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Articles & Ideas


Relative Newbie's First Major Tapping Toe Stub - Foot Pain Issue

Important Note: This article was written prior to 2010 and is now outdated. Please use my newest advancement, Optimal EFT. It is more efficient, more powerful and clearly explained in my free e-book, The Unseen Therapist™.  Best wishes, Gary

Hi Everyone,

Many thanks to Kathy Karjala for submitting this foot pain case where she hits a "brick wall" and gets nowhere with her client. These are important cases to explore because this is where we can expand our skills. Kathy applies some insightful uses of EFT, but still no luck. At the end of her article I discuss possibilities for future approaches. Hopefully, they will be useful for you.

e-hugs, Gary

By Kathy Karjala

Hi Gary,

I had been studying and sharing EFT for a little over a year, enjoying many small and some impressive successes, when I had my first "brick wall" client.

"James" teaches a bodywork class that my partner was in. I had heard through the grapevine about some continuing foot pain he was experiencing, and I asked James (through my partner) if he would consider trying EFT. We exchanged e-mails and he agreed. I gave him the website address to look at first and we made an appointment. I went to his studio.

At that time he said he had glanced at the website, but that was all. He already sounded skeptical and a bit dismissive. I told him we should enter into this in an experimental mindset, that sometimes we had very impressive results and sometimes not so much.

I asked him to describe his problem and he said it was a reaction to an antibiotic he'd taken (I think he said it was called "reactive arthritis" or something like that). He had intermittent swelling on the ball of his foot and the instep (top of the foot) and intermittent pain on the bottom of his feet with walking, sometimes like "walking on burning coals" and sometimes like "walking on shards of glass". It would come after he had been on his feet for some time, or sometimes just appear for no reason he could identify. He had been experiencing it for six weeks. I had thought that arthritis was swelling in the joints rather than the tissues, and I asked him about that, and he said the doctors said it was more like rheumatoid arthritis than regular arthritis, but that it wasn't rheumatoid arthritis, and that it would probably go away on its own in 3 to 12 months.

I asked him to rate his pain at the moment and it was only a 2. So I told him it would be harder to tell if we were making progress and that we might have to wait for some time to see whether or not the pain would increase again.

I decided to skip PR the first time around, because from his manner to that point I expected strong skepticism (and I was probably hoping it would just go away in one round!). So we tapped the face and body shortcut points on:

This swelling in the bottoms of my feet
This swelling in my instep
This burning pain in my foot
This sharp glass pain in my foot
This intermittent pain

When we were done with that he walked around and announced that there was no change at all.

So then I went to the KC point. We did a full setup, repeating most of the above, adding in:

Even though I reacted to the antibiotic
Even though I don't know just what caused the reaction

After a couple of rounds he walked again, and said there was still no change.

So then I said, "if there were an emotional cause to this pain, what would it be?" He said quite emphatically that there couldn't possibly be an emotional cause to it, just no way. I suggested he guess. He said it was such an impossibility he couldn't come up with anything. I told him to lie. He looked shocked but said absolutely not, no way, no how.

So then I started with...

Even though I really don't believe there's an emotional cause for this pain
Even though I don't want to believe there's an emotional cause for this pain
Even though there couldn't possibly be an emotional cause for my pain
I no longer need this pain
I'm willing to let go of this pain now

Then partway through that I remembered the antibiotic and asked him why he had taken it in the first place. He said "dog bite" and showed me a somewhat mangled but healed finger. (!) No emotional cause? I asked him if he'd seen it coming and if it was an otherwise good dog, and he said no it wasn't a good dog. So we then tapped on:

Even though the bad dog bit my finger
Even though I was shocked and traumatized by the dog biting me
I forgive the dog for biting me
I forgive myself for holding on to the pain

He walked again and once again said there was absolutely no change.

Now, I will admit that by now I wanted to get out of there. I was already somewhat intimidated by his general manner anyway, and since I had come to him, rather than he come to me, I didn't feel I could press any further.

Before leaving I told him that (1) it was possible that the environment we were in (his work studio) was somehow preventing the tapping from working and I suggested that he do a round or two in his car when he left, and then later in the day at home; and (2) (remembering Gary's work with someone with gout at a workshop) it was possible that the relief would happen spontaneously in a day or two; and (3) sometimes it just didn't seem to work.

So my questions would be, is there anything else I could have done? He followed every instruction I gave him, doing all the tapping and all the talking, so I don't think his skepticism alone should have prevented any improvement. I do believe he was reporting as accurately as he could.

Also, could my feelings of intimidation have somehow influenced the outcome?

Thanks much,

Kathy Karjala

GC COMMENT: First, Kathy, let me send great respect your way for your diligence in this case. You kept after it ... even asking him to lie about a possible emotional contributor ... I love it! We all have these "brick walls" and it is these difficult cases from which we learn. They are the cases that make Masters out of us.

I have some suggestions for the future, but first let me first provide some perspective. I recently dealt with two different people over the phone that had pain from "hammer toes." Both of them started at a 9 on a 0-10 intensity scale. I only had time to work 20 to 30 minutes with them. Interestingly, one of them improved rather easily down to a 0 while the other one stayed at a 9 throughout the entire session--seemingly, nothing worked for her.

Why is that? We can't say that EFT doesn't work on hammer toes because, in one case, it worked impressively. It comes down to, I think, not finding the true cause. And that "hidden cause" is almost always emotional ... even when the client adamantly refuses to accept that possibility.

In your case, Kathy, I would guess that if your client was more open to pursuing it, you could have dug a little deeper emotionally. Please know that these emotional causes often appear to have nothing to do with the physical issue. It could be simple resentment regarding a family member or guilt for something that they refuse to acknowledge. That's why being a detective is so important in "hard to crack cases."

Questions you might ask...

  • Who or what does that dog remind you of?
  • When, in your past, were you attacked like that?
  • If you could live life over again what person or event would you just as soon skip?
  • What were the happiest and unhappiest events in your life?

Another route you might take would be to get even more specific with the physical pain....

  • Even though I have this sharp pain one inch from my heel....
  • Even though this burning is the size of a quarter in the upper 1/3 of my instep...

Then check out to see if the pain moves or changes shape or character. This can launch you into our Chasing the Pain - Deeper EFT Relief procedure wherein you apply EFT to the pain as it moves and changes. This often results in very subtle changes that, with diligence, can collapse the whole issue.

Just some thoughts....

Love, Gary


Explore our newest advancement, Optimal EFT™, by reading my free e-book, The Unseen Therapist™. More efficient. More powerful.