Interview mit Dr. Lissa Rankin
Mit großer Freude präsentiere ich Ihnen hier ein Interview mit Dr. Lissa Rankin, Autor des Bestsellers “Mind over Medicine”.
Dieses Interview fand anlässlich des internationalen “Tapping World Summit 2014″ statt, an dem weltweit bereits über 500 000 Menschen teilnehmen. Dieser Event stellt eine absolute Innovation dar, denn anerkannte Wissenschaftler und Experten bekennen sich zu den Wirkungen der energetischen Psychologie und EFT.
Über einen Zeitraum von 2 Wochen gaben Wissenschaftler, Psychologen, Therapeuten und Fachleute vieler Richtungen kostenlose Anleitungen, Workshops und Fachberichte über die Meridian Tapping Techniques und EFT. Unsere Newsletter-Empfänger werden über diese Termine natürlich zeitgerecht informiert.
Dr. Rankin fand ihren Weg ebenfalls, wie viele andere, über eine schwere Krankheit zu der ganzheitlichen Behandlung des Körpers. Lesen Sie interessante Tatsachen über Stress, die Amygdala – eine Drüse mit großen Auswirkungen auf unsere Lebensqualität – den Placebo Effekt und viele mehr.
Ich wünsche auch Ihnen viel Freude mit den Inhalten dieses spannenden Interviews!
Mit freundlicher Genehmigung von www.TappingWorldSummit.com
(c) 2014 The Tapping Solution, LLC
Hi everyone, Nick Ortner from thetappingsolution.com and the Tapping World Summit, the sixth annual Tapping World Summit. It’s so great to have you with us today. We’re sitting down here in Pasadena, California with my dear friend Dr. Lissa Rankin. Lissa, welcome!
Lissa: Thank you. I’m so happy to be here.
Nick: It’s so great to be with you. We’ve spent a lot of time together in the past year. We’ve both released books. You just released Mind Over Medicine. Congratulations.
Lissa: It was fun to be on the New York Times list with you.
Nick: We were there together. We are friends together, Hay House partners, and being on the list together. Really exciting to see––as soon as we met and I read your book it was like, oh my gosh, all the things that I have been talking about that I know at some level is an underlying mechanism behind this tapping thing thatwe’re doing, you were discussing in your book.
Lissa: When I read your book I was like, okay, had we not been writing them at the same time and publishing them somebody would have been like, okay, they’re stealing from each other.
Nick: Yeah, they’re copying. They’re stealing. Yeah, who stole from whom?
Lissa: There’s a lot of overlap, especially when we were talking about things like the stress response and the amygdala and the neuroimmunology and neurobiology behind stress and how it affects the body.
Nick: Absolutely. What I was really excited about. I’m a layperson. I’ve approached tapping from my personal experience, I’ve approached it as a coach and really just sharing it with others from a passion. You’re not a layperson.
Lissa: Yes I am.
Nick: You’re the echelon called a doctor.
Lissa: I’m both, right?
Nick: Yeah, I know you are.
Lissa: I’m a doctor and a patient. When I’m approaching these things I’m looking at them from both perspectives. I was taking seven medications by the time I was 33because of the life that I was living. So it’s both perspectives.
Nick: Absolutely. That’s where the real clear perspective comes in, when you can have both of those perspectives. Give me some of your background in medicine, and just what it was like before. You spent how long in medical school?
Lissa: It’s 12 years of education, and then I was in a very conventional practice for eight years practicing as an OB/GYN. If you had ever told me that I’d end up doing what I’m doing now there’s no way I would have believed you. I was raised by a physician. I trained at the ivory towers of medicine, just conventional, skeptical perspective of anything that––certainly anything that you’ve been doing–
Nick: Now they think you’ve really lost it. We’re what? We’re tapping on ourselves?
Lissa: Yeah, she’s doing what? Right. I wasn’t raised in that alternative way. It wasn’t until––I got to a point in my own medical practice where I was really feeling out of integrity with myself. I now realize. I didn’t realize at the time, but I now realize that those of us who are called to medicine are called sort of the way priests are called to the priesthood. It’s like a spiritual practice.
