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Amy Stark is an EFT practitioner on a mission.

Some of the things we discuss here are:

-Tapping makes kids feel safe in their bodies.
-EFT uses multiple modalities like energy medicine, talk therapy, neuro-linguistic programming to help release trauma.
-When we calm our fight-or-flight response, our body can really heal.

To me, EFT is a great bridge between the body and the mind, and that is what makes it an exciting tool for autistic kids and kids with low motor control.

Amy’s quick guide: https://www.starktransformation.com/eft

Other links that Amy mentions in this podcast:

Audio Transcription: 

Vaish:

Hey everyone, I am finally slipping back into my Friday. You can expect these podcasts a little earlier starting next week. For those of you that are sitting for the first time, I am Vaishnavi Sarathy. I’ve a Ph.D. in chemistry, a functional nutrition practitioner.

I work with kids with Down syndrome and autism and my job here, my mission is to see that our kids get a fair chance at life. Being both an educator and a nutrition practitioner, I believe that sound nutrition, a healthy gut, and an equal education are the birthright of every child. But sometimes you can’t just nutrition your way out of behavior. Now honestly, many times you can. You can work on the gut when I say nutrition out, I mean gut health also. But sometimes there is trauma so deeply ingrained in a child, whatever the cause may be that we need to find a release. And as you will hear me say in this podcast, meditation and breathing, are both of which I love, but sometimes are inaccessible for many kids.

This is where EFT comes in. Today I’m in conversation with Amy Stark an EFT practitioner on a mission. Her website is stark transformation.com. Now in this podcast, you’re going to hear about energy medicine. Now some of us are open to hearing about different things like this, but some of us are not we get caught up, our defenses come up, right. And I want to recommend that on the path to healing many non-traditional methods work. Many are true whoo and don’t work. And many just don’t have the science done yet.

In some cases, double-blind randomized control studies simply will not work. For example, homeopathy, but most everybody who has experienced homeopathy care specifically can attest that it does work. So if you feel your defenses coming up, I have a few options where you could go read some studies, you could ask for other people’s experiences. And when a technique is nonexpensive, and you know, easily accessible and non-intrusive, and save, you might even try it yourself to see how it feels.

Today, I want to invite you to leave suggestions for topics advice, vaish at functionalnutritionforkids.com. I am so happy to have Amy Stark with me as my guest today. Amy, can you give us a brief introduction about yourself and the amazing work that you do, because we’ve never had anybody on this podcast that has talked about EFT and this work is so important to the kids that we’re talking about?

Amy Stark:

Sure, thank you for having me. I started out with a psychology degree. So I was really interested in the mind and how it worked. And, you know, I tried to really sort out like my experiences as a child. And then I realized that I didn’t want to become a psychologist because I just felt like the process wasn’t complete to me. So I, I decided to become a science teacher and work with kids with disabilities in New York City. So the majority of those kids had emotional disturbances or were classified as students with emotional disturbances. And so I really learned a lot from them, and just the trauma that they were going through on a daily basis.

I mean, there was lots of trauma I was experiencing, because they were, you know, traumatized, and they didn’t know how to treat people. So I evolved to, to really study the science and then also behavior. And I remember from psychology classes, you know, like, there was like, there’s always a reason for the behavior. So I was always looking for that reason. And as time went on, I got really, really stressed out being in that environment. I mean, it was just so volatile, and I felt so much compassion for the kids, and they weren’t being serviced the way that I was hoping that they would.And so I had to remove myself because I, my whole health was declining rapidly. And I was really depressed, and I actually wanted to check out and not be here anymore.

You know, I thought about suicide. And I realized that I wasn’t that type of person. You know, I, I was somebody who was always happy go lucky, I could see the positive and things. But I just felt like I had done everything right. And it wasn’t adding up to what I thought it would be. And so I wanted to reevaluate that. And so I took a step back. And I, a friend of mine actually said, Amy, why don’t you try meditation, and I was so stressed out. And so fighter flight from living in New York City, that I was scared to meditate. I thought I couldn’t do it. But I then I realized, you know, me, you’ve played soccer, you know, for 25 years, you’ve accomplished a lot of things in your life, like this is just sitting on a couch for 15 minutes and facing what’s in your head. And it really was life-changing for me.

