Rheumatoid Arthritis Relief Using EFT

In this Podcast episode, we discussed:

  • EFT is a new technique that induces relaxation which helps people respond positively to negative emotions like pain, anger and frustration.
  • The context in which we experience pain really affects how we experience that pain.
  • Robyn observed that people with auto-immune diseases have highly sensitive temperament and EFT is a more effective technique of dealing with them.
  • One of Robyn’s Client was a young girl who was crippled with juvenile inflammatory arthritis can now walk after undergoing EFT.
  • Many people’s RA is triggered by chronic antibiotic use.
  • Robyn observed that it is very challenging for many people to prioritize their health above fitting in, conforming and socializing
  • People who have auto-immune diseases under control are still at risk of flares if they become very stressed because micro stress can destabilize the gut microbiome
  • Even little kids can learn the EFT
  • EFT is also helpful in unlocking creativity
  • EFT is a great therapy for people with RA since it helps people deal with pain positively.

Clint: Well, the good part of running a podcast show like this is being able to invite whoever you want onto the episodes, especially friends. And today I’ve invited back Robyn Chuter who’s from Total Empower Health. And she’s been on a previous episode and it was a very, very important episode where we went over all the nutritional components of the baseline phase of our program. And she’s back today to talk about different things. How are you, Robyn?

Robyn: I’m very well. Thanks, Clint. Thanks for having me back at the show.

Clint: Yeah, yeah. We spoke on e-mail about…well, we speak about a lot of different things on e-mail. But one thing that came up was the emotional freedom techniques that you use as a naturopath [SP] in your clinic and the results that you’ve been able to get for people with inflammatory arthritis and other health conditions. So today we’re going to talk about that. So for those people who aren’t familiar with it, what is it?

Robyn: Emotional freedom techniques, or EFT, these days it’s most commonly known as just tapping because it’s so much simpler than saying emotional freedom techniques. And it describes the physical process of it. So what it is is…my shorthand for it is it’s emotional acupuncture without the needles. And so what we do is just using very gentle fingertip pressure, we tap on these acupuncture points on the face, the body, and the hands. And very, very simply, what it does is it induces a relaxation response. And when the person is in that relaxation response, they’re then able to process bodily experiences, emotions, and thoughts in a very different way to how they would experience those sensations if they were in their usual stress response. Okay?

So in the case of say inflammatory arthritis, people experience a great deal of pain. And as anyone will be able to recall from their own life experience, the context in which we experience pain really affects how we experience that pain. So say, for example, you are training for a marathon. And so you’re doing really long, long runs. At some point in time, you’re gonna experience pain. But because you’re training for a marathon, the way that you mentally process that pain is different from how you would experience that pain if someone ran up and thumped you on the thigh or something like that, I mean just to take a pretty crazy example.

So when people experience pain as a result of disease, they’re gonna experience that very much in the context of a stress response. Right? So they wake up in the morning, their feet are so sore that they can’t even touch the floor, their knee is blown up like a balloon that they can’t…their hands hurt so much, they can’t turn on the tap to have a shower. And all of those experiences of pain and stiffness and immobility occur in the context of your stress response, which magnifies the pain and the discomfort. So when we use tapping, EFT, to induce the relaxation response, we can then process those pain signals and the person experiences them in a different way.

Clint: Okay. So in the example of the marathon runner, they experience the pain in a way that is not just tolerated but actually even welcomed because they feel that that association with that pain is part of a greater picture that they’re striving towards. It’s purposeful.

Robyn: It’s a purposeful pain.

Clint: Yeah. Right.

Robyn: Yes. It’s still pain but the way that they’re thinking about it and feeling about it is very, very different to if that pain had occurred as the result of an accident or an assault.

Clint: Okay. Well, certainly when I was experiencing my pain with rheumatoid and all the things that you described, of the getting up, the sore feet, to turn and…try to turn the door handle, all that sort of stuff I can completely relate to. The two feelings that came to mind or two emotions for me mostly were frustration and anger. They’re closely linked, I believe, because we had a psychologist talk about these things. But…

Robyn: Doug Lisle.

