In the late 1980s, various NLP-trainers and therapists were working on the use of REM (Rapid Eye Movement) phases while awake for emotional regulation of limiting, stressful memories. The procedure was known as ‘Eye Movement Integrator’. The American psychotherapist Francine Shapiro continued to develop the method specifically to treat post-traumatic stress. In the mid-1990s, the German magazine Der Spiegel then gave this EMDR method, then newly introduced in Germany, the name ‘waving therapy’. People were fascinated and alarmed by this new idea from America of simply waving away mental hurdles. Actually, rapid finger movements in front of the client’s eyes are crucial to this method. The client´s eyes follow these movements. These rapid eye movements recall the REM phase which all people experience when dreaming deeply: Rapid Eye Movement. EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing.
Of course, people knew about eye movements before NLP and EMDR therapeutic stimulation techniques - although they were not as quick as in EMDR. The image from classic hypnosis of the pocketwatch swinging back and forth is well-known. And in yoga - one of the oldest physical therapy methods in the world - there are a series of eye movement exercises. Even in traditional Asian dances, rapid eye movements back and forth were just as important and rehearsed as dance steps, which may be important for health and wellbeing as well as culturally.
An increasing number of experts suppose that the positive effects of these stimulation techniques are caused by priming the two sides of the brain, and therefore all areas of the brain, to work together as well as possible. That is why in EMDR and wingwave coaching today, aural, and tactile left-right stimulation of both brain hemispheres is also used, as well as stimulation through eye movements. Despite its apparent simplicity, EMDR, for example, is one of the world’s most effective psychotherapy methods for post-traumatic stress disorders today. The range of positive results indicates the positive effect of targeted bilateral hemisphere stimulation approaches in therapy and coaching.
EMDR is now also recognised by health insurance companies in Germany because of the very positive research findings.