Do you have a frozen shoulder or does anyone you know? This frustrating condition most commonly affects middle aged women with pain and restricted range of motion, but without obvious explanation as to the cause. The symptoms gradually worsen with time and may take years to fully resolve. The progression of the disease can be halted and the healing process accelerated with Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) and other mind-body-spirit approaches.
I have incorporated many of the various techniques I am including in the 17 chapters of Let Magic Happen into the protocol I use routinely with clients in my private practice. This approach is taught in a stepwise fashion in the Let Magic Happen Blog including video demonstrations using generic phrases. It is also summarized in the EFT tapping handout with additional imagery and color reframing components. In the newsletter, I offer a different clinical example each month illustrating the use of this approach with customized language for each situation. Upcoming newsletters will feature weight loss, phobias, performance anxiety, infertility, and attracting abundance.
This month I address frozen shoulder, because I have actually had one myself. In 2006 I used EFT combined with other approaches to shorten the course from 2 to 3 years to 2 to 3 months. In September, I had a minor strain of my shoulder doing stretching exercises which became progressively worse with each week without additional trauma to the point where I was in constant pain and had difficulty reaching behind me with my hand.
Having treated frozen shoulders previously, I recognized the symptoms as a bad sign that my shoulder was starting to freeze up. Frozen shoulder is one of the best examples I know of a mind-body-spirit condition manifesting in physical form that will actually show up as inflammation of the joint on an MRI scan. In my experience it is usually related to repressed anger resulting in angry red synovitis where the lining of the joint becomes severely inflamed as described in my article Frozen Shoulder and Other Painful Metaphors.
I knew it was important to look for an inciting emotional trauma, and I recognized that I was very upset with the political situation in the country. My anger had no effective outlet, and I realized that it wasn’t serving me. I spent the next several months dealing with this emotional metaphor manifested in my body using EFT, acupuncture, spiritual healing and chi gong. By December I had turned the corner and was getting my range of motion back.
In most cases, physical therapy does not help and actually may increase the pain causing physical therapists to tell patients to come back later when the pain calms down. Unfortunately by that time, the range of motion may be completely gone as the shoulder moves into the fibrotic phase which may last many months. Surgery is an invasive therapeutic option with inherent risks, but doesn’t address the underlying emotional cause.
To start the EDANVIR process, you need to temporarily ENERGIZE an effective reminder phrase as detailed in the January Blog. My phrase was “furious at the Neocons” with a Subjective Units of Distress (SUD) score of 10/10. I then repeated the self-acceptance statement, “Even though I am furious at the Neocons, I deeply and completely accept myself” three times while rubbing the sore spot.
Using the handout, the second step is to DESENSITIZE the phrase by repeating it while tapping on each acupoint as detailed in the February Blog. Start with the left Eyebrow point and proceed downward to the Under Breast point, then finish with the Top of the Head point. At the end of this first tapping sequence, take some deep cleansing breaths to let the negative energy drain back into the ground on expiration.
The third step is to AWFULIZE the issue by digging as deeply as possible into the emotions. Start with the original phrase at the right Eyebrow, then tap through the points using a series of phrases such as the following: “I’m very frustrated; there is nothing I can do about it; I’m embarrassed to live in this country; it fills me with rage; I worry it will get worse; it is stuck in my body; my shoulder is very angry.” Finish with the original phrase at the Top of Head followed by cleansing breaths.
The fourth step is to NEUTRALIZE the energy by alternating between negative and positive phrases. Start with the original phrase at the left Eyebrow, then tap through the points using a series of phrases such as the following: “I’m completely healed; that is wishful thinking; maybe I do feel a bit better; I’m skeptical about politicians; my political anger is fading; I can’t heal this quickly; what if it actually works.” Finish with “that would be great” on Top of Head and breathe again.
The fifth step is to VISUALIZE what you really want to be true using all positive language. Start at the right Eyebrow saying “I have emotional freedom now,” then tap through the points using a series of phrases such as the following: “My shoulder is healed; my synovium is calm; I can let go now; I am safe; my arm is back; I have full mobility; I can handle anything in the future.” Finish with “it feels good to be free” on Top of Head and breathe again.
This time continue breathing deeper and more rapidly than before with eyes closed to INTERNALIZE the healing process. Keep the energies moving by breathing in your favorite healing color and blowing out any remaining anger in your body as a different color. Once the energies are circulating effectively, start to shake your arms and legs to REVITALIZE your body until your inner healer tells you that it is time to rest. These seven steps make up EDANVIR to immunize you to stress.
While resting with your eyes closed you can go to your favorite vacation spot, or somewhere else that is safe and secure. Use all five of your senses to get comfortable in that preferred place asking yourself: “What am I seeing, hearing, smelling, feeling and tasting?” Look down at your feet in this place and pick up any small objects that you find such as stones or shells. Place any remaining anger into the objects and throw them far away.
Image how you wish past events had unfolded instead of what actually happened. Give yourself permission to rewrite history and allow yourself to see a better outcome. Put a colored frame around this picture. Breathe this color throughout your body. Return to your preferred place. Notice a gift box that you hadn’t seen before. Open it and pull out whatever is inside. Accept the gift and the lessons you learned from your shoulder. Come back refreshed and ready to heal.
Please review the other related materials on the Let Magic Happen Blog. Feel free to post any comments you have on the Blog regarding the use of this approach to healing frozen shoulder. I am planning a sequel to the book based on readers’ experiences with the techniques, so if you share an interesting story, I may ask you for permission to reproduce it.
Heal quickly and let magic happen! Larry Burk, MD, CEHP