In 2009, an alternative health care practitioner, Dorothy Friesen, came to the Philippines to teach a healing modality to communities that were suffering from illnesses caused by toxins and hazardous waste left by the US military. Friesen’s technique was called Body Talk. I first learned of it last year when Liza and I were on our way back from a meditation retreat. Later the two of us spoke with Alan, who has been a practitioner of acupuncture and Filipino therapeutic massage for over twenty years. Now he does only Body Talk massage, which is more complicated than the Body Talk Access discussed below.
Alan’s story (with additions from Liza)
There’s a technique developed that a person can learn in a day and practice on someone (or himself/herself) in ten minutes. It consists of tapping the brain cortices and the heart complex—actually, the sternum or breastbone—in order to balance the left and right hemisphere of the brain. Most people use one side of the brain more than the other, leaving the other side idle. But if the left and the right brain function at the same time we can avoid stress and major health issues, and we can focus on one thing at a time. With this technique we balance from the occipital lobe here at the base of the skull, then the parietal and frontal lobes and the left and the right sides of the brain. Those are the parts we need to balance.
I can give you an example from my personal experience. I’ve done acupuncture and reflexology for more than fifteen years. When I got a migraine attack I could use acupuncture to relieve it, but it would come back, especially when I was exposed to sunlight. But since 2009 when I started doing Body Talk Access on myself I haven’t had a migraine. It’s very effective.
There are five techniques—the Cortices or cortex balancing, Switching, Hydration, Body Chemistry and Reciprocals. Fast Aid combines two of the techniques—the Cortices and the Reciprocals—to help the body recover from minor injuries or accidents. This is the Fast Aid system.
The Cortices technique has to do with balancing the left and right hemispheres so the body can function in the optimal manner. There’s a body-mind connection. What happens to the body affects the mind, what happens to the mind affects the body. Tapping the head is like asking the body’s innate wisdom, “Hey, brain, can you scan this body and find out what’s wrong with this person, or this body-mind, and repair it?” Then we tap the heart complex so it will store the new memory so the body will remember the next time.
The Switching technique is a sort of a de-stresser. When we don’t listen to our bodies and just do whatever we want—like when we’re working all night despite the body’s need for sleep—the body may shut down and our brains switch off automatically. This is the body’s way of protecting itself from further damage. The Switching technique makes us more attuned to our bodies so we’ll be aware when we’re hurting ourselves with what we’re doing. It also raises our tolerance level so we can be very active without feeling tired.
With the Switching technique, you close your eyes until you can see stars. You find the acupuncture meridian points below the collarbone, an inch and a half down and an inch and a half across. You close your eyes and just press a little bit on the switching point here, the acupuncture point, and tap the head while insuring that you breathe deeply and then tap the heart.
The third technique is the Hydration, which insures the movement of the water in the body. Remember, 78% of the body is water. The problem with the majority of us, especially when we’re stressed, is that the membrane of the cells hardens so the water can’t carry the nutrients from the food we eat and the vitamins we take or remove waste matter. Now, if the water’s not moving, even if you drink eight or ten glasses a day, you can be still dehydrated. The hydration technique allows us to avoid dehydration. We soak a cotton swab in water and put it in the navel. Why the navel? This is one of the highest energy centers in our body. With the wet cotton in the navel we do the tapping and the body-mind, or the innate wisdom, scans the level of hydration and moves the water in the body. Afterwards you’ll feel thirsty or you’ll often go to the restroom. After a week of Body Talk Access, you lose weight because you are not turning to comfort food. We joke that this is also a weight loss program.
The fourth technique is Body Chemistry, which is just like the hydration except that instead of water we use the person’s saliva, which contains the DNA. The body-mind, the innate wisdom, scans the body for viruses, bacteria, toxins, intolerance, parasites and microbes. If it finds those things, it kills them without harming the good bacteria. It’s not like antibiotics, which I call amok medicine [amok is Tagalog for a murderous frenzy or state] because it attacks everything. It says, “This is good, this bad.” A friend observed that these techniques allow one’s own body to produce antibodies for the microbes, parasites, viruses and bacteria it contains—because each of our bodies has a different set. Also, a standard dose of antibiotics may be too strong for some and not strong enough for others. So we rely on the innate wisdom of the body, the inner healer inside the body, to produce the antibodies that are necessary, to eliminate those that are doing harm to the body but will leave the good.
The fifth technique uses the Reciprocals [corresponding acupuncture points]. The objective of this is to address the body structure—the bones, the muscles, the movement of the joints, the whole body, especially the bones. So the spine, the shoulders, the knees, the ankles, the wrist, the carpals and the metacarpals. This technique insures that movement is good. The posture improves. Reciprocals are very important in doing the Fast Aid protocol. For example, if you injure your left elbow we apply Fast Aid to the reciprocal area, which is your right knee.
As another friend observed, this is where you really notice the balancing properties of Body Talk. Every part of the body has a partner on the other side. It’s always left and right, up and down. You may accidentally bump your hip, and several days later you notice a pain in your shoulder. It’s like a partner or a friend bearing the burden of another.