There’s a lineage of medicine that predates antibiotics and sterile surgical techniques, and all of the amazing technology that we’ve developed in the nineteenth and twentieth, twenty-first century. That lineage was what called me, but I was out of integrity with that lineage when I was expected to see 40 patients a day. I just couldn’t practice as a true healer within the confines of the modern medical system. Every day I was coming home feeling less and less like myself, and I was getting sicker and sicker.
I wound up leaving my conventional medical practice in 2007. Then I realized that you can quit your job, but you can’t quit your calling. So I had that tension of like, wait a minute. That lineage is still part of my history, part of my soul, and yet I’m not willing to go back to doing what I was doing. My health was starting to improve.
It was quite a long and arduous––circuitous journey to get me from where I was, having left medicine thinking I was going to be a full-time artist and writer, to finding my way back into medicine via a mind-body-medicine practice that really was the education that led me to write Mind Over Medicine.
Nick: That term mind-body, we hear it so much. What’s your understanding of it and what were the times when you started to open up to that kind of thinking? You’re in your practice. It’s not working. You say I can’t do this. I’m going to kill myself doing it, 40 patients. You walk away. What started happening to open up yourmind? There was no training I imagine.
Nick: Was there mind-body medicine discussed in 12 years of medical school?
Lissa: Never, no. It really started because I wound up––I thought that all I needed was time with patients. I wound up taking a job in a cash-based integrative medicine practice. Because it was cash-based, I got an hour with my patients. It was amazing. These patients were in Mill Valley, in Marin County in the Bay Area.I’ve worked with lots of patients before, but these were unlike any patients I’ve ever worked with before. These people were full on health nuts.
Nick: Yes, they knew everything.
Lissa: They knew everything. They’re eating their vegan diet. They’re drinking their green juice. They’re working out with their personal trainers. They’re doing everything right, and they were some of the sickest people I’d ever met. That didn’t make any sense to me. Why were these people sick when they were doing everything that we were teaching them to do, as far as avoiding bad habits and eating well and exercise, getting enough sleep and all of that? It led me down this path of like, wait, there must be some missing piece, because if these people are sick then how can any of us ever be well?
What I wound up doing. I started asking my patients some interesting questions. I started asking them things like, what does your body need in order to heal? Or what is your body saying no to? The stuff they started answering. I’d ask them, what does your body need in order to heal? They’d say things like I need to quit my job, or I need to leave my toxic marriage, or I need to finally go to art school.
I started saying, why not? Why not do it? They’d say, I can’t do that.
But some of my patients got really great, and they started actually doing what they had prescribed for themselves and they started experiencing spontaneous remissions. My skeptical doctor brain had no idea what to make of that, like does not compute.
Nick: Where does that fit into that library of what you know to be true about the world, 12 years of schooling that teaches you there’s this disease, you take this pill, you do this, you do that, very mechanical.
Lissa: Right. These people, I wasn’t doing anything for them. They had already gotten the best of Western medicine at Stanford. They’d already seen integrative medicine doctors and their naturopath and their acupuncturist. They literally had the best care out there. All I was doing was asking them questions that were getting them in touch with a part of themselves that knew what their body needed in order to heal.
Nick: Why do you think that is? What’s the mechanism of someone quitting their job, someone following their calling, someone following their passions, whatever it is, and the body healing? What’s your understanding of what’s really going on?
Lissa: I wasn’t even close to being able to understand the answer to that question when I was witnessing these spontaneous remissions. So I started researching it. I looked up “spontaneous remission”, and I came across the Institute of Noetic Sciences. They put together this spontaneous remission project, which is over 3,500 case studies in the medical literature of people that had spontaneous remissions from almost any disease you can imagine, like stage four cancers were cured, HIV positive people became HIV negative, heart failure, kidney failure, diabetes, high blood pressure, autoimmune disorders, skin disorder, common things as well.
But my big question was, did they do something particular to bring about that spontaneous remission or was it just good luck? That’s when I started investigating further.
Nick: Just the chance, right, because the answer is often remission, spontaneous, luck of the draw, chance, that’s what usually we hear about it. We don’t know how it happened. It did. We can’t explain it, so we’re just going to put it over there.