Clint: Doug Lisle. That’s right. Exactly.

Robyn: My favorite professor.

Clint: Yeah. So Doug talked about these on his episode as being very closely aligned.

Robyn: Oh, each feeling the same spectrum. Yes.

Clint: Right. And so would that be reduced using the tapping?

Robyn: Yes. And that’s a really good segue because aside from doing the tapping on physical experiences, like pain or sickness or immobility, you can also use the tapping process on emotions. So you can use it specifically on feeling frustrated, feeling angry, the feelings of being let down by your body or let down by perhaps the medical system which isn’t giving you answers. Some people even might feel angry at God or the universe or just experience great frustration that they are going to be suffering while other people aren’t affected. Not that you want them to have arthritis too, it’s just that they’re going about their lives and sometimes they’re doing really self-destructive things. They might be smoking and drinking and eating really badly. And here’s the person with this disease, trying to do their best and still suffering.

And so all of those experiences can be processed using EFT. And what happens is that the tapping process interrupts that self-perpetuating spiral of, you know, I’m in pain, I’m frustrated, I’m angry, I’m thinking of all these serious thoughts about why this happened to me and blah-blah-blah, which then magnifies the pain. And also, it tends to inhibit people from taking action. So the person who is angry and frustrated and disappointed that this has happened to them will often get so mired in that spiral that they don’t then take action. Like…you know, for example, they might buy your program and then not utilize it because they’re just sort of so angry that this has happened. And then they’re stuck in that. They’re going around and around and around in that little cycle, rather than saying okay, this happened. It sucks, it’s bad, but I’m gonna try something to change my situation.

Clint: Okay. All right. It has a huge amount of potential. I actually attended–as you’ve been talking and I recalled this–there was an author who spoke at an event that I attended. It was a wellness and self-help event that was held at the entertainment center in Sydney before it was knocked down. And he was a bestselling author and it was called The Tapping Solution or something like that. I forget the author’s name.

Robyn: Is it Nick Ortner?

Clint: I wouldn’t know it if you said it probably. He got on stage and he had us all stand there and we had to say things as we were tapping certain parts of our body and repeat a mantra. Now is that also part of it?

Robyn: Yes. So there’s a tapping sequence and then there is a particular verbiage that goes along with it. So there are certain states that are made and it’s really in two parts. You name the problem and you also affirm that despite having that problem or in fact even because of having that problem, you’re okay. So we call this the setup phrase and a typical setup phrase is even though I have, for example, anger and frustration at my rheumatoid arthritis, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.

And so you affirm what the problem is and so you’re mentally focusing on that. And some people dismiss EFT as a distraction technique. They say, “Oh, you’re just doing all these weird things and that distracts you.” No, you’re actually focusing. You’re focusing on the pain, you’re focusing on the emotion, you’re focusing on the thought. That’s not distraction. But in the midst of focusing on that thought, you’re generating relaxation response.

And the way that I kind of see it myself is that your brain is so used to having a stress response when you think that thought, having a stress response when you think, “I’m disabled, I can’t take a shower, I can’t take away the odor of my deodorant,” You know, things like that. “I can’t drive my kids because my hands went [inaudible [00:08:35] tumor,” your brain is used to having a stress response every time you run those thoughts through your mind. So when you instead have thoughts in the midst of the relaxation response, it’s kind of like your brain goes “Huh?! This is different. I’m not used to this.” And as a result, your brain is freed up to sort of jump off that track, jump out of that rut that it normally runs down, and explore different ways of looking at the situation.

And so we call this a cognitive shift, okay? In cognitive behavior therapy, the aim is to challenge the person’s dysfunctional thinking, to challenge the irrational thoughts or beliefs until they achieve a cognitive shift, a different way of looking at it. Well in EFT, we get that cognitive shift but we’re going through a different doorway. We go in mostly through the emotions that are associated with the belief. And while CBT is very effective and very well-studied, I have found that a fairly large proportion of my clients who’ve done cognitive behavior therapy in the past found that it felt fairly flat for them. It just didn’t address their emotions.

