Joke Joke Joke! ;D

My wife was forever texting me at work with pointless trivia such as: “I’m at the supermarket!” or “I’m going to visit mother now!”
So I was horrified one day when she broke with tradition and texted “I’ve just had a stroke.”
I jumped up and raced home, breaking speed limits and running red lights until, 10 minutes later, I burst through the front door.
“Are you O.K?” I panted.
“Yes, fine,” she said, sitting there with the cat on her lap.


I was chatting up this woman and her daughter in a bar last night. I asked her where her beautiful accent was from. The woman stared
at me for a while.
Then her daughter told me that the reason her mother talked like that was because she had a stroke a few months ago.


My wife was in bed all alone, quietly reading a book. So I crept in and shouted, “Boo!”
She said, “Bloody hell. I almost had a stroke!”
“That’s encouraging,” I thought.

Source: Sickipedia

Marijuana May Be Key To Healing Injured Brain


Research suggests a direct role of marijuana compounds in treating traumatic brain injuries – The activity of marijuana may help repair the brain after traumatic injury, according to new research from Spain.

Scientists found that pathways in the brain associated with marijuana (cannabinoid receptors) were also responsible for the effects of a chemical called minocycline.

The results were released last week in the Oxford journal Cerebral Cortex.

“Our findings confirm that minocycline decreases brain damage caused by traumatic brain injury… the activation of cannabinoid receptors is required for the neuroprotective actions of this compound.”

Inflammation is believed to contribute to brain damage that occurs after a head injury. Earlier studies show that minocycline can protect against this damage.

However, when researchers from the Complutense University of Madrid gave minocycline along with chemicals that block the activity of cannabinoid receptors, its protective effects were prevented.

Interestingly, other studies suggest that marijuana may play a direct role in protecting against brain damage – including research by Professor Yosef Sarne of Israel’s Tel Aviv University.

While still in its early stages, Prof. Sarne told Science Daily that the main chemical in marijuana, THC, showed incredible promise.

“THC could be applicable to many cases of brain injury and be safer over time.”

THC’s anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties are thought to protect the brain from further damage following injury.

While THC is also responsible for the marijuana high, Prof. Sarne found it offered significant protection at doses 1,000 to 10,000 times less than that in an average marijuana joint.

The study was supported by GRUPOS UCM-BSCH 951579; Delegación del Gobierno para el Plan Nacional sobre Drogas; Instituto de Salud Carlos III; Redes temáticas de Investigación Cooperativa en salud, Red de Trastornos Adictivos; Ministerio de Economía y Competividad, Spain, and the nonprofitable organization Fondation des Gueules cassées.


Source: Truth On Pot. com



Art program helps stroke rehabilitation

563994f4c3ac2.imageAllison Carter/TimesDaily
Mary Rickard is a stroke rehabilitation patient at the J.W. Sommers Rehab Center at Shoals Hospital. She takes part in a program using art to help her regain use of her hands. Pictured behind her is a piece of her art.

MUSCLE SHOALS — Mary Rickard makes her home in Killen, just a short distance from Shoal Creek.

The lush greenery from the wooded countryside and the flowing currents of the creek meet to form a serene pastoral escape.

Despite being away from that place for more than a month, Rickard, unconsciously, she said, went back there during an art class at J.W. Sommer Rehabilitation Unit at Shoals Hospital.

Rickard had a stroke that left the left side of her body paralyzed. She’s regained movement in her thumb and two fingers in her left hand, and just this week began taking steps with her physical therapist and therapy assistants.

So, when Rickard picked up the chalk pastels laid beside her on a small table, she did not intend to go home. But, the 12-by-12 inch piece of stiff white art board brings to mind the idyllic setting of her home.

She blended the blue chalk pastels to recreate a clear sky. Greens and browns intermingled and blended in the loose shape of trees, brush and grass.

Rickard never considered herself an artist, but looking at the scene she created, she said maybe now she is. She has colored pencils and coloring sheets in her inpatient room, and asked where she can get pastels like the ones she used once she is discharged.

The art program, called Brushstrokes, gave her an escape from the grueling and taxing physical and occupational therapy exercises she goes through every day. The program is moderated by Kristin Husainy, a trained art teacher who volunteers to help with the program.

“Each patient has different abilities and different limitations so each experience is different,” Husainy said. “This is something different that allows them to get out of their rooms or therapy, and it’s a little escape.”

Providing an art escape gives patients recovering from a debilitating stroke a break from the demands of the rehabilitation program. It’s good mental and physical break, but it is not void of therapeutic effects.

Fine motor skills, grip and control all are important in art. Those also are skills lost or diminished after a stroke.

Donna Coots, an occupational therapy assistant at J.W. Sommers, said many of the skills practiced in more physical therapy tasks, can be reinforced through art projects.

On Monday, she worked one-on-one with Carolyn Weatherly. Weatherly’s stroke was on the right side of her brain, and now her brain does not communicate with the left side of the body. She is experiencing left side neglect, a syndrome in which the brain does not communicate with one side of the body. The brain has to be retrained, Coots said.

Weatherly said she was not an artist but had fond memories of the one art class she took in college at Auburn.

Weatherly used water color pencils and a small brush dipped in water. Using the water color pencils are like colored pencils but the color laid down can be spread and blended using a wet brush.

Weatherly drew a line with the water pencil on her watercolor paper using a straight edge created with a folded piece of paper. Holding the small brush in her right hand, she dipped the bristles into a cup of water and brought the brush to the paper and began spreading the blue color with small upward brush strokes.

Her tendency, because of the left-side neglect, was to move right down the line she had drawn. Coots suggested using a finger on her left hand as a guide to move the brush down the line to the left.

Weatherly did as Coots instructed and with deliberate intent painted down the line to the left. At times, she would fall back into the tendency to paint only moving to the right.

“It is all about crossing the mid-line,” Coots said, pointing to the middle of her forehead. “I am working with her on using both hands to send the message to her brain that both hands are engaged in an activity.”

The program is new. Only three sets of stroke rehab patients have had the chance to spend an hour or two painting or drawing, but Lauren Carpenter, quality assurance nurse for the rehabilitation unit, said the effect already has been seen.

Yes, it replicates parts of their ongoing therapy sessions, but the mental empowerment is just as important, said Carpenter, who studied art before focusing on nursing.

The art frees their mind to allow for emotional and physical breakthroughs, she said. The time doing art becomes so meaningful and pleasurable, they overcome the physical pain and frustration caused by the stroke, she said.

“For many of them, it takes them away from the fact that they are in a hospital,” she said.

Allison Carter/TimesDaily
Kristin Husainy watches a rehabilitation patient work during an art program at J.W. Sommers Rehab Center at Shoals Hospital. Husainy 
volunteers to teach the class.
563994f5171af.imageAllison Carter
A patient works on an art project at the J.W. Sommers Rehab Center.

Source: TimesDaily

Antidepressant may help stroke patients with rehabilitation


About 65 percent of stroke survivors experience weakness or paralysis of their limbs or have difficulty in walking and moving due to the death of brain cells from lack of blood flow. Photo by


BALTIMORE, Sept. 2 (UPI) — The antidepressant drug fluoxetine, often sold as Prozac, prolongs the amount of time after stroke that rehabilitation can restore movement and coordination, according to a recent study with mice.

While researchers are unsure of the exact reasons that fluoxetine helps patients in their recovery, they think it may change the way neurons respond to sensory input after an ischemic stroke, which is the sudden loss of blood circulation to the brain because of a clot.

Rehabilitation after patients have a stroke involves retraining the brain for motor function, which can include properly coordinating leg movements to walk or performing complex functions beyond simple movement.

“For rehabilitation to be effective, it needs to start as soon after a stroke as possible,” said Dr. Steven Zeiler, an assistant professor of neurology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, in a press release. “But with this study, we’ve shown that in mice, we can extend the time period during which rehabilitative intervention has an effect on meaningful recovery.”

A previous study showed that fluoxetine had helped patients regain motor recovery, but researchers had no idea why or how it worked. The researchers at Johns Hopkins designed a study using mice to learn whether fluoxetine would still help patients if rehabilitation was delayed after a stroke, and also to learn how it helps patients who have have taken it.

Mice were taught to take food pellets through a slit, something that quadrupeds such as cats, dogs and mice have trouble with. When the mice had mastered the skill, researchers induced a stroke in the motor area of the brain that would affect their ability to continue taking the food.

Some of the mice immediately started rehabilitation after the stroke, as humans would, and some regained the ability to grab food through the slit. For mice whose rehab was delayed, far fewer regained their full ability to perform the task — also similar to what happens in humans after a stroke.