Lissa: It’s so interesting because those case studies are all written up by doctors as medical mysteries, but they never tell what the patient did. They just tell the story of here’s this fatal illness, and wow, the illness went away. But I was really curious, hang on a minute, you gave me A and Z, I want to know what happened in between. Then I came across Dr. Kelly Turner’s research. She’s writing a book called Radical Remission. She had done her Ph.D. thesis on Stage 4 cancer survivors who had spontaneous remissions from their Stage 4 cancers. Most of them had chosen to withhold Western medical treatment, which is not what I recommend. But she was curious, what did they do?
She researched them, and she also researched the often alternative healthcare practitioners that interviewed them, and she found that they had common characteristics. Only two of them were the sort of thing that you might hear from a progressive medical doctor. One of them was they all took some sort of herb or supplement that they really believed was going to cure them. One was that they changed their diet to a mostly vegetable-based diet. But the other things––there were nine common characteristics––and the other seven were things that were more in the way of emotional, mental, spiritual practices. That again sort of––something was going on here that did not make sense to my medical brain, but it made sense to my soul.
You asked me, how does quitting your job affect the health of your body? This is where my research led me to start looking into the placebo effect. My question was, can the mind really heal the body? If work is stressing you out, can reducing work stress actually effect the health of your body and if so how?
I was really curious, is there any evidence that the mind really can heal the body? Of course, we all know about the placebo effect. This has been well studied since the 1950s. We know that some combination of positive belief and thinking that the sugar pill is going to make you well, and the nurturing care of the person in the white coat who delivers the sugar pill to you and says this is going to help you, that some combination of that results in actual physiologic change. It’s not just in your mind. The colon becomes less inflamed. The ulcer disappears. The warts go away.
My favorite is the Rogaine trial. The men who were in the Rogaine trial for baldness took sugar pills and grew hair. So it’s physiologic. There’s something happening in the body when this happens. My question was, most of us are not in clinical trials getting saline injections or fake surgeries or sugar pills, whatever that thing that’s happening when someone takes a placebo, can we harness that and if so how? That’s how it ties into the effects of stress. What I came to realize, because of course as a doctor and the way my brain works I need to understand mechanisms, and so I had to do a lot of research to try to get to the bottom of what’s the mechanism of how stress in the mind affects the cells of the body.
I have to define stress before I explain that further, because I think in our culture we have a very poor understanding of stress. I think we kind of wear stress like a badge of honor.
Nick: We do. It’s all around. It’s what it is.
Lissa: It’s the culture. You can’t get away from it. I’m stressed, therefore I’m busy, therefore I’m valuable.
Nick: Yeah, absolutely.
Lissa: How many times have you heard people get together, how are you doing, oh my god, I’m totally stressed, but you know how it is.
Nick: I always joke that when you’re focused on stress try to go to your friend and go, “Oh no, I had a great day. I’m relaxed. I’ve been doing nothing. I went to the beach,” blah, blah, blah.
Lissa: I’m chilling out, meditating.
Nick: We can’t even say it because the second we say it, it feels like we’re less than. It feels like we’re not doing enough. We feel like we’re not connecting with the other people around us who are so stressed.
Lissa: Right. I think part of it is understanding that stress in our––I think a lot of us think of stress as being overworked or overwhelmed, but to the body stress is anything that triggers the amygdala. The amygdala, our friend. We love the amygdala.
Nick: We love the amygdala, our friend. Not only in our books, but we’ve been sharing the stage at Hay House all year. There was one afternoon where I spoke first and then you spoke an hour later, and then someone else spoke, and then a fourth––all four of us mentioned the amygdala. It was like this is the amygdala conference.We hadn’t even checked in with each other. I think there’s a deep understanding now of how important this is. I’m sorry, go on.
Lissa: No, no, no, it’s great. I think of the amygdala as those little meerkats. There’s always the sentry meerkat who’s on top of the mound checking to make sure that he can keep the rest of the meerkats safe. They’re always on the lookout for danger. The amygdala is part of the limbic brain, so it’s part of the very primordial part of the brain. It’s not the thinking rational forebrain. It’s the little meerkat that’s always looking out for danger. The amygdala is there to protect us from genuine danger. It’s there to protect us from anything that’s going to protect life or limb. The ubiquitous tiger on theloose is sort of what people talk about when they talk about the amygdala. That’s healthy, right? The amygdala gets triggered. It triggers at what Walter Cannon at Harvard called the stress response, or the fight or flight response.
