Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Healing through the Feet

Traveling hundreds of miles to visit a healer who worked with feet was not all that unusual in the 1930s. One such healer, originally trained as a “boot and brace” man in his native Germany drew people to his work in Colorado Springs, Colorado.numerous ailments

Dr. Locke was well known for his work. The story was told of him sitting in the town square, seated in a chair and swiveling from person to person to apply his Locke Break. His work is mentioned by Dr. William Fitzgerald in his book Zone Therapy. Dr. Fitzgerald notes, “His work relieves pressure in the posterior tibial nerve. His theory is that numerous ailments such rheumatism, so-called arthritis, sciatica and the like are the indirect result of faulty foot posture which causes pressure in the poterior tibial nerve and starts a vicious chain of symptoms in other parts of the body. He proceeds on the hypothesis that correct posture, relief of strain or pressure will permit Nature to effect her own cure.”

He also notes that Dr. Locke was trained in Scotland where a patient is not permitted to walk “until the strength of his feet and legs have been built up by massage or other means. He has gone them one better and I’ve a suspicion that he may be years ahead of the the whole medical profession. Anyhow, let’s run down and see him.”

The following is written by newspaper man Ernie Pyle who would go on to become famous for his reports from the front about the common soldier. He died in battle in the South Pacific during WWII.

“In this reprint of a column written in the 1930's, columnist Ernie Pyle writes about his experience at the Williamsburg, Ontario site of the work of Dr. Locke, “the famous Canadian doctor who seemed to work miracles by twisting feet.”

“For three quarters of an hour I stood and watched the treatments of Dr. Locke. It was, in a way, one of the most fantastic rites I ever witnessed.' In those 45 minutes he treated about 85 people. Each paid him a dollar. He did not speak to more than 10 of them. Often a treatment was over in five seconds. With one exception, no person received more than 30 seconds of the doctor's time. … 

“Dr. Locke treated patients in an outdoor pavilion next to his small white house on a cross street off the highway. By 9:00 a couple of hundred patients were waiting around the pavilion. …

“There were no preliminaries. Dr. Locke said nothing. He took the first extended foot on his knee. He did no exploratory feeling around. Quickly he placed his thumb on the inside, pressed, gave the foot a twist, then bent the toes down and pushed hard. He reached for the other foot and did the same. It was over. … 

“Williamsburg had become a mecca after Rex Beach wrote about Dr. Locke’s treatment in Cosmopolitan magazine some six years before my visit. … 

“People had come by the scores of thousands. … I asked Dr. Locke to explain to me in simple language what he did. He said that most muscular ailments came from fallen arches or flat feet. A fallen arch is a foot bone that has slipped out of place, thus creating pressure on certain nerves. What Dr. Locke did was work this bone back in place relieving the pressure.”
Nov. 6, 1980, The Santa Fe Reporter (New Mexico), p. 23, "Ernie Pyle's America, The Miracle of Twisting Feet" by Ernie Pyle

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