Jan. 21st, 2009

winterthunder: (side effects)
Around this time last year, I went in to Student Health hoping to switch from an extremely expensive medicine to a less pricey one and I walked out with a problem that would lead me through a year of migraines, allergic reactions and generally unacceptable answers from the specialists I went to. By November it was clear to me that Western medicine was offering me a choice between debilitating headaches and a lifetime on a medication that would lead to osteoporosis.

Having tried and walked away from homeopathy (liked the idea, hated the practitioner), my first thought was to try it again. I quickly realized that finding someone who practiced on my standards would be well nigh impossible. But in the process of searching I came across something that I thought deserved more attention.

EFT, which stands for Emotional Freedom Technique, is best described as the bastard child of a threesome between accupressure, talk therapy and positive thinking. By tapping on a series of points while speaking positive mantras, you can collapse traumatic experiences, encourage your body to heal more quickly and change the outlook with which you approach life. There are claims of cancer cures, lifting years-long depression and eliminating pain.

I was, understandably, very skeptical. So skeptical, in fact, that the first time I ran across the concept I dismissed it as crap and went on with my business. But it kept showing up here and there, and eventually, as I got closer and closer to the conclusion that I didn't want to spend the rest of my life on a daily preventative that would cause long term damage, I took a closer look. For someone who's practical and scientific based, the website is off-putting. There are so many claims that seem impossible, and they claim success using EFT to everything from PTSD to the common cold. As my other options ran out, however, I put that aside for a closer look.

Unlike most scams, the EFT site sells only their library of instructional DVDs. In fact, they give you the basic instructions for using EFT for free. And two to three times a week they send out a newsletter with new success stories and EFT applications from around the world. After reading the newsletter for a few months, not one of the names mentioned in the stories was repeated, nor were any of the stories themselves. I figured if this was someone in a basement somewhere cranking all this out, I had to admire his commitment and imagination. The website also has a list of practitioners, including a couple in my area. I figured at this point I had nothing to lose, so I e-mailed them.

The woman who got back to me seemed a bit odd, but very earnest. Her fee for an hour-long session was $35, which was much less than I had paid for both my unsuccessful homeopathic treatment and my current trips to various specialists. I figured I had nothing to lose and booked an appointment to go over with [profile] wild_stars because I figured that a) I'd be more comfortable with her there and b) if this was some trap to lure two college students in for some nefarious purpose, between the two of us we could probably take them down.

It wasn't a trap, and we spent two and a half hours talking and tapping on everything we could think of related to our various health problems. I came in with a full-blown migraine and walked out with nothing left but the residual soreness that comes from hurting so intensely for so long. [profile] wild_stars and I both agreed that we were skeptical still, but we'd wait and see how things progressed. I proceeded to begin cutting back my daily dose of the migraine preventative.

During that first week on a reduced dose, I had four migraines. Each one came on quickly and progressed to the point where I couldn't stand up. Each time, I pulled into a room by myself and tapped on them. And each time, I skipped through the 24-36 hour process of sitting on my bed, unable to stand or lay down, popping as many (or sometimes more) painkillers as was safe and waiting for the thing to succumb to the drug onslaught or end on it's own. Instead, with 10 minutes of tapping, I would arrive at the post-migraine soreness, which would disappear within the next hour or so.

I got in contact with the practitioner, thinking that perhaps there was some emotional reason I couldn't get rid of all the pain at once. My past has some pretty big demons in it, after all, and I didn't think it was possible to get rid of all of that in just one session. Instead of scheduling me to come in again, she replied with suggestions on how to end my tapping rounds to clear up the soreness and told me she'd be available if I thought I needed another session, but she hoped I wouldn't.

It's now been three days since I took my last dose of daily preventative. The only headache I've had since that week was the result of me banging my head into the shower wall, and never came close to being a migraine. I've turned my tapping attention towards some of my other health issues, things that the doctors gave up on curing long ago and I had just learned to live with. I wonder how far this can go. Could I, for instance, overcome several generations of osteoporosis in my family and live out my life with strong bones? Can I smooth over the dry skin which has plagued me for as long as I can remember and spend, not just a day without itching constantly, but the rest of my life? Can EFT help my sister, my brother, my parents, my friends?

I don't know where the limits are. But as I go into my third migraine free week and my third day without medication, this seems as close to a miracle as this admittedly cynical person can get. For those of you out there who live with conditions that Western medicine has given up on curing, please, go check this out. I'd like there to be miracles for more than just me.

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