Health

The Simple Solution That Ended One Woman’s Chronic Pain and Fatigue

This changed everything.

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“We took a fall beach vacation seven years ago, and after barely mustering the energy to put on my bathing suit, I looked out the window at my husband and daughter playing and just felt sad,” recalls, Cathy Shipley, 58. “I was trying so hard to get out there with them, but I was too exhausted to get off the couch. I’ll never be able to enjoy life again if I can’t figure out how to get my energy back.

Always Missing Out

“I’d been living with pain and fatigue for three years. After having a dental implant, I got a tooth infection that wouldn’t go away and brought on terrible exhaustion. Just to get up and move required every ounce of effort. “My amazing dentist couldn’t figure out the source of the infection even though X-rays confirmed its presence. He tried everything and finally told me I’d just have to give it time. But every day felt like a workout, and often I could barely get out of bed.

“My life was coming to a halt. I turned down dinners and get-togethers with friends, who’d try to convince me it would make me feel better to go. I felt misunderstood, like no one believed how sick I was, and feared I’d be homebound forever. So I started reading self-help books and journaling. I was very interested in the writings of Wayne Dyer, Ph.D., an expert on self-development and spiritual growth.

“I had never traveled by myself but was determined to go to a conference in Washington, D.C. that Dr. Dyer was headlining. I worried my fatigue would make it impossible, but I truly believed this was where I was going to find healing. I journaled about it for months and thought, He’ll say something that will click with me and my tooth will heal. I have no idea why I felt that way, but I did. There were 4,000 people at the conference, but I ended up in the front row, only to find out Dr. Dyer had canceled. I was so upset.

The Surprising Cure

“After lunch I heard Nick Ortner, an expert in the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), or tapping. It combines gentle acupressure with psychological strategies to relieve stress and anxiety. He talked about unresolved chronic pain, and it resonated with me.

“When he asked for volunteers who’d had pain for six months or more to try tapping, I raised my hand. I said my pain began with an infection, and Nick asked what was happening in my life when it started. I realized it was around the time my mom died and I’d felt abandoned. Nick explained how emotions play a key role in physical health and that unresolved emotions from losing my mother likely contributed to my tooth infection. Tapping could reprogram my brain and body to relieve stress and, ultimately, the infection causing my pain and exhaustion.

“I was curious and open to trying anything. Nick taught me how to tap on points on my body while repeating that I wanted my pain to go away. It was so strange! My pain was an eight on a scale of 10 when I took the stage, but after tapping for 10 minutes it was a one. I was stunned! I didn’t understand it. I waited for the pain to worsen but it was minimal for days, then returned to a five.

“Nick gave me a copy of his book, The Tapping Solution, so I could practice on my own. I went home and kept tapping! The exercise includes saying what you’re feeling in your heart, so I spent my sessions thinking about the pain and fatigue going away, while accepting my mother’s death and the trauma it brought. The first time I tapped at home, the pain was gone by the end of my 15-minute session. I had no doubt it was gone for good because I had read the book and understood the process. I felt euphoric!

“I went back to my dentist a week or so later, and my X-rays showed the infection was gone. Nick even included my story in his second book, The Tapping Solution for Pain Relief. I have so much energy now; I create note cards and I’ve written two books of affirmations. I enjoy my time with my family as an active participant—we do family vacations every year, and I play with my grandkids for hours. Now when I feel tired, I tap. It gives me the energy to do whatever I want!”

One-minute QUIZ

Are Blocked Feelings Wearing You Down?

If you’re constantly tired and have two or more of the following symptoms, you may have negative emotions stuck in your body.

  • Tight muscles
  • Digestive upset
  • Headaches
  • Get sick frequently
  • Neck soreness
  • Acid reflux
  • Clumsiness/more frequent injuries
  • Less self-awareness
  • Joint pain

How to Do Tapping

Tapping — using your fingertips to tap your body’s energy hot spots — can release negative emotions, boost energy and fight off infections, says Peta Stapleton, Ph.D. To do: ID the problem you’d like to change (like anxiety) and rate the distress it causes you on a scale of 0 to 10. “Tapping works best when you’re specific,” says Stapleton.

Next, state your goal while tapping the “karate chop” area of your hand. Then tap through the next eight points in order while repeating that goal. Take a breath and re-rate your distress; repeat for 10 minutes. Says Stapleton, “Data shows tapping positively affects levels of cortisol, blood pressure, and DNA expression. It changes your biology.”

Tapping Points

1. Karate chop
2. Eyebrow
3. Side of eye
4. Under eye
5. Under nose
6. Chin
7. Collarbone
8. Under arm
9. Top of head

This article originally appeared in our print magazine.

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