The hypothalamus communicates with the pituitary gland, it turns on the adrenal gland, the body is filled with cortisol and epinephrine and then you’re in fight or flight.
Nick: We can run or fight, flee, do what we need to do.
Nick: To mobilize the energy of the body.
Lissa: To get away from the tiger. But here’s the thing that I think a lot of people don’t realize. Is that every thought that you have that is threatening triggers that same fight or flight. So every fearful thought, every anxious thought, every worried thought, every thought that feels like you’re being attacked by other people, angry thoughts, all of these kinds of thoughts are stress to the body, even though we may not necessarily perceive it as the kind of stress that’s like the to-do list stress.
Ø Stress is toxic relationships.
Ø It’s selling your soul for a paycheck.
Ø It’s not being able to communicate properly with your family members.
These things are incredibly stressful to the amygdala, and the amygdala can’t tell the difference between that and running away from the tiger.
What happens is that––when I’m asking people what does your body need in order to heal and they’re saying I need to quit my job, what they’re really saying is my job is triggering my amygdala all day long. For me when I was in my conventional medical practice that was the case. My amygdala was triggered all day long because I never felt safe. I felt like I was constantly at risk of making a mistake, that somebody was going to die on my watch, that I was going to get sued. I was completely exhausted. I was working 72-hour shifts, so literally my body wasn’t able to function normally. It was all of those things.
I was living this perpetual fight or flight mode. Plus I was twice divorced by this point. My relationships were a wreck. I had lost four members of my family. All those fearful, anxious, worried thoughts were triggering my fight or flight. I was taking seven medications that my doctor said I would be on for the rest of my life. When my patients started experiencing these spontaneous remissions I realized, wait, maybe I could have that. Maybe I don’t have to take these drugs for the rest of my life. I’m now down to half the dose of one of them, from doing the deep work of trying to figure out what are the stressors that are triggering my amygdala and what is the soul medicine that I really need.
This is essential because––if your listeners get one thing away from this talk today, the most important thing for people to realize is that our bodies have these natural self-repair mechanisms. Every day our bodies make cancer cells. We’re exposed to pathogens, bacteria and fungi and viruses and such. Our bodies know how to fight this. They know how to fix broken proteins. They know how to do their own anti-aging things.
But this was the kicker for me. Those natural self-repair mechanisms only function when the body is in what Herbert Benson at Harvard called the relaxation response. This is the opposite of the stress response. The stress response is the sympathetic nervous system. The relaxation response is the parasympathetic nervous system. It makes sense.
Nick: Can we hit pause on that, because it’s such a big thing. What you just said, they only, it’s either one or the other.
Lissa: They do not work, deactivate.
Nick: It’s deactivated.
Nick: So the body is not doing the healing if you’re in the stress response, just not happening.
Lissa: That’s right.
Nick: The only way for it to happen is to relax, in a word.
Lissa: Right. It makes sense, because if you’re running away from a tiger there’s no reason to do preventive maintenance.
Nick: Sure. It just says forget about it. You’re probably not going to make it.
Lissa: Right, forget about it. They’re not worried about the two cancer cells that you made today. They’re worried about the tiger. The body, when you’re in sympathetic nervous system it turns down all the homeostatic mechanisms of the body, the digestion is shut down, reproduction is shut down, these things that are non-essential. The self-repair mechanisms are considered non-essential. It’s actually intentional because in case the tiger bites you, you want to actually be in this sort of anti-inflammatory state. The immune system actually gets shut off. There’s physiology behind that, which means that in order to optimally be healthy we want to not only optimize whatever Western medicine has to offer, but we want to make sure that the body is in relaxation response as much as possible. We can do this in one of two ways.
We can actively put the body in relaxation response with practices like meditation, with practices like EFT. There are lots of things that we know. Laughter is one of them. Orgasm is one of them. There are these things that we can do that will take the body out of sympathetic nervous system being overridden with the relaxation that comes with those sorts of practices. But what I think––and that’s what a lot of people teach, but it’s not enough. It’s not enough to just say I do my 20-minute meditation every day or I have sex twice a week, or whatever. The body actually, because if you’re in the perpetual fight or flight, yeah, you can get out of it for 20 minutes with your meditation practice.
Nick: But then you’re in it for however many hours, yeah.
