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Frequently Asked Questions

What procedures might be taken if a client is undergoing a medical emergency?

Important Note: This article was written prior to 2010 and is now outdated.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

What procedures might be taken if a client is undergoing a medical emergency?


Excerpted from an article by

Jeanne Cook, M.D.
Donna Eden
David Feinstein, Ph.D.
Jeffrey Harris, M.D.
Vicki Matthews, N.D.

Note from Gary: While we are used to EFT tapping without the intrusion of acute medical emergencies such as a heart attacks or strokes, it IS possible that something like that COULD happen. To assist you should such an unlikely event occur, the above authors have given permission for this important information to be included on our web site. This paper is an abbreviated version of a longer paper that also provides instructions for Energy Medicine interventions with each of the topics covered. Condensed and reprinted here with permission of the Energy Medicine Institute. For the full paper go to

This article spells out the warning signs for a range of medical emergencies and the steps to take that are widely recognized within traditional medical care. The information in these parts of the paper should be in every practitioner's back pocket, and the Energy Medicine Institute has graciously provided permission for me to revise the paper by focusing only on the warning signs and the standard medical emergency procedures for people with no medical training. Please print it and study it. This knowledge may one day help you save someone's life.


While it is unlikely that energy interventions properly applied would cause an acute medical emergency such as a heart attack or stroke (we know of no such cases based on tens of thousands of sessions), the possibility that a heart attack or stroke might occur while someone is "on your table" is as likely as it is that one might occur while the person is at a baseball game, a picnic, or watching television. You should be prepared. Staying current with Red Cross CPR and First Aid Certification is a first obvious step.

This brief guide presents additional basic information a non-medical energy practitioner should master to help maintain that preparedness. It also addresses a number of non-emergency situations that may occur during energy healing work. It does not, however, pretend to be comprehensive--that would require a book. But it does review the warning signs of conditions such as heart attack or stroke that would require an immediate call to 911 (emergency number in USA) as well as covering a variety of other situations that could confront you as an energy practitioner.

INDICATIONS FOR IMMEDIATE EMERGENCY CARE (Calling 911--emergency number in USA):

I. SIGNS OF A HEART ATTACK: If a heart attack is suspected, call 911.

Chest discomfort that lasts for more than 5 minutes or that goes away and comes back. Located in the center of the chest, people may describe this as squeezing, fullness, pressure, or pain. Other discomfort in the upper body such as one or both arms, the neck or jaw, upper back, or stomach area. Shortness of breath, which can occur with or before the chest discomfort. Other signs might include nausea, lightheadedness, dizziness, or breaking out in a cold sweat

IMPORTANT NOTE: Women often experience subtler symptoms of heart attack, and many times heart attacks are missed in women because they are not recognized. Women who are having a heart attack may have little or no chest pain along with one or more of the other symptoms listed above.


Medical Necessities: If the person has stopped breathing, administer CPR, including chest compressions if there is no pulse. This is the top priority! Common Sense: Make the person as comfortable as possible.


Sudden numbness or weakness of the arm, leg, or face, especially on one side of the body. Sudden confusion, trouble understanding or speaking. Sudden trouble walking, loss of balance or coordination, or dizziness. Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes. Sudden severe headache with no known cause

A TEST the General Public Can Use to Assess Whether a Person Has Had a Stroke (from a paper presented at the American Stroke Association's annual meeting):

The symptoms of a stroke can be difficult to recognize, and this can spell disaster. The stroke victim may suffer brain damage when people nearby fail to recognize the symptoms of a stroke. Now doctors say any bystander can recognize a stroke by asking three simple questions:

Ask the person to smile Ask the person to raise both arms Ask the person to speak a simple sentence

If the person has trouble with any of these tasks, call 911 immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher.


Medical Necessities: If the person has stopped breathing, administer CPR, including chest compressions if there is no pulse. This is the top priority.Common Sense: Make the person as comfortable as possible.


Breathing difficulties can have a number of serious causes, some of them life-threatening. Heart attack, asthma, and anaphylactic shock are all discussed in this brief paper. Among the other possible serious causes are congestive heart failure (the inability to pump enough blood to avoid congestion in the lungs and other organs), severe pneumonia, and pulmonary embolism (blockage of blood vessels in the lung by a blood clot that usually originates in the lower part of the body, usually the legs). If the symptoms are severe, call 911.


Asthma is a respiratory disorder characterized by wheezing. Possible triggers for asthma include respiratory infection, allergies, chemical sensitivity, overexertion, and intense emotion. The most common asthma symptoms are shortness of breath or difficulty breathing (it feels like breathing through a straw), wheezing, and coughing. If the person's symptoms are severe, call 911.


Medical Necessities: If the person has stopped breathing, administer CPR, including chest compressions if there is no pulse. Common Sense: Make the person as comfortable as possible. It is particularly important when assisting someone with an asthma attack to remain calm and reassuring and to encourage the person to slow his or her breathing while waiting for emergency help to arrive.


