Wednesday, October 26, 2005

First Aid for Trauma

Every day we experience or witness more trauma. Whether the trauma is on a grand scale (the war, Katrina) or a smaller one (losing your wallet, finding a ding in the paint), whether it happens to you or the people around you, trauma takes its toll. We suffer. It hurts. Trauma saps our energy. We have trouble sleeping. Sometimes we have trouble eating. We are cranky.

We try to keep a stiff upper lip, but the accumulation of unresolved trauma or the sheer overwhelm of too many traumatic events happening so close together that we can't metabolize everything can wear us down. Being brave and acting like nothing affects us doesn't work over time.

In the face of so much chaos, suffering, and loss, we can only do what we can do. Some pray; some send money; some offer shelter or succor; some go lend a hand--literally. Some choose less constructive means for dealing with their feelings.

In this installment, I offer you first aid for trauma. You can use this on yourself. You can share it with friends and family. You can even use it on your pets. Whether you are affected directly by the rage of the storm and events in your own life, or your trauma comes from watching, reading, or hearing about what happens to others, this intervention can help.


This sequence of points shown in the pictures below make up a first aid intervention for trauma. It can be used on physical or emotional trauma, old or new. Before I give you the instructions, I want to give credit to Dr. Roger Callahan (originator of Thought Field Therapy) and Dr. Helen Tuggy who developed this intervention.

In the pictures below, Jasmin Hughes demonstrates the location of the acupuncture points used for this first aid treatment. However, instead of needles (as in acupuncture) you can activate the points for yourself by tapping on them with your fingers.

These five points, when activated by tapping in sequence can alleviate the discomfort, pressure, or emotional charge that is built up as the result of trauma. Here, Jasmin uses one finger on the points in order to indicate more clearly where they are, but you can use two or more fingers when you tap on yourself.

The points are very forgiving. You only need to be in the correct area when you tap. If you are not on the precise point, the treatment will still work.

While thinking about your trauma and focusing on what you are feeling in your body, use one or more fingers to tap several times on each of these points in this order:

1. Under the eyes

This point is directly below the pupil on the cheek bones.

2. Under the arms
On the side seams about four inches below the armpit, most people find a tender spot. That is the target for this point. The points are level with the nipple line.

(An alternate way to reach these points is to cross your arms, as if you are giving yourself a hug, so your right hand taps your left side and your left hand taps your right side.)

3. Eyebrows
The eyebrow points are at the inside end of the eyebrow, closest to the nose.

4. Collarbones

At the base of the throat is a notch in the bone--the top of the breast bone (or sternum).

Put your two index fingers in that notch. Then move them down the center line one inch and away from each other (toward the shoulders) one inch.

Your fingers will be under a "knob" on each side. That knob is the sternoclavicular joint.

5. Little finger
At the tip of the little finger, tap on the cuticle at the side of the nail that is closest to the ring finger. (Where the red dot is.)

When you have finished a round of tapping, stop and check in with yourself. How are you feeling? Has the troubling sensation in your body diminished? Is the emotional upset less? If not, you may do as many more rounds of tapping as you need to take the charge or edge off what you feel.

[An alternate way to apply this sequence is to tap on each point until it feels done. Instead of tapping five to ten times, you may tap for 15 to 20 seconds or more on each point.]

Give it a try. Let me know how it works for you. If you have any questions, please post them or send me an email.

Tell me how you feel after you've tried it. Tell me how it works for you.

From your energy coach,
Wanda Tucker


graceonline said...

Wanda, thank you for reminding me of this great tool. I have been using it, (see Tap, tap, tap) and it works beautifully. Instantly calming.

Wanda Tucker said...

You are so welcome. I am glad it is helping. Thanks for the feedback and the link.

Anonymous said...

great stuff