Cathy Holland, RN, BS, IBCLC, FACCE has been working with families for over five decades. She recalls working with a pregnant mother who was fiercely against breastfeeding; Utterance of ‘the word’ caused this woman’s body to shudder.
Social suggestions of what breasts are intended for were woven down through her DNA, Holland explains.
“She couldn’t bear to think about it.”
At this, Holland introduced and suggested Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) or Tapping to help alleviate the expecting mother’s uncomfortable feelings toward breastfeeding.
With consent, Holland proceeded with fingertip tapping over specific body acupressure points while the woman thought about breastfeeding.
After about 10 minutes of tapping on specific points, the woman surprisedly exclaimed that she didn’t feel upset about breastfeeding any longer. Holland reports that she went on to nurse her child for three years.
EFT is an intervention similar to that of acupuncture but without the needles. For clients who do not wish to be touched for whatever reason, tapping can be performed by a surrogate, Holland says.
Participants assign a specific emotional or physical ailment or struggle a number on a scale from zero to 10; zero meaning it’s not worth tapping and 10 meaning it’s as bad as it can get.
“It can’t hurt and there are no known side effects,” Holland says.
She adds that participants don’t need to voice their problem. The practitioner does not need to know what the client is concerned about. The client can think about his or her concerns while the tapper taps without knowledge of the subject.
EFT is thought to be effective because of the combination of tapping points and thinking about negative feelings. The system serves to restore mind and body balance by releasing emotional blocks. A complete guide to proper EFT technique can be found here.
Interestingly, Holland says that before guns were invented, people fought with sticks and stones and “people felt better after getting hit in certain trouble spots.”
“Hence the origin of acupuncture” she says.
EFT claims might sound far-fetched, and it’s sometimes criticized as a pseudoscience.
Holland admits that she immediately ready to try it, but today she is enthusiastically devoted to it. She suggests why EFT isn’t more widely practiced:
First off she points out that while some individuals have made a good income from practicing EFT, big organizations or corporations won’t make money from EFT.
“[EFT] is not about having a product to sell,” she says. “Some naysayers are people who are vested in creating a drug that EFT can amend on its own.”
Additionally, there is no national certification or licensure for EFT practitioners. Most who practice EFT have a certification or license from some modality that allow them to touch a client. EFT is a simple technique to learn and practice; most anyone can do it.
“Sometimes our problems serve us well,” Holland continues. So when offered a solution, we often decline. This is a key point to those who resist tapping on an issue, pain, or emotion.
Holland quotes Marianne Williamson: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us…”
Holland tells numerous stories, including her own, about the effectiveness of tapping.
“It has absolutely changed my life,” she says.
She recites success stories from other practitioners as well.
Gary Craig’s EFT work with EFT has literally opened the door for veteran PTSD clients, some of whom hadn’t walked outside in 20 years until introduced to EFT.
Then there’s Roger Callahan’s reported success of working with a woman who was terrified of water and simultaneously experienced intractable stomach pain. After an EFT happenstance, the woman’s fear and pain subsided.
Holland used the technique on a patient experiencing severe hyperemesis.
“I wasn’t even touching her; she was tapping on herself,” Holland remembers. “Halfway through it…she sat straight up and said, ‘I could eat a pot pie.’”
Holland says the client revealed that she tapped about her brother who had passed away six months earlier.
“She was tapping on the sadness for her brother,” Holland explains.
EFT continues to help Holland change mothers’ worries, misunderstanding, and negative attitudes about breastfeeding. Because many new mothers are surrounded by people unsupportive of breastfeeding, EFT allows them an opportunity to form their own opinions about breastfeeding and resolve worries and misinformation.
Holland will present on EFT and Tapping Meridian Points for Breastfeeding Mothers at Healthy Children Project’s upcoming International Conference.
“I know it’s unrealistic to think that everyone will say, ‘Wow, Cathy, I love it, but I’m looking forward to lighting people’s fire,” she says.
Participants will have the opportunity to experience EFT as observers or participants.
To register for the conference, click here.