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How not to treat chronic insomnia!

When I was counseling in the Virginia Tech Counseling Center, an 18-year-old freshman came in for counseling. He explained that he didn't want to be there because his problem couldn't be fixed. When I asked why he had come in if it was hopeless, he said his mother made him come. He had chronic insomnia "as long as he could remember" and he could remember having it since age six. His mother had taken him to all sorts of doctors and specialists over the years but he still couldn't get a restful night's sleep without medication. But he didn't like the side effects, especially now that he was in college. He had to be alert in classes and the medications left him groggy. Although he had a prescription, he was not currently taking the pills. He was "just living with it."
I knew that chronic insomnia could have a number of causes and often required a long-term treatment program working with a physician to handle the medical issues. Since he had already been to various doctors, I decided to try a few simple procedures first, then refer him to Student Health for further medical evaluation where I could work in concert with one of our physicians.
I explained all that to him and said I would like to try a new procedure based on acupuncture without needles. That's how I usually introduce EFT and other meridian tapping therapies. He said he had nothing better to do, so why not. He wasn't exactly optimistic.
I wanted to give him some relief from his distress and started EFT on some rather general points like stress, frustration, and "what's wrong with me?" He visibly relaxed, so I kept going. After about five minutes of tapping, he looked very drowsy, quit tapping, and fell asleep right there in the chair in my office!
EFT tends to normalize the mind/body. If the body needs rest, tap and you get sleep. I let him sleep until it was time for my next client.
I woke him up, gave him a handout on EFT and suggested that he tap on anything that caused him stress or distress of any kind over the next week. We made an appointment for the following week.
He came in the next week looking like a new person. He was bright, energetic and had an upbeat tone to his voice and posture. I asked how his week had been. He smiled and said simply, "Doc, you fixed me! I've been sleeping like a baby every night since I saw you. I feel great." I did an assessment of other areas of his life where counseling might help, but he was fine. I explained that his rapid recovery was not usual and asked that he come back for further treatment if he needed it. He promised he would. I never saw him again.
Sometimes with EFT, you get a "one shot wonder." I don't expect it, but I'll take it. But this is not the way I would expect to successfully treat chronic insomnia.
If you experience insomnia, here are a few tips you can try.

Occasional Insomnia

If you have an occasional sleepless night, try a few simple EFT procedures. If you are in bed and can't get to sleep, try this. Tap on whatever is on your mind that is keeping you awake. For example:
"Even though I'm worried about XXX, I deeply and completely accept myself."
"Even though I keep thinking about XXX, I deeply and completely accept myself."
"Even though I don't know how I'm going to solve this problem, I deeply and completely accept myself."
If you wake up in the middle of the night and can't get back to sleep, tap on whatever is bothering you. For example:
"Even though my back hurts and I can't get back to sleep, I deeply and completely accept myself."
"Even though this dream scared me, I know it's just a dream and I deeply and completely accept myself."
"Even though I'll be tired and grouchy if I don't get some sleep, I deeply and completely accept myself."
If you approach bedtime worrying that you won't be able to go to sleep, try these tips.
  1. Make a list of things that are concerning you. Actually write them down on paper. That gets them out of your head, which is one of the problems.
  2. Rate the distress level of each concern and tap on each one.
  3. Make a second list of at least ten things in your life that you appreciate.
  4. Read the list while you repeatedly tap on all the points one after the other without doing the setup step.
  5. Go to bed and tap on anything else that gets in the way of you going to sleep if necessary.
Whether you are having trouble going to sleep or not, this is an excellent exercise to do every night. It sets up your mind to rest, recuperate, and be creative. You will likely be amazed when you wake up the next morning with fresh ideas and potential solutions to problems that you are working on.
Additional tip: If you are lying in bed trying to go to sleep (or back to sleep), you may find physical tapping to be too invigorating. Try no-tap EFT. Here are two methods.
Touch and breathe (TAB).
Go through the entire EFT routine, but instead of tapping on the points, touch and hold each point while you take a slow easy breath in and out. Note: the focus is on slow, not deep.
Imaginary tapping.
This one may take some practice beforehand. Practice tapping on the points then imagine tapping until you can get the same feeling while imagining tapping as actual tapping. When you are reasonably proficient at imaginary tapping, try tapping with your imagination when you are trying to go to sleep. You can also use this method when you are in situations where you would rather not tap openly.
Chronic Insomnia.
If you have chronic insomnia and you have explored the medical avenues, EFT may have something to offer. Call me for a referral to an EFT Practitioner in your area.

(If you need a reminder on the EFT steps, see EFT Basic Steps.)


Questions and Comments

 If I have a pain on the right side of my body, do I have to tap on the right side?
Good question. The energy meridians are interconnected. Brain scans have shown that stimulating an acupuncture point on one side of the body lights up the corresponding brain area on BOTH sides of the brain. (Remember, the nervous system crosses over to the opposite side at the base of the brain so that the left side of the body is controlled by the right side of the brain and vice versa. That's why a stroke on the left side of the brain affects the right side of the body.)

So tap on either or both sides of the body with either or both hands. It makes no difference.


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I'm repeating this tip in case you overlooked it last time. Here's a self-help technique to neutralize old emotional wounds. It's called the Personal Peace Procedure developed by Gary Craig. 
Need a refresher on the EFT tapping techniques? See EFT Books. My personal favorite is Five Simple Steps to Emotional Healing by Gloria Arenson.
You can take the Rowe Distress Inventory. I suggest that you take it every week or so to track how you are doing.

For you golfers, see my mental game website, www.EFTandGolf.com. You can test your mental game strengths and weaknesses there. If you know a golfer, forward this message to them.

Do your friends a favor. Forward this email to them with a personal note about how helpful you find these techniques. They can subscribe to the newsletter here. Let's get the word out. Imagine what this world would be like if every man, woman, and child had the EFT tapping techniques.
For back issues, see Tapping Tips Archives.
More telephone coaching clients are finishing, so I have a few more openings coming up. If you need professional help to get past a difficult issue, call me at 888-856-9779 (918-576-8195) for a f-r-e-e telephone consultation. If you want to move your life to the next level, I can provide objective professional support to help you meet your goals.
You all know how powerful the EFT tapping techniques are. Let's take full advantage of these tools. 
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If you have any questions, or would like further information, please contact Dr. Rowe.



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