Lissa: So you have to address the things in your life that are triggering the stress responses to begin with. That’s where it comes the difficult part of actually looking at what is triggering those stress responses. That was the big aha moment for me when I was thinking about my patients in Marin, was here’s these health nuts.
Nick: They were doing it. They were doing the 20 minutes. They were doing the meditation.
Nick: They were doing their affirmations. They were in it.
Lissa: They were in it. They were drinking their green juice. They were working out every day. But they were the most stressed out people I’d ever met, when it comes right down to it.
In Mind Over Medicine I teach about the six steps to healing yourself, but it’s all about really writing the prescription for yourself. Creating an action plan that’s really about getting the nervous system out of stress response and into relaxation response so that the body’s natural self-repair mechanisms can be optimized. This is how we live to be happy and healthy until we’re 100.
Nick: Yeah, yeah. There’s so much that I want to comment on. There’s so much there. One of the things that I find really interesting about tapping is that you can do it for that 20-minute period as that practice, but really the deep stuff that happens is when you make those quantum shifts. When you tap to overcome not just the stress in the moment, but when you go deeper, when you go to the childhood trauma, when you go to the things in your life that are stressing you out and you recognize I clear them and now I’m making a life change. Now I’m making that life decision.
I agree completely. People say, will this EFT- tapping last forever? If I tap on my back and it hurts and it goes away, will it come back in three days? What I say is if the reason your back is hurting is because you hate your job and you’re miserable all week and you go back to work on Monday it’s likely activated again. So this is a sign. We start making these connections. One of the things we see in the EFT-tapping process is how we make these connections between the physical symptoms. I’ve seen it a lot with pain, especially pain because it’s such a direct measure. I’m sure it plays a role in all sorts of other diseases, but it’s hard for cancer and diabetes and all those things to go, okay, what happened right now?
Lissa: Right, exactly.
Nick: It’s a longer term thing to deal with. With pain, I know that someone has back pain and we sit down and we start tapping on it, you do a little tapping on the back and it clears a little bit and then we go deeper and deeper and deeper and we find out––I remember working with a client who actually wasn’t making progress for about 40 minutes tapping on the back pain and emotions and all these things.
I’m getting frustrated and I’m like usually there’s a shift. What’s going on? I said, you know what, let’s ignore the back right now. It was actually sciatica pain. Let’s ignore it and just answer this question. What is stressing you out most in your life right now? She said work, I hate it. She was a lawyer. She was miserable. She was like I hate every aspect of it. I hate what I do, the clients I represent. You could just see this was a big deal for her.We went and tapped on that issue. We focused on, “Even though I have all this stress and I can’t deal with it.” We go back to the sciatica pain ten minutes later. It’s gone. She’s going, oh my god. She’s stretching. She was a runner. She’s like, this is unbelievable. We weren’t focusing on the pain itself. We were focusing on this other part of her life. The big thing was two weeks later she quit her job.
Lissa: Right. I was going to tell you, my friend SARK makes these posters.
Nick: Yeah, absolutely. I love SARK.
Lissa: How to be a happy artist or how to be––one of her friends came to her and said, will you make me a poster that says how to be a happy lawyer? So she writes “How to be a happy lawyer” and then she draws a little door, and you open the door and it says “Quit”.
Nick: All you lawyers out there, I’m sure you can do plenty of great work in the world. But you’ve got to be congruent with the work you’re doing. You’ve got to minimize the stress. Obviously it’s one of those professions that come with a significant amount of stress.
I want to jump back to a bit to what we talked about earlier and the placebo effect. I think the placebo effect actually gets a bad rap because people generally go, oh, it’s the placebo effect.
Lissa: It’s only the placebo effect.
Nick: It’s only the placebo effect. Or they lop the placebo effect on top of things like tapping and yoga and meditation and herbs. They go, well, it’s just the placebo effect. People ask me all the time, is EFT-tapping the placebo effect? Again, with the idea that placebo means fake or placebo means it’s all in your mind. What I say is a) I’ve dealt with a lot of people who thought I was crazy with the tapping, so it wasn’t even coming in with that direction. It wasn’t, oh, I believe the tapping is going to work so it works. But it does correlate with the placebo effect, in that we are using the mind to affect the body. We’re doing the tapping while focusing on the stress, the anxiety, whatever is going on, and that is helping the body release. Talk to me a little bit about that.