And so for these people…and my thinking about this is that they are, what is known in psychology, as highly sensitive people. They have a highly sensitive temperament, so they experience their emotions more intensely than the average Joe, okay? It’s not that they have different emotions, it’s just that they’re more easily triggered and their emotional experience is stronger. And it also tends to traumatize more. So it’s a physical, it’s a much more physical experience for highly sensitive people. And for them, emotional freedom technique is more direct and more effective than CBT in my experience and my clients’ experience. And by the way, a lot of….I would say most people with an autoimmune disease–again, this is my observation–they all seem to have a highly sensitive temperament. So…

Clint: Right. I think so. Yeah.

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Robyn: …I’m [inaudible [00:10:38]. I think it’s a fascinating area of future research. But that’s just my observation.

Clint: Yeah, yeah. I think…well, you become on edge. You know, it’s like if the radio of pain is going on at full bore the whole time and you just want to switch that radio of pain off and you cannot, then you do tend to become agitated and short. And so, you know, that’s what’s gonna happen. Now, we’ve been talking some general stuff and overview stuff. Give us some specifics. You and I have had a mutual client and I have not heard how this particular patient has gone of yours but other than you telling me on e-mail that you have had a wonderful breakthrough for this person.

Robyn: Yes. So this is actually quite a young girl, a delightful girl, really smart and incredibly talented and creative. And she was just crippled with juvenile inflammatory arthritis and was in a very, very bad place emotionally. And of course, that made it very difficult for her mother too because this is key…and you can totally understand it. If you wake up in pain, you’re not gonna be a happy Cathy, you’re not gonna say “Good morning, Mom,” and have a big smile on your face. You’re gonna be impatient, you’re gonna be frustrated with people. And so I was doing tapping with her and she was actually not even in the country at the time. She was overseas and so we did all our sessions via Skype.

And her mother was very, very keen to learn the technique too and practice it with her daughter in-between sessions. And so we initially began with just focusing the tapping on her pain and on the stiffness. And she was in a lot of pain. And bringing that down to a manageable tolerable level for her, it then enabled us to start delving into some of the…what I would say were the underlying factors. So you and I both know that there are very well-researched, very clear physical drivers of rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases for that matter. We know that there’s gut dysfunction, we know that so many people’s RA is triggered by chronic antibiotic use.

Clint: Absolutely. Absolutely.

Robyn: And you know, there are various other…

Clint: …triggers.

Robyn: …real physical, measurable triggers.

Clint: Absolutely.

Robyn: But there are also psychological factors that affect a person’s predisposition to developing illness. In the case of this little girl, there’d been a number of fairly traumatic incidents that had happened when she was younger. And EFT can also be directed at reprocessing those traumatic experiences and really neutralizing the trauma around them. So that’s what we then went to after working on the pain. And of course, there were other emotional factors that were contributing to the situation, like being away from her home and her dog, whom she adored, and her family and her friends and not being able to go to school for so long because she’s wheelchair bound and on her back flat, you know, flat on her back in bed.

So we went through all of that. And anyway, she’s back home now. And when I last spoke to her, it was just like a completely different child. Like her whole face had transformed. And she got up, on Skype she got up out of her wheelchair and showed me how she could walk across the room and back again. And it was…I was enthused.

Clint: Yeah. That sort of stuff you live for as a practitioner, I imagine.

Robyn: It also made the diet easier to do for her. Because that’s another area where EFT can be very helpful is when people have either–this wasn’t the case with this little girl but it certainly has been with other clients who I’d worked with–where they have very strong, you might call them emotional attachments–perhaps even addictions–to certain foods. Which are clearly doing them harm and are definitely not part of the path and program. And their sense of resentment that they have to give up their cheese or their dessert or their whatever it is, they’re incensed, “Oh, why do I have to do this? Why can’t I eat ice cream? My husband eats ice cream, my best friend eats ice cream, my kids eat ice cream, they’re fine. Oh, Lord, why me?” So that resentment and anger is a highly, what I like to call a tappable issue. Okay? So you can direct the tapping process at that and again, as their intensity level comes down, by the end of a tapping sequence, they’re usually going, “Oh you know what? I think I can live without ice cream after all.” [inaudible [00:15:30]. In other cases, people will obviously sometimes get bored with the diet or they miss certain foods. And the tapping process can be directed at that.

