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Acupressure for the Emotions

by Peter Lambrou, Ph.D. & George Pratt, Ph.D.

Reprinted with permission from the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine

A new way of treating emotional distress has evolved. This branch of psychology, using modern principles of cognitive therapy and ancient acupressure systems, is generically called Energy Psychology, and has evolved over the past few decades. Psychologists Peter Lambrou, Ph.D. and George Pratt, Ph.D., who are both on staff at Scripps Memorial Hospital, La Jolla, California and on the faculty of the University of California at San Diego, have formulated the method:   Emotional Self-ManagementTM (ESM). which is based in what is generically called thought-field therapy. ESM neutralizes emotional distress and installs positive mental frameworks that enhance confidence, personal effectiveness, performance, and creativity.

ESM is a blend of several healing concepts. The first concept is the meridian system of subtle energy in the body, which is the basis of acupuncture and acupressure. This energy system, which has been understood and utilized by Oriental physicians for over 2,000 years, works with bioelectrical energy that exists in and around the body. There is a pathway or meridian that connects these sites and connects with various organs and organ systems in the body. When illness or injury blocks or interrupts those natural flows of energy, they cause emotions to persist and become unproductive and painful. Healing is accomplished by stimulating energy at specific acupuncture locations. Needles, pressure, electrical pulses, certain herbs and, in Emotional Self-Management, tapping are used to create added energy at a meridian point. When the disturbance is released, healing takes place.

Second, it is theorized that when an individual holds a specific thought in his or her mind, not only are certain emotions generated as a result (this is the basis of cognitive psychotherapy), but also specific thoughts generate a field of energy. Energy created by the brain can be measured by electroencephalograph equipment. Preliminary research conducted by Professor Z.H. Cho, Ph.D. of the University of California, Irvine using functional magnetic resonance imaging and by Drs. Pratt and Lambrou of Scripps Memorial Hospital, La Jolla, using magnetoecephalography, have shown evidence of neurological effects in the brain from stimulation of certain acupuncture sites.

It is believed that each thought creates a specific frequency of energy. Certain thought fields associated with strong emotions can interrupt or cause disruptions in the body's energy system. These disruptions result in "encoding" of the experience so that whenever the thought field is recreated, as in thinking about the original experience, the encoded memory is emotionally re-experienced. Symptoms, in the form of fear, obsessions, nightmares, ruminating thoughts, worry, or physical tension develop when strong emotional experiences are prevented from being released or dissipated in a natural manner.

Emotional Self-Management (ESM) relieves and treats the emotional distress of past, present, or even future anxieties, and then installs a positive thought process. First, the individual calls up the thought associated with the distressing emotion (anger, fear, guilt, grief, etc.) and then taps on his or her own body at the appropriate treatment point at the involved acupuncture point. The tapping adds the energy needed to dissolve the blockage and effect relief.

An important aspect of the thought energy therapy processes recognizes that the body's energy has a polarity, a positive and negative pole, just like a battery, or the north and south poles of a magnet. If that polarity becomes reversed it can interfere with thought, emotion, and behavior. Sensitive instruments have detected that all living things including plants have an electrical polarity. Studies in the 1940s, conducted by biologist Harold Saxton Burr, Ph.D. at Yale University, and later by surgeon and researcher Robert Becker, M.D. reveal the existence of electrical polarities from the surface of the skin, down to the charges at the ends of damaged nerve cells.

When a persons electromagnetic polarity is reversed, it interferes with and blocks attempts to make emotional or behavioral changes. We might call that self-sabotaging. Distressing emotions, negativity, and other painful situations are likely to persist. A correction for this self-sabotage is made through tapping a specific acupuncture point while holding a particular thought intention.

In uncomplicated cases, one self-administered treatment sequence provides lasting relief. In other cases, often due to renewed stress or recurring circumstances, the treatment is repeated as needed. The method can be learned from the book, Instant Emotional Healing, through trainings, and from qualified professionals.

How ESM Works to Relieve Emotional Distress

Once a disturbing emotion, such as a phobia, anger, guilt, rejection, etc. is identified, the following steps are then conducted:

  1. The person is asked to think about the targeted emotion by calling up an image, thought, memory, or imagined scene (as in a future situation) that evokes the disturbing feeling.
  2. Then the person is asked to rate the intensity of the distress on a scale of 0 to 10 with 10 being the most severe. This "tunes" the thought-energy field.
  3. Next the person administers the appropriate code or formula while focusing on the disturbing feeling (distraction is NOT a part of the procedure).
  4. The person is asked to again rate the intensity of the distressful feeling. If little or no change is felt, then corrective exercises are used and then the treatment is repeated.
  5. The intensity of the distress is reduced as the corrective procedure is continued.
  6. If a new feeling is discovered buried beneath another (i.e., one may not notice a pain in the shoulder until an acute toothache is relieved), another tap sequence is performed. When the distress is removed, intellectual awareness remains intact and only unproductive emotions are eliminated.
  7. In many situations a positive thought is installed to replace the negative or unproductive one. This is called the Optimizer component of ESM.

While Emotional Self-Management is not a panacea, it can reduce or eliminate emotional distress very effectively. In addition to providing immediate relief, it can remove obstacles to other therapy methods as well. In some situations specific skills may need to be developed, problem solving may be required, or other factors may be necessary to fully achieve a desired goal. However, the positive effects of emotional self-control and a positive mental outlook are the platform for success in any area of life.

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