Ways to Tickle the Feet

To tickle is to activate touch receptors in the skin that cause uncontrollable laughter and movement. Robert R. Provine writes in "American Psychology Society," that tickling babies teaches them about social relationships. Laughter has many positive health effects, but tickling also can be a form of torture. The feet are especially sensitive to tickling, and you can use many methods to tickle them.


Tickling with your fingers is one of the most common ways to tickle, and psychologist Christine Harris created a tickling machine to research the social interactions of tickling. The machine is basically a graduate student using his fingers. To further increase the ticklishness, the experiment had the tickling subject blindfolded, since people are especially ticklish when there is an element of surprise.

Tickle Machine

Dutch artists have perfected a tickle machine. Inside, nylon fringe tickles you as you lay on your front. A computer uses wires to create a 3-D map of your back, and the computer sends the information to the soft nylon fringe. The machine was exhibited in New York’s Eyebeam Art Gallery, which specializes in technology-based art. Erwin Driessens and Maria Verstappen are the artists behind the tickling machine, which resembles a jellyfish.

Goat’s Tongue

In ancient Roman times, a form of tickle torture was to coat the restrained victim’s feet with salt or something sweet. Then, a goat was released to lick the victim. At first, it would have been pleasant, but after a while, the victim’s feet would be raw and blistered from the goat’s rough tongue.

Water Dripping

In Transylvania, Prince Vlad is said to have tickle tortured Turkish victims by having water dripped on their feet. Constant tickling would increase the victim’s heart rate and blood pressure. In some instances, tickling can cause heart attacks and strokes.