Clint: Okay. So there’s a couple of different applications, then. It’s really really suitable if people are currently on the Patterson Program and they’re looking for a way of feeling renewed enthusiasm. That would be one way if they’re a little bit feeling like, you know, another example that comes up quite a lot is yeah, the results are great but I’m not able to eat out at restaurants with my friends. And that often…you know, in the early stages because at a later stage we work through that issue because they work out that they can eat certain foods at some restaurants and you can go to those particular places. But that’s certainly a good one. And then the pain itself…so we’ve got two. So we’ve got those tappable issues of the pain itself…

Robyn: The pain itself. Yeah.

Clint: We’ve got the emotional trauma that may have been a predisposition or a precursor to getting the disease. And then we’ve got people [inaudible [00:16:35] and trying to adhere to healing disciplines.

Robyn: Exactly. Which does very severely disrupt people’s social lives, it has to be said. I mean, most socializing is carried out around bad food and alcohol.

Clint: Let’s kill ourselves together.

Robyn: To be a little bit frank, which is sad. A sad reflection on our society but that is the reality. And it’s very, very challenging for many people to prioritize their health, their physical health, eating for health and doing their yoga and their exercise to prioritize that above fitting in, conforming and socializing. It is challenging for them.

Clint: Yeah. No doubt about that. So I know, of course, the individual that you mentioned before, the young girl and her mom. We were in a great deal of communication around the same time that you were involved with her. And I know that she was just so extraordinarily grateful for what you did and the way that you helped her daughter. And she wrote a whole post within our support forum about how wonderful that was and your services. So anyone listening or watching this, I highly encourage you to reach out to Robyn. We’ll put your contact details in the show notes and the transcription of this episode. But just mention them again for us now so that we have it on the video as well.

Robyn: Right. So my practice is Empower Total Health and the website is empowertotalhealth.com.au. I’m in Australia, so don’t forget the au. But I do work with international clients, you know, using the wonders of videoconferencing technology like Skype. So I’m really happy to help anyone who is struggling with this. And the other thing that I would like to say about EFT is that it is…it was developed as a self-help technique. So the whole idea with this is that I teach people how to use it for themselves.

And I just thought of another application for it besides the ones that, you know, very nicely summarized, which is that as we both, know people are more…well, most people have their autoimmune disease under control. They’re still at risk of flares if they become very, very stressed because acute stress can destabilize the gut microbiome. And it can also cause people to revert to old, let’s say, bad habits that they might have done before. You know, some people stress eat, some people will drink too much alcohol when they’re stressed.

So stress can cause [inaudible [00:19:08] through various means. And having EFT in your toolbox means that you have this really powerful tool for moderating your own stress level but for altering your response to stress. So it’s a lifelong skill. And that’s also gratifying about teaching it to kids. Because I don’t know about you but when I was a kid, no one taught me how to manage my emotions constructively. No one taught me how to deal with frustration or anger or disappointment. It was kind of like, you know, well, don’t cry. What good will crying do you? It’s like, well that’s helpful. And then starting to put these skills in my hands, I can think of quite a few experiences that I went through as a kid and a teenager and in my earlier adult life that probably wouldn’t have been as bad.

Clint: That’s right.

Robyn: If I had them at my disposal.