Mice who were started on fluoxetine within 24 hours of the stroke regained their ability to grab the food, even when rehabilitation was delayed for as long as a week.

Zeiler said the specific explanation of what the drug does to the brain in relation to the fallout of a stroke is still unknown. He said, however, after examining the brains of mice who’d had a stroke and been given fluoxetine that something is definitely happening.

“We believe the drug is changing plasticity [in the brain] — changing the way individual neurons are responding to sensory input after the stroke,” Zeiler said. “There are some who believe fluoxetine can reduce the amount of brain tissue that dies after a stroke. In fact, there was more, not less, brain tissue death in the animals that got fluoxetine than in those that did not. We didn’t predict that, but the fact that the animals actually got better — despite increased cell death — tells us that fluoxetine is having some pretty amazing effects.”

The study is published in Stroke.


Source : UPI Heath News


Stroke rehabilitation study finds Nintendo Wii an effective treatment


Dr Penelope McNulty with stroke patient Si Saegusa, who is using a Nintendo Wii for rehabilitation.

Here’s the good news: we know that playing video games can help stroke survivors regain lost movement.
And here’s the better news: according to new research, it works just as well as the best available conventional therapy, and it’s a lot more pleasant.
A team led by Penelope McNulty at Neuroscience Research Australia has just published a study comparing rehab using a Nintendo Wii with rehab using the best-practice technique, the intimidatingly named constraint-induced movement therapy.
Constraint therapy involves the patient wearing a restrictive mitt on their more functional hand, to force them to use their affected limb. It’s an effective but frustrating method, which people tend to endure rather than enjoy.
In the two-week study, one group of participants played a modified Wii game for up to three hours a day, while the other wore a mitt for up to 90 per cent of their waking hours. Both groups showed considerable improvement, but the Wii group found it pleasurable, challenging and were much more inclined to continue the therapy.
“We’ve seen improvements in cognitive and memory and mood as well, and we know it is translating into completely unrelated activities in daily living,” Dr McNulty said. “They can tie their shoes more easily or open a drawer.
“What’s really cool is children and grandchildren can see a difference in their parent or grandparent over the two weeks, and these are people who are many years post-stroke.
“It was thought for a long time that if you’d had a stroke, after a certain period you weren’t going to get any better. My work clearly shows you can get better motor function.”
Hisao “Si” Saegusa is an unabashed fan of Dr McNulty’s work. The Sydney resident had a stroke in 2011 and spent three months in a rehab hospital at the time. Since enlisting in the study last year, he has worked out with the Wii at least once a day. He particularly enjoys the golf program, as he hasn’t been able to get out on the course since his stroke.
“It’s very much fun doing it, and at the same time it’s helping my recovery,” the 65-year-old says. “Without the Wii I’d never have been like I am now.”
Dr McNulty said movement therapy tried to teach the brain to act more like it did before a stroke. She said when a part of the brain was damaged, other parts would try to pick up functions once governed by the injured region. Rehab forced it back towards a healthy pattern.
Part of Dr McNulty’s work is trying to track down the neurological processes responsible for rehab, but that was still a work in progress. “We don’t know if the brain changes underpinning these very big changes in movement ability are very small and we’re just not looking in the right places, or whether they take time to build up to where we can pick it up with the equipment we have,” she said.
“The neurophysiology is a lot slower to measure than the day to day activities, which we can measure very easily.”
While the team’s finding are a promising development for the 420,000 Australians living with the effects of stroke, it could be the thin edge of the wedge.
Professor Julie Bernhardt, of Melbourne’s Florey Institute, said “rehab is the new black” when it comes to stroke research, and games and technology were one of the boom areas. The institute had success with a similar trial using an adapted Xbox Kinect, and she said there were many purpose-designed rehab games in development.
“It’s a really exciting period,” Professor Bernhardt said. “Finally attention is really clearly focused on recovery phase. We know there’s heightened period for potential change early but changes can continue for a very long time – families shouldn’t give up.
“We need to find ways to help people keep working on their recovery, and the advantage of some of these technologies is they can continue in their home at their own pace for as long as they like.
“We need to get to who recovers and why. In 10 years’ time we may have a much more targeted and personalised intervention, not a one-size-fits-all approach. There’s a huge role for science right now. We’re on the tip – we’re halfway up Mount Everest but we’re not quite at the top.”
Source: The Sydney Morning Herald

Emotional Freedom Tapping

What is tapping?

Millions of people are settling for lives filled with poor health and emotional baggage. Not knowing how to achieve the joyful and satisfying lives they desire, they’re stuck accepting a lifestyle of emotional trauma, chronic physical pain, compulsions and addictions, or perhaps just an empty feeling inside. Along with these problems come pills to kill the pain, sleep at night, and suppress anxiety – but this is hardly better than the disease. If you’re like many people, you feel trapped, caught in this cycle. You’re tired of feeling sad, depressed, anxious, discontent, and unwell. You’re sick of the expensive and ineffective treatments. You’re fed up with relinquishing the power over your health and happiness to psychologists and doctors. You’d like to grow, flourish, and thrive, putting the past in the past. You want to be your best, living a life that is filled with peacefulness, joy, and fulfillment, from day to day and moment to moment. With Tapping, you can do that. You can discover the vital secret for emotional wholeness and physical relief. You can take your physical and emotional well-being into your own hands. It’s simple for anyone to master, and it’s free. Tapping provides relief from chronic pain, emotional problems, disorders, addictions, phobias, post traumatic stress disorder, and physical diseases. While Tapping is newly set to revolutionize the field of health and wellness, the healing concepts that it’s based upon have been in practice in Eastern medicine for over 5,000 years. Like acupuncture and acupressure, Tapping is a set of techniques which utilize the body’s energy meridian points. You can stimulate these meridian points by tapping on them with your fingertips – literally tapping into your body’s own energy and healing power. Your body is more powerful than you can imagine… filled with life, energy, and a compelling ability for self-healing. With Tapping, you can take control of that power.

So How Does It All Work?

All negative emotions are felt through a disruption of the body’s energy. And physical pain and disease are intricately connected to negative emotions. Health problems create feedback – physical symptoms cause emotional distress, and unresolved emotional problems manifest themselves through physical symptoms. So, the body’s health must be approached as a whole. You cannot treat the symptoms without addressing the cause, and vice-versa. The body, like everything in the universe, is composed of energy. Restore balance to the body’s energy, and you will mend the negative emotions and physical symptoms that stem from the energy disruption. Tapping restores the body’s energy balance, and negative emotions are conquered. The basic technique requires you to focus on the negative emotion at hand: a fear or anxiety, a bad memory, an unresolved problem, or anything that’s bothering you. While maintaining your mental focus on this issue, use your fingertips to tap 5-7 times each on 12 of the body’s meridian points. Tapping on these meridian points – while concentrating on accepting and resolving the negative emotion – will access your body’s energy, restoring it to a balanced state. You may be wondering about these meridians. Put simply, energy circulates through your body along a specific network of channels. You can tap into this energy at any point along the system. This concept comes from the doctrines of traditional Chinese medicine, which referred to the body’s energy as “ch’i.” In ancient times, the Chinese discovered 100 meridian points. They also discovered that by stimulating these meridian points, they could heal. Call it energy, call it the Source, call it life force, call it ch’i… Whatever you want to call it, it works. In some ways, Tapping is similar to acupuncture. Like Tapping, acupuncture achieves healing through stimulating the body’s meridians and energy flow. However, unlike Tapping, acupuncture involves needles! “No needles” is definitely one of the advantages of Tapping. Acupuncture also takes years to master. Acupuncture practitioners must memorize hundreds of meridian points along the body; the knowledge and training take years to acquire. Tapping is simple and painless. It can be learned by anyone. And you can apply it to yourself, whenever you want, wherever you are. It’s less expensive and less time consuming. It can be used with specific emotional intent towards your own unique life challenges and experiences. Most importantly, it gives you the power to heal yourself, putting control over your destiny back into your own hands.

