Brazilian Toe Massage
The Brazilian Toe Massage has been around for many years. Many of us learnt it from other practitioners in a quick demonstration and over time have forgotten a few of the finer points. Here it is again all written down in an easy to understand way.
It sounds like a foot fetishist’s favourite fantasy. In fact, it is yet another form of pressure point massage healing.
In this article, Peter Eedy explores the how’s and why’s of this intriguing antipodean technique.
I came upon this simple but extremely effective healing modality in 1976 whilst visiting the Boyesen family (my friends and teachers) at the centre for bio-energy in London. Gerda Boyesen, the woman who discovered psychoperistalsis had been teaching her trainees the massage technique and they passed it on to me.
I have since included this technique in workshops conducted throughout Europe, USA and Australia. All in all I have taught several hundred people in five different countries, the Brazilian Toe Massage. Because of its effectiveness and simplicity, it has always met with great acclaim and amazement. As the name suggests, the ‘massage’ (or rather toe-holding) originates from Brazil, the country that boasts of having an estimated five million psychics, mediums and spiritual healers. Brazil - the country that gave us one of the most outstanding and controversial healers the world has known, Arigo, the surgeon with the rusty knife. Brazil, like the Phillipines, the home of the psychic surgeons, has an almost mysticism and Roman Catholicism that seems to produce psychic and spiritual healers of an extraordinary calibre. It is not surprising, then, that a healing method such as the Brazilian toe massage should originate from this country. Gerda Boyesen learnt the technique from a Brazilian healer who claimed that there is a hospital in Brazil where they practise this technique exclusively and cure all manner of illness. What fascinated me is how this method corresponds to acupuncture principles. Many people have remarked that ‘it’s like having an acupuncture treatment without the needles’. However, I am not suggesting here in any way that the Brazilian toe massage should or can replace acupuncture, both modalities have their place in healing.
As a result of my work in psychotherapy, I have gained a limited understanding of the correlation to organ condition and emotional states. Acupuncture lists some of the emotional states and how they correlate to different organs, for example, liver and gall bladder relate to anger, kidney and bladder to fear, heart to joy and spleen to anguish.
Acupuncture can bring about changes in the emotional state by emptying out excessive energy trapped in organs, and by increasing the flow of energy into depleted or undercharged organs. It seems to me that the exact same phenomenon occurs during Brazilian toe massage.
There are six energy meridians that connect to the organs in the body, all of which end in the toes. They are the spleen and liver, which end in the big toe, stomach - the second biggest toe, bladder - the central toe, gall bladder - the second smallest toe and kidney - the small toe.
By holding the toes, the energy meridians can be influenced by creating a circuit of chi energy between the practitioner/masseur and the person receiving the treatment, this in turn influences the organs.
The person receiving the massage lies comfortably on their back with their eyes closed and palms facing upwards. The massage begins with the masseur lightly holding the the tips of both the central toes with their central fingers and thumbs. After three minutes has elapsed, the masseur moves onto the next toe in the order demonstrated in the diagram. Each toe should be held for exactly 3 minutes before moving onto the next toe, and each toe should be held by the corresponding finger and thumb except in the case of the big toe, which is held by the first two fingers and the thumb, since the big toes have two energy meridians whilst the remaining toes have only one meridian (see diagram). Some basic principles concerning the massage are:
1. Move each finger into each toe prior to breaking contact with the person receiving the massage.
2. Each toe should be held for three minutes except if the toe (or toes) jerks involuntarily. If this occurs, move on immediately to the next toe as this startle reflex action is a message from the organ saying enough energy has been received - any more stimulation will overcharge the organ, inducing in the patient an uncomfortable state.
I have seen people who are anxious or hyperactive put to sleep within 15 minutes (optimum massage time if jerking does not occur). I have also put people into a deeply relaxed state, who only 15 minutes before were quite angry.
Several people who have learnt the massage have reported that on applying it to their insomniac relatives, they were able to put them to sleep after only a few treatments (this may not be a permanent cure but results look promising). Other people complaining of aches and pains or headaches seem to lose their pain after a treatment. Once again this may not be a permanent state of affairs.
The only short term research that has been conducted regarding the therapeutic effects of the Brazilian toe massage was carried out by the Reverend Alf Foote, who is the director of Morlund Hall, a drug and alcohol referral clinic in Melbourne.
I taught Alf the technique over a year ago. He recently reported to me that many of the drug dependents with withdrawn personalities, who did not respond to the normal bio-energetic and emotional release psychotherapeutic approaches used at the clinic, responded well to the Brazilian toe massage, which was applied twice a day for several weeks.
After some weeks patients reported pleasurable feeling in their arms and legs and a floating sensation in their limbs. Alf also reported that the patients became more open-minded toward other techniques, such as psychoperistalsis, and less withdrawn.The Brazilian toe massage: an interesting wholistic (or sole-istic!) approach to healing.
Reprinted from Nature & Health No 10