Lissa: Basically if you look at the data, the placebo effect boils down to two things. It’s the positive belief, because usually patients in these clinical trials, they don’t know whether they’re getting the real treatment or the fake treatment. Neither does the doctor, because it’s usually double blinded. If the doctor knows they’re getting the placebo it actually affects the outcome, so everybody has to be blinded. But because they don’t know they have a hope, maybe I’m getting the new wonder drug. That positive belief that they’re getting the new wonder drug combines with the conditioning that we have of somebody in a white coat giving us something that we believe is going to make us better.
So it’s a combination. It’s the sugar pill and the love. What it’s really doing, though, is patients come into a clinical trial and they’re afraid. They’re hurting. They’re in pain. They’re having symptoms of an illness. There’s something that’s brought them into the clinical trial to begin with because they’re suffering. What starts to happen is that as they enter the trial and they have positive belief and nurture and care, the amygdala calms down.
Nick: The relaxation response kicks in.
Lissa: The relaxation response kicks in because they say, oh, I’m finally doing something. I wasn’t better before, but this might be the thing. This might be the treatment that’s going to solve everything for me. Their whole nervous system starts to calm down. The body goes into relaxation response. Those natural self repair mechanisms kick in. The placebo response is an awesome thing. It’s the term that clinical medicine has used. The reason it’s gotten sort of a bad rap is because it gets in the way of bringing new treatments to trial, because some drugs you study them and they have a 70% placebo effect.
Lissa: That’s a great example, 70% to 80%. It’s very hard to prove efficacy of something if the placebo effect is that high for the condition that you’re treating. Something like depression is incredibly related to that combination of positive belief and nurturing care. It responds really well, whereas there are some things that don’t respond. Pain responds very well to placebo.
The medical community gets frustrated because they want to bring these new treatments to the market. If it’s not any better than placebo then evidence-based medicine deems that it’s ineffective. I say, what do you mean it’s ineffective? It’s working 70% of the time. But the drug itself is no better. It’s not the drug that’s doing it. I think when we think about the placebo effect, I don’t even like that term. We should call it something like the self-healing effect.
Nick: Absolutely, yeah.
Lissa: It does have that negative. It’s only the placebo effect.
Nick: If I asked you is EFT-tapping and placebo effect, what would you say?
Lissa: Who cares? I would say, who cares/?
Nick: People want the real thing. They want it to be more than just this is my mind doing this.
Lissa: I’ll answer it this way. The placebo is activation of the relaxation response to activate the self-healing mechanism. So yes, if that’s the definition then yes. EFT is activating the relaxation response and turning on the body’s natural self-repair mechanisms. But it’s not all in your mind. It’s actually in your cells. It communicates via hormones, via cortisol or epinephrine when it’s the fight or flight or via things like oxytocin, endorphins, these positive healing hormones. That’s what’s happening when people are doing EFT is they’re releasing these healing hormones and activating these natural self-repair mechanisms. It’s in the mind, but it’s in the cells. Like I said, I don’t even like the term.
Nick: I really dislike the term because it’s come with so much baggage.
Nick: People discount it and they go that means––I think placebo’s been attached to making it up. I’m just making up––in the same way that a hypochondriac, like a no placebo effect, that’s the opposite, some of the things, that they’re sick all the time and they expect sickness. They are getting sick. Why? Because they’re never relaxed and the relaxation response is not happening. With tapping my answer is always if the placebo definition is just making it up, or just believing in it. I’ve tapped with so many people who didn’t believe it at all. So that having to believe it mechanism wasn’t activated. What was activated was the relaxation response, the awareness of the emotions, the releasing of the emotions, the calming of the amygdala.
Which as you know, the latest research is showing that when we’re tapping on these endpoints of meridians we’re actually sending a calming signal to the brain, to the amygdala. You feel it. You feel that tension, anxiety, stress just release.
Lissa: I want to speak to that also because you were mentioned before about does tapping only work while you’re tapping. One of the things that I love about tapping, as opposed to some of the other relaxation response activators. For example, laughter is a great relaxation response activator, but you’re not going to be laughing all day.