The Science Behind Tapping’s Success

Like many healing arts that draw upon ancient wisdom, Tapping has been met with a fair share of skepticism. Many doctors and psychologists have been quick to dismiss it as “woo woo”, despite the heaping anecdotal evidence from practitioners and people who have used EFT on their own. In recent years however, there’s been a growing pool of undeniable research that proves what millions of people the world over have known for some time now: that EFT produces real, lasting breakthroughs and significantly improves or even eliminates conditions that hospital treatments, medication and years of psychotherapy often fail to adequately deal with. Studies done at no less than Harvard Medical School verify these assertions. Research done at the prestigious university during the last decade found that the brain’s stress and fear response – which is controlled by an almond-shaped part of your brain called the amygdala – could be lessened by stimulating the meridian points used in acupuncture, acupressure, and of course, tapping. Although these studies focused on acupuncture and as such, used needles, follow-up double-blind research revealed that stimulating the points through pressure, as we do in tapping, gave rise to a similar response! Another exciting set of research was undertaken by Dr. Dawson Church. His team performed a randomized controlled trial to study how an hour-long tapping session would impact the stress levels of 83 subjects. To do this, Dr. Church and his team measured their level of cortisol, a hormone secreted by the body when it undergoes stress. Their findings? The average level of cortisol reduction was 24%, with a whopping reduction of almost 50% in some subjects! In comparison, there was no significant cortisol reduction in those who underwent an hour of traditional talk therapy. Dr. Church also created The Stress Project, which teaches tapping to war veterans suffering with PTSD. The results have been astounding: an average 63% decrease in PTSD symptoms after six rounds of tapping. It’s mind-blowing and exciting research, which has converted many non-believers in the scientific community along the way. All signs indicate that this trend of revealing research and swayed skeptics will continue as millions of people around the globe continue to discover the power of tapping.

The History of Tapping: An Accidental Discovery Leads to a Healing Revolution

It began in 1980, with a psychologist by the name of Roger Callahan, and a patient with an extreme phobia of water. Mary’s fear of water controlled her life and kept her from daily activities. She was unable to take her children to the beach and was unable to drive near the ocean; she grew fearful when it rained, and could not even withstand the sight of water on TV. She had vivid nightmares involving water. Dr. Callahan and Mary had been working on this problem together for over a year. Finally, Mary worked up the courage to sit within sight of the pool at Dr. Callahan’s house. Even doing this caused Mary extreme distress, and though she found ways to cope with the intense fear and emotional pain, she did not overcome her phobia. They discussed her problem, and how to overcome it, but without success. Her fear of being near the water caused Mary stomach pains – a common “gut reaction.” Dr. Callahan had recently been studying traditional Chinese medicines, and learning about meridians. Suddenly he had an inspiration. Remembering that there was an acupuncture point for the stomach meridian on the cheekbone, he asked her to tap there, thinking it might cure her stomach pains. Mary tapped her cheekbone as directed, and this little action changed medicinal history! The response seemed miraculous, to both Mary and Dr. Callahan. Her stomach pains disappeared. But even more amazingly, her phobia of water disappeared, too! She ran down to the pool and began splashing herself with water, rejoicing in her newfound freedom from fear. Based on this discovery, Dr. Callahan began a series of investigations to develop and refine this technique, which he termed Thought Field Therapy. Gary Craig trained under Dr. Callahan’s tutelage in the 1990’s, learning the procedures for TFT. As time passed, Craig began to observe some problems with TFT, aspects that he saw were unnecessary complications. TFT required practitioners to tap on a specific sequence of meridians (called an algorithm) for each different problem. Diagnosing the problem required a technique called muscle testing, wherein the practitioner would measure the relative strength of a muscle, while the patient explored various thoughts or statements. Craig observed repeated scenarios in which the problem was incorrectly diagnosed or the practitioner tapped out the meridian points in the wrong order, yet the patient was still helped.. Based on these observations, he concluded that it did not matter in which order the meridian points were tapped. Craig developed EFT as a simplified, improved version of the concepts behind Callahan’s TFT. EFT has one basic, simple sequence of points to tap, no matter what the situation. Because of this, thousands of people have used Tapping for illnesses and to resolve emotional problems. Tapping practitioners have studied the techniques and trained to take on more complicated and difficult cases, and these dedicated practitioners report more successful applications daily. More and more people are discovering and exploring Tapping. Many are discovering how Tapping can change their lives.

Introduction to The Tapping Points

Basic Tapping Sequence for Anxiety

As discussed, Tapping can be used for everything – try it on everything! In this example, we’ll focus on general anxiety.

Try it now with this initial sequence. Here’s how a basic Tapping sequence works:

  • Identify the problem you want to focus on. It can be general anxiety, or it can be a specific situation or issue which causes you to feel anxious.
  • Consider the problem or situation. How do you feel about it right now? Rate the intensity level of your anxiety, with zero being the lowest level of anxiety and ten being the highest.
  • Compose your set up statement. Your set up statement should acknowledge the problem you want to deal with, then follow it with an unconditional affirmation of yourself as a person.

“Even though I feel this anxiety, I deeply and completely accept myself.”
“Even though I’m anxious about my interview, I deeply and completely accept myself.”
“Even though I’m feeling this anxiety about my financial situation, I deeply and completely accept myself.”
“Even though I panic when I think about ______, I deeply and completely accept myself. ”
“Even though I’m worried about how to approach my boss, I deeply and completely accept myself.”
“Even though I’m having trouble breathing, I deeply and completely accept myself.”

  • Perform the set up.

With four fingers on one hand, tap the Karate Chop point on your other hand. The Karate Chop point is on the outer edge of the hand, on the opposite side from the thumb.

Repeat the set up statement three times aloud, while simultaneously tapping the Karate Chop point. Now take a deep breath!

Get ready to begin tapping! Here are some tips to help you achieve the right technique.

  • You should use a firm but gentle pressure, as if you were drumming on the side of your desk or testing a melon for ripeness.
  • You can use all four fingers, or just the first two (the index and middle fingers). Four fingers are generally used on the top of the head, the collarbone, under the arm… wider areas. On sensitive areas, like around the eyes, you can use just two.
  • Tap with your fingertips, not your fingernails. The sound will be round and mellow.
  • The tapping order begins at the top and works down. You can end by returning to the top of the head, to complete the loop.

Now, tap 5-7 times each on the remaining eight points in the following sequence:

Tapping Chart & Tapping Points

Head (TH)

The crown, center and top of the head. Tap with all four fingers on both hands.

Eyebrow (EB)

The inner edges of the eyebrows, closest to the bridge of the nose. Use two fingers.

Side of eye (SE)

The hard area between the eye and the temple. Use two fingers. Feel out this area gently so you don’t poke yourself in the eye!

Under eye (UE)

The hard area under the eye, that merges with the cheekbone. Use two fingers, in line beneath the pupil.

Under nose (UN)

The point centered between the bottom of the nose and the upper lip. Use two fingers.

Chin (CP)

This point is right beneath the previous one, and is centered between the bottom of the lower lip and the chin.

Collarbone (CB)

Tap just below the hard ridge of your collarbone with four fingers.

Underarm (UA)

On your side, about four inches beneath the armpit. Use four fingers.

Head (TH)

And back where you started, to complete the sequence.

As you tap on each point, repeat a simple reminder phrase, such as “my anxiety” or “my interview” or “my financial situation.”

Now take another deep breath!

  • Now that you’ve completed the sequence, focus on your problem again. How intense is the anxiety now, in comparison to a few minutes ago? Give it a rating on the same number scale.
  • If your anxiety is still higher than “2”, you can do another round of tapping. Keep tapping until the anxiety is gone. You can change your set up statement to take into account your efforts to fix the problem, and your desire for continued progress. “Even though I have some remaining anxiety, I deeply and completely accept myself.” “Even though I’m still a little worried about this interview, I deeply and completely accept myself.” And so on.
  • Now that you’ve focused on dispelling your immediate anxiety, you can work on installing some positive feelings instead.

Note: This approach is different from traditional “positive thinking.” You’re not being dishonest with yourself. You’re not trying to obscure the stress and anxiety inside yourself with a veneer of insincere affirmations. Rather, you’ve confronted and dealt with the anxiety and negative feelings, offering deep and complete acceptance to both your feelings and your self. Now, you’re turning your thoughts and vibrations to the powerful and positive. That’s what makes Tapping so much more effective than the “positive thinking” techniques that many of you have already tried. It’s not just a mental trick; instead, you’re using these positive phrases and tapping to tune into the very real energy of positivity, affirmation, and joy that is implicit inside you. You’re actually changing your body’s energy into a more positive flow, a more positive vibration.

Here are some example phrases to guide you:

“I have faith in my ability to change.”
“I am joyful about these positive changes.”
“I am accomplishing so much.”
“I enjoy the calm and peace that I have.”
“I love the person that I am.”
“I am becoming a more relaxed and joyful person.”

You can use these positive phrases with the same tapping points and sequences described above.

Congratulations! You’ve completed your first Tapping sequence.

For more information on Tapping, make sure to fill out the form at the top or bottom of this page to receive the first 2 chapters of Nick Ortner’s new book “The Tapping Solution: A Revolutionary System for Stress-Free Living.”