Clint: No, that’s right. I was watching…you know, we talked about trying to handle these things when you’re little and then it’s a tool for a lifetime. I was watching, over here there’s a show called Daniel Tiger and it’s the kids TV show. And Angelina, our three-year-old, she likes watching it. And it’s got, it deals with emotions a lot. And he’s a little tiger. And there’s a little song that comes on when he starts to get upset because someone takes his ball or something. And the song comes on and it says “When you feel so bad and you want to roar, take a deep breath and count to four.” And it’s just really, really good. And so if she’s starting to get a little angry, I say…I start singing the song. And it’s a very basic example of a pattern interrupt, isn’t it? Just interrupt that pattern.

Robyn: That’s exactly what I was thinking. A little bit of levity, a little bit of humor. And of course, song and rhyme which really speaks to the human brain, especially the child’s brain. So that’s great and I love it.

Clint: That’s an EFT for a 3-year-old at that level.

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Robyn: Yeah. Pretty much. Yeah. And little kids, little ones can totally learn to use EFT. I’ve heard anecdotes of one toddler teaching another toddler EFT, these toddlers’ parents were tappers and they were tapping the little one. So I’ve heard of little 18-months-old, you know, reaching over and tapping on their friend when their friend was having a bit of a panic because someone had knocked over their blocks or whatever. So it’s real. Anyone can learn to use this, it doesn’t take long to get the basic technique, mastering it takes longer like mastering anything takes a little bit. It’s really accessible to everyone.

Clint: Is there a very, very basic first stage, one that you could just walk us through now on any particular topic? I mean, can you think of one that could only just take a few moments for us to go through together?

Robyn: Sure. Why don’t we…just going back to what you said before about those primal emotions that you experience, which I think are universal: frustration, anger.

Clint: Anger. Yeah.

Robyn: And so yeah, let’s do a demonstration.

Clint: Do you want to do one? Do you want me to walk it through with you? Show it. Okay.

Robyn: Yeah, you can do anything. You can [inaudible [00:22:23]. Obviously, I think for you, those experiences are in the past. So it’s not going to…you probably won’t notice much difference.

Clint: That’s fine. I think the mechanics of it is what I’d like everyone to get a feeling for.

Robyn: So we start by tapping on what’s called the karate chop point or side hand, which is just on the side of your hand, where you would…

Clint: With two fingers? Two fingers?

Robyn: Yes. Two fingers of the opposite hand. I’m a right hander. So I just naturally gravitate towards those two fingers in the right hand on my left. If you’re lefty, you’re probably gonna find it more comfortable to do it the opposite way. So just experiment with both to see what works to you. So you tap lightly here. And we usually run through this setup phrase three times. So I’ll use a fairly simple setup phrase. One thing I will do though–just to, again, make this demonstration more powerful for those who want to follow along–is can you remember when you were experiencing that intense frustration and anger, do you remember if there was any part of your body that tended…that where you tended to feel that feeling?

Clint: Yeah, I would say like just right across my forehead, like I was just really wanting to just blow my top.

Robyn: Yes. So almost like a constricting band across the forehead.

Clint: Yeah.

Robyn: Yeah. Okay. All right. That’s great. That’s gold. Adding the physical sensation to the setup phrase really makes a difference. So I’m gonna say. I’m gonna feed that back to you. You repeat after me and get tapping. So even though…

Clint: Even though…

Robyn: …I had this frustration and anger…

Clint: …I had this frustration and anger…

Robyn: …across my forehead…

Clint: …across my forehead…

Robyn: …and it feels like I want to…what was the exact phrase you used? Feels like I wanna blow my top off.

Clint: …blow my top off.

Robyn: Yeah. And it feels like I wanna blow my top…

Clint: And it feels like I wanna blow my top…

Robyn: …I deeply and completely…

Clint: …I deeply and completely…

Robyn: …love and accept myself…

Clint: …love and accept myself…

Robyn: …and all of my feelings.

Clint: …and all of my feelings.

Robyn: Let’s do that two more times. So even though I had this anger and frustration…

Clint: Even though I had this anger and frustration…

Robyn: …all across my forehead…

Clint: …all across my forehead…

Robyn: …it feels like…

Clint: …it feels like…

Robyn: …like I want to…

Clint: …like I want to blow my top

Robyn: …I deeply and completely…

Clint: …I deeply and completely love myself and all my feelings…

Robyn: …love and accept. The accept part is important.