What I love about tapping is that it’s so effective at getting to the root of the limiting beliefs that create the thoughts that trigger the amygdala to begin with. The I’m not worthy underlying the belief, or the world isn’t a safe place underlying belief, or whatever it is, we all have these limiting beliefs. I loved how your book really walked people through how to get to the root. How you can tap on the superficial part, or you can go a layer deeper or you can go a layer deeper. If we can really tap on the underlying root of what’s causing the fight or flight response to begin with, if you shift that then you don’t need to be tapping to stop the cycle that activates the amygdala and turns off the body’s natural self-repair mechanisms. Then you’re no longer having the I’m not worthy thought because you’ve healed it from the core.
Nick: You don’t have to do it every day all the time for the same issue over and over again. You get to the underlying thing.
Lissa: Right. I think if you’re tapping on the more superficial things you have to do it more often, but if you do the work to go to the deeper levels then you can heal it and then it’s gone. Then you’re not having those thoughts anymore, and that’s really exciting.
Nick: What was your first introduction to EFT? Do you remember when you first tried it or who shared it with you and what you thought?
Lissa: I saw somebody doing it across the room once and I was like…
Nick: What is happening here? I know.
Lissa: Yeah. Then I gave a TEDx talk. Somebody came up to me afterwards and said, hey, you were talking about the relaxation response. I wonder if you’d beinterested in doing a free EFT session with me. It was Kate Winch. I said okay. Iwas curious.
Nick: Yep, ready to try.
Lissa: I’m skeptical. I’m one of those people that’s really skeptical but open. I’ll try anything. I’ve done a lot of weird sessions. She was working with me on an issue that I was struggling with. I was dealing with my savior complex. A lot of things were manifesting in my life in really negative ways based on one of my limiting beliefs, which was that I have to give until I’m depleted in order to be a valuable good human in the world. I was over giving, over working. So she did a live session with me, and then she created a little MP3. I put it on my iPod and I started doing it while I was meditating or while I was out on my hikes. It really started to shift some things for me. I was like, okay, this is working. Then I started researching it because I’m super curious. Like I said, I like to know mechanisms.
I was like, okay, this doesn’t make any sense to me. I’m not sure about this whole acupressure point thing. I started interviewing other people who had been using it. My husband Matt started using it himself to deal with some anxiety that he was dealing with. I was witnessing how much it was helping him. Then I met you, and sort of all downhill from there.
Nick: I know, I know. Then you said this has got to be a problem.
Lissa: Like I said, I loved reading your book because it really helped me get my doctor brain around it. Like, oh yeah, that’s what’s happening. I love how applicable it is to whatever it is that is creating anxiety, worry, fear in your life because it really can be part of one of the prescriptions that people write for themselves when they can figure out what those things are. A lot of times we get awareness. Like, now what?
Nick: Figuring it out is step one, which is incredible. But also where most people get stuck is they know something’s wrong or they recognize that they’re thinking negative ways with those patterns. They don’t know what to do about it. One of the things I love so much about EFT is that it’s so self-empowering. You can take that power back and go I’m not at the whim of the world. I’m not at the whim of everything that happens to me. Just because I’ve been doing anger for the last 20 years. People that do anger, people that do anxiety, and I use the word do because it’s like a mechanism in the body. They know how to do it. It’s something that their body is almost chemically trained to do.
Candace Pert’s work has shown that our cells have receptors for these emotions. When they’ve been doing it for so long they go, what do I do? I’m sure Matt with anxiety it’s like, okay, I know I’m anxious, I know this isn’t good for me, but what do I do? Being able to use the tapping and take that power back and say I have control over what I’m thinking and I can shift these thoughts, that in and of itself can activate the relaxation response.
Lissa: Right. It’s really helpful to be able to get people to that place where they can identify those things that are really at the root cause of illness in particular, or at the root cause of anxiety or depression or whatever, and to give them practical tools, because again, awareness will only take you so far.
Nick: One of the questions I get all the time about EFT is they say, can tapping help cure this? People want an answer. They want, can it cure cancer, can it cure fibromyalgia, can it cure…I always say tapping doesn’t cure anything. It activates the body’s self-healing mechanisms. Then the body does what it does. We know the body can cure cancer. We know the body can cure fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis and autoimmune disease. The list goes on and on. We know the body can fix a broken bone that’s been split in half. The self-repair mechanisms are obvious there. Especially with chronic disease, what tapping can do is activate that healing response that you’ve been talking about.
