February 4


Tapping – a Somatic Approach to Fibromyalgia Pain

By Sue Ingebretson

February 4, 2020

ANS, approach, brain, chronic, chronic illness, EFT, Fibro, fibromyalgia, Healing, pain, plan, qigong, somatic, spoonie, Stress, stress response, tai chi, tapping, yoga

Can Tapping complement a somatic approach to fibromyalgia pain? For me, it’s a perfect tool to do so. I’ve been Tapping – using EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) – for going on 20 years. I use it daily, for all things.

Here’s an overview of what a somatic approach can look like and how Tapping can help.

Tapping and a Somatic Approach to Pain

When it comes to chronic illness, the basic benefit of Tapping is that it tells the body (through both physical touch and verbal communication) that we are okay. In other words, for the present moment, it tells our over-active brain that we’re safe and free from imminent threats.

Why is this important?

Because the body doesn’t know this.

WE may know this, but the body doesn’t.

A body in pain feels the constant threat of danger.  Get that? It’s constant — as in, regularly, all the time, ever-present.

How does a body feel when it’s constantly expecting danger or threats? Among other responses, it feels increased PAIN

The ANS (Autonomic Nervous System) becomes engaged and cycles through the Sympathetic Nervous System response. This is often called the Stress Response. Under non-chronic conditions, the stress response is naturally followed by the relaxation response. But for those of us with a chronic stress-challenged brain, the relaxation response doesn’t kick in. (At least, it doesn’t by itself without nudging). 

This stress response happens over and over. Again and again. Until it becomes stuck. At that point, various systems of the body become impaired and optimal function is compromised. The digestive system doesn’t work as well. Our cognitive function is impacted. The respiratory system works with short-term goals in mind (survival) but doesn’t go back to a “normal” setting (i.e. we take short, shallow breaths and forget to breathe deeply).

Our whole body needs a RESET.

How can a somatic approach help? Here’s a quick explanation.

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A Somatic Approach

Common sense says it’s a great idea to look at the body as a whole. Doing something that benefits one part of the body can benefit another. And, tying it all in with a cognitive approach (mindfulness, awareness, etc.) can be the icing on the cake.

A somatic approach takes a look at all things considered – the mind, body, and spirit. It doesn’t separate one from another.

In my book, Get Back into Whack,* I state, “There’s no dam at the neck.” Meaning, when we look at dysfunctions such as fibromyalgia and chronic illness, it’s not a matter of looking at either the mind or the body.

It has to be both.

There are dozens (if not more) ways to incorporate a somatic approach to healing. Dancing, moving meditations such as tai chi, qigong, and yoga, reiki, massage, and specific forms of counseling/therapy that include a physical approach.[1]

Tapping happens to be one of my favorite ways, and I’m always a big fan of combining approaches. I use what I’ve learned in my certifications for NLP (Neuro-linguistic Programming), Tapping, nutrition, mind/body research, and both personal and practical hand’s on experience.

This leads me to the practices and approaches I used most at this time. It’s an organic shift in how I approach pain and the processing of pain.

(*All book links in this post include Amazon affiliate links.) 

What Can a Somatic Approach Look Like When Tapping?

When clients discuss their concerns with me, it’s easy to recognize that they’re in pain. There are visual clues, verbal cues, and energetic indications. The last 15 years of working with clients have helped me to document how people carry their pain, where they often carry it, and what they believe about their ability to continue carrying it.

Tapping helps take all of these observances into account. When a somatic approach is applied to these concerns, the client feels heard. The issues are not only discussed, but they’re also explored in-depth including the physical associations to them.

You may be asked, “Where do you feel that particular issue in your body?” and “What, specifically, does it feel like?”

In this line of questioning, I go into much greater detail which gives me a roadmap to follow for Tapping. We can then discuss and dissect the physical feeling from the emotional concern or worry. Oftentimes, the physical feeling of pain is diminished noticeably from the first round of Tapping.

Further exploration (and Tapping) can help to reduce the physical connections even more.

Have You Used Tapping?  

I’ve written about Tapping for many years now. I discuss it in my first book, FibroWHYalgia, and more in my recent release, Get Back into Whack. It’s even mentioned on my Alternative Therapies page in my activity book, Chronic Coloring.

I’ve also written articles for my own blog (RebuildingWellness.com) and for ProHealth.com. Here are some Tapping resources to highlight.

Tapping Overview and Resources (including a tapping chart).

Practical Guide to EFT Tapping for Fibromyalgia (including a sample tapping script). 

Tapping into Healing Success for fibromyalgia with EFT.

When it comes to newbies starting their Tapping practice, this is what I hear the most, “I don’t know what to say.” I can assure you that what you say doesn’t matter as much as doing the Tapping anyway. Go ahead and try it out. Get the practice.

And, if you have questions or would like personalized Tapping sessions on specific topics, you can reach me HERE:  

What Else Would You Like to Know?  

Does the somatic approach make sense to you? What else would you like to know?

Do you like the idea of Tapping and are there other practices that work well for you?

Share your experiences here!

[1] https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/therapy/what-is-somatic-therapy-and-how-does-it-work/

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"True Healing requires a combination of healthy nutrition, healthy body movements, and emotional wellness. This is what I call the Restoration Trio" ~ Sue Ingebretson