How to do the EFT Tapping Basics – The Basic Recipe
The Basic Tapping Procedure – The Centerpiece of EFT
The EFT Tapping Basic Recipe is an easy to use healing tool that provides the very foundation for expanding your emotional freedom. It is the tapping procedure that we use in every round of EFT … it is easy to learn and easy to apply, which is why EFT has become well known as a tool that anyone can use. By itself, the EFT Tapping Basic Recipe can be applied to any issue you want, and although it is still only the first step to EFT’s full potential, it continues to provide results that range from encouraging to impressive. The rest of the benefits come when you learn how to aim the tapping procedure at the best targets, but you will need to know the basics before learning the rest, so let’s get started!

EFT Basic Recipe cake
A recipe, of course, has certain ingredients which must be added in a certain order. If you are baking a cake, for example, you must use sugar instead of pepper and you must add the sugar before you put it in the oven.

Otherwise….no cake.

The EFT Basic Recipe is no exception. Each ingredient must be introduced precisely as described and they must be added in the proper order.

Although I am going to some length to describe it in detail, The EFT Tapping Basic Recipe has only 5 brief steps (ingredients) and takes very little effort to learn. Once memorized, each round of it can be performed in about 30 seconds. It will take some practice, of course, but after a few tries the whole process becomes familiar and you can do it in your sleep (millions have done this, including children). You will then have a permanent tool that you can use for a lifetime.

Remember our Discovery Statement?

“The cause of all negative emotions is a disruption in the body’s energy system.”

EFT Basic Recipe uses
It follows, then, that energy disruptions are the reason we have any kind of emotional issue like grief, anger, guilt, depression, trauma, and fear. Since both physical and performance issues often have emotional roots, it also follows that clearing energy disruptions can be useful for those as well.

Once we find those energy disruptions, we use the tapping process to correct them. The EFT Tapping Basic Recipe blends focused wording with a 9 point Tapping sequence. The focused wording tunes us in to the issue and this, in turn, points us to the energy disruptions (zzzzzts) that we need to address.

This wording is an essential part of the process because it tells our system what we are working on. Negative emotions come about because we are tuned into certain thoughts or circumstances which, in turn, cause our energy systems to disrupt. Otherwise, we function normally. One’s fear of heights is not present, for example, while one is reading the comic section of the Sunday newspaper (and therefore not tuned in to the problem).

Once tuned into the issue, the Tapping stimulates the energy pathways thereby balancing the resulting energy disruptions (zzzzzts). Also, for clarification, the points we use are at or near the end points of the energy pathways (meridians and vessels) … OR … at points along these pathways that are close to the body’s surface.

You may be aware that acupuncturists study and use over 300 meridian points on the body instead of the mere handful that are used by the EFT Tapping process. Further, unlike EFT, acupuncturists associate each of the energy pathways with body organs (kidney, stomach, spleen, etc.) and emotions (anger, fear, sadness, etc.). We are not denying the validity of this approach but we are ignoring it. EFT Tapping represents a different use of these pathways that allows someone with no formal training in Chinese medicine to realign disruptions on their own with a simple process.

You may learn the intricacies of the Chinese meridian system if you wish, but this knowledge is not necessary to generate first class results with EFT. In practice, the 12 meridians and 2 governing vessels are interconnected and thus sending balancing energy down one pathway influences other pathways. That is why we usually need to address only a few pathways to get the job done.

Before I demonstrate The EFT Tapping Basic Recipe on a video, let’s (1) take a look at the Tapping Points, (2) set the stage with some useful Tapping Tips and (3) review the 5 Steps in The EFT Tapping Basic Recipe.

The EFT Tapping Points
These illustrations, together with the written aids below them, are self-explanatory and are explored in detail later (including videos). For now, just locate each of these points on your own body and touch each of them with your fingertips.

Written aids to locating the EFT Basic recipe Tapping Points
KC: The Karate Chop point (abbreviated KC) is located at the center of the fleshy part of the outside of your hand (either hand) between the top of the wrist and the base of the baby finger or….stated differently….the part of your hand you would use to deliver a karate chop.

TOH: On the top of the head. If you were to draw a line from one ear, over the head, to the other ear, and another line from your nose to the back of your neck, the TOH point is where those two lines would intersect.

EB: At the beginning of the eyebrow, just above and to one side of the nose. This point is abbreviated EB for beginning of the EyeBrow.

SE: On the bone bordering the outside corner of the eye. This point is abbreviated SE for Side of the Eye.

UE: On the bone under an eye about 1 inch below your pupil. This point is abbreviated UE for Under the Eye.

UN: On the small area between the bottom of your nose and the top of your upper lip. This point is abbreviated UN for Under the Nose.

Ch: Midway between the point of your chin and the bottom of your lower lip. Even though it is not directly on the point of the chin, we call it the chin point because it is descriptive enough for people to understand easily. This point is abbreviated Ch for Chin.

CB: The junction where the sternum (breastbone), collarbone and the first rib meet. To locate it, first place your forefinger on the U-shaped notch at the top of the breastbone (about where a man would knot his tie). From the bottom of the U, move your forefinger down toward the navel 1 inch and then go to the left (or right) 1 inch. This point is abbreviated CB for CollarBone even though it is not on the collarbone (or clavicle) per se. It is at the beginning of the collarbone and we call it the collarbone point because that is a lot easier to say than “the junction where the sternum (breastbone), collarbone and the first rib meet.”

UA: On the side of the body, at a point even with the nipple (for men) or in the middle of the bra strap (for women). It is about 4 inches below the armpit. This point is abbreviated UA for Under the Arm.

Tapping Tips
These tips answer the most common questions.

Some of the Tapping points have twin points on each side of the body. For example, the “eyebrow” point on the right side of the body has a twin point on the left side of the body. Years of experience have taught us that you only need to tap one of these twin points. However, if you have both hands free you can certainly tap on both sides for good measure.

You can also switch sides when you tap these points. For example, during the same round of The EFT Tapping Basic Recipe, you can tap the “karate chop” point on your left hand and the eyebrow point on the right side of your body. This makes the Tapping process more convenient to perform.

The Tapping is done with two or more fingertips. This is so you can cover a larger area and thereby insure that your Tapping covers the correct point.

While you can tap with the fingertips of either hand, most people use their dominant hand. For example, right handed people tap with the fingertips of their right hand while left handed people tap with the fingertips of their left hand.

You tap approximately 5 times on each point. No need to count the taps because anywhere between 3 and 7 taps on each point is adequate. The only exception is during the Setup step (explained later) where the Karate Chop Point is tapped continuously while you repeat some standard wording.

The process is easily memorized. After you have tapped the Karate Chop Point, the rest of the points go down the body (see the Sequence Points in the diagram above). The Eyebrow point, for example, is below the Top of the Head point. The Side of the Eye point is below the Eyebrow point. And so on down the body.

The 5 Steps of The EFT Tapping Basic Recipe
These simple steps are also given in the video below. For now, just familiarize yourself with the concepts. The video will walk you through this Tapping process so you can memorize it easily.

1. Identify the Issue:
All you do here is make a mental note of what ails you. This becomes the target at which you “aim” the EFT Tapping Basic Recipe. Examples might be: Sore shoulder, my father embarrassing me at my age 8 birthday party or hitting that high singing note. Be sure you are only targeting one issue at a time. As you will learn later, trying to combine issues in the process will compromise your results.

2. Test the Initial Intensity:
Here you establish a before level of the issue’s intensity by assigning a number to it on a 0-10 scale where 10 is the worst the issue has ever been and 0 is no problem whatsoever. This serves as a benchmark so we can compare our progress after each round of The EFT Tapping Basic Recipe. If, for example, we start at an 8 and eventually reach a 4, then we know we have achieved a 50% improvement. The number of possible issues we can address with The EFT Tapping Basic Recipe is endless and they don’t all fit into neat testing boxes. That is why we have an entire segment later on dedicated to Testing Your EFT Tapping Work. For this stage of your learning, however, here are some useful methods to help you access your issue(s) and arrive at your 0-10 numbers. They apply to most issues.

For emotional issues, you can recreate the memories in your mind and assess their discomforts.
For physical ailments you can simply assess the existing pain or discomfort.
For performance issues you can attempt the desired performance level and measure how close you come to it.
3. The Setup:
The Setup is a process we use to start each round of Tapping. By designing a simple phrase and saying it while continuously Tapping the KC point, you let your system know what you’re trying to address.

When designing this phrase there are two goals to achieve:

1) acknowledge the problem
2) accept yourself in spite of it

We do this by saying:

“Even though I have this _______________, I deeply and completely accept myself”.

The blank above represents the problem you want to address, so you can just insert things like:
This sore shoulder:
“Even though I have this sore shoulder, I deeply and completely accept myself.”