Clint: …love and accept all my feelings.

Robyn: Beautiful. One more time. Even though…

Clint: Even though…

Robyn: …I had this frustration…

Clint: …I had this frustration…

Robyn: …in my forehead…

Clint: …in my forehead…

Robyn: …feels like I wanna blow my top…

Clint: …and it made me feel like I want to blow my top…

Robyn: …I deeply and completely…

Clint: …I deeply and completely…

Robyn: …love and accept myself…

Clint: …love and accept myself…

Robyn: …and all of my feelings.

Clint: …and all of my feelings.

Robyn: Brilliant. Now, first two fingers, eyebrow point, right where the hair of the eyebrow begins on the brow above it. So you want to feel that brow bone. Okay? A little bit, a little smidge lower. Yeah, right on the eyebrow.

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Clint: Oh, on the eyebrow?

Robyn: That’s the only one. Okay. So repeat after me. This frustration in my forehead…

Clint: This frustration in my forehead…

Robyn: Now, side of your eye, right on the outer corner of the eye socket. That’s it. Nice. All of this anger across my forehead…

Clint: All of this anger across my forehead…

Robyn: And under your eye, just right on the very edge of the eye socket bone, nice. It feels like I wanna blow my top.

Clint: Feels like I wanna blow my top.

Robyn: Below your nose, just one hand. All this frustration, pent-up in my forehead…

Clint: All this frustration pent-up in my forehead…

Robyn: And then the chin points, the indentation in the chin. Nice, okay. I just feel so frustrated…

Clint: I just feel so frustrated…

Robyn: Next one’s the collar bone point. It’s just under the collar bone where it meets the breastbone, okay? So there’s a little hollow. Sorry, my scarf’s in the way. But if you can just feel that little hollow place underneath the collar bone, so below the bump, where your collar bone and your breastbone meet. Yeah, okay. So under there. All of this frustration…

Clint: All of this frustration…

Robyn: …in my forehead…

Clint: …in my forehead…

Robyn: Okay. And then under the arm. Now for ladies, this one’s gonna be about half way up the bra strap. But Clint, I presume you’re not wearing a bra today.

Clint: Yeah. Not today.

Robyn: So you’re gonna be about…something like probably about 10 cm below the armpit, on the side of the body. You have to do both sides, it’s impossible to reach across.

Clint: Oh, do you like me to do this?

Robyn: Obviously the people who’ve got sore shoulders might need to apply this. All this frustration…

Clint: All this frustration…

Robyn: …makes me feel like I wanna blow my top…

Clint: …makes me feel like I wanna blow my top…

Robyn: And on the top of the head, right on the crown so it’s in the middle there. I feel so frustrated…

Clint: I feel so frustrated…

Robyn: Okay. Now just take a slow breath, a real belly breath. So in through the nose and side out the mouth. And that’s one round of tapping. So again, this is not so much a current issue for you but tell me more what you’re noticing in your body.

Clint: Kind of a tingle and a warmth throughout my sort of surface on my skin.

Robyn: Yes.

Clint: Yeah. So I feel that. I certainly…like I’m not as tuned in and focused about our conversation. I’m more, I feel like we’re not recording and we’re just, you know, hanging out. You know? So I’ve lost the sort of acuteness of my attention towards what we’re actually doing. And I’m just in my own body and just sort of feeling. And you know, it’s hard to explain but I feel like I have more like a broad sort of feeling to my vision ahead of me as opposed to any kind of particular focus. Yeah, I just feel nice and calm.

Robyn: Yeah. That’s the relaxation response. When you really think about what the relaxation response is, well let’s look at the opposite which is the stress response. When people are in the stress response, their prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain that’s able to process lots of complex information at one time and come up with sensible decisions, that part of the brain is almost disabled by the stress response. Because the stress response gears us to take, almost like a reflex action. And if you think about the historical origins of the stress response, it’s the primitive human, out on the savanna in Africa, out of the corner of their eye noticing this big furry face, sharp teeth, you know, big claws running to a mega “Oh”. And then you go into the fear fight flight response, right? You’re not gonna stand there and go, what species is that? Is that mouth a big mouth? How fast do you reckon that’s running to you, are they? None of that’s happening. Your brain just goes oy, stupid, move. And off you go.