I started meditating and I loved it and I felt better so I continued to do it. And that’s when some gifts opened up for me. So I was a science teacher beforehand. So I was not looking to see energy or know things that like, you know, as a psychic you know, I actually In college, I taught a physics class where we talked about how psychics were, you know, baloney and energy workers, baloney and all that stuff. And then now I’m on the other side where I’m like, No, it’s so important to see the energy and see these the communication and how it’s breaking down. So as my gifts opened up, I thought, man, like, what do I do with this like this is my head is like going to explode like, either I’m crazy. Or this is the most amazing thing I’ve ever found before, you know? And I said to my friend, I said, Can I work on you? Energetically, because I felt like I could heal with my hands.

She was like, You need to take some classes. And I’m glad she pushed me in that direction because then I started studying it. And finding the science and finding how our cells communicate through energy. And it was really, really fascinating to see how quickly people would heal when we worked on the energy. So then I got really curious. And I was like, Well, what’s behind the energy, what’s creating this energy, and it was emotion. And it was the stuck trauma in the people’s body that was being released that was causing them to heal so quickly. So then I found EFT, and that’s why I’m here to tell you about it.

Vaish:

So this, this is amazing. So your experiences through energy healing and into EFT started with meditation? Correct? Yes, yeah. You’re just become, aware of this immense possibility through meditation. Yeah, well, I just want to share with you that the person that I interviewed previously to you is, is a meditation and yoga instructor, and we were discussing meditation techniques for children with autism. And a lot of the kids that were, that I am working with, including my own son do not have control over their breath, they do not have motor control. So and we’re, at least in meditation, we’re always taught that breath is the gateway between the body and the mind. So without the breath there, there’s really no access to the mind. So we’re kind of in a very stuck situation. Because when you’re talking about meditation, like even when I turn on a guided meditation, often the prompts are become aware of your body and become aware of your hands. And my son, who now as you know, communicates with the letterboard.

He has said that, how can I meditate if I just cannot, because I have no idea where my body is in space? How do I become aware of my body. So we have this immense, beautiful tool that has opened you, me and so many of us up, you know, meditation is fantastic, but it’s completely inaccessible to kids with maybe not all kids with autism, of course, there are a lot of kids that do have some awareness of their body. But like this, the kids that we call, I’m gonna say within quotes, lower functioning, because I don’t believe in the functioning labels, but But the kids are more low motor functioning, and my son can’t even exaile If you ask him to. And so that brings. So then I feel like is EFT do you think is that is it? We haven’t talked about it? And maybe we could, but do you think that would be that bridge?

Amy Stark:

Yes. So remember, when I said I was really super scared to sit down and listen to my thoughts. It is so common. And that’s why I highly recommend EFT because what it does is it actually gets you back into your body. So what I’ve seen Energy Energy-wise, with kids with autism is that they’re actually outside of their body. So one of the things that I work on most is getting them back in their body. And one of the things that have been communicated to me over and over, energetically speaking with kids with autism, is that they don’t feel safe in their bodies. So they don’t, um, their fight or flight is so high because of trauma that is in their body. So sometimes, that trauma can be from past trauma from the mother, or it could be from birth, it could be from foods that they’re eating that they’re allergic to, it could be mean, we go as well as past life energy I’ve seen. So it’s very interesting what creates this unsafe nature within the kid’s body. And so by doing tapping, it doesn’t really matter where the trauma came from.

If you start tapping, it gets the kid into their body. So you can actually be a mom tapping for a kid, you just have to put your hand on the child and be the surrogate. And it will, it will help to remove the trauma. Or if your child I know a lot of children with autism who are higher functioning, they can tap and they enjoy it and they like it and they ask for it because it really does calm their nervous system down. And they can focus more clearly because they’re here. So like, I remember when I was working with a four-year-old, he had never said I love you to his mom. And then after we did some energy work, and I started helping him to feel safe in his body after the first session. He said I love you to his mom.

Nice. Yeah, it’s amazing. And then he had trouble going to the bathroom because he like you know, knew when he needed to go because he wasn’t in his body. So by tapping and getting him feel safe in his body, he all of a sudden started to use the bathroom because I was able to help him get into his body more frequently. And same with his mom. I tell his mom some things she was doing EFT as well. But grounding is really important for these children. Are you aware of the studies around grounding?

Vaish:

And some of them some of it have? I’m aware of the general idea behind grounding. I haven’t actually looked up any of the studies maybe that’s, that’s a good point. It’s something that I should consider another episode on. But yeah, you can, you can talk a little bit about that.