This fear of spiders:
“Even though I have this fear of spiders, I deeply and completely accept myself.”

This humiliation at my eighth grade graduation:
“Even though I have this humiliation at my eighth grade graduation, I deeply and completely accept myself.”

This difficulty making free throws:
“Even though I have this difficulty making free throws, I deeply and completely accept myself.”

Not all of the issues will fit neatly into “Even though I have this ____________,” so you can use some flexibility when designing your Setup phrase. For example, instead of “this sore shoulder” you could say “Even though my shoulder hurts, I deeply and completely accept myself”. Or instead of “this humiliation at my eighth grade graduation” you could say “Even though my dad humiliated me at my eighth grade graduation.”

By using “Even though I have this _______________,” you will automatically choose something that represents your experience, your reaction, or a problem that you recognize as something that belongs to you, and that is an important feature.

We do not want to use EFT on someone else’s problem. For example, rather than, “Even though my son is addicted to drugs, I deeply and completely accept myself,” it’s better to focus on your own reaction which might be, “Even though I’m frustrated by my son’s drug addiction.” Or instead of “Even though my husband works too much…,” better to try something like, “Even though I feel alone when my husband stays late at the office…” We want to aim EFT at our part of the problem rather than trying to fix someone else’s problem.

By identifying the problem with this phrase, you “set up” the initial zzzzzt behind the scenes so the Tapping has something to resolve.

Important, Important, Important:
The language that we use always aims at the negative. This is essential because it is the negative that creates the energy disruptions (zzzzzts) that The EFT Tapping Basic Recipe clears (and thus brings peace to the system). By contrast, conventional methods and popular self-help books stress positive thinking and preach avoiding the negative. This sounds good but, for our purposes, it does little more than cover over the negative with pleasant sounding words. EFT, on the other hand, needs to aim at the negative so it can be neutralized. This allows our natural positives to bubble up to the top.

4. The Sequence:
This is the workhorse part of The EFT Tapping Basic Recipe that stimulates/balances the body’s energy pathways. To perform it, you tap each of the points shown in the Sequence Points diagram (see above) while saying a Reminder Phrase that keeps your system tuned into the issue. I list the points below followed by a description of the Reminder Phrase:

Top of the Head (TOH)
Beginning of the Eyebrow (EB)
Side of the Eye (SE)
Under the Eye (UE)
Under the Nose (UN)
Chin Point (CH)
Beginning of the Collarbone (CB)
Under the Arm (UA)

The Reminder Phrase is quite simple as you need only identify the issue with some brief wording. Depending on your issue, you might say the following at each tapping point….

“This sore shoulder”,
“My father embarrassed me”,
“This difficulty in singing that high note.”
5. Test the Intensity Again:
Finally, you establish an “after” level of the issue’s intensity by assigning a number to it on a 0-10 scale. You compare this with the before level to see how much progress you have made. If you are not down to zero then repeat the process until you either achieve zero or plateau at some level. You can also include some additional Tapping points that will be introduced in the next section of this article. Otherwise, you will likely need to “get to the roots of the issue” (see Intro to Part II of The Gold Standard EFT Tutorial).

Now follow along with this video as I demonstrate The EFT Tapping Basic Recipe live. It assumes you have familiarized yourself with the Tapping Points, Tapping Tips and the 5 Steps to the EFT Tapping Basic Recipe given above. Accordingly, you may want to review them again before proceeding with the video.





EFT Tapping for Stroke Rehabilitation Regains Hand Movement

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By Karen Stock

My father had a double stroke but recovered very fast. However, his right index and middle finger stayed stiff a year and a half later.

His whole hand was cramped and did not work well. After months of conventional therapy his fingers stayed that way. He either found it very difficult to do things with his right hand or could not do things at all.

While I was visiting with my parents recently, I decided to see if EFT could do something for these two fingers and his hand.

These are the EFT(Emotional Freedom Tapping) Tapping set-up phrases that I used. I tapped full rounds on all points with the same sentence. He followed me along while tapping on himself.

We tapped:

Even though my entire hand has been affected by this stroke, I declare that my whole hand is healthy again, as I deeply and completely accept myself.

Nothing happened.

We tapped:

Even though these two right fingers are stiff from the stroke, I declare that they are healthy again, as I deeply and completely accept myself.

Both fingers began to show movement.

We tapped:

Even though my right index finger is stiff, I declare that it is bending again, as I deeply and completely accept myself.

While tapping with this phrase, all of a sudden both fingers changed in color, look and movement. It happened so fast that I don’t remember which point we were tapping. I caught it out of the sides of my eyes. My father did not notice it at all.

We stopped and checked his fingers.

They were now bending down all the way into his hand. Before they were whitish in color and looked a bit crooked. This had changed now to the normal pink flesh color and both fingers had straightened out to their normal shape. He also had full movement in the first joints of both fingers now.

We were both completely astounded.

We kept tapping:

Even though both of these fingers have been stiff since the stroke, they are now fully mobile, as I deeply and completely accept myself.

Both fingers did not bend down as much this time. We stopped for the night.

The next morning, both fingers remained improved. The pink flesh color, the mobility in the first joints and the normal shape had not changed.

However, both fingers were a bit stiffer and did not bend down all the way into his hand.

The following days we kept tapping a few rounds on the stiffness and mobility of both fingers. They would always improve a bit more right when we did the tapping.

But the next day they went back to being a bit stiffer again.

Then I went away for a few days. While I was away, he discovered and enjoyed all kinds of new found freedoms and possibilities using his right hand with the improved mobility of both fingers again.

Six days later, we achieved more success.

We tapped:

Even though both of these fingers on my right hand have been stiff since the stroke, they are now more mobile, as I deeply and completely accept myself.

Both fingers were more mobile and were bending down further.

We tapped:

Even though both of these fingers on my right hand have been stiff since the stroke, they are now healthy and fully mobile again, as I deeply and completely accept myself.

Both fingers were fully bending down into the hand again. My father complained about a pain in the middle joint of his right index finger.

We tapped:

Even though I have this pain in my middle joint of the right index finger, the pain goes away again, as I deeply and completely accept myself.

The pain disappeared and both fingers were fully bending again. He then made a full closed fist for the first time since the stroke and had no recollection that his hand had ever been any different.

I had to explain to him how his hand had just been a few seconds ago.

He looked at me puzzled and I had to explain it again. Then he regained his memory of how his hand had been since the stroke. He said, “Oh, yes, you are right” and he looked totally surprised.

Again, he discovered and enjoyed all kinds of newfound freedoms and possibilities using his right hand with the improved mobility of both fingers again.

I went away for a week. When I came back the pattern had been that every morning both of his fingers were a bit stiffer and with some exercises he could always bend them down to almost all the way into his fist.

His small finger on his right hand has had a sinew shortening. The finger has been bent for a long time.

A few years ago he tried to get it fixed through surgery. But the surgery made it worse and the small finger was not lying on its side into his right hand. So, we did some tapping on this.

We tapped:

Even though my small finger on my right hand is bent over, it can be straight again, as I deeply and completely accept myself.

After a few rounds of tapping the little right finger moved out of his hand and stood up straight with the bend. My father had no recollection that the small finger was lying into his hand before that. Again after I told him how the finger was before he remembered.

We tapped for two more rounds but the finger stayed the same. One week later I tapped with him again on the overall improvement of his right hand.

We tapped:

Even though my entire right hand has been affected by the stroke, I declare that it is fully healthy again, as I deeply and completely accept myself.

Then all of the sudden – in a flash of a second – his entire right hand widened and relaxed. Much more of the cramping was gone.

Again he did not notice the improvement but this time recognized it right away when I explained it to him. Then we proceeded on tapping for the improvement of his small right finger again.

We tapped:

Even though my right small finger is bent, it is straightening out now, as I deeply and completely accept myself.

All of a sudden he was able to move his small right finger sideways again out of the socket of his hand. This made all the difference in holding cups again. With all the hand improvements my mother trusted him to dry the dishes once more.

Two days later while tapping again on the overall improvement of his right hand it improved in its overall flexibility again.

We also discovered a nice additional side effect.

The occasional drooling from the right side of his mouth stopped as well. This was one of the next items on the agenda to tap on but there was no need for that anymore.

His social confidence went way up without the drooling and being able to hold cups properly. He enjoyed all visits without any additional help for eating and drinking any more.

After six months his hand stayed improved. He said it could use some more EFT to work on the finer motor skills.


Source: EFT Universe

Bilingual skills enhance stroke recovery, study finds

Bilingual skills enhance stroke recovery, study finds

StrokeImage copyrightSPL

Stroke patients are more likely to regain their cognitive functions if they speak more than one language, new research has found.