And so when people go into the stress response, that breadth of thinking and that creativity, that sort of openness, is shut down. So that’s what we turn back on again when we get into the relaxation response through tapping. It’s very powerful. That’s why so many people use it, not just for what we’ve discussed today but even for unlocking creativity. I use a lot when I’m procrastinating. I’m doing my honors degree at the moment and I’m writing my thesis. And there are times when I just go “Ugh” and I say this often that the juices stop flowing. And that’s when I’ll start tapping just to get myself back in that relaxation response and free everything out. So good.

Clint: Fantastic. Yeah. And I can only imagine that the feeling would be even more powerful if I was to repeat it in the three phases that you actually use, you know? But already, I just feel very, very calm. And you know, I think you’re right. When…I’ve noticed that when I particularly get those feelings of frustration and anger, I’m quite often focused on one particular thing with a very laser beam focus. So it’s not to do with my health, it might be something else. The kids can really push us sometimes, especially Angelina. So what can happen is that we can, like one particular behavior that’s being repeated over and over can really…it’s like the whole world is just that one behavior. And it can be very, very…and it is the opposite. When I’m not thinking, you know, my response to you was I’m not really thinking about anything. I’m kind of just broad feeling. It’s ideal, isn’t it?

Robyn: In that state, new ideas come to you and new perceptions of that behavior come to you. So for example, rather than getting triggered by it, when you’re in that relaxation response, you can kind of see that behavior as that child is signaling a need or it’s a developmental stage that they’re going through. And it calls on a particular response to you. Like if you made a particular response, it would help them. Now when you’re really triggered, you can’t see it that way. Like you just seeing a child who’s driving you completely round the twist. And so when parents use EFT on their own response to children, they can get out of that triggered state and switch into this space, where we have, okay. So what’s really happening here? And what [inaudible [00:32:18] response be? And then when they teach their kids to use tapping as well, rather than the kid having a big fit because something happened that maybe they didn’t expected or whatever, they’ve got this tool that they can use the process their own.

Clint: Okay. All right. Great. Well, I think we’ve done well. We’ve learnt about emotional freedom techniques and tapping and then you’ve given us lots of different ways in which they can be applied. And we’ve done a demonstration and I’ve been through the process and I feel blissed out and happy as a result.

Robyn: You look chill.

Clint: Yeah. So thank you very much. And of course, you know, just personally if I was in a position of pain, you know, like a lot of our listeners I would highly encourage they reach out to you just so people are aware. Robyn is 100% on board, is a plant-based practitioner herself, teaches plant-based nutrition. And in fact, we’re gonna have you back soon on yet another episode where we’ll talk all about the gut digestion and go into stuff that is probably the most favorite topic of mine, which is all about what’s going on, what causes this disease. And it’s gonna be a fun discussion.

Robyn: I’m really looking forward to that. The whole gut brain and gut immune system connection is an endless source of fascination to me too.

Clint: Yes. So that will be fun but let’s save that for another time. So for now, thank you very much, Robyn. And I will put your contact details within the transcription of this episode on our website.

Robyn: Thank you, Clint. Always it’s a pleasure talking to you.

Clint Paddison

Clint Paddison has recovered from crippling Rheumatoid Arthitis and now assists others with this disease via the Paddison Program for Rheumatoid Arthritis, the Paddison Podcast and the blogs on www.paddisonprogram.com

  • Mary

    Robyn? You’re young so I can forgive you for not having been on this earth as long as some of us old timers. I appreciated the information you’ve written about EFT and cognitive behavioral therapy. Both are extremely useful techniques to cope with life’s experiences.

