli

There are abnormalities in levels of peptides –

                       chemicals that communicate between brain and  body

When an intervention works to reduce fibromyalgia pain, the brain appears to change

4.  The role of triggers in fibromyalgia

Physical, mental, emotional and environmental stressors may initiate the dysregulation

A single “event” or cumulative stressors may be identified

This fits the “neuro-plasticity model” for chronic pain production

II.  The role of the sensitive temperament

The work of Elaine Aron, PhD, and the “highly sensitive person”

David Kiersey’s “Idealist” temperament, the opposite of the cultural prototype

Even without triggers, the tension created by being sensitive in a relatively insensitive culture may be sufficient to create dysregulation.

The sensitive temperament requires periods of no and low stimulation in order to achieve homeostasis (health and balance)

III.  Prevailing Myths about Fibromyalgia


Unhealed trauma

Bad biomechanics

Bad psychology

IV.  Treating Fibromyalgia

I.  Why so many “western” treatments fail

Treatment will be unsuccessful if it does not change the brain

The sensitive temperament needs to be taken into account

2.  Why we are using a mind/body/spirit approach

      Other healing traditions support this approach

Research into some of these interventions demonstrates brain  changes

There are no side effects

Approaching the “problem” any other way is not “big enough”

3.  How Complementary Medicine interventions work

           With a change in thought patterns (cognition) there is a change in the electrochemical flow of energy in the brain from the limbic system to the neocortex

4.   EFT (and certain other techniques) help to uncouple the electrochemical flow of energy between the limbic system and the hypothalamus  

An Energy Psychology Definition of Chronic pain

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the source of acupuncture, the heart is called the  'King' of the organs.  The Internal Medicine Classic states: 'The heart commands all of the organs and viscera, houses the spirit, and controls the emotions.'   In Chinese, the word for 'heart' (hsin) is also used to denote 'mind'.  When the Heart is strong and steady, it controls the emotions; when it is weak and wavering, the emotions rebel and prey upon the heart-mind, which then loses its command over the body.

What we call chronic pain is an interruption in a particularly sensitive person’s electrical system resulting from emotional trauma.  Repeated experiences of stress or trauma can cause the energy system to become disrupted and the flow of life force restricted, limiting our access to our capacity to think and act and make choices.  If we repress the emotions (sadness, anger, fear) that arise in response to our traumatic experiences, the electrical system disruption will eventually show up as pain and dis-ease in the body.  Clearing the disruption can clear the pain and change thought.

A Psycho-Spiritual Definition of Chronic pain

Chronic pain is obstructed spiritual energy reflected as pain in the body.  One could call it “a sadness of the heart.” Spirit is the best in us, our portal to all that is good and hopeful. Some of the essential qualities of spirit are love, expansiveness, generosity, creativity, imagination, possibility, openness, growth, flow and purpose.  

A sensitive person can be extraordinarily in tune with her or his spiritual qualities, but may feel unable to fully express them in what appears to be a harsh, critical, wounding world. As a result of traumas, a sensitive person may develop chronic pain from an emotional response to a limiting belief around which their whole being seems to constrict:   “I can’t express what I really feel, I can’t be who I really am, I am not good enough.  In order to matter or have significance in the world, in order to have inner peace, and in order to justify taking care of myself, I must remain ill.”  In a non-logical, unconscious intuitive way, this is a self-protective approach.  Changing beliefs and choices can free the spirit and heal the body.

Using EFT as an Emotional Freedom Technique with Chronic Pain

These are the themes in this series of articles:

Introduction - Clearing and Calming Chronic Pain 

Mapping the Healing - Letting a Caged Spirit Fly Free

Mending A Broken Heart: Healing and Re-Empowering a Sensitive TemperamentEven though my heart feels heavy and tight and sad, I honor myself for how hard this has been, I understand, and I even forgive myself.  I was doing the best I could. I choose to love and appreciate and honor this powerful, world changing soul quality that I have been so blessed with.

Reframing Sensitivity - Even though I worry that I am too sensitive, I want to deepen and expand my sensitivity in powerful wonderful ways. I choose to accept it as an honor, and learn how to share what I know in ways that are helpful.

Open the Cage of Anger and Pain - Even though I am sad and mad and hurting all over, I know I deserve better.  I don’t have to be a volcano to stand up for myself.

Open the Cage of Fear - Even though it doesn’t feel safe to be me, I can re-invest my emotional inheritance of negative beliefs and expectations. I am choosing to focus on the essence of me, my strength, my largest vision of myself.

Open the Cage of Feeling Invisible - Even though I had no voice and it wasn’t safe or possible to say what I really thought, or speak up for myself, I honor myself for how hard that was, I love and accept myself, and I say YES to me!

Open the Cage of Overwhelm - Even though I get overwhelmed, and I think I have to just soldier on and tough it out, I love and accept who I really am, as someone who likes things quiet and clear.  I want to honor my deep inner strength and my goodness.

I am Eager to Please - Even though I look for approval in all the wrong places, and I don’t know how to connect with others without drowning and losing myself, I know now I don’t have to take care of somebody else to be OK.  I honor my deep need for connection and meaningful relationships... I make creating and maintaining a good and satisfying relationship withmyself my first priority.

Open the Cage of “I’m Never Enough” -Even though I thought that what I do had to Be Perfect, and I would have killed myself rather than admitting I was “weak,”...I honor my appreciation for doing things well, I am learning to open to the strength INSIDE me, and I am learning to trust the process.

The Positive Intention of Chronic PainEven though I think if I get better


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