Amy Stark:

Sure, she noticed a huge difference with her son by getting him a grounding mat. And then also specifically taking him outside and having him connect with the earth. Because the thing is, is that these children, anybody who is experiencing something like autism, or even autoimmunity, or autoimmune disease, excuse me, um, their energy is so susceptible to others around them. So it could be from Wi-Fi, it could be from the computer, or phones, or other people in their space, they really feel it. So that was one of the things I worked with the mom was like, Okay, let’s try to get your expectations out of his space because he was telling me energetically speaking because he was only four.

He’s like, my mom’s energy is in my space. And I need room to grow like I need room to, to feel safe in my body. And then, once he got safe in his body, he’s like, Oh, I use words to communicate with others to make connections. So with those people, so it got him into his body, and then he felt safe. And then he started noticing, oh, that’s why people talk, I’m going to use that tool. That was the evolution of what I saw with him and with other kids that I’ve worked with, it’s been very similar.

Vaish:

So is EFT, primarily, a trauma release technique? Is that the primary part? Yes.

Amy Stark:

So it’s, it’s basically a form of self-healing that you can do that sort of like counseling for yourself. But what it does is it use multiple modalities is alternative medicine modality. So it uses energy medicine, talks therapy, neuro-linguistic programming, you know, all those modalities are working together simultaneously, simultaneously, and releasing the trauma from wherever it may have come from, it doesn’t really matter. So I personally can see the trauma, like energetically I could say, that’s what’s being released right now. But it does not matter.

It is just like a story that is being told to me, but for the regular person who doesn’t see energy, when they tap, the energy will just leave, and they’ll feel like a relief, they’ll start to cry or want to cry, or their shoulders will relax, or they’ll get tingling in their legs or something like that. But they don’t necessarily know that it was related to you know, when they were in second grade or something like that, you know, something that happened to them.

Vaish:

Okay, so and it’s, I have never done EFT myself, but it’s a pretty simple technique. Right?

Amy Stark:

Well, so there’s, there are points. Um, so sometimes people find that the points can be a little bit overwhelming to remember. But I wrote a blog about this, because really, it’s no more than if you were to like, when you learned your iPhone, or when we got the smartphones like you were a little bit fumbling with it at first, but then you’re like, Okay, I know where things are, I know what to do, it’s sort of like gets ingrained in your memory about how to do it. So once you learn the points, then it’s pretty easy.

You learn what to say to yourself, and you keep practicing. And eventually, you wind up uncovering all these, you know, traumas that are either released and then you feel better like you feel more like yourself, you feel more in tune with your, your higher self or your intuition, your creativity, you boost your immune system, because when we calm down the fight or flight response, we wind up becoming so much more healthy because our body can heal that like there are only two modes that our body is really in it’s either growth or decay or fight or flight or, you know, growth. So in heal. So when we are in that state we are when we can calm our body down, that’s when we get the opportunity to heal, and we can be more focused, we can take in information, you know, so I think it’s so crucial for both parents and kids to be doing, EFT. And it’s really you it’s not you don’t have to go anywhere. You can do it whenever wherever.

I mean, I have kids who I work with, and they do it in the bathroom before the lunchroom because you know they have anxiety in the lunchroom because it’s like who’s gonna sit with me or whatever, you know, or parents, they do it in the car or in the shower or in the bathroom because they’re not being bothered by their kids. And it’s just a way of them of resetting themselves and then saying, Okay, this is where I’m at, this is where I want to be. And let me get there this way by calming down.

Vaish:

And this is really good knowledge and I just remembered that we hadn’t taken a minute to define EFT is it emotional freedom is

Amy Stark:

yes, sorry. Yes. EFT is an emotional freedom technique. And it’s also known as tapping. So you might hear me say that or other people refer to it as tapping and it’s an energy-based protocol that’s just moving the energy out of the trauma and resetting your body and what I see one way We finally work all the way through the trauma. And you know, release how we’re feeling our truth comes in. So it’s like a golden light fills our bodies. And we just know what’s next.