I hurt my knee in an accident. I’m now doing maintenance with the reciprocals to maintain the strength and flexibility of my body structure. All five of the techniques should be done, just like taking vitamins every day. I could just do it in ten minutes, but it takes me an hour because I like to meditate at the same time, I combine a focus on breathing with tapping and visualization, like watching the neurons sparking.
The Body Talk system doesn’t complicate any medication you take or other practice that you do. It only enhances while doing no harm. If a doctor gives you an antibiotic for seven days, Body Talk will help insure that the chemicals in it don’t harm your body, especially your liver and kidneys.
Our NGO is campaigning for the clean-up of the former US military bases here, specifically the Subic Naval Base and the Clark Air Force Base in Pampanga. In Clark Air Base the Americans left cadmium, arsenic, hospital waste and mercury from old batteries. The DDT, which they sprayed every day during their stay here, is still affecting the system. It lasts for more than fifty years, and it will pass from generation to generation.
In Subic one of the problems comes from asbestos exposure. Asbestos affects you for twenty to thirty years. It damages the pleural area and other areas, but the majority of the former base workers suffer from lung problems. Here in the Philippines, we don’t have experts to read those X-rays. When a patient has a lung X-ray the doctor says, “Ah, you have a problem with your lungs.” Or, “You have emphysema” because of blah-blah-blah. But if you ask questions you find out he used to work on the US Naval Base in the ship repair facilities area. That’s where they had the most asbestos exposure. Before the asbestos-coated machines could be repaired, the asbestos coating needed to be removed. After the machine was repaired, it was coated with asbestos again. The Americans didn’t tell the workers that this is very harmful.
We have also found a lot of unused transformers, which are very dangerous. They cause cancer, especially leukemia, because of the PBC. If you were exposed to the fumes, congratulations, you are a candidate for leukemia. The effect is still there to the present day. In one barangay [the smallest size district] outside the base there is a suspicious number of childless married couples, which is not common. Among those children you do find, there is a high amount of mental retardation, mental defects and birth defects like having no anus or dual sexual organs. When women are exposed to those chemicals their reproductive system is compromised.
That’s why we think the Americas should clean up their mess. One of the scientists we talked to called it a kindergarten issue. In kindergarten the teachers train us that if we make a mess we have to clean it up. The problem with the Americans is that in the US-Philippines military agreements of the 1940s there is no provision for clean-up. The members of our NGO consist of 1,500 families. Not all the people in that area are members. But among those 1,500 families we’ve estimated that there are four deaths every month. Although I should say that the number is in dispute.
Now, we also have a problem in our government. Unlike the government of Vietnam, which kept insisting that the Americas should clean up the Agent Orange they dropped during the Vietnam-US War. The Americans held out for forty years, but last year they started to clean up their mess in Vietnam. We have a lot of problems with technical sites. We don’t have experts here to test the water, to test the soil, to test people with problems in their blood. Our Department of Health conducted a secret, random test in the community. They collected blood and urine samples and did a lot of tests. Of the 97 people they tested, 47 people tested positive for arsenic and lead. Among those 47 people—mothers and children—four to five mothers had already died. Those people suffering from lead poisoning have headaches, skin problems and digestion problems every day.
We have partners in America. Right now the focus of our campaign is in the United States. One of our partners says that even if you rally every day, even if the American president is an angel, if the US Congress doesn’t pass laws, the Americans will not clean up their mess. Although they should, just like in Vietnam.
Body Talk helps the people a lot, especially if they don’t have money to see the doctors or to buy medicine. We don’t promise that this technique will solve their problem, because the practitioner knows that we also need doctors, hospitals and laboratories. This is only a practice that can mitigate those illnesses. Among the children from newborns to seven-year-olds in this area, more than 60-70% have lung problems, asthma, skin asthma. There are a lot of people born with mental disabilities. Maybe I’m also a candidate because I’m so absent-minded that when I was in Pampanga I forgot where I was and drank the toxic water.
We started the clinics in Pampanga in 2010 because of the toxic waste issue. Dorothy Friesen brought us Body Talk Access in 2009. Then she trained I think less than 100 members. Those people do the technique themselves, but we encourage them to practice outside their own families. We conduct clinics. We invite people in the community to come to this house, on this day, at this time. When people know there’s a clinic, they come. The Body Talk system is gaining popularity, especially in Clark, where people are sharing their stories.
“Oh, your complexion is very good now. What happened? Did you take medicine?”
“No, just like this—tap, tap.”
In Pampanga they say it’s just like a crazy person tapping your head. But they share their stories. One of the recipients had been taking medicine for hypertension for more than thirty years, but after regular Body Talk Access now he doesn’t need it.
Body Talk is truly holistic, including the physiology, the emotions, the whatever. The majority of kids who had Body Talk have improved their focus in their school, and their grades have gone up. The mothers are thankful. “My kid was ranked number two in her third grade class.” “Thank you, Body Talk. My daughter got five medals in her class.”
During the interview, Alan demonstrated by tapping on my head. I immediately knew he was good at massage–something about magic or magnetic fingers? A doctor I talked to says this happens in the Philippines. Maybe it’s the same energy Buddhist monks use when they heat a cup of tea by holding it in their hands. Recently I’ve become one of Alan’s massage clients.