Lissa: Right. What I always like to say to people when they’re asking me those kinds of questions is––I teach the six steps to healing yourself, and step six is surrender. That we can do all these things. We can tap and we can eat our vegan diets and do all the things that we know are good for us. At some point it’s sort of out of our hands. You can optimize the body’s chance to let its self-repair mechanisms do their work. We can’t control everything in life.
Nick: You said through our conversation if there’s one thing people take away, talking about the stress response. Let’s reiterate that because I want people to just really––it’s such a big deal. I think that most people, like you said, they walk around, oh stress, it’s a badge of honor, it is what it is. I don’t think people realize how stressed they actually are. I see so many people walking around. Sometimes the way to have an experience is to just take a deep breath. When people take a deep breath and let it go and all of a sudden they go, I’ve been holding onto all this stuff. Just that little shift. How important is it––and not to be stressed about releasing the stress. We want to make sure not to beat ourselves––I’m too stressed, okay, I have to stress less. From your years of experience, from your medical perspective, what can happen when we finally relax?
Lissa: I think it’s so true that we’ve really just normalized stress. Yet if you look at the blue zones around the world, the places where there’s a greater than ordinary percentage of people that live to be greater than 100, they don’t live stressful lives. Most of them don’t wear watches. They take naps every day.
Nick: Those blue zones, there’s different diets, different environment.
Lissa: I think of most of it as lifestyle. I think a huge part of it, for example, is they have community. Often in these blue zones they live in multigenerational homes. Nobody’s ever lonely. Nobody has to face that overwhelm of how do I get through my day. You think about the single mom with no support. She wakes up in the morning and she’s got to look at everything that she’s got to get done during that day and how am I going to get the kids to school and how am I going to make it to work and what if I get fired today and how am I going to pay the bills. Those are just chronic, repetitive fight or flight triggerings that are going on.
We have a choice. We have a choice. We can agree to live in this culture and buy into the rules, or we can say uh-uh, I’m going to live my life different. I know personally I’m in a really interesting place right now in my career where there are lots of opportunities. I’m like, I’m sorry, this is my life, my choice, my life expectancy. I say a lot of no, because when I think about my own body and how I want to feel and what kind of life I want to live.
Nick: And what kind of example you want to be for––
Lissa: What kind of example I want to be for my seven-year-old. I think it’s really important for us to find that place of stillness. One of my mentors is Martha Beck, and she’s been really working with me on this. It’s like finding that place of stillness and paying attention to the people that cultivate that sense of stillness within you, and noticing the life events or circumstances that cultivate that stillness in you and where do you get out of that. Just being really mindful of that and making choices about that. That includes practices like meditation or EFT, but it also includes being exceedingly discerning about how you live your life. That requires courage. I think that’s the hard part is people know. I’m amazed how intuitive people are. They know what they need to do and they’re really scared. But they can tap on the scared.
Lissa: You can go to the root of I’m scared that I need to quit my job, or I’m scared that I need to set boundaries with this toxic relationship, or I’m scared that I’m going to lose some of my friendships because they don’t cultivate the stillness in me.
Like I said, that’s why I like EFT, because you can go to the root of it. You can say your––Tosha teaches about her Change Me prayers. Change me into somebody who’s not scared, so that I can find courage to do what I need to do so I can live. I love the Mary Oliver quote, “Tell me, what is it you’re going to do with this one wild and precious life?” We have one wild and precious life.
Nick: What are you doing with it?
Lissa: What are you doing with it, right?
Nick: Yeah, amazing. Lissa, thank you so much for being here. We could talk for hours, and we have, and just so appreciate all your great work and what you’re doing in the world and how you’re showing up.
Lissa: Thank you, thank you. It’s an honor.
Nick: Thanks, everyone. I hope you enjoyed this. Take a moment now to think about the stress in your life and make that commitment to whatever it takes to lower it. The ten-day Tapping World Summit, a free ten-day event where there’s two presentations a day that focus specifically on using this tool of tapping for the release of stress, to get to the underlying root what’s going on. This isn’t just a practice where you have to do it every day. Get into the root of healing, and you can transform your life.
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This is Nick Ortner from thetappingsolution.com. Take care and keep tapping.