A study of 600 stroke victims found 40.5% who were multilingual had normal mental functions afterwards, compared to 19.6% who only speak one language.

The Edinburgh University study took into account smoking, high blood pressure, diabetes and age.

It worked with the Nizam Institute of Medical Sciences in India.

Cognitive impairment

The study was conducted in Hyderabad because its multi-cultural nature means many languages are commonly spoken.

The study, published in the American Heart Association journal Stroke, found “results support the notion of a protective role of bilingualism in the development of post-stroke cognitive impairment”.

It is the first time a study has been done looking at the relationship between the number of languages spoken and a patient’s cognitive outcome after stroke.

The paper said: “The percentage of patients with intact cognitive functions post-stroke was more than twice as high in bilinguals than in monolinguals.

“In contrast, patients with cognitive impairment were more common in monolinguals.”

Researchers believe the study, which was funded by the Indian Council of Medical Research, suggests the mental challenge of speaking multiple languages can boost cognitive reserve – an improved ability of the brain to cope with damaging influences such as stroke or dementia.

Co-author Thomas Bak, of the University of Edinburgh’s school of philosophy, psychology and language sciences, said: “Bilingualism makes people switch from one language to another, so while they inhibit one language, they have to activate another to communicate.

“This switching offers practically constant brain training which may be a factor in helping stroke patients recover.”


Source: BBC News

Do’s and Don’ts

TIPS   (the Do’s and Don’ts – in no particular order),

by Ciaran Dunne, stroke survivor.

Do's and Don'ts
1.I adapted the pursuit of my “3 P’s” – positivity, patience and perseverance. It is important that one maintains a positive outlook. This is because ABI patients learn to differentiate the mind from the brain and body. When the mind is negative the body follows accordingly. Brains can repair themselves through the power of positive thinking. Neuroplasticity demonstrates the remarkable adaptability of the human brain. It is important to embrace all that is positive in life be they people, challenges or situations. To do this one should make a genuine effort to get out of the house at least once each day, even if only for a short walk. Patience is huge. Expectations may initially be high but the reality, for most ABI victims, is that progress is extremely slow and therefore must be measured in months and years. Brain recovery is generally excruciatingly slow and frustrating. Retrospective comparisons with life before the ABI are very unhelpful and can lead to a depressive outlook. Instead, progress should be measured by comparison with life since the ABI. If one remains positive and patient the results of one’s perseverance will bear fruit. Progress for the first few years, especially in adults, is often significant initially and tapers off subsequently. However, through the process of neuroplasticity one can continue to challenge the brain to adapt to increasingly difficult circumstances. This undertaking of rigorous exercises (almost daily) takes extra effort and commitment but is rewarding, albeit slowly. A positive, motivated outlook, coupled with patience will reward those with the persistence and determination to continue their recovery.

2. Accept that depression is an almost inevitable consequence of an ABI. In fact depression is seen as a necessary step in the realisation of one’s predicament. Accepting and acknowledging depression can be difficult if one was reared in a sporting environment where the consensus was “have a few pints and you’ll snap out of it”. Depression feels like being in a dark hole from which it is very difficult to escape. It is important to give the body sufficient time to rest and grieve. Depression seems to be more frequent during the dark winter months or when one is off therapy. Anti depressants are often beneficial but their side effects can also have damaging consequences. Follow your doctor but try to wean off them when/if depressive symptoms subside. The SNRIs (anti depressants) act by increasing the levels of the neurotransmitters serotonin and noradrenaline in the brain. Spontaneous responses and/or emotions are not uncommon as the “moody” brain patiently rebuilds the circuitry required to keep these feelings in check. Try not to compare life with how it was before the injury. Instead compare it with how it was immediately after. Omega oils are particularly good at targeting neurological illnesses. I have always regarded these capsules as a daily way of massaging my injured brain. However, omega oils (and ginger) have blood thinning properties! A recent newspaper article described how a patient successfully used the support of family/friends, a good night’s sleep, yoga, exercise/walking and meditation to help climb out of the trough of depression.

3. Address the mental side of things. A disproportionate amount of time is devoted to physical rehabilitation relative to mental wellbeing. It is important to realise that all ABIs result in some damage to neuronal pathways which will therefore affect your personality no matter how indiscernible. A neuropsychiatric examination is essential if one is to maximise the physical/body recuperation. Occasional impulsive behaviour was bothersome particularly after I left REHAB. However, with patience and time the rewired circuitry has made me less responsive and more tactful. Rebuilding a pause is not easy. The cessation of hospitalisation can be stressful as one tries to manage without the constant support of healthcare staff.  Similarly the loss of independence can be daunting and emotional especially when one returns home. Inability to return to work can be crushing. Join a brain injury support group. Get professional assistance if you feel desperate.

4. Stress is highly destructive. Dr Aswad has indicated that stress can alter neurological symptoms after a stroke. Research at Princeton (Jacobs et al) has shown that stress is the greatest precipitor of depression. It may feel like a catch 22 situation with one feeding the other. Prof Bertalanffy is convinced that stress is the primary causative factor in the onset of cavernoma bleeds and re bleeds. From my experience his opinion is widely shared by the cavernoma community. His R&D team is currently actively researching this matter. The effect of stress is not only limited to the onset of the actual symptom(s) but also to the negative role it plays in recovery. For me the most immediate and significant effect of stress was unstable/wobbly balance (vertigo) and blurred vision. Stressful thoughts including anger, frustration and anxiety caused numbing of the affected limbs (progressively leading to deadening – setbacks/relapses), impaired hearing, facial twitching, increased muscle tone, headaches sometimes severe especially in the right temporal lobe, darting pains in vicinity of brainstem, intracranial pressure, heart palpitations, grating pain in right hip, piercing darts at back of right knee, fatigue etc. The onset of symptoms may be instant but the side effects can last for hours, days or even months. Setbacks/relapses can undo the neurological progress made with touch, grip and balance receptors. Stress management is critical to those patients hoping to recover from an ABI. Stress devours energy leaving one depleted. Stress suppression and expression are both potentially harmful. Avoidance of stressful situations (arguments, differences of opinion, upsetting ideas etc) with people becomes the primary solution if one’s recovery is to remain on a positive curve. Over sensory stimulation (distance and night driving, excessive background noise, concentration and/or eye strain reading/writing etc.) has a similar but significantly reduced effect as psychological stress. Over physical exertion may have side effects but they are usually fleeting unless one is already compromised.

5. Abstain from alcohol if cannot permanently restrict it to two units per social night. Alcohol consumption kills neurons in the cerebellum which coordinates movement (staggering drunks!). For ABI victims the effects of alcohol not only include a worsening of coordination but alcohol also inhibits several medications, exerts a strong depressive effect, weakens the immune system and has a dehydrating effect depleting the body of valuable energy reserves. Alcohol can be seductive. Its alluring qualities can override one’s best judgement. For ABIs one learns that some indulgences have a physiological price. Manage it or give it up.

6. Exercise daily. Walk outdoors and perform home exercises every weekday. Give your body a rest at weekends (or more often if necessary). Maintenance of aerobic fitness is essential for everyday life. Wii fitness is now a popular way of exercising indoors.

7. Listen to your body for signs of fatigue, exhaustion and “over doing it”. I used the increasing aggravation of tinnitus to call a halt to exercising but other indicators such as the onset of headaches, temporal throbbing, breathing difficulties, sensory overload, perspiration etc indicate that the body has had enough and needs to rest. I now use the symptoms of vertigo as a daily indicator of general wellbeing and my ability to (or not) engage in exercise. Pace yourself. Use gentle exercises and avoid strenuous workouts/weight lifting. This identification of your energy threshold is arguably the most important challenge for ABI patients as it requires much trial and error type scenarios. Knowledge of your energy tolerance is critical to determining what your body is now able to achieve. The battle between what your mind wants to do and what your body can do is constant. Enhanced understanding of one’s limitations may lead to a better undertaking of daily tasks.

8. Join a gym, health club etc. One can improve aerobic fitness by swimming, treadmills, exercise bikes, rowing machines and walking etc. Weights and appropriate exercise machines can be used, very slowly and gently, to build up one’s muscular strength. However, from my experience, by far the greatest improvements can be achieved through focussing on one’s core region which promotes stability, equilibrium, complete body strength, resistance and flexibility.

9. Perform exercises in the water. The buoyancy and support provided by water considerably reduces the pain associated with floor exercises. If required use the sides, steps, rails, inflatables to perform exercises safely. Be warned, you may look like a wally! People may have looked at me as if I was odd but having damaged my left hemisphere, in which the ego centre resides, meant that I was largely indifferent to their disapproval.

