The ancient theory about why acupressure and acupuncture
work, is that there is energy called "chi" which circulates in the
body, that the energy gets jammed at certain points, and that the treatment corrects the energy.
I don't personally believe that this is true. However, I do suspect that there are nerve connections in these places, which lead to specific areas in the brain, which also control other functions, going forward (away from the brain. They are described by acupuncturists as relating to various organs.) Somehow, stimulating that area of the brain causes a change relating to certain emotions, or even relating to physical pain.
Though there appears to be no connection between say, an eyebrow and an emotion, consider the effect of tickling a rib. There is no logical connection between ribs and laughter, but one laughs just the same.
My "wild guess" as to how it works is to consider the vagus nerve, which exits the skull behind the ear, passes under the jaw, and from there branches out to connections with every organ of the body. Of course, it connects to points in the brain, too, and likely pressing, tapping, or sticking pins in certain points on the way may have a backward-direction effect, going to the brain. It is already established that it has effects on the organs of the body.
Humans are the only primates which experience a "diving reflex." Cold water in the face causes a lot of body changes, which prepare one for swimming. Marine animals, such as seals, also have this reflex. Monkeys and apes do not.
Click here -- http://en.wikipedia.com/wiki/Mammalian_diving_reflex (Mammalian Diving Reflex)
How does the diving reflex work? Nobody knows, but it is known that it starts
at the face, connects to the brain, and proceeds to alter a lot of body
Likewise, other experiences in the body may make a connection with the brain. One way to remove a headache is to pinch the web between the thumb and index finger, and massage it. Another way is to use your thumbnail to press against the knuckle of the opposite thumb, on the side away from the hand. If you press on the right spot, it will make you feel light headed. So, what does the thumb have to do with a headache?
In fact, the vagus nerve leaves the brain just behind the ear, moves down the neck behind and then under the jaw, and then spreads out to reach all of the internal organs. At the same time, the theory of acupressure, acupuncture, and reflexology connects points on the outside of the body with the internal organs. So that suggests a link from those points, to the organs, and also directly back to the brain.
My view is that the negative emotions are created by conscious and unconscious memories. The unconscious memories are not recalled when they affect you, but they stimulate your emotions just the same, as if a childhood event were happening all over again.
They lie dormant until a current event reminds your unconscious (or sub-conscious) mind of them, and then they become active. If the connections between those memories and your brain centers of emotion are broken, then current events no longer affect you as strongly.
WHAT ABOUT THE "REVERSAL?"
Sometimes a condition seems not to be treated, due to a condition called a "reversal." This is treated in 3 possible ways, the easiest being tapping the "karate chop spot," or rubbing the tender spot at the side of the breastbone.
It is my guess that the reversal is caused by certain memories which are more traumatic than others, and which connect very strongly with pain centers. They interfere with treatment of other memories, with a behavioral message of, "don't dare ever forget this lesson, or it may happen again." Some degree of treatment happens as we sleep, during "rapid eye movement" (REM sleep.) Except when it is blocked in this way, and pain is not reduced by sleep.
WHAT ABOUT A DELAYED REVERSAL?
Sometimes a treatment is effective, but the next day the symptoms return. This is called a delayed reversal, and is treated by rubbing a spot on the chest. (Down 3" from the soft spot on the throat, and sideways 3" beside the breastbone. The spot will be tender to the touch.)
Through the art of hypnoanalysis, in which one is regressed to earlier times in his life, one discovers that a symptom is caused by two sets of memories: Precipitating memories and Sensitizing memories. The sensitizing memories have not caused a symptom, until a more recent event happened. Several of the stronger memories add up until the last event results in a symptom. The precipitating memories will all be stronger in feeling, but only one need be more recent than the others.
Sometimes, treating the precipitating memories results in no symptom after that, though a person remains primed for a symptom if a similar negative event should happen again. However, sometimes the sensitizing memories by themselves can result in a symptom after that has happened once, even though those memories alone had not originally had that effect.
The obvious solution is to treat the sensitizing memories. The precipitating memories may have had a "bottom-line, behavioral result," or "command effect" about them, obstructing treatment of the sensitizing memories. Consequently, when the first treatment was done, the sensitizing memories were not directly affected.
Also, treating for reversal, or for delayed reversal, neutralizes that effect of "command" by treating blocking memories, and allows the sensitizing memories to be treated. Blocking memories suggest a message of, "Don't dare remove the effect of those memories. They prevent this from happening again." However, the ancient event that created them is now obsolete. It may have been an adult scolding or punishing you when you were a small child. You don't need defense against that now.
Of course, using EFT or TAT, this is done in a period of minutes, whereas with hypnoanalysis, it might have been done over a series of several sessions, perhaps taking the full hour each session.
WHY DO "SENSITIZING MEMORIES" PRODUCE SYMPTOMS WITHOUT THE "PRECIPITATING MEMORIES," IF THEY HAD NOT DONE SO BEFORE?
Precipitating memories suddenly cause a symptom to begin for the first time, even though other memories (sensitizing memories) had been stacking up for a long while. Either the pain in the precipitating memory is greater, or the stack eventually became too tall to tolerate.
