Better than Chocolate for Rapid Stress Relief
By Steve B. Reed, LPC, LMSW, LMFT © 2007
In April of 2007, I gave a presentation at the 9th ACEP International conference. On the first weekend after the conference, I met with my friend, Nelson, for our typical Saturday morning breakfast. I was eager to tell him about some emerging developments in the REMAP process. I also wanted him to know what I had discovered by letting people work with a new intervention during my breakout presentation. At the end of my talk, titled “Eliminate Relationship Pain with REMAP”, I took the participants through an experiment. For the first time, a group got to experience working with my new Quick REMAP (4-point) protocol. However, the interesting part is that the participants completed psychological inventories before and after applying the method to treat a distressing event. The results were fascinating and surprising.
I began this conversation to share the results with my friend by posing a provocative question.
“What would you say Nelson, if I told you that I could show you something that could make you feel 75% better in six minutes?”
“If someone has found a way to turn ice cream into an aphrodisiac then I will have some as soon as I finish my pancakes.”
“No, that has not happened! What I’m talking about is something that you can do anywhere, anytime that you are feeling really bad about something, and it has a good chance of quickly improving your mood”.
“Oh, you mean chocolate!”
“No, no, it’s even better than both of those. It’s Quick REMAP.”
“Now Steve, I’m starting to think that you’ve been spending too many weekends reading research journals.”
“Funny you should mention that. While pouring through research studies, I found references to specific acupressure points that produce powerful changes in blood flow and electrical activity in the brain. Those acupoints actually calm the brain’s alarm center (the amygdala) and produce such a significant relaxation reflex that injured patients being transported to the E.R. are able to experience a lower heart rate, less pain and improvements on psychological indicators by the time they arrive at the hospital. Also, the research was done at institutions including Harvard Medical School and Yale School of Medicine.”
“Yes, it was so impressive to me that I have been developing short ‘evidenced-based’ protocols (utilizing those acupoints) that I call Quick REMAP. After getting such good results in my office, I decided to test one of the protocols with the participants attending my talk.”
“Great, what were the results?”
“After treatment with the Quick REMAP (4-point) protocol, there were three main findings:
- A 77% improvement in their scores on the State-Trait Anxiety Indicator (the most widely used test of its type in psychological research),
- 75% of the physical symptoms of emotional distress (such as tightness in the chest, a nauseous feeling in the stomach, etc.) that they experienced when thinking about their problem completely disappeared. The remaining symptoms were all improved and there was
- A 76% easing in Subjective Units of Distress (0 to 10 scale).
The full details of this experiment are on my web site. Quick REMAP 4-Point Protocol Research.
“What surprises me the most is that I reviewed the audio CD of my presentation and calculated the actual time spent activating those four acupoints. It took just over six minutes.”
“You got over 75% improvement in six minutes!”
“Yes, it’s true.”
“Why didn’t you go for seven minutes?”
“Good question. My presentation was limited to two hours. We did the experiment at the very end and simply ran out of time. Normally we would have continued the treatment longer with the goal of getting a complete resolution of all distress associated with the painful event. However, there are always situations where you have limited time but still need emotional relief. Examples could include something intensely emotional coming up at the very end of a therapy session or feeling anxious minutes before giving a speech. At such times as these, it is good to have a tool that can help very quickly.
“How can I learn this Quick REMAP method?”
“I have posted the shortest (and simplest) protocol, the Quick REMAP 4-point Rapid Relief Protocol, on my web site. I used this one with the thirteen participants from my presentation. Go to my web site, learn the technique, try it out and let me know what you experience.”
“Alright, I will but I have one last question. Tell me again, how is this better than aphrodisiac ice cream and chocolate?”
“O.K., you know when something really stressful happens, or even traumatic? You feel distressed by it, right?”
“You could have a big bowl of ice cream or even eat a whole box of chocolates, but a little while later you will still feel bad about that upsetting event.”
“But if you treat the upsetting event with the Quick REMAP protocol there is a good chance that this intervention will have a lasting effect (unlike the temporary fix from those two sugary confections). Therefore, you can see how in some situations Quick REMAP is even better.”
“Yes, I see what you mean. I think I will use all three methods.”
“Waiter, can I have another cup of coffee and a gym membership for my friend?”