A seizure is an electrical disturbance in the brain that results in temporary changes in a person's awareness, behavior, or movement. Epilepsy is a brain disorder that causes recurrent seizures. Although different types of seizures are quite distinct in how they appear, certain features are common to all seizures. People who are having a seizure are not conscious even though their eyes may be open, so they will not be responsive to efforts to rouse them. For any person having a seizure there is a potential for physical injury. Seizures are generally followed by a period of confusion, lethargy, or sleepiness called the postictal state. This may last from a few minutes to a few hours.

Some people who are having a seizure may have a blank stare. Others may engage in repetitive hand movements or lip smacking or have muscle jerking (convulsions) involving one or more limbs. One type of seizure, called a Grand-mal seizure, potentially poses a more serious threat because it may result in blockage of the airway. Although it is very unlikely that you will witness a person experiencing a

Grand-mal seizure during an energy medicine session, it is important that you recognize one should it occur. Initially, the person will make a brief grunting or gasping sound. This will be followed by generalized rigidity of the extremities and trunk with the head often turned to one side and eyes rolled up. Following this tonic phase is the clonic phase (Grand-mal seizures are often called tonic-clonic seizures), characterized by muscle jerks or convulsions. Breathing may be labored. It is in this phase that there is the risk that the tongue can block the airway. The person could lose bowel or bladder control. A Grand-mal seizure usually lasts between one and five minutes.

Distinctions: Seizures, as described above, may cause a vacant stare, repetitive movements of hands or lip smacking, or repetitive jerking (convulsions) involving one or more limbs; all associated with a temporary loss of consciousness during the seizure followed by a period of lethargy or confusion. Tremors, on the other hand, are involuntary rhythmic limb movements caused by illness (such as Parkinson's disease) or by a hereditary condition. Tremors develop gradually and are not a medical emergency. It is possible for energy treatments to cause people's limbs to twitch or move in a random way, but this movement is not a seizure, convulsion, or tremor.

If a person you are working with experiences a seizure, immediately take steps to prevent physical injury. The Epilepsy Foundation recommends that an ambulance be called if 1) the seizure lasts more than 5 minutes; 2) there is no Epilepsy/Seizure Disorder ID present and no way of knowing whether the seizure is caused by epilepsy; 3) consciousness does not start to return after the shaking has stopped; 4) a second seizure starts shortly after the first has ended; or 5) the person is pregnant, injured, or diabetic.


Medical Necessities: Bring the person to the floor to prevent falling. Place in a position where uncontrolled movements will not result in injury. Place the person on the side if possible and cushion the head. This position reduces the risk of suffocation from the tongue blocking the airway or vomit being inhaled. Never put an object--including your fingers--in the mouth of someone who is seizing, and do not hold the person down. Do not give the person anything to eat or drink until fully alert. Loosen ties or anything around the neck that may make breathing difficult. Look for a medical ID bracelet. If the person stops breathing, administer CPR. Offer help when the seizure ends.Common Sense: Prevent immediate injury first. Call 911 second.

VI. ANAPHYLACTIC SHOCK: This is a severe and rapid reaction to a substance (especially foods such as shellfish and peanuts, insect venom such as a bee sting, or medication such as a vaccine or penicillin). The person was sensitized to the substance by previous exposure.

An anaphylactic reaction is not likely to occur in your office because it usually develops so rapidly after exposure to the offending substance, but if a person you are seeing is having a severe allergic reaction, particularly to something that has caused a serious reaction in the past, anaphylactic shock is a possibility. Symptoms include difficulty breathing and swelling of the face and may escalate to a loss of consciousness and death. Call 911 immediately if you suspect this may be occurring.


Medical Necessities: If the person has stopped breathing, administer CPR, including chest compressions if there is no pulse. Common Sense: Make the person as comfortable as possible.


Among the indications for referral to a health professional capable of making a medical diagnosis are:

Unexplained weight loss Persistent pain of unknown cause Blood in urine or stools Fatigue Persistent symptoms like cough or hoarseness Unexplained lumps or sores that don't heal Fainting episodes in an adult

Use common sense and refer clients for symptoms that are clearly abnormal or that don't improve with energy treatments.


Certain chronic health conditions, such as hypertension, asthma, and diabetes, can result in long-term complications if they are not treated properly. It is impossible to tell from the person's symptoms alone whether the health condition is stable or whether complications are developing. Periodic medical tests to monitor such conditions should be a condition of your treating the person. If your client is receiving aggressive treatments, such as radiation or chemotherapy, energy medicine should be considered an adjunct to that treatment and you should be working in consultation with the treating physician. Maintain a collaborative attitude with any other health care providers working with your client, including informing them of the nature of the treatment you are providing, staying posted on their findings and treatments, and consulting as appropriate.

From the "Handout Bank" of the Energy Medicine Institute


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