It’s like our connection with our higher self actually becomes apparent and easy to connect with. So like, here’s, here’s some cool statistics. So this has been studied for a long time now over 20 years, like through research. So this is not something that is woo-woo. Really, it’s only we will because I can see it happening. So there’s a 20 24% decrease in cortisol levels in 20, in one hour of tapping, so 24% Decrease in clouds and one hour, Yeah, huge, very huge. And it turns on 72 genes for healing in one hour. Okay. So you know, if you want to feel better, this is why I am all about the fastest way to heal. I’m all about transformation. So that’s what that’s why I really talk about this technique. I mean, I shunned it at first, because I was like, This is crazy. I look, it looks goofy. It’s a little complicated. Until I read the science, then I was like, Okay, I’m gonna do it. And then I’m so glad I did because I’ve done 1000s of sessions now.

Vaish:

So is the buzz around this as much as it is around, you know, for example. So meditation has had this huge. What should I call exponential rise, not not in terms of its efficacy was always great, but just in terms of the number of people doing, talking about it, researching it. I just feel like I haven’t heard as much about EFT. Is it just like starting to? Yeah,

Amy Stark:

yeah, it’s it was, I think as I said, it’s kind of goofy. There aren’t many people who see the different components or the different sides of the way that I see it. But I think it is evolving, similar to like how yoga first was, like, you know, the introduction to like, oh, there’s like a connection between the mind and the body. And then I was like, oh, we need to focus on the mind and calm the body. And then it’s like, well, how do we really do that? You know, if meditation isn’t working for us, I think it is the next evolution of this.

Vaish:

Awesome. I had a couple more kinds of follow-up questions about EFT well, but I’m going to start with the first one is that what people do recommend that people see a practitioner like moms or parents see a practitioner in order to know what to do? Or is it like, is it like a cut paste protocol?

Amy Stark:

There’s, there’s lots of information on the internet. Like I also have stuff on my website, I have just a tab that says, EFT there are videos there. They’re linked on. Yeah. Okay. Yeah. So you know, you can definitely just research it for yourself, because I know that moms with kids that are, you know, have various disabilities don’t have the time really to be going to see another practitioner, right. So if you want to try to tackle it yourself, it’s, it’s definitely possible. And lots of people do that do it that way if you find that you’re getting stuck, or you have major trauma that you really need to release. So a lot of times I refer to it as big T little t so if it’s a big trauma, you’re gonna probably want to have a practitioner’s help. But the little traumas, you know, definitely are easy to work through yourself. So little traumas would be.

I couldn’t find my son the other day, like, you know, like that for a few minutes. And it really freaked me out. You know, I could work through that. But divorce when I was six, or something like that would be something that you might want to work through with somebody else, but it just depends on the person.

Vaish:

And you mentioned about that little four-year-old boy that you would work with that you did some energy work by that. Did you mean EFT? Or do you layer on other work with that, right?

Amy Stark:

So EFT can be a huge detox for the body, both emotionally and physically. So sometimes, it’s better to go real slow with it. So I had mentioned, you know, an hour of tapping, that’s a long time for tapping, you can do five minutes 10 minutes, especially kids, they don’t need much.

They’re just so ready to let go of that stuff. They realize there’s no purpose for us as adults, we’ve kind of held on to that stuff a little bit longer than we should. So I would say that definitely try doing as much as you can. And in that instance, with the kid he I think I did energy work at first to get him feeling a little bit safer by moving out the trauma over his heart chakra which is you know, the energy over the heart basically. Did you are you aware of how that heart energy is now they’re starting to realize is like the conductor of the orchestra.

That is our body? No, yeah, so energetically speaking, if the heart is ailing or failing, you know, energetically speaking, the rest of the body is like, wait, what do we do? You know, like, if the conductor was like drunk up there or something like that, you know, they’re just I don’t know. I mean, yeah, exactly. Yeah. So that’s why I’m I see with a lot of autoimmune diseases that the heart chakra is really suffering. And I’ve also noticed that with kids with autism,

Vaish:

okay. One question that came to mind In terms of kids who just do not have the motor capacity to do it on themselves, you are just not speaking. You had mentioned that you could just like be a conduit I think you said yes

Amy Stark:

a surrogate or conduit Yeah. Or, or you can tap on your child if your child is

Vaish:

going to ask about so is that like you? You can and the topic is not an intense feat.

Amy Stark:

Now, if it hurts, then obviously don’t do it. You can also do it above the skin. Personally, I like the actual touch because touches first of all very healing but also the rhythmic nature of tapping are also calming in itself. So like do you don’t have to do it hard it is just energy but I there is some sort of component around touching the skin.

