Tickle and Control

FeatherFor the last two days my son lost access to some internet sites on his phone. He insisted it was due to the router restrictions I had put in place. But I had not changed those settings recently and so I told him that his problem was probably due to some new app he probably had put on his phone. We argued back and forth — needing to walk away from each other for an hour. After collecting ourselves, we experimented with the router — but no help. Then my son realized he just recently put an ad blocker on his phone. He removed it and all the problems went away.

He was terribly apologetic — both for his emotions (he is 14 years-old) and for the things he said. Being a sensitive fellow, I knew he’d feel guilty for a long time if I didn’t offer him a way out. So I said, “Look, massage my feet and I will forgive you.”

Hand ReflexologyHe rejoiced receiving a penance method and proceeded to massage my feet. He did a pretty good job actually, but I said, “Son, if you’d like, I can teach you to massage better — it may come in handy when you are older.” He laughed and the shyly asked to be instructed.

I tried to instruct him using his foot but he was unbelievably ticklish. I showed him how ticklishness is psychological by telling him to try to tickle himself. He was amazed. Then I said, “Look, you are in control of your mind, aren’t you? So just tell yourself not to be ticklish.” He tried but of course it only got worse. We experimented with me wearing gloves, then he putting on socks — nothing worked. The lesson: we are in far less control of our minds than we imagine.

Well, I was able to teach him hand massage techniques — hands aren’t ticklish usually. The principles of hand massage are the same as foot, so at least I knew I left my son with one valuable skill tonight.

  • Image credits: Feather, Hand Reflexology (true or false, it helps in the massage and I included it in my lecture to my son).  By the way, my son read this post and agreed to the posting.



Filed under Health, Massage, Psychology

2 responses to “Tickle and Control

  1. Earnest

    Excellent article. I find ticklish patients somewhat difficult to examine. What does it mean when they jump back when touched? Is being ticklish a sign of health? Can ticklishness be overwhelmed by the sensations induced by true illness?

    I just did some informal surfing about this, and did not find much of substance, other than a scholarly article from the 1920s which said that the tickle response was a hair cell response.

    ….except the sole of the foot is hairless.


  2. @ Earnest,
    In Oriental medicine, it is the Yin channel areas that are most ticklish – so they say.
    I’ve not heard a good theory either.
    The abd exam is tough on teenagers but is OK once they are adults.
    Their ticklishness their goes away largely.

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