    However, I feel compelled to call you and Clint up short on this topic. First, by way of introduction, I was a researcher at a university and finished 2.5 years of my PhD program before the onset of my severe rheumatoid arthritis. The illness ended my career practically overnight. That was 5 years ago. When I’m well enough, I study all aspects of rheumatoid arthritis and the additional diseases that have come along side of my RA. I still have access to the university library so read peer reviewed research articles and books on autoimmune diseases consistently.

    There is a body of RA literature with two strands: 1) psychology, and 2) pain. I’m going to start with the area of psychology and RA. There are many flawed research studies that have researcher bias. By that I mean the researchers had a pre-determined conclusion regarding their study.

    These studies often used a pain inducing stimulus on participants’ arms. It was found that people with RA perceived pain at a lower threshold level than people without RA. The reason these studies are flawed is because putting a pin prick in someone’s arm has nothing to do with systemic disease and subsequent perception of pain from the disease.

    In the field of pain research, there is no distinction between someone who has had a car accident and someone with ongoing disease processes. The thinking is that someone who is in a car accident, broke their arm, and is 5 years post-accident should have no pain issues in that arm. These people are said to have areas in their brain that have amplified the pain signal causing a heightened perception of pain. This I understand.

    However, with people with ongoing disease pathology, as the body breaks down, it is reasonable to expect that the pain response is from a biological cause correlating with the pain response. No distinction in pain research is made between these two types of pain stimuli.

    There is only a very basic understanding of the pathophysiology of rheumatoid arthritis and many other autoimmune diseases. My argument has always been that you cannot label people with autoimmune diseases as having a pain sensitization syndrome, catastrophizing, having cognitive distortions or any other such nonsense UNTIL the pathophysiology of autoimmune diseases includes the site or origin of pain and why there is pain with these diseases.

    A lot of incredible harm has occurred in the field of rheumatology and psychology to people with rheumatoid arthritis. Because the prevalence of RA hits women more than men at a ratio of 3:1 or 4:1, the early days of RA treatment included male doctors figuring female patients were nuts, hysterical, or had a rheumatoid personality. NO SUCH THING EXISTS. With the advent of the internet and the explosion of medical research over the past 20 years, these ridiculous claims no longer are credible but erroneous information is still published. Internet forums have practically rid women (and men) of the isolation they used to experience with RA. We check with others and share common experiences. I cannot fathom being a woman in the 1950’s in some isolated town developing severe RA, but I digress.

    I am wholly in favor of teaching people how to cope with pain. This practical approach is important. It is all I can do not to consider knocking someone’s teeth out when I hear the underlying premise of people with RA being more “sensitive” than other people. Here is the quote I hope to never see again in your writing:

    “And so for these people…and my thinking about this is that they are, what is known in psychology, as highly sensitive people. They have a highly sensitive temperament, so they experience their emotions more intensely than the average Joe, okay? It’s not that they have different emotions, it’s just that they’re more easily triggered and their emotional experience is stronger. And it also tends to traumatize more.”

    EVERY human being who experiences a catastrophic illness that impacts or destroys their bodies, their identity, their career, their relationships, their hobbies, their view of the world has to go through a grief and adjustment phase. There can be tremendous sorrow and a period of adaptation. We’re not crazy. We’re not more emotional or sensitive than others and we sure as hell don’t need a pile of guilt heaped on top of a very challenging situation. You have no right to make the claims you did.

    I would be happy to send you research articles that are the basis of my thinking and response to your premise about people with RA’s response to pain. Two authors who write frequently about RA and pain along the lines I’m sharing with you are Kelly Young from RA Warrior and Lene Anderson from Health Central (The Seated View-publication). Its easy to simply google either woman + pain and learn about their writings.

    Every person with RA deserves to be treated with the dignity they deserve. Those who label people with RA as being oversensitive violate this dignity. I am starting a blog soon about life with chronic illness (RA+) and this is certainly one topic I’ll address. For now, here is my contact information: harmstro@email.arizona.edu.

  • Mary

    I’m curious why my previous post was deleted?