That’s that does seem to be more effective than not.

Vaish:

Okay, it does. Does it have any leanings into acupressure?

Amy Stark:

Yes. So it basically EFT is based on the meridian lines that are used in acupressure or Chinese medicine. And, and that’s how the energy is actually moving through those channels. And those channels were recently discovered by scientists, you know, 5000 years in Chinese medicine. It was fine. But scientists now say, Okay, it’s called the primo vascular system. That’s what they call it.

Vaish:

Yeah. I have never heard that. That’s, that’s really interesting. I’m going to as I talk, I’m going to write that down. You said primo vascular system, primo vascular system. Yeah, I think the most interesting, there are many things that are like supremely interesting about this information. But I’ve been like really caught into this in this, I don’t even know if it calls it a catch 22 situation, what I explained before with meditation is that a lot of the kids that I work with, they’re there, some of them are very traumatized, just because they don’t have means of expression. So they there, many of them are known speaking many of them have had assumptions made for them, or any of them had, you know, they’re living lives that are dictated by, by a by society, by their teachers by the very irrational expectation of how they should be living. And some of them it’s assumed that they are intellectually delayed, and that’s just not the case. So there’s definitely the trauma, a lot of them are also very wise and very, you know, far-sighted in the when they do communicate, you can see that, but I’ve just been really frustrated with this big gap between meditation and where they are because we know that it would help. And normally, when you talk to neurotypical people, yoga, or bodily exercises, and breathing is seen as the bridge to meditation, get your body calm, and even this is not accessible.

You can’t really you can do yoga for a person. But when a child has severe motor skills, even that’s hard, I can’t I can’t do yoga with my son. It’s just not gonna happen. I feel like this is fitting so nicely into that gap that that part is really thrilling.

Amy Stark:

Yeah, I tell you, I love it for many reasons. And that is one of them. When my son is trying to fall asleep, and he’s like, wired, all I have to do is do the tapping points, a few of them on his face, and maybe on his chest. For kids, you can do fewer points. Actually, I’ll mention there’s a book that’s called a bear hug. What is it called bear hugs and know, the bear hugs and gorilla thumps? I believe that’s what’s called. Yeah. Yeah.

It’s actually a wonderful children’s book written by Nick Ortner, who is very huge in this industry. You know, in terms of talking about EFT, he has a Tapping Solution. And that’s where you can find a practitioner, actually. And so anyway, so the kids, they have they, they don’t need as many points. And so when, when my son is trying to fall asleep, I will tap on him, and then within one round, he’s like, okay, Mom, I’m ready for bed. It’s just amazing. They’re ready and they are so less resistant.

Vaish:

You said the is it Tapping Solution is a website where they can Tapping Solution.

Amy Stark:

Yeah, and the EFT universe has all the research articles. I mean, there’s probably 100 of them, at least, and there are meta-studies as well. They’re awesome. So it helps with weight loss, depression, anxiety, you know, performance issues. There’s just almost nothing It doesn’t help with like, if there’s, anytime there’s any kind of resistance in your life, you’re gonna want to take a look at it and say, maybe I could do EFT honestly.

Vaish:

Can you tell us where parents can reach you Amy?

Amy Stark:

Sure. So I have my own podcast and it’s called the Ophelia podcast. And so they can reach me on that or on my website, which is starktransformation.com And I’m on social media as well.

Vaish:

Awesome and I’ll put those links on there do you is if your podcast focused on EFT work?

Amy Stark:

It is. It is not the only thing that I talk about but it is about EFT about transformation. Very hearing stories from people who’ve changed their lives based on EFT or energy work and it’s really cool stuff.

Vaish:

Okay, thank you so much for spending this time I think I learned a lot I’m going to actually see if I can look at some of those articles and try those with said, my son. Yes, but yeah

Amy Stark:

but don’t forget on my website that there’s a tab for EFT so you’ll get I need to put that on. Yeah, some diagrams and then there are some videos and then there’s some of the research and things like that. Thank you for having me.

Vaish:

After this podcast have some ideas coming into your mind on the radio want to do next what you want to explore? Email me advice, the VAISH, and functionalnutritionforkids.com. I am always looking for new topics to introduce in this podcast. Signing off for this week. I’m your host Vaishnavi Sarathy and today’s music is by my daughter, Maitri Gosh. See you next week. Bye.