Eventually, one can treat the precipitating memories alone, and the sensitizing memories continue to create the symptom. Why?
The answer to that question is a matter of speculation. However, it may be that the symptom may have had a reinforcing (rewarding) effect, even though it may feel unpleasant to your conscious mind. For example, a person who fears meeting new people may have his fear reinforced if his fear prevents him from meeting people, thus lowering his earlier anxiety. His inner mind learns that his symptom results in his not having to meet people, and not feeling the anxiety.
Then, when his precipitating memories are removed of their emotional charge, those memories which had earlier been simply sensitizing memories, with no effect by themselves, continue to produce the symptom, because that effect has been reinforced (rewarded) by experience.
Very likely though, one will notice that the effect is weaker, because the emotion on those memories is weaker than that of the precipitating memories.
DON'T I NEED THESE MEMORIES?
Firstly, treatment doesn't cause you to lose those memories. In fact, you have probably forgot most of them, anyway, such as a day when you were scolded at age two. Treatment simply removes the connections which those memories make, which stimulate inner pain reactions, and consequently, symptoms.
Though you don't consciously recall the narrative of the past events, your inner mind (subconscious mind) recalls them clearly, and the connection which they make with emotion affects your conscious emotions. That is often the only current awareness you have of them.
These memories are obsolete, and conditions which created them no longer exist. If we remove the connections which they make with inner pain, (fear, sadness, etc.) those connections are no longer protective in any way, and their removal is only a benefit.
That is, what was true for a three-year-old is no longer true for an adult. Touching Mom's favorite lamp really doesn't prove you're a horrible person, and about to be severely scolded or punished. You'd may as well lose the feelings associated with that idea, which may be provoked if, for instance, you make a minor mistake in adult life.
If we treat the memories which obstruct treatment, by very simply tapping the hand, then we are then able to treat the others after that.
WOULDN'T REMOVAL OF CERTAIN EMOTIONS CAUSE ME TO LOSE REASONABLE CAUTION?
Flatly, no. The treatments don't make you stupid. There are many reasons why you don't sit on a busy freeway, jump into the ocean, or leap from tall buildings. Strong emotion from painful experiences eons ago is not needed to prevent you from doing foolish things.
You have learned many lessons since then, and a rational understanding of your environment is sufficient to prevent you from doing dangerous things. Consider that we usually "get over" negative events in time, on our own. After some time has passed, a past event is usually not so disturbing as it was at first.
It may be that treatment of memories is a natural function, which happens when we sleep. However, if we wake up before a dream is finished, or if we sleep very lightly, it may not happen, and we keep our strong emotions much longer than we otherwise would. If this is the case, then treating by other methods, such as acupressure, simply augments a process intended by nature to happen even without therapy.
Of course, none of this would be possible if the potential in our bodies were not there to begin with. If it is there at all, there must be a natural reason for it's existence.
IS THERE ANYTHING THAT WOULD PREVENT ME FROM BEING ABLE TO USE THESE TECHNIQUES (TAT OR EFT)?
Yes. If you are unable to raise your arms to your head, and if you are also unwilling for another person to touch you, that would prevent treatment, at least by that method. Also, if you have long nails, that would make it difficult to touch the inside corners of your eyes, for example. It is possible to tap with the flat of your fingers, though with less force.
One of the methods, EFT, involves tapping. You might tap the ends of your eyebrows or under your eyes, for example. Tapping under your eyes with long nails involves a risk of poking yourself in the eye, though you can point your nails toward your nose to avoid this.
HOW LONG DOES THE EFFECT LAST?
Some people ask this, and it is always puzzling. People do not ask that question of counseling, for example, nor do they expect a single session of counseling to solve all their problems. For that matter, how long does exercise or brushing your teeth last? Is that a reason to refuse it?
After terminating counseling, a person might come back later and re-enter counseling, for similar or other problems. Likewise, with gestalt therapy, transactional analysis, cognative-behavioral therapy, or any other therapy, people don't reject the therapy because their problem is not totally banished after a single session.
Likewise with medications, one knows that he takes the medication until the problem is resolved and does what he needs it to do. He doesn't ask why a single antidepressant capsule doesn't permanently cure his depression, or a single Tylenol doesn't guarantee he will never have another headache.
TAT, EFT or EMDR are likely to provide rapid and major improvement in one session. That is not a guarantee that your problem is completely gone, though it is sometimes possible. Problems have many aspects, and as each aspect is treated, another which has always been there, shows itself, like peeling an onion.
For example, after a person treats "being afraid," he may say that he feels angry toward the source of his fear. He had always felt angry, but had not seen that because of his anxiety. His anger can also be treated.
It is likely that as he goes through the week, he will have experiences that will remind him of the remaining degree of his problem. If he can describe this to the therapist, then remaining aspects of his problem can be treated.
Where addiction is concerned, it is likely that the craving will drop to zero and return later. However, it will take longer than before to return, and will be weaker when it does.
Then, he is treated again and again, until the craving is eventually weakened to zero.
However, there is no good reason to ask, "How long does one treatment last," unless one would ask that of all other therapies also. Smoking can reverse the effect of treatment. The solution to that is to not smoke after treatment. EFT and TAT also treat smoking, by the way.