It wasn’t the normal Saturday afternoon routine that’s for sure. There I was, sat in a village hall, tapping my wrist with two fingers and saying ‘Even though I have this pain in my left shoulder, I accept myself..’
I then tapped on several more points about my face, before moving to my collar bone and then under the arm. It sounds crazy, but after one round, the pain in my shoulder had moved to my head and after a round of conscious diaphragmatic breathing, it was gone. It certainly beats popping Anadin Extra, that’s for sure.
This was a workshop run by my neighbour Kate Woodward, a yoga teacher and coach and her friend Lou Tassell, an EFT practitioner – EFT, in case you didn’t know, stands for Emotional Freedom Technique aka tapping.
I honestly can’t tell you how tapping works, but it seems to. A woman from the ‘audience’ volunteered for a demo and her back pain went from level 5 to 2 after one round of tapping.
I’m not too sure about the speaking out loud element because as you know, I live in a house with three teenagers who are always primed to ridicule what they see as my new hippy habits. I am rarely in the house alone as my 18-year-old son is unemployed and insular.
Lou did show us an ’emergency’ tapping technique which can be done anywhere. This involves tapping on the wrist where the watch strap sits. As you do this, you breathe in positivity and breathe out negativity – there’s no need to say anything out loud thankfully. I could feel the energy fizzing around my body after doing it.
Kate then talked to us about breathing, explaining that it is inextricably linked to our emotions. Notice how your breathing changes when you are stressed or afraid. If emotions affect our breathing, then the reverse must be true.
First we tried the Wim Hof method. This is supposed to invigorate and breathe fire into the body and involves taking 30 fast breaths, exhaling for as long as possible (some people managed a minute and a half, but I struggled to do this for 30 secs) and then inhaling and holding for 10 – 15 secs. For maximum effect you are supposed to take a cold shower afterwards, but as the exercise made me feel quite dizzy, I don’t think I’ll revisit it.
I did love the conscious diaphragmatic breathing though. We were told to relax our bellies and inhale all the way down whilst expanding the ribs. Then we had to exhale slowly and hold for longer than the inhale. The exercise put me in touch with the inner-calm I long for and I promptly fell asleep during the meditation that followed.
The workshop was just what I needed, in fact, that same morning, I told my sister that I feel like a hamster on a wheel, mindlessly running nowhere and when I walked into the hall yesterday, I was greeted by a picture of a hamster on a wheel. With tapping and conscious breathing added to my arsenal, I am another step closer to slowing that wheel down and jumping off to freedom.