Today, Reverend Cindy Frado joined us today for a crash course in emotional freedom. Reverend Cindy works as a minister at the Universal Unitarian Church, and has learned from energy psychologists David Feinstein and Donna Eaton. Before things got started, participants went around the room and shared what comforts them in times of emotional stress, and how they react to feeling intense emotions. Cindy came to talk about emotional freedom and give us some tools to use when we feel unable to handle stress in our life. The first was called the Emotional Freedom Technique. A practice based on ancient Chinese medicine, EFT involves tapping your body and talking through stressors. Although it may seem silly or leave you skeptical, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that this technique and others like it work-- people report remissions of cancer and feeling heightened levels of restored energy. One of the participants had a phobia of spiders, so that was used as an example. . Before starting, we exercised self-love and acceptance by tapping our “third eye” and saying, “Whatever my issue is, I deeply love and appreciate myself.” Then, Cindy led us through the sequence of acupressure points to tap while talking about our hypothetical fear of spiders. The first spot to tap is the inside of the eyebrow. Then the outside of our eyes, under our eyes, under our nose, and on our chin. Then we moved down to tap our collarbones, our sternum, and our lower ribs, all while discussing the fear of spiders. Then we tapped our knees, and a few spots on our hands. After that was done, we woke up our nervous system by moving our eyes all around and humming. Then we did the sequence again, but this time we reframed our fear in terms of respect and honesty-- where at the beginning, we said that we hated spiders because they were creepy, we now say that although we don’t like them, their webs are beautiful and they keep bugs away. Cindy reminded us that this technique is not meant to change a stressful situation, but to allow us to approach our feelings rationally. It is good to keep checking in with yourself, she said, so that you know what feelings to address. If you are unsure of what you are feeling, you can “tap it out” in order to articulate your meaning. Cindy then showed us 4 ways to keep ourselves emotionally grounded and energized: The 4 Points, The Wayne-Cook Posture, the Homolateral Crossover, and the Heaven and Earth cycle. To do the 4 Points, place one hand on your forehead and the other on the back of your head. Take a deep breath, and then tap the following 4 points on your body: under your eyes, your collarbones, your sternum, and your bottom rib. In Chinese medicine, Cindy told s, these spots are said to be linked to your digestive system, your kidneys, your thalamus, and your spleen, respectively. By tapping or rubbing these spots, you stimulate the proper functioning of these organs. The next practice is the Wayne-Cook posture, in which you cross your foot over your ankle, and your hand over your wrist and rotate them up and out. You do this on each side and hold it for a couple breaths. You may also put your hands together in a pyramid shape and hold them against your heart. To perform homolateral crossover, simply lift your legs up and tap your knees with your hands. Practice this with the same hand and leg, and then the opposite hand and leg. This practice, and the Wayne-Cook posture are meant to ensure your energies are crossed properly. The “energy” refers to the meridians in Chinese Medicine, or paths of life-force that cross inside your body. The last grounding technique is called Heaven and Earth, and it is Cindy’s favorite. To practice Heaven and Earth, stand up and put your hands over your heart. Take a deep breath and raise one hand as far up as you can, and lower the other down towards the earth. Imagine you are drawing energy from down below and bring it up through your other arm while concentrating on your breathing. Do this with both your arms. When you are done, fold your body forward for a breath, then slowly come up and raise your hands above your head. Let the energy rain down on you for a few breaths. Participants all performed these exercises alongside Cindy and agreed that they made them feel very good. Many were excited to use it in their daily lives and attempt to restore their energy. Cindy does admit that these practices are a different way of dealing with and looking at the body, and understands that some people may have trouble integrating them into their lives. She says it is ok to be skeptical, but truly believes it works. In her own words, “whatever helps you get through the day, as long as it’s helpful and not harmful, is great.” Some participants stayed after the meeting to discuss their health and wellness with Cindy, who also runs a hypnotherapy and spiritual wellness center in North Amherst. Participants left feeling well-rounded and inspired. You can find more information about Cindy and her practice at http://www.hampshirehypno.com/

By: Sadie Mazur