In EFT language, there’s what’s known as the ten-minute wonder – a person with a big deal issue taps for a few moments and all of a sudden that issue is gone for them, anything from a terrible anxiety to a sore shoulder. Then there are those issues that resolve only with persistence. In my quest for understanding how EFT really works, perhaps brain research does offer an explanation for the difference between the ten minute wonder and the experience of long persistence.
Thinking about the 10-minute wonder:
In SYNAPTIC SELF (Page 161), Joseph LeDoux describe what he calls “reconsolidation.” It’s just one paragraph in his book, but he writes that when a memory surfaces, new proteins must be created for that memory to reconsolidate, to be stored again. Perhaps this is a clue to the ten-minute wonder. Brain research tells us that every thought has an emotion attached, and every emotion triggers the hypothalamus to create corresponding peptides. These peptides trigger cells to create proteins that are based on our mood (whether the I’m in a rush mood, I’m in danger mood, I’m happy and relaxed mood.)
I’m wondering if, when a person has a memory created in a trauma situation, the reason it keeps being a trauma memory is because the memory keeps resurfacing into a similar trauma chemistry. Then since the memory gets re-remembered in a similar chemistry, it continues to be a traumatic memory. With EFT, an emotionally intense memory, or even just the emotion of the memory, is intentionally surfaced and attended to. And this EFT environment is definitely different from the original traumatic environment in which the memory was originally created.
If a person is doing EFT, their chemistry during EFt has to be different from the time of the trauma – for at least two reasons. First, the person is physically tapping on their body – besides whatever meridian energy effect might be going on, there’s a gentle rhythmic physical event happening at the time the memory is resurfaced. Second, every tapping session starts with words something like, “Even though I have this issue, I DEEPLY LOVE AND ACCEPT MYSELF.” No matter how much or little a person believes those words, they are definitely a different environment from a trauma situation. For both of these reasons, and likely for others as well, different peptides are being created while EFT is in process. Since the original memory has to create new proteins in order to be re-remembered, it makes a lot of sense to me that emotional issues can sometimes resolve so very quickly. Different chemistry creates different proteins creates different memories.
The Long Persistence.
“If you’re not seeing results,” advises EFT founder Gary Craig, “be PERSISTENT in your tapping. Keep at it.” Author Joe Dispenza, in EVOLVE YOUR BRAIN (Chapter 9), explains how these peptides that are created by the hypothalamus can eventually cause the cells of the body to fundamentally change. If the body is flooded with trauma chemicals, eventually cells evolve their structure to become “at home” with this new chemical world they are living in. Eventually, even though the trauma caused so much upset, it eventually becomes homeostasis, the new baseline chemistry for cells to exist in.
If the trauma is later removed, (a person escapes a tyrranical boss on the 47th floor of a Houston Skyscraper and takes a job selling icees at the beach in Hawaii), then the level of trauma chemicals goes down in the body. But here’s the crux. The cells register that the baseline has been disrupted and they send a signal back up to the hypothalamus to restore homeostasis. The person will feel terrible when the baseline is disrupted and will do almost anything to restore the chemical homeostasis, even if that homeostatic level was trauma, fear, anger, or whatever. Homeostasis is the first goal of the cell, even if the basis is trauma.
In these cases, perhaps EFT is doing the long slow work of changing the body’s baseline chemistry. Each new tap, each new thought, is literally creating new chemicals, and new synaptic connections. If EFT is addressing a homeostasis issue, then it might make sense that lots of EFT is required to create a new baseline, a new comfort level.
In either case, EFT’s ability to reduce emotional anxiety seems like a powerful help in rewiring the synapses in the brain, and resetting the chemistry in the cells of the body.
More brain books ahead – I just started reading THE SEVEN SINS OF MEMORY, look for another book report ahead.