Tuesday, February 3, 2009

BodyTalk Access for victims of toxic waste and seekers of better health

Philippine Daily Inquirer/FEATURES/by Ma. Ceres P. Doyo

WHAT COULD THE victims of toxic wastes in the former United States military bases do to achieve healing or improve their health? What could people who have lived in unhealthy surroundings, the poor especially, do to ward off life-threatening diseases?

BodyTalk Access is a simple, easy and inexpensive system that the Alliance for US Bases Clean-UP (ABC) in the Philippines has discovered could benefit those who have suffered exposure to toxic wastes. ABC and its allies are also sharing this health practice with people from other sectors who want to claim better health and well-being for themselves.

With health care beyond the reach of many, there is a way for ordinary folk who live in impoverished conditions to address health issues. BodyTalk Access is a simple, effective health technique, not reliant on expensive western-style intervention, and which many could apply on themselves and others, its adherents say.

Human rights, human bodies

Dorothy Friesen, certified BodyTalk Access trainer, knows the Philippines quite well. She and her husband Gene lived in Mindanao as Mennonite missionaries and human rights workers in the late 1970s. She was familiar with the political landscape and was in step with the churches involvement in justice and peace issues.

After her three-year Philippine sojourn Friesen wrote a book "Critical Choices: A Journey with the Filipino People" (1988). She continued to do solidarity work long after she had left the Philippines.

Fast forward to the third millennium. Friesen has segued into health and healing. For Friesen it is a new call that is not alien to human rights work. When Friesen returned to the Philippines in January 2009 after a long absence, she felt right at home because the groups and individuals that welcomed her back were the same committed people she once knew and worked with. This time the task at hand involved human bodies.

BodyTalk Access

In the late 1980s, Friesen experienced chronic fatigue she could not explain. The medical diagnosis pointed to the Epstein-Barr virus. She went deeper and realized there were other personal issues she had to confront, among them, sexual abuse as a child.

At that time, a friend was learning BodyTalk Access, Friesen recalls. Friesen was drawn to it and took lessons. She then proceeded to study to be an Access Trainer and teach the Access techniques.

Friesen, 59, has been a BodyTalk practitioner since 2002 and a certified trainer since 2006. She runs a BodyTalk clinic in Canada.

The body is an intricate and complex communications system but does the right hand know what the left hand is doing? Do the different body parts talk and listen to one another? Or is there heavy traffic and a bottleneck there, a clog and a short circuit here?

Dr. John Veltheim, a chiropractor and acupuncturist, founded The BodyTalk System. He ran a successful clinic in Australia and served as principal of the Brisbane College of Acupuncture and Natural Therapies. He did extensive post graduate studies in applied kinesiology, bioenergetic therapy, osteopathy, sports medicine, counseling and comparative philosophy and theology.

Like an orchestra

Think of an orchestra, is how BodyTalk is introduced to learners. It can produce beautiful music only if all the musicians tune their instruments and then coordinate the timing of their playing. The conductor is responsible for ensuring that everyone is playing together harmoniously, to the same pitch and tempo.

The body works the same say. Good health means all the parts and systems are functioning properly and are synchronized. That, Friesen says, is the innate wisdom of the body.

In a regular BodyTalk session, that innate wisdom is consulted and the body responds with biofeedback. The certified BodyTalk practitioner receives from innate indications of its priorities in the healing process. With the information the practitioner can then determine which aspects of the body are poorly linked and undercommunicating with other parts.

The practitioner works on these links through light touch and taps. The act of tapping on the head, says the manual for beginners, enables the bodymind to register the links in the brain, which enhances the overall integral functioning and intercommunication within the body. The act of tapping over the heart complex enables the bodymind to store the memory of the links. In this way, the bodys natural healing ability is enhanced on all levelsphysical, mental, emotional and spiritual.

The five key concepts in BodyTalk Access are innate wisdom, tapping process, exaggerated breathing, biofeedback to establish priority and permission. The techniques could be applied on oneself or on someone else.

Puzzled? One has to go through at least a whole-day session in order to get the feel of it.

Agnes, a former political activist and stroke survivor, rated her pain above five (in a scale of 0-10) before Friesen applied the BodyTalk techniques on her. After the sessions, her pain was in zero, Agnes told those attending the session.

BodyTalk Access practitioners continuously compile the testimonies of those who have experienced the techniques and noted changes in their health conditions in order to validate theories.


Friesen believes that most Filipinos, especially those naturally adept at indigenous healing practices, would be able to adopt the BodyTalk system quite easily and incorporate it into their healing practices.

There are five basic BodyTalk techniques that a person can practice daily. Added to the five are the Fast Aid techniques for emergency or crisis situations. The first technique involves balancing the cortices. The cortices are made up of the frontal, parietal, occipital and temporal lobes of the brain.

The theory behind balancing the cortices through tapping is that all disease is reflected in the brain at some level, that is, in cold spots (which could be seen through infrared photography). Balancing the cortices could also be used for stress management. Friesen says in emergency situations the tapping of the cortices could help stabilize the patients condition.

The second technique is called switching. It is really a switching off of the bodymind. This is done by pressing on the eyes (just until one begins to see stars) and on the reflex points under the clavicle. Light tapping of the cortices and heart area are part of all the five techniques.

The third technique is the hydration balancing technique which is directed at correcting the cell membrane imbalances throughout the body. This enables the cells to use the water that is made available to them. Again, pressing certain points and tapping.

The fourth technique called body chemistry is meant to fight off body invaders such as viruses, bacteria, parasite, fungi and toxins. It also addresses allergies and intolerances.

The fifth technique is called reciprocals and involves linking the points of the body that influence the extrinsic or surface energy systems of the body.

And then there are the Fast Aid Protocols for emergencies. All the techniques require light tapping of the cortices and the heart area or sternum and the touching of certain areas of the head, limbs and torso.

Easy to learn

Friesen says BodyTalk Access could be learned by almost anyone, including children. Parents can do the techniques on their kids, nurses on patients, friends on friends. Where access to medical facilities is limited, BodyTalk Access could be used, not as a panacea for all ills, but to complement and supplement medical treatment.

Myrla Baldonado of ABC is herself an Access technician and has had distance sessions with Friesen. ABC, through BodyTalk Access, intends to empower communities around the former US military bases as a self-help strategy to cope with their health and environmental issues, Baldonado says. Baldonado adds that the techniques are being taught to selected individuals and groups who are encouraged to apply the techniques on their own selves, their households and other people.

By the end of six months at least 2,000 people in the toxic areas are expected to benefit from the techniques. ABC has been providing health services to toxic waste victims for the past eight years and is always in search of simple but effective ways to wellness.

With BodyTalk Access, Friesen has come full circle in her relationship with the Philippines. Her return marks the continuation of her journey with the Filipino people.

A whole-day BodyTalk Access training will be held Feb. 7 in Quezon City. Call 0919-3590012 or 0917-8445515.