Dear EFT Community,

EFT researcher and trainer Dawson Church, PhD, describes how tapping resolved a flare-up of gout, a highly painful disorder he had been enduring for 10 years. Dr. Church observes that, despite years of witnessing the effectiveness of EFT, he didn't use it on his gout. This time, however, the episode came at a particularly inopportune time and desperation drove him to it. The result was an alleviation of the pain and redness, and a resolve to tap further to clear all the underlying issues connected with his gout, including the ones that kept him from tapping!

-Stephanie M


By Dawson Church, PhD

A physician I consulted for gout (Yusuf Erskine, DO) told me that gout pain is one of the most severe pains that a person can possibly experience. Having had periodic attacks of gout for about 10 years, I'm inclined to agree with him! Gout is a form of arthritis, common in men and rare in women, that affects the basal joint of the big toe, and occasionally implicates neighboring joints. Symptoms are redness and swelling. The pain is usually so severe that one cannot walk on the affected foot till the gout subsides in a week or two.

The usual medical treatment is to take a COX-2 inhibitor form of painkiller. Hmm, COX-2 inhibitors, where have I heard that phrase before? Oh, yes, Vioxx! There are many other COX-2 inhibitors, and the one I take is a readily available over-the-counter medication called naproxen sodium. You aren't supposed to take more than two at a time, and research has indicated that the effects of this whole class of pain pills, not just Vioxx, can lead to the same side effects. The worst side effect is death, though COX-2 swallowers like me are greatly comforted by recalling that this is a rare complication. However, to nail gout pain and inflammation, I've found that I need to take five pills to start, and three a few hours later, which is way above the maximum safe dose.

While I've been performing a series of randomized double blind clinical trials (the Gold Standard of scientific proof) of EFT over the course of the past couple of years, it had not occurred to me to use EFT on my gout. Denial, humor, and COX-2 inhibitors were working just fine!

Then I had an attack when I was on the road, about to lecture at a big health conference, about the scientific basis for EFT, no less. I've spoken about EFT at about 20 medical or psychology conferences in the last 12 months, since my book The Genie in Your Genes provides a robust scientific foundation for EFT. On this particular trip, I was woken up in the middle of the night by the familiar pain of an emerging gout attack.

"Come on, lad," I said to myself. "You can't go out there and talk about this if you aren't trying it on everything, even conditions you believe are simply organic medical conditions like gout. On a scale of 0 to 10, the pain was about a 4, and I knew from experience it would be a 7 or 8 by morning. So I tapped for gout pain. I woke up in the morning, and the pain was only a 2. However, the swelling and redness persisted. My right brain was thrilled, but my left brain decided I should swallow a handful of naproxen anyway, as backup. I did so, and I was fine a few hours later for my lecture.

A couple of months later, gout flared up again. This time, I dared myself to just tap, and not to take any medication. However, I realized that the previous time, I had tapped for the pain, but not the redness and swelling. So this time, I tapped for all three, separately. I also tapped on every and any emotional issue I could think of, from gout afflicting only older men ("Surely I can't be aging? Aging only happens to other people") to control issues ("Body, how dare you tell me I can't skip and jump and dance whenever I want to?").

Besides these pieces of self-talk, I also found a specific incident to tap on: My first gout attack at the age of 35. I was dancing in my office with my four-year-old son (yes, I have incurable exuberance), and suddenly my right foot burst into pain. It felt so unfair to have my joy interrupted, and also see the disappointment and incomprehension on my little boy's face when I could no longer dance.

After I had, stomped all over the problem (pun intended), my foot felt better. Lo and behold, the pain, swelling and redness was gone in about 90 minutes. Completely. No naproxen required.

I believe it's important to tap for individual components of a condition, if a more general affirmation isn't producing results. When I tapped for pain, EFT gave me relief from the pain, but there was more detailed work I needed to do to address the inflammation itself.

There may also be buried emotional issues that surface around each part of the affliction, and they may be drawn from different emotional traumas. Whenever people tell me "I tried EFT and it didn't work," the way I interpret this is "We haven't hit the specific issue yet. 

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