10. Eat a healthy diet and if suffering from a stroke lower your body weight to reduce the load carried by your unaffected hip/leg.

11. Exercise in the morning when your energy levels are greatest. Ensure that you eat a good breakfast with slow energy releasing foods such as oats, bananas, porridge, cereal, fruit etc. Keep the afternoon for less strenuous exercises eg. mental, arm, fingers etc. Take naps during the morning and afternoon and relax in the evening. Try to keep your eating in proportion to your subsequent energy demands. Therefore eat more in the earlier part of the day and try to avoid snacking at night.

12. Eat foods containing tryptophan – banana, yogurt/milk, turkey, meat to increase levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin promotes wellbeing and the feel good factor and is also known as the “happiness hormone” despite not being a hormone. The receptors for serotonin – 5HT are located on the paphe nuclei along the entire length of the brainstem. These foods can also be used to promote sleep. Vitamin B6 improves conversion of tryptophan to serotonin. Nerve cells are sensitive to citrus fruits, coffee, alcohol and excess salt. Employ multivitamins, tonics post ABI to increase and/or maintain your levels of essential metabolites. B complex vitamins are good for energy restoration and the nervous system. Glucosamine/chondroitin strengthens joints. Bob Casey (a professional rugby player with London Irish) writes a weekly column in the Irish Times. The similarity of our respective supplement intakes was remarkable. However I continue to give green tea (boosts energy) a miss!

13. Savour sunshine in moderation to improve one’s mood by stimulating serotonin release, increase vitamin D levels and the welcome inflow of fresh air. It is probably no coincidence that sun tanned people often feel good about themselves. I now relish opportunities to sit in the back garden enjoying the sun. Since coming home from the NRH I have begun to watch out for smiling sun symbols on the evening weather forecast. Being greeted by the bright glow of an invigorating sunrise is a good start to the morning.

14. Keep a daily diary – monitor your progress. Dr Delanty encouraged me to keep daily diaries (6 now) since relapse in Oct 08. They detail everything from medication, doses, symptom onset, energy levels, mood, stress, balance, exercises undertaken, vertigo, rest taken, types of headaches etc. By reviewing my diaries in detail I was able to retrospectively assign the numerous, detrimental side effects of different medications/dosage. An additional bonus was helping me to learn and maintain writing with my left hand.

15. Take breaks/holidays whenever feasible. Hotels with a pool and providing full board with a nearby beach/promenade to facilitate exercise/walking are ideal. I enjoyed our family sun holidays in Lanzarote and Belmadena during the summers of 09 and 10. I also took a very beneficial retreat in Cloona, Westport in August 09. This break introduced me to the benefits of raw, vegetarian food and yoga. It was here that I adapted my positive statement “I have the power to heal and be happy”. I employ a brief yoga session every morning to (try to) reinvigorate the mind and body.

16. Static balance is best improved by a combination of balance and core exercises. I increased the degree of difficulty for balance exercises by performing them with my feet closed, barefoot, on a balance foam pad (akin to standing on a wobbly mattress), with eyes closed, on a wobble board and by searching google for advanced board exercises. Dr Duffy indicated that whereas imbalance was primarily symmetrical on wobble boards it was more random and therefore better on foam pads. With balance exercises it is especially important to ensure safety is maintained throughout.

17. Dynamic (mobile) balance is more difficult to achieve indoors. Walking, treadmills (slow), cross country skiing exercise machines (without hands), threading water (chest high) in pool/beach, foam pads and wobble boards can be helpful. Hard beach sand is arguably the safest surface for one’s initial dynamic walking exercises. I found the wild isolation of the beach on the North Bull Island to be particularly refreshing. I discovered, from walking on pavements, that small paving slabs and freshly laid tarmac provided a safer (better grip) walking surface than large slabs, cobblestones or cement. After early morning school runs I regularly walked (and rested) around the tranquil pavement of Blessington Street Basin in the heart of Dublin City centre. Videos on You Tube demonstrating these exercises are especially helpful. One could start by searching under “stroke rehab”.

18. Keep your friends informed of developments. What amazed me most was the goodwill and generosity of people towards me and the family when the ABI struck. Many wonderful people have nurtured my health. I am very grateful for all the kindness we have received. It is very important for one’s own mental wellbeing and therefore recovery that one makes every effort to meet positive, amusing people on a regular basis. Fortunately, my friends were hugely supportive, tactful yet non intrusive. Every day that I received a message (text, e mail, letter, card, present etc) reinforced who I was before the ABI. The power of this unconditional support gave me the courage to face the challenges of recovery. Unintentionally, I also became a welcome recepient for jokes etc. Well intentioned but negative/stressful people can drain the little energy you have. To minimise stress and physical inconvenience I chose not to answer landline phone calls and unexpected rings on the door. Instead, advanced texting/ e mail have become my modus operandi.

19. Honour the healing power of sleep. Respect the brain’s need for plenty of rest. The need for regular periods of rest cannot be over emphasised. One often is not aware of the level of exhaustion until a bed rest is taken. My appreciation of the importance of rest is greater now than ever.  Bed rest during the day, without sleep, is often just as satisfactory providing one’s eyes are closed to sensory stimuli. Sleep is very important as it allows fatigue to abate and renews both alertness and energy levels which are necessary to tackle each day. The consequences of a poor night’s sleep are a very significant deflation of both mental and physical functions. Medication including natural herbal remedies, tryptophan rich foods and moderate mental stimulation such as reading can all assist this important process. If I can’t fall asleep at night then I consciously loosen my jaw and then proceed to pass out. I try to avoid going to bed until I am sufficiently tired to do so and have made sure to get up early, where possible, to prevent the harmful effects of rumination. This dwelling on negative thoughts is stressful and can deflate mood. Internal verbal analysis is not ideal behaviour and for the sake of one’s mental health it is important to keep these negative thoughts in check.

20. Make sure to seek a second opinion on your cavernoma(s), especially if symptomatic. This is imperative. It is advisable to store your MRI scans on disc to facilitate proper assessment by a recognised neurosurgeon. Gradient echo MRIs provide the best resolution for cavernoma diagnosis. Gadolinium dye injection can be used to enhance MRI contrast. International experts and local/national neurosurgeons can provide second opinions. Submission of the E112 application may allow overseas financial assistance within the European Union. While MRIs remain the gold standard for cavernoma definition CT scans remain the best at detecting bleeds. For those patients with a history of cavernoma bleeds and neurological deficits of unknown cause and who require monitoring CT scans may also be considered.

21. Because of the trauma of an ABI the patient’s brain circuitry is rewired. This means that the patient will have (whether he/she likes it or not) a shifted perception of the world with different likes, dislikes and interests. Damage to either or both hemispheres can result in a conflict between what we think (left) and what we feel (right). I like to think of the left mind governing our work, researcher, judging and masculine thoughts whereas the right hemisphere regulates our holiday, diplomatic, perceiving and feminine minds. In my case the left hemisphere was damaged by the strokes. Resurrection of the damaged side over the now dominant hemisphere is an ongoing process. The right mind accurately decodes emotion and is socially adept. It is the observer, higher consciousness and the wiser person. The left hemisphere is excellent at organising information taking responsibility for describing, judging and analyzing everything. Since my ABI I find organisational and physically/mentally challenging domestic tasks to be difficult. Rushing is particularly stressful as it invariably requires one to speed up doing things which have become difficult. I am most at ease relaxing in an armchair with my elevated right foot at rest. Life has had to become minimally simple.

22. The following books were helpful to my recovery: My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor, Dipped into Oblivion by Sacha Bonsor and The Brain that Changes Itself by Norman Doidge.

23. Relaxation therapy such as yoga, massage, listening to music, Tai Chi, floating in water, showering, ocean breezes, the creative arts, walking in nature and meditation are subjectively beneficial to the recovery of both mind and body. Pets, especially those that enjoy being petted, are a pleasant distraction. With this in mind we got two lap cats, Queen and Chloe, whose mischievous nature is a constant source of family entertainment.

24. Brain training tools are beneficial to cognitive recovery. I also took up learning a new language to stimulate cognitive redevelopment. I am in my second year of learning Italian and enjoy the whole experience. Daily reading, browsing the internet, doing crosswords, playing sudoku, board games,etc. Verbal and written communication with other people can all stimulate your intellectual network  In the Autumn of 2010 I volunteered to coordinate adult player subscription collection for the 2011 season by e mail. I was grateful for the able assistance of the club’s administrative staff to complete this “messy” task.

25. Imagery appears to be an effective tool for regaining the ability to perform physical goals. By dreaming of how to achieve a particular task it becomes easier when attempted. It is now widely used in the sporting arena whereby athletes visualise their performance beforehand. In the ABI recovering environment such “visualisation” can keep the neuronal circuitry alive until the body is ready to make it a reality.

26. Avoid blood thinning or anti – clot medications including Aspirin and Disprin. I naively took Anadin tablets for several months before my first bleed to relieve the symptoms of headache etc. A cavernoma pen pal of mine suggests Viagra may have a similar risk.

27. Hand exercises involving keys, texting, writing, laces, eating, drinking, clothes pegs, coins, scissors, tearing paper, chopping, tweezers, putty, shaving, darts, buttons, zips, etc can be part of a beneficial home exercise programme to improve dexterity and strength. I have found typing on my laptop to be especially good for right hand tone renewal. I am currently playing “ant smasher” on Gavin’s new ipod to improve coordination in my hand. I began mirror box therapy in early May 11 and from initial, brief but daily use would recommend this visualisation procedure, at relatively low expenditure, for improving motor movements and reducing ataxia in affected hands.

28. The new website http://www.researchandhope is particularly good for information about modern stroke management therapies (can also apply to cavernoma patients with neurological conditions). The UK website “Different Strokes” is extremely informative about all aspects of stroke support for under 65s.

29. The Cavernoma Alliance UK website and its sister organisation in the USA Angioma Alliance are very helpful and enormously informative. I would also recommend joining a cavernoma hub to share experiences and knowledge.

30, Keep up to date with research and developments in the field (Neurology). The Different Strokes newsletter is particularly informative. Recent research has shown that in traumatic brain injuries and strokes that have caused cells to die new neurons may be generated from neural stem cells and travel towards the site of the injured area. Kings Hospital in London has shown that the self repair process of neurogenesis can be enhanced by physical activity, learning new tasks and consumption of blueberries, omega oils and 10 mg zinc daily. In contrast, a high fat/calorie diet, ageing, stress and sleep deprivation adversely affect neurogenesis.

30. Embrace your garden. That is if you don’t live in an apartment! This is particularly so if you are home confined due to disability or mobility/balance problems. Gardens, particularly those in the rear/ with some privacy/ south facing etc can become a sanctuary for relaxation/contemplation/sunshine/fresh air etc. A radio, reading material, music etc can be a good companion. In essence your garden can become an oasis or additional room where the only limit to enjoyment is one’s imagination and relevant privacy legislation! Let’s face it immediate family members might be glad of the break too.

31. Distance the past. It is helpful for your redevelopment, following an ABI, to make a decision that one will never return to some aspects associated with the past. To fully accept one’s new predicament one should try to ditch the old self. For instance, after 3 years I reluctantly realised that I would never wear many of my clothes again. The deliberate placing of these garments and footwear in a charity bag helped this adaptation. Leisurewear it will have to be.

32. I have to admit that I have some reservations about alternative medicine. However, the provision of relaxation may be therapeutic / beneficial through stress relief alone. I had been going for acupuncture for at least 2 years prior to my ABI. It was largely to provide some relief from the headaches, fatigue and facial spasms that I was regularly experiencing. I now realise that the cavernoma was active long before it bled.  My therapist, Tina, has been enormously helpful and regularly included reflexology and homeopathy.  As she searched and prodded my skin with needles she mentioned that I had the “heart of a lion”. I didn’t tell her that I had a packet of Kleenex on standby.  In May 11 I returned for another course (8 sessions) of acupuncture to revive and reenergise a body weighed down by a stroke, shingles, head cold and a recent dose of a gastric flu. The shingles rash eventually disappeared within 2 weeks of commencing this treatment. However, it soon returned. This latent virus will probably hibernate in my ganglia but the shingles should hopefully soon disappear with the return of energy.  It was interesting that my Neurologist also recommended acupuncture for energy restoration. Whether it should be considered as curative, preventative or restorative is subjective.

33. Listen to or read about other people’s stories of success. They are invariably positive. They have often recovered from poor health or triumphed over adversity in life. I have found the endurance of Antarctic explorers and sports persons to be particularly inspirational. Given my background and the relative blanket coverage of sport on television my heroes can be found closer to home. The recent May bank holiday weekend comes to mind. Firstly on Saturday the Leinster rugby team brilliantly overcame the class of Toulouse. Then the following day the Dublin hurlers tore up the form book to beat fancied Kilkenny and win their first National Hurling title in 72 years. The last time, in 1939, coincided with Hitler’s invasion of Poland! Both teams, although showing no little skill and commitment, were united by one common denominator. Belief.  It’s strange, but this is possessed by some but available to everyone. Belief in plasticity has got me this far. I know it can go further. The book “The brain that changes itself” is highly recommended. What amazes me is that the sophisticated machinery in sceptical creatures (humans) is governed by something that isn’t palpable – the mind. The adaptability of the brain is truly remarkable. Progress is tortuously slow but with patience literally anything is possible. ABIs should aspire to becoming achievers too.



Mirror Therapy

The principle of mirror therapy (MT) is the use of a mirror to create a reflective illusion of an affected limb in order to trick the brain into thinking movement has occurred without pain. It involves placing the affected limb behind a mirror, which is sited so the reflection of the opposing limb appears in place of the hidden limb [1]. A Mirror box is a device which allows the clinician to easily create this illusion. It’ is a box with one mirror in the center where on each side of it, the hands are placed in a manner that the affected limb is kept covered always and the unaffected limb is kept on the other side whose reflection can be seen on the mirror.



The patient places the good limb into one side, and the stump into the other. The patient then looks into the mirror on the side with good limb and makes “mirror symmetric” movements, as a symphony conductor might, or as we do when we clap our hands. Because the subject is seeing the reflected image of the good hand moving, it appears as if the phantom limb is also moving. Through the use of this artificial visual feedback it becomes possible for the patient to “move” the phantom limb, and to unclench it from potentially painful positions.



Evidence on effectiveness

Most of the evidence since the early work has come from case studies and anecdotal data.

  • Chan et al (2007) [7] allocated 22 patients with Phantom Limb Pain (PLP) into a mirror therapy group, mental imagery group and a covered mirror group (control) . They reported that all patients in the mirror therapy group experienced reduced PLP. This was not the case in the other two groups. The study did not control potential biases and its methodology was not described in detail, so weakening the power of its findings.
  • A more robust trial [8]investigated two groups of subjects suffering with PLP . A mirror group were compared to a covered mirror group, however, there were no statistically significant reductions in PLP between groups.
  • In 2011 a large scale review of the literature on mirror therapy by Rothgangel [9] summarized the current research as follows:”For stroke there is a moderate quality of evidence that MT as an additional intervention improves recovery of arm function, and a low quality of evidence regarding lower limb function and pain after stroke. The quality of evidence in patients with complex regional pain syndrome and phantom limb pain is also low. Firm conclusions could not be drawn. Little is known about which patients are likely to benefit most from MT, and how MT should preferably be applied. Future studies with clear descriptions of intervention protocols should focus on standardised outcome measures and systematically register adverse effects”.
  • A further review [10] of current approaches in the treatment of PLP concluded that the benefits of mirror therapy appear to be limited to patients who suffer from cramping and muscular-type phantom pain . They noted that despite the findings of one RCT, there was no systematic evidence to support the use of this modality and even some suggestion it could be counterproductive. However, this may be due to study design, choice and size of sample and application of the modality .
  • Diers et al (2010) [4] noted that applying MT as part of a sequence of modalities appeared to produce positive results against applying it in isolation . In an RCT, patients with CRPS1 and PLP showed decreases in pain, and improved function both immediately post treatment and at a 6 month follow-up when using mirror training as part of a sequence of modalities known as Graded Motor Imagery (GMI). Mirrored imagery alone did not, however, activate cortical processes in patients with phantom limb pain. The authors concluded that further research was required to establish the cortical processes underlying MT and motor imagery in order to guide the optimal method of application for these modalities.
  • These findings appeared to support earlier suggestions that whilst mirrored movements may expose the cortex to sensory and motor input, the therapeutic effect is magnified if cortical networks were gradually activated using limb recognition, motor imagery and finally mirrored movement [11] [12]. This sequence of modalities became known as GMI. Using a single blind randomised control design this approach was investigated with patients suffering with PLP, CRPS and brachial plexus avulsion[11][12]. Whilst the heterogeneity of the sample was acknowledged, it was argued that cortical similarities exist between these conditions causing a cortical neglect of the affected limb leading to changes in cortical mapping. The sample size in each study was small, but both studies showed significant reductions in pain and